Senate debates

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Bills

Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017; In Committee

11:15 am

Photo of Janet RiceJanet Rice (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

The Greens also won't be supporting these amendments, and it's on two grounds. One is the principle that civil celebrants who are performing the solemnising of marriages according to the laws of the state should not be able to discriminate against LGBTIQ people. They are there to solemnise weddings according to the laws of the land. There is no justification for those civil celebrants to be able to discriminate. That's the first reason. The second one is on being able to discriminate on the basis of conscientious as well as religious beliefs. We will go into that a bit further when we debate the amendments that I am going to propose shortly.

In one way I have some level of agreement with Senator Leyonhjelm. We don't think people should be able to discriminate on the basis of their individual beliefs. Our current antidiscrimination law allows for exemptions based on religious organisations and on the tenets and doctrines of a religion, not on an individual's religious beliefs. So we absolutely don't think it would be appropriate to extend that—not just to be able to discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs but to extend it on the basis of people's conscientious beliefs. To be able to do that would be expanding our antidiscrimination law exponentially to allow the grounds on which people could discriminate against other people.

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