Australia: Scott Morrison urges colleagues to avoid another religious freedom row

Scott Morrison has urged his colleagues to avoid another row on religious freedom as the government prepares to put new laws to Parliament as early as July 22 to prevent discrimination on the basis of someone's faith. The message to Liberal and Nationals MPs clears the way for workshops on the new law this week to make sure backbenchers have their say on the new protections, at the same time the furore over Israel Folau inflames the debate.

The draft law is expected to be put to Parliament in the fortnight beginning on July 22 to ensure people of faith gain similar protections to existing laws that aim to prevent discrimination on the basis of race or gender.

Attorney-General Christian Porter is preparing to hold workshops with backbenchers in Canberra this week before consulting churches and others in the weeks ahead to finalise the first version of the bill.

In a revival of an issue that split the Coalition party room at the time of marriage equality reform two years ago, the new bill is expected to include protections for people of faith who do not want to solemnise a same-sex marriage.

This raises the risk of another division in the party room over a new law that might seek to protect people of faith when they make remarks about homosexuality or same-sex marriage, and thereby offend others on the basis of their sexuality. Read more via Sydney Morning Herald