Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has moved an amendment to bin the Religious Discrimination Bill because Tasmania stands to be the biggest loser if it becomes law.
Outlining his opposition to the Bill in a speech to Federal Parliament today, he said implementing laws that permitted religious freedoms without appropriate corresponding limitations and safeguards was reckless and potentially dangerous.
“Don’t get me wrong, I support freedom of religion when it means not discriminating against people of faith.” Mr Wilkie said. “But I will not support legislation that allows discrimination and hate speech in the name of faith.
“Tasmania has the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country, and it’s because of this that we have the most to lose under this legislation. We are the only state in Australia that prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and relationship status by faith-linked organisations, including schools, hospitals and charities. We are also one of the few states that prohibits all hate speech, with no religious exceptions.
“The Federal Government should be looking at Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws as a model for national reform, but instead it is intent on watering down the strong protections that we have. I can’t support the Bill in its current form because it doesn’t ensure that all Australians, and in particular Tasmanians, are protected from discrimination.”