Religious discrimination laws could be in place by middle of year

Labor will move to get religious discrimination laws passed in the middle of the year, as Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says the issue can’t be dragged out.

Apr 19, 2024, updated Apr 19, 2024
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)


The government has said it won’t proceed with the legislation without support from the opposition but the attorney-general said on Friday he has had productive talks his counterpart on the opposition benches.

“We’re very happy to keep talking about this, but we can’t allow this to drag out,” he told ABC’s RN.

“Right now is a very good time for us to try and come together and legislate in a way that unites the country that protects kids and teachers and protects people of faith.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has cited social cohesion, which has come to the fore this week after the Sydney stabbing attacks, as the reason behind a refusal to publish a draft of the legislation.

LGBTQI advocates have been calling on Labor to publicly release the proposal for community consultation.

Mr Dreyfus said he recently had a positive discussion with his opposition counterpart Michaelia Cash about the laws which would protect teachers and students from being discriminated against in schools.

“If we don’t reach an agreement that will be a matter of extreme regret for me.”

Mr Dreyfus said the government was seeking to legislate the proposal around the middle of this year, but wouldn’t confirm if it would be shelved if Labor can’t secure the support.

“This is an opportunity to unite the country and to show that consistently with long established Australian values, we can be a community that treats each other with respect,” he said.

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