Liberals and Labor pass Religious Discrimination Bill covertly overnight

Content Warning: This article contains mentions of homophobia, queerphobia and transphobia.

At 5pm last night, we saw the unity of the nation come together to protest the Religious Discrimination Bill in Parliament.

Across all major cities, students opposed the bill that will open the rights for religious based education institutions to discriminate against students.

On religious freedom, Labor scaled back the “statement of belief” clause in the draft Religious Discrimination Act in the hope it can prevent speech that harms others.

Although the amendments of the bill protected students from discrimination, the support and reshaping of the bill is shameful for the community.

It’s all about yourself and your party first.

Jacqui Lambie

This morning on the Today show, Jacqui Lambie stated that this did not reflect the Australian people, and that the Prime Minister pushed for a week for their own personal agenda rather than push for support for Aged Care. Following, Chris Smith stated that the only person celebrating this morning will be the Prime Minister.

Lambie confirmed on television that The government’s bill would weaken Tasmania’s “gold standard” anti-discrimination laws, effectively leaving Tasmanians behind.

For a time incredibly difficult for the Australian people, with the reopening of universities, the hospital crisis, coronavirus ravaging Aged Care with little government support. It is clear that the Religious Discrimination Bill is an agenda piece, and the legislation is out of touch.

Equality Australia has welcomed Labor’s changes to the statement of belief clause, with the promise that marginalised communities protection will be retained. It is incredibly concerning, with the previous amendments not protecting the trans community.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome stated, ‘it will entirely remove the protection for transgender students’. Mr Croome was central to the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania, and has announced that he will return his Order of Australia award with the passing of the bill.

It is clear that with the amendments pushed by Labor, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association’s previous conservative support of the parties No-Vote stance during the Rudd era has left ripples through the party and his former deputy Prime Minister Albonese in compromising to weaken protections for the LGBTIAQ+ community.

SDA is one of the largest players in Labor’s union base and it is evident that the push to not scrap the bill comes at a loss that Labor cannot seperate from it’s largest union.

It is clear that the SDA has implemented socially conservative policies through its influence in the Australian Labor Party before it’s leadership overhaul in 2015 and the shockwave of the union’s past position still make ripples today.

SDA has made similar submissions on other “moral” issues arguing against IVF, stem cell research and other progressive policies.

RAFFWU

At the dawn of Thursday, the Prime Minister remains silent, but Albo giggled in delight to the Labor amendments made covertly overnight. It is evident by the amendments pushed by Labor that this is now Labor’s bill and the final decision is in the upper house.

Article Written by Jasper Cohen-Hunter

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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