For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 14 July 2013.
As the Labor leadership crisis ran its course, the Australian Parliament quietly passed legislation nullifying religious exemptions from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in aged-care institutions.
Angela Shanahan, writing in The Weekend Australian, observed that:
The religious exemption clauses are there to protect freedom of conscience, not just religious practice. In all great religions, conscience and freedom to act within certain moral precepts are inextricably linked. In relation to aged care this principle is now nullified.
Ms Shanahan pointed out that this was part of a wider agenda by the anti-discrimination lobby to remove all religious exemptions in relation to all employment, even in hospitals. She said:
Religious freedom is not like anti-discrimination law. Equal treatment under the law is basic to democratic values. But freedom of religion, of thought and of conscience, is a fundamental foundation of human rights, the most basic of all freedoms.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.