In between dodging responsibility regarding the Australian bushfires and whatever busy tasks he has on his schedule that led to him taking an early holiday while the country literally burns, our PM Scott Morrison has found the time to craft a second draft of his controversial religious discrimination bill.
After revising some horrendously offensive bits that resulted in waves of criticism from human rights, LGBTQIA+ and religious groups, the new version of the religious discrimination bill… isn’t that much better actually.
This proposed bill, should it be entrenched into law, is essentially a legal permission slip to discriminate against others. It’s literally making it okay to use the excuse “I can say this crap because I believe in it!”
Here are just some of the horrendously abhorrent things you can say and do under Scott Morrison’s ridiculous religious discrimination bill – grouped in categories because that’s how crazy it is – and get away with it legally (via the government’s released explanatory notes and The Guardian):
- Religiously-affiliated businesses may force senior leaders to follow a particular religious belief or activity if those are requirements of the position.
- Employers can ask potential employees what days they can’t work due to holy days or religious beliefs in order to determine whether they fulfill the requirements of the job they’re applying for.
- You can go on social media and post about how a colleague at work is in a wheelchair because it’s a punishment from God for their sins. Yeah.
- Doctors can tell transgender patients they believe men and women are created in God’s image, and thus gender is binary. They’ll still have to carry on treatment as usual but they’ll be legally allowed to say this.
- Certain doctors and medical professionals can refuse to provide services like contraception or hormone treatment for gender transition if it goes against their religious beliefs.
- Psychiatrists can say to female patients suffering from depression that “she should be looking forward to the kingdom of heaven,” which is literally something that happened in real-life.
- Religious hospitals and other medical providers like aged care services can discriminate against staff based on their religion in terms of hiring and codes of conduct. For example, some hospital may have a thing against unwed sex and if you go and indulge in some unwed sex, you could get fired.
- A childcare worker could literally tell a mother that denying their child a father is the act of a sinful woman, even if said father is a violent criminal who deserves to be locked up in a box.
- Religious schools can refuse to hire staff or admit students if they don’t follow the same faith.
- If a student attending a religious school suddenly declare they’re agnostic, the school will be able to expel, suspend or punish the student.
It remains to be seen whether Scott Morrison’s religious discrimination bill will actually become law, but it would be a massive blow should it happen as it is, in the words of Ian Thorpe, “a licence to discriminate.”
But hey, at least there will be plenty of thoughts and prayers for everyone to share around.
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