House debates

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Matters of Public Importance


3:39 pm

Photo of Steve IronsSteve Irons (Swan, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) Share this | Hansard source

Member for Wakefield, I'm sure there's more to it than just the leaks from that report.

The fact is that I had a religious background. My father was a minister of the Methodist Church back in my early days. I can remember when religion was nearly a war at times, and I'm sure there are places around the world where there are still wars going on because of religion. We had a Catholic church across the road from our Methodist church, and there were constant battles after school between the Catholic schoolkids and those attending the public schools. It's something that has been happening in our society, in Australia, for a long time.

To get back to the subject—discrimination—my personal view is that there shouldn't be any discrimination. But the question of discrimination shouldn't be open-ended; we should have some form of protection for children. I say this as we approach the national apology following the royal commission into the sexual abuse of children in institutions. In those institutions, which were run by different organisations and also run by churches and charities, there were people employed who abused children. If your position on discrimination is open-ended, where we can't discriminate against anyone's sexuality or preferences—which is what I'm hearing from the other side—will you take the risk of employing all sorts of people who aim to work in areas where there are children?


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