QNews: Protest the NSW Religious Discrimination Bill this Saturday

Activist are planning to gather at the Sydney Town Hall from 1pm on Saturday, 5 August to protest proposed changes to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act that would see “religious vilification” become a criminal offense.\

There is concern that the definition of “religious vilification” in the bill is too vague and that it could be used to protect hate speech against LGBTIQA+ people or practices like conversion therapy.

There is also concern that the proposed bill could further entrench religious exemptions in NSW’s anti-discrimination laws that allow religious groups and businesses they own to legally discriminate against people on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties have been vocal about it’s disappointment over what it says is flawed legislation.

“[NSWCCL is] disappointed to see that the Attorney-General is bringing this Bill on for debate,” president Josh Pallas said.

“It’s not fair that religious belief gains more protections when religious organisations will still be exempt from parts of the Act and be allowed to discriminate against others. We want an Anti-Discrimination Act that does not discriminate. To move on one part, without moving on other glaring deficiencies sends a bad message to the community about whose rights and interests are privileged over others.”

Pallas said he was hopeful that the NSW Government would consider amendments to the legislation that are being proposed by NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong.

“We urge the Opposition and the crossbench to support the proposed amendments to this Bill so that it better articulates its scope,” Pallas said.

“Others within the community, trans people, people with intersex variations and sex workers receive inadequate protections under NSW anti-discrimination law. Where is their protection? Why should religious organisations receive protection before them?”

Pallas said it would be better for the government to wait until a review into the Anti-Discrimination Act by the NSW Law Reform Commission is completed rather than for it to pass in its unamended form. Then all of the deficiencies with the current legislation could be dealt with at the same time.

For more information, read the full article.