The head of the anti-gay Australian Christian Lobby said that the prime minister assured him religious groups will be allowed to continue to discriminate against gay people.
Under the current anti-discrimination law in Australia, religious organizations (including schools and hospitals) can refuse to hire certain people if they say it 'is necessary to avoid injury to the religious sensitivities of adherents of that religion',
The Age reports.
A new Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill does not change that.
'As we've made very clear over the past two years, we committed to simplify and consolidate the law, not completely re-invent the anti-discrimination system,' Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said today, confirming that religious exemptions for discrimination around employment will continue with the new law.
'The Prime Minister has a duty to protect those affected by discrimination, not those practising it,' said Independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich.
'By allowing hospitals and schools to practice discrimination the Prime Minister is supporting breading grounds for homophobia.'
Greenwich added that he would be writing to the Prime Minister asking her to justify how she can allow this discrimination to continue and invite her to meet those affected by discrimination from religious groups.
Gillard is one of the few leaders in the Western world who doesn't support gay marriage. There is speculation that her opposition to marriage equality is due to a deal with the Australian Christian Lobby.