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Alex Greenwich (ABC News)

Faith leaders and human rights advocates are encouraged by news that debate on Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich’s “equality” bill will be postponed until mid-March. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

Debate on the bill, introduced last August, was due to begin on February 8, but the plan was quietly shelved the previous day, pushing it to March 14, the next available sitting day.

The 50-page bill is aimed at changing 20 different pieces of legislation and includes removing protections for faith-based schools and other institutions to teach Christian doctrine on marriage, sexuality and gender and to hire employees who adhere to the same beliefs and values.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, heads of the major Christian denominations, leaders of other faith traditions and the governing bodies of religious schools have strongly protested the proposed changes as extreme, with the risk of “significant” unintended consequences.

A spokesperson for NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley said the Government was working “with a range of stakeholders to address the issues involved in this complex policy area”.

Freedom for Faith executive officer Mike Southon said the large number of faith leaders who joined the organisation to raise concerns about the bill, including Archbishop Fisher, highlighted the problems with it.

He said the delay would give time for more people to ask their members of parliament to reject the bill via the website.

Rachael Wong, CEO of advocacy group Women’s Forum Australia, said the delay on the “anti-woman, anti-child” bill was excellent news and that more than 15,000 people have signed its petition asking NSW MPs to reject the bill.


Faith groups relieved as Greenwich “Equality Bill” debate delayed (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)