Controversial new legislation has been put forward for consideration in Australia with the aim of protecting a person’s freedom of religious expression.
According to reports by Reuters, the proposed legislation (which has been drafted after the recent firing of Christian rugby player Israel Folau, for posting extream religious views on his social media platform) would allow Australians to express their faith outside of the workplace, as long as there is no financial damage towards their employer.
LGBTI rights groups and advocates have since come out and criticised the Australian government for the proposed bill, arguing the “radical” laws would give greater power to religious groups and encourage discrimination.
political commentators have also highlighted that the bill from the Morison Government backtracks on promises made about the legislation during its drafting process.
However, Australia’s Attorney-General Christian Porter says, “Australia has a strong anti-discrimination framework with specific protections for people against discrimination on the basis of their age, sex, race and disability.”
He continued, “This draft bill released today extends those protections to provide protection for people against discrimination on the basis of their religion or religious belief or lack thereof.”
The proposed bill would see businesses who turnover of more than $50m per year, be unable to enforce such limitations on a person’s religious expression in private unless that company can prove it would cause “unjustifiable financial hardship to the business.”
The legislation for religious freedom is expected to be introduced into parliament for debate in October 2019.