Leaders take religious discrimination battle to the polls

Scott Morrison shelved the religious discrimination package after a humiliating defeat on the floor of Parliament yesterday (ABC News/Adam Kennedy)

Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese have set up an election clash over religious freedoms, with both pledging to legislate protections for faith groups. Source: The Australian.

The Government yesterday shelved its plan in the wake of a humiliating defeat on the floor of Parliament, failing to deliver on a 2019 election promise to legalise safeguards for religious groups.

Despite Mr Morrison’s desperate party room plea for unity on the religious discrimination bill earlier this week, warning a failure to unite could cost the Coalition the election, five moderate Liberal MPs joined Labor and crossbenchers in amending the Government’s planned changes to the Sex Discrimination Act, to torpedo his faith protections.

Labor, after successfully amending the Government’s planned changes to the SDA to protect transgender students, yesterday vowed to campaign on religious freedom and legislate faith protections if it won the election.

Anthony Albanese said a Labor government would ban discrimination against people of faith, while also protecting students and teachers at religious schools.

The Labor leader’s commitment not to walk away from religious freedoms came as the Government conceded it would run out of time to legislate faith protections with only two Senate sitting days remaining before a likely May election.

Mr Morrison will elevate religious freedoms as a key pillar of the Coalition’s re-election strategy alongside economic management, national security and leading the pandemic recovery.

The Government, Labor, Greens and crossbenchers yesterday agreed to freeze debate on the amended religious freedoms package after the Australian Government Solicitor said the rushed SDA changes could spark positive discrimination against children.

FULL STORY

Leaders take religious discrimination battle to the polls (by Geoff Chambers and Greg Brown, The Australian)

RELATED COVERAGE

Focus on wellbeing, not expulsion, say Victorian Catholic, independent schools (The Age

VIDEO: Federal Government shelves religious freedom bill indefinitely (ABC News)

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