Thursday, 12 December 2019

Peace and Good Will required

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia Dr Deidre Palmer has called for good will and constructive engagement in the national conversation around religious freedom.

Second drafts of the Federal Government’s Religious Freedoms Bills were released this week by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney-General Christian Porter.

“The right, particularly of minority religions in Australia, to exercise their faith is a right worthy of serious public consideration,” said Dr Palmer.

“A number of vulnerable groups have already expressed their concerns about the latest version of the legislation, so I wanted to address these concerns in a pastoral and timely manner.

“In our previous submissions the Uniting Church has called for changes to ensure the legislation will not override other human rights or existing protections from discrimination.

“On our initial reading of the second draft of these Bills, we remain concerned that religious rights to discriminate will effectively be privileged over other rights.”

“We do not want to discriminate against people, nor do we want to subject already vulnerable people such as LGBTIQ Australians to further pain in this conversation.”

“We will be making further detailed submissions along these lines.“

The Attorney-General’s Department has invited submissions on the latest draft of the legislation up until 31 January 2020.

“As we approach Christmas, remembering the peace and goodwill that God desires for us, I encourage us to listen and speak to people of differing viewpoints with grace,” said Dr Palmer.