A license to discriminate - not on my watch


NOTE: This article is older than 12 months

I'm worried. Overnight the government has said that introducing so called 'religious freedom' laws are its top priority.  

While freedom of thought and religion are vital parts of a democratic society, I am scared the new laws will provide individuals and businesses a license to discriminate against LGBTIQ+ people under the guise of religion. 

With these laws coming as soon as July we need to mobilise now. You can help us to fight any regressive laws by making a donation today.  

Count me in! I'll donate now >>

Post-election we have seen minority religious organisations spreading claims that the result was based on an imagined battle for religious freedom.  

Let's be clear, no one's freedom to practice their religion is under threat.   

That's not to say that laws protecting people of faith aren't needed. For too long the Muslim community has been the subject of abuse and attacks, including from within parliament, and we are seeing an alarming rise in anti-Semitism across society.  

People of faith should be protected from hate speech and violence, and protected from discrimination at work or in recruitment, just as LGBTIQ+ people should be.  

But I fear that laws which should protect vulnerable minorities will be used as a Trojan horse for conservatives in the government to give their friends at the fringes of religion a license to discriminate against LGBTIQ+ people.  

Make no mistake, what the religious conservatives want is a license to refuse service to LGBTIQ+ people including excluding us from crucial government services delivered though religious organisations.  

Thankfully, these extremists don't represent the community, and they don't represent most people of faith.  

Australian support for the LGBTIQ+ community has been tested and the results were resounding. If the same-sex marriage vote had been an election YES would have won 133 out of 150 lower house seats. Most heartening was to see religious leaders and people of all faiths standing up for fairness and equality, supporting YES in their local community and in Canberra. The reality is that many LGBTIQ+ people exist within faith communities. 

We've also seen Australia rejecting politics of division and hate, with none of the various religious conservative parties coming anywhere close to securing senate seats in the election.

While I know we have the support of the community, I worry that the few loud voices of religious conservatives have the ears of policy makers. We need to make sure the overwhelming voices of support drown out the politics of division and fear. 

My small team are gearing up for a fight, but we can't do it without your support: 

  • We need funding to get our (fabulous) boots on the ground in Canberra to meet face-to-face with law makers. I have faith leaders ready to stand with us in Canberra and tell politicians that practicing religion doesn't need to exclude and demonise LGBTIQ+ people 

  • We need your financial support to have legal and policy experts scrutinise any legislation – as always, the devil is in the detail and we need to have the best eyes reading the fine print. 

  • In this 24-hour news cycle, even the most supportive of allies can miss our calls for support. We need funds to amplify our voice and provide tools to empower the community to mobilise. 

Can you I count on you for your support?

Now is the time to defend the rights with have won. We fought too hard for too long to see this government hand a license to discriminate to conservative religious forces.  

Yours in solidarity 

Anna Brown 
CEO, Equality Australia

Australian Government Community Elections Equality Political

Equality Australia :
Level 17, 461 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia Wide
Equality Australia

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