'A licence to discriminate': Ian Thorpe blasts Religious Discrimination Bill

An LGBTQI+ advocacy group has released a video where a number of celebrities criticise the Religious Discrimination Bill.

Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe is one of several public figures who have appeared in a video that strongly criticises the Coalition's Religious Discrimination Bill.

LGBTQI+ advocacy group Equality Australia released the video across social media last Friday and it has so far received more than 300,000 views.

Ian Thorpe appearing in the video.
Source: Facebook - Equality Australia

The proposed bill is aimed at protecting religious expression from being discriminated against in Australia, but Thorpe says it "threatens to divide our community".

"[It will] give people a licence to discriminate," he says in the video.

Ian Thorpe has appeared in a video against the proposed bill.
Source: AAP

Basketball great Lauren Jackson adds, "the bill would mean we're less protected under the law. It will leave us all vulnerable".

While comedian and writer Benjamin Law says, "what constitutes discrimination today will be considered OK tomorrow".

"It will take away your rights at work, at school and in hospitals when people say offensive things."

A number of 'everyday Australians' also appeared in the video.
Source: Facebook - Equality Australia

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison released the second version of his proposed religious freedom laws, trying to balance the concerns of religious and non-religious groups.

"I gave a commitment that we would ensure that people would not be discriminated against in this country, as a basis of their religious beliefs or non-religious beliefs," he said.

"There were lots of suggestions that this would be a divisive debate and I don't believe it has been and I don't believe it needs to be."

Among 11 key changes, provisions around "conscientious objection" were narrowed so that a limited list of health professions would be covered by the protection.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the changes came after consultation from "all sides of this debate".

"There are changes that have been suggested by human rights and LGBTI groups," he said.

"There are changes that have been suggested by faith groups."

But CEO of Equality Australia Anna Brown said she was not convinced.

"Contrary to the assurances made by the prime minister, this isn't a bill for people of faith and of no faith, as a double standard exists in the Religious Discrimination Bill," she said in a statement on Monday.

"It privileges religious institutions to the detriment of Australians who hold different beliefs, or no religious belief at all - in employment, education settings, and in the provision of goods and services."

Submissions on the draft legislation close on 31 January.

Published 16 December 2019 at 6:41pm
Source: SBS News