One Liberal politician has said she won’t vote for the Government’s cooked Religious Discrimination Bill after Liberal MPs decided to support it.
The Coalition officially endorsed the Bill on Tuesday. But it was revealed earlier that day that trans students wouldn’t be protected under the bill.
Now Liberal MP Bridget Archer has said she’ll cross the floor and oppose the Bill.
The bar is on the fucking ground but a partial shoutout to this single MP for having a modicum of a backbone.
Bridget Archer described herself as “utterly distressed” that the Religious Discrimination Bill won’t protect trans kids.
“After so much progress, how did we get back to a place where we ignore the harm we place on children when we tell them they are “other”, “less than” and do not deserve rights and protections afforded to others? I fear it may risk lives,” she said.
“Anyone around my age would remember a time when homosexuality was a crime and would remember the laws that followed to protect Tasmanians was incredibly hard fought for.
“I know and recognise my actions will upset some in the religious communities I represent, but I also take heart from the conversations I have had and the correspondence I’ve received who do not want to see this bill passed due to the hurt and pain caused to others.”
The decision not to add in amendments to protect trans kids has met widespread backlash.
I am transgender, queer, disabled–and absolutely exhausted. The #ReligiousDiscriminationBill has and will literally cost lives. What they cannot take from us though, is who we are and those who support us. We can get through this, no matter the outcome. ❤️🩹
— Johnny Valkyrie 🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈 (@JohnnyValkyrie_) February 8, 2022
Attorney General Michaelia Cash in particular has been criticised for prioritising Christian schools over the needs, protections and safety of trans children.
The debate — as explained by my colleague Aleks here — is largely centered around a section of the Sex Discrimination Act. It gives schools the rights to discriminate based on gender and sexuality.
Cash then went on to defend the right of same-sex school to discriminate against trans kids.
“If subsection 38(3) of the Sex Discrimination Act were amended to remove the exemption for religious schools to discriminate against a student on the basis of their gender identity, it could have the potential to effectively nullify the intention and ethos of religious single-sex schools,” she said.
“For example, if a current student transitioned whilst enrolled at a single-sex school, a religious single-sex school would not be adequately equipped to cater to the needs of the opposite sex. Matters such as uniforms, bathrooms, as well as the wishes of other parents to send their children to a single-sex school would need to be addressed.”
What’s more important here? The possible minor inconvenience of schools having to provide appropriate bathroom and uniform facilities or the lives of vulnerable children?
If a schools ethos is bigotry and discrimination, it’s time we say no damn more, especially given we the tax payer are funding these schools.
Attorney-General Michaelia Cash says protecting trans students poses risk to religious schools’ ethos https://t.co/Y8LccUKSxx
— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) February 8, 2022
Panic ! Will nobody think of the bathrooms ! https://t.co/yAmiagCp9S
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) February 8, 2022
Michaelia Cash says ‘protecting trans students poses risk to religious schools’ ethos’.
They won’t be protected & can be expelled under Religious Bill.
Inhumane Discriminatory Bullshit#TransRightsAreHumanRights
— Emergency&BushfireKits (@EmergencyBK) February 8, 2022
At the moment Labor hasn’t announced its position on the Religious Discrimination Bill.
But without Archer’s support, the Coalition will need the support of Labor or of the crossbench to pass it.
Let’s hope at least some of our politicians have enough of a spine to do the bare minimum when it comes to protecting trans kids.