A very sad day - Equal Opportunity Bill passed
It was a very sad day for freedom of speech and freedom of religion in Victoria when the Victorian parliament's Legislative Council passed the controversial Equal Opportunity Bill on Thursday 15 April, 2010. The Bill had previously been passed by the Legislative Assembly and will now become law.
This draconian new bill gives wide ranging powers to the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to launch their own investigations even when a complaint hasn't been made.
The Bill also severely restricts religious freedom by requiring religious bodies and schools to PROVE that it is an inherent requirement for a position for them to discriminate in areas such as gender, sexual orientation, marital status and EVEN religion! It also requires these bodies to show it is 'reasonably necessary'' to discriminate regarding their 'doctrine' in all other matters (the training and employment of ministers is about the only exception!)
All Members of the Liberal and National Parties voted against the Bill, along with Peter Kavanagh of the Democratic Labor Party.
We congratulate them for their stand for freedom.
There were some fine, passionate speeches - including those from Peter Kavanagh and Liberals Inga Peulich and Bernie Finn. In his speech Damian Drum (Nationals) said he had received more than 1000 emails - so thank you to everyone who wrote to their Members!
Inga's speech is in the attached document - for other speeches, see Hansard links below...
All three Greens and all Labor Members voted for the Bill.
Click here to read the Hansard of Thursday's debate and vote.
- The vote was 22 to 18. The vote is on Page 72.
- The debate starts at page 15, then again on Page 39 through to page 72.
- The Bill was also debated on Tuesday 13 April - click here for Hansard (from P 48).
The Liberals have now committed, in a meeting with the Australian Christian Lobby, to repeal these draconian provisions if they are elected in November.