Australia

Scott Morrison to discuss the religious freedom bill with Anthony Albanese

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison will discuss the proposed religious freedom bill with Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese this week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will meet this week with Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese to discuss proposed new religious freedom laws. 

Mr Morrison told the ABC's 7.30 the coalition government is putting the "finishing touches" on the Religious Discrimination Act which is set to be introduced by the end of the year. 

"I would like to see this issue progressed with a sensitivity, with a sense of cooperation, and with a sense of balance," he told ABC's 730 program. 

The Prime Minister urged Labor to take a "practical approach" to the issue. 

"Religious freedom is a core pillar of our society. And it's not unreasonable. And I think there are many millions of Australians who would like to see that protected, and I intend to follow through on that commitment."

Kerry Stokes, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese ahead of the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Monday, July 1, 2019. (AAP Image/Rohan Thomson) NO ARCHIVING
Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese will meet this week and discuss religious freedom laws.
AAP

Some Coalition members are pushing for broader protections for people of faith, including exempting religious belief from employment contracts. 

Such a provision would protect views such as those expressed by rugby player Israel Folau that led to his sacking.  

Mr Morrison would not confirm if Folau, who said on social media that gay people would go to hell, would be safe under the proposed laws. 

"I think it's important, ultimately, that employers have reasonable expectations of their employees, and that they don't impinge on their areas of private practice and private belief or private activity," Mr Morrison said.

"And there's a balance that has to be struck in that, and our courts will always ultimately decide this based on the legislation that's presented."

Mr Morrison previously suggested the bill was key to supporting multiculturalism given many migrants hold strong religious beliefs. 

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