Don’t water down bill, conservative MPs tell Morrison

Scott Morrison (ABC News/Tamara Penniket)

Conservative Liberal MPs have urged Scott Morrison to avoid further “watering down” of the Government’s religious discrimination bill and not buckle under pressure from moderate colleagues. Source: The Australian.

Ahead of the Prime Minister personally tabling the legislation in the lower house today, a group of conservative Liberals said further concessions would break faith with voters who backed the Coalition at the last election.

Amid resistance from moderates to endorse the religious discrimination bill, Liberal MPs and senators Tony Pasin, Matt O’Sullivan, Ben Small and Phil Thompson said the Government had a “mandate” to legislate protections for faith-based groups and individuals.

After the Government removed the “Folau clause” and the ability of health professionals to refuse service provision on conscience grounds, Labor was expected to join the Coalition in passing the bill in the lower house and referring it to a Senate inquiry. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will discuss Labor’s position with caucus members next week.

The Australian reports the Senate committee tasked with examining the legislation will be asked to report back by February, giving the Government time to push it through the Parliament before next year’s election.

Mr Thompson said Attorney-General Michaelia Cash had “extensively consulted with MPs” and removed contentious items in the bill to win support. He said “watering things down further would break faith” with those who voted for the Coalition at the 2019 election.

Senator O’Sullivan said the bill did not “encroach upon other rights protected by law” and would “not authorise hate speech, violence or discrimination against anyone”.

FULL STORY

No retreat on ­religious discrimination bill: MPs tell Scott Morrison (By Simon Benson and Geoff Chambers, The Australian)

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