Archbishop Porteous defends ‘modest’ bill

Archbishop Julian Porteous (Hobart Archdiocese)

Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous has defended the Morrison Government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill, saying that the legislation would recognise the importance of preventing religious discrimination. Source: Hobart Archdiocese.

His comments came after a prominent Tasmanian LGBT activist claimed the proposed bill will allow unjust discrimination, overriding Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws.

Long-time promoter of LGBT rights, Rodney Croome, a member of the Equality Tasmania committee, released a joint statement along with four other organisations, claiming the bill “directly and explicitly target’s Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act and will have a disastrous impact on protections that have been in place for over two decades”.

In defending the bill, Archbishop Porteous said the legislation would “finally give federal recognition in law to the importance of preventing religious discrimination”.

“It is disappointing to read negative comments about the proposed bill which claim it will allow all manner of adverse discrimination,” Archbishop Porteous said. “This is simply not true. It is a very modest bill. I would like to have seen it go further than it does in this draft.”

Archbishop Porteous said religious freedom had not historically received the same protection as other attributes such as sex, race or age.

He said the bill, which was introduced into the Parliament in November 2021, “simply seeks to address this historical anomaly and give religious belief the same kind of protections we currently provide to other attributes”.

“Let’s be absolutely clear about this. The proposed bill is not, as some have asserted, giving any special treatment to religion over other attributes or indeed other types of organisations. In fact, it is simply trying to bring the treatment of religious belief into line with how other attributes are protected in various other discrimination laws.”


Archbishop defends Religious Discrimination Bill against activist’s claims (By Catherine Sheehan, Hobart Archdiocese)

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