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PM calls out ‘identity politics’

Introducing the Religious Discrimination Bill last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said we are living in an ‘age of identity politics’.

26 November 2021

In addition to a Sex Discrimination Act, a Racial Discrimination Act, a Disability Discrimination Act and an Age Discrimination Act, the Commonwealth now has a Religious Discrimination Act. 

Introducing the bill in Parliament last week, Mr Morrison said this is the first piece of standalone legislation in Australia that protects people of religion, or faith, against discrimination. Or indeed for those who choose not to have a faith or religion. 

“In this age of identity politics where we hear much about how we are identified by our gender, our age, our sexuality, our race, our ethnicity or our level of physical or intellectual ability. These are known as protected attributes, and they should be. We are rightly protected against discrimination in relation to any of these attributes,” he said. “But human beings are more than our physical selves.”

As human beings, we are also soul and spirit, the Prime Minister said, adding that we are also what we believe.  

“For many, this can inform who they are more than anything else,” he said. “The protection of what we choose to believe in a free society is essential to our freedom. In a liberal democracy, it is like oxygen. And so it is only right we should expect that what we sincerely believe should be afforded the same protection from discrimination in a free liberal democracy, as any other protected attributes of our humanity.”

The Religion Discrimination Bill 2021 also includes not being discriminated against for non-belief. Mr Morrison said such protections respect the true integrity and dignity of the individual. 

“It’s what makes them who they are, who we are, how we choose to live their life in accordance with the laws of this land,” he said. 

“This bill puts this right. It is a sensible and balanced bill. And I commend the Attorney on the work she has done, in ensuring it is a sensible and balanced bill.”

The Prime Minister said people should not be ‘cancelled’ or persecuted or vilified because their beliefs are different from someone else’s in a free liberal democratic society like Australia.

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