There was a lot of information as well as misinformation during the recent election campaign, and Labor is keenly aware of the need to connect directly with people of faith, as we seek to understand how we can do better for the Australian people.
We are still waiting for the government to provide a copy of its proposed bill to change the law around religious discrimination. We are still waiting for the government’s practical response to the recommendations in the Ruddock Report into Religious Freedom, which was delivered to the Prime Minister on 18 May 2018, and Labor has not yet seen the government’s proposals to change the law.
While Labor cannot comment on the proposed laws until we see them, we do hope to see progress made towards a more accepting and respectful society.
One of the great things about being Australian is that we have the freedom to live our lives as we want to live them. We have a diverse society that makes us richer as a nation, in all senses of the word. But fundamentally it is our shared values that unite us and make us strong. Among those values are compassion, fairness and respect for each other.
Labor believes in an inclusive society. We will speak up for everyone’s rights and freedoms. Throughout the history of our party, and in modern times, we have stood for the recognition and protection of those rights and freedoms, to create a fairer nation in which everyone can live safely in an environment of mutual respect. Moreover, as we look to the future, we know that ethics, the protection of fundamental human rights and our values are as important as ever before.
Labor recognises that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and strongly supports a person’s right to manifest their religion or beliefs. As a principle, we understand that religion, just like gender, sexuality and race, is an aspect of a person’s identity that deserves protection in Australian law.