Liberal MPs are warning Attorney-General Michaelia Cash that any new draft of the religious discrimination bill cannot compromise same-sex marriage or turn into a faith-based “bill of rights”. Source: The Australian.
The Australian revealed on Thursday that Senator Cash would bring a major rewrite of the bill – shelved during the COVID-19 pandemic by her predecessor Christian Porter – to parliament by December, sparking a flurry of demands from both religious leaders and LGBTI advocates.
A religious discrimination act – a key 2019 election promise of Scott Morrison’s – has now sparked an internal party row between conservatives who believe it must be implemented and moderates who do not want the 2017 same-sex marriage plebiscite victory to be overshadowed.
Queensland MP Warren Entsch was one of the first supporters of same-sex marriage in the Australian Parliament and has long argued in the Coalition for stronger LGBTI rights.
On Thursday, Mr Entsch said gay rights must continue to be protected, and he warned the government to be “very careful” on how it proceeds with a religious discrimination bill.
Religious leaders on Thursday called for the rewritten bill – the third draft since the 2019 federal election – to include multiple changes ranging from an override of state bans on gay conversion therapy to a broader definition of faith-based institutions in federal law.
Some Liberal conservatives and faith leaders have warned there will be a backlash from religious voters if the Prime Minister’s promise is not upheld.
Liberal MPs warn Michaelia Cash against compromising on gay rights in religious freedom push (By Richard Ferguson, The Australian)