Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017; In Committee
Just to clarify, if it hasn't been done by one of my colleagues, Labor's position on these amendments: we oppose the amendment on sheet 8329. I think Senator Smith has already spoken to, and tabled, a letter from Mr Jordan of the ATO in relation to these issues. Our view is that these amendments stem from a baseless concern. We don't believe there's any reason for such charities to fear they will be impacted adversely if marriage equality becomes law. There have been some overseas examples thrown around by some of those opposite. I am advised these examples do not relate to the particular charity's stance on marriage equality, but, rather, were issues associated with antidiscrimination law in the UK. I am advised there is no reasonable parallel with Australia.
I am concerned—the Labor Party is concerned—that there are those opposite who are drumming up baseless fears in this debate. I again say that Labor does not have a problem with debate on issues of religious freedom; however, we do not believe this is the right time or place, for the reasons we have previously articulated. I would also make the point your Prime Minister has set up a process to deal with this, and it is of some concern that members of his own party appear not to trust a process which their Prime Minister has set up.