I don’t know the ins and outs of the Australian government, so this article was a bit confusing to an American like me, but reader Andrew was nice enough to explain a new bill passed by the country’s Parliament:
In Australia we have very good anti-discrimination laws which prevent establishments from discriminating against people for any number of reasons…
However, in the state of Victoria, faith based groups have been pushing for an exemption to these laws, as they feel that they should have the right to discriminate against people on the basis of religion, marital status and gender.
Last week there was a vote in our Lower House of Parliament, and the amendment was defeated.
However, the majority party [took] an unprecedented step and actually reintroduced the vote… because one of the members was missing for the vote, and subsequently it was passed.
So Australian lawmakers just overturned an anti-discrimination law. The Upper House will now have to vote on it, too, and it looks like the Victorian Government has the numbers to keep the law overturned.
If this new law passes, it would mean Christian groups (receiving, I presume,
federal money from the state of Victoria) could now say they’re not going to hire someone who’s gay… or unmarried… or female… or a Jew… or black…
One person very happy with the new rules had this remarkable spin on it:
“When Christian organisations employ people, they look for those who will share the journey together,” says Rob Ward, State Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
Ward cites the example of his own son who goes to a Christian school, and who has struck up a friendship with the school gardener, also a Christian. “Children often shy away from authority figures, but my son receives good pastoral care from this gentleman.”
And when non-Christian organizations employ people, they do it on the basis of who might be a good fit for the job, not based on the person’s gender, race, or sexual orientation…
Andrew adds in his email:
I know that there are a lot of struggles in the United States for things that we take for granted; however, it’s disheartening that we’re actually regressing here in Australia and we have essentially legalized bigotry in one of our states.
I’ll throw it to the Australian readers:
Am I summarizing this story correctly?
Can this pro-discrimination law be stopped?
What else should we all know about this legislation?