Scott Morrison has introduced his government's controversial Religious Discrimination Bill.
The Prime Minister explained in the House of Representatives today (November 25) how this proposed law is designed to protect religious Australians from being marginalised or slagged off for their beliefs.
He told politicians: "This bill is a protection from the few who seek to marginalise and coerce and silence people of faith because they do not share the same view of the world as them.
"Australians shouldn't have to worry about looking over their shoulder fearful of offending an anonymous person on Twitter...or transgressing against political or social zeitgeists.
"We have to veer away from the artificial phoney conflicts, boycotts, controversies and cancelling created by anonymous and cowardly bots, bigots and bullies."
After a three-year wait, the third draft was finally introduced and the Prime Minister is hopeful it will provide a safety net for people of faith to speak out about their beliefs without being affected.
The government said the wording of the bill acts as a 'shield' for people needing protections and a 'sword' for legal defences against certain situations.
There is a 'statements of belief' clause in the legislation that allows someone who is being sued for discrimination to rely on their religion to get out of the lawsuit.
Essentially, they're able to argue that whatever they said was a statement of their religious belief and that will help them get around both state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
"This bill ensures people can't be persecuted for moderately expressing a reasonable belief," Mr Morrison said.
But these individuals will have to make sure their religion actually aligns with the statement, otherwise they're stuffed. The statement also cannot 'be made maliciously or attempt to threaten or vilify'.
"Nothing in this bill allows for any form of discrimination against a student on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity," the Prime Minister added.
The Religious Discrimination Bill will also allow religious schools to hire people who align with their values, which means they will be able refuse employment to someone who is LGBTQ+ if they can prove it goes against their teachings.
Schools will have to make their policy available to the public, which means they could open themselves up to community backlash.
"A Sikh should not be discriminated against because of the turban they wear...nor a Jewish school seeking to employ someone of their faith, if that faith is their preference," Mr Morrison said.
The bill won't be voted on until next year, so Australians will have to wait until then to see whether it gets enough votes to pass.
It was brought about after the introduction of same sex marriage to Australia, with religious groups worried their freedoms would be infringed and needed protecting.
Featured Image Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Sipa USA
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