Mark Dreyfus said this morning it had been a “shocking process” to get the religious discrimination bill through the house. “This parliament , if invited to work on a bipartisan process can produce legislation in contentious areas that serves to unite our country and not further divide it,” he told ABC radio.Dreyfus is confident the senate will support further changes, such as adding an anti-vilification provision, and removing the bill’s ability to override state legislation.
However, he wouldn’t be drawn on whether Labor would vote down the bill if those amendments weren’t added. He said despite removing discrimination against all children, there was “much yet to be improved”.Labor “almost got there” on amending the bill’s statement of belief, he said.
Liberal senator Jane Hume pointed out that the government does not have the same numbers in the Senate. She also told the ABC it was about “competing rights”: I’m absolutely certain that at the end of the day when the bill passes both houses of parliament, that we’ll land on the right decision, balancing freedoms and rights of people with deeply held religious beliefs and their desire, particularly to send their children to a same-sex school, and making sure we protect the rights of all children as well.The debate over religious discrimination, and particularly the protections for trans students, will continue today.