Liberal MP Tim Wilson has denounced criticisms of the government’s anti-discrimination bill as ‘complete rubbish’.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week introduced a bill to remove religious freedom protections allowing faith-based schools to discriminate against LGBTI students.
But, LGBTI groups and MPs last week slammed his bill as ‘deeply flawed’.
Senator Janet Rice said it was a complete ‘backflip’ from Morrison’s earlier promise. ‘Now he is entrenching and expanding [discrimination]’, she said.
Wilson, however, told radio show National Wrap he believed the bill would protect students.
‘The provision that’s currently there under section 38-3 gives a general exemption to religious schools to be able to decide who can come into the school or not, or a role at the school or not’ he said according to Out in Perth.
He said the government would be ‘getting rid of that provision’. This would ensure ‘no general exemptions from the sex discrimination act’ he said.
In December last year, Wilson made headlines by proposing to his partner, Ryan Bolger, during an emotional speech in parliament. Bolger shouted ‘yes’ from the public gallery.
Wilson was also Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner from 2014 to 2016.
Debate over exemptions to discrimination laws for religious schools has rattled Australia. The government released a religious freedom review last month.
The inquiry recommended Australia ammended its anti-discrimination laws to allow Religious schools to turn away LGBTI staff and students.
But, rights advocates denounced the report. Faith-based schools make up one-third of Australia’s publicly-funded schools.
Leader of the Opposition Senator Penny Wong introduced a bill to protect LGBTI students on a federal level.
Last week, she said a Senate delay on voting on the bill was ‘an indication of the chaos that is the Morrison government’.
In a shock move on Wednesday, however, Morrison’s ruling coalition introduced its own bill claiming to protect LGBTI students.
According to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the bill fails to limit discrimination against LGBTI students. This is because it does not effectively change the religious freedom section of current anti-discrimination legislation.
Parliament is now on its winter break. MPs will discuss the bill next year.
Former deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said on Wednesday schools should be allowed to ban trans kids.