De-fanging our broken anti-discrimination laws is the answer to freedom of religion and freedom of speech in Australia, not putting lipstick on a pig.

The big lie of the Yes campaign for same-sex marriage was that no one else’s freedoms would be messed with.

It’s ironic that in the week of the fourth anniversary of Australians falling for it, the Morrison Government is unveiling religious freedom legislation to address what voters were told would not be a problem.

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“Red herrings” and “furphies” is how concerns about freedom of speech, freedom of religion and parents’ rights not to have their kids indoctrinated into radical LGBTIQAX+ genderfluid ideology were met in 2017.

Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster, a Yes campaign leader, in a debate with me on Sky News, even said Christian schools would remain free. Forster said:

“Religious institutions and schools are free and are protected by our existing legislation and our constitution to teach their beliefs. That will not change because same-sex couples can get married.”

She makes no apology as Attorney General Michaelia Cash announces legislative protections so Christian schools can uphold what their parent communities wish for their children’s education.

Cash’s religious freedom bill has been so watered down by the so-called “modern Liberals” — an internal cabal of rainbow warriors — that it won’t even protect citizens from being sacked for quoting the Bible on social media.

Her bill had its genesis on November 22, 2017, seven days after the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the result of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, when then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Ruddock Commission into Religious Freedom.

After months of debate on same-sex marriage, concerns about freedoms raised by the No campaign’s Coalition for Marriage and by former Prime Minister John Howard finally cut through with the then rainbow-tainted Turnbull Government.

Sadly it was too late.

As politicians began grappling with the legislation that would amend the Marriage Act, the honest ones among them knew this was no consequence-free reform for the almost five million Australians who voted to uphold what human civilisation across cultures and religions had always believed about marriage.

As the Yes Campaign morphed into a permanent political machine organisation called Equality Australia, headed by rainbow activist Anna Brown, and started launching legal action against Christian schools who wished to uphold their Christian ethos on marriage, the Morrison government dithered over freedom of religion.

Cash’s anaemic bill which does nothing to protect people like me who have just spent $70,000 on legal fees for saying gender-fluid and sexualised drag queens are dangerous role models for children, will probably not even be voted on before the election.

Also left out are wedding service providers who are forced to cater to a vision of marriage which violates their conscientiously held beliefs.

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Anyone who thinks the Morrison Government is serious about protecting freedom of religion and freedom of speech believes we will have nuclear submarines before the Chinese Communist Party invades Taiwan.

It is unlikely the bill, to be unveiled publicly next week, will protect parents, doctors and counsellors from draconian “gay conversion therapy” laws in Victoria, the ACT and Queensland which criminalise those who try to encourage children to be comfortable with their biological gender before having irreversible treatments.

Sadly, the Morrison Government’s religious freedom bill is a fig leaf.

But Australia’s woke identity politics-driven freedom crisis does not require more layers of legislation.

The problem likes with our deeply flawed federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

Much has been said about 18C, the section of the federal Racial Discrimination Act which allows someone with hurt feelings to take legal action over something that has been said.

Such subjective, anti-free speech clauses with a low bar to what constitutes “hate speech” and “vilification”, lace our canon of state and federal anti-discrimination law.

Same-sex marriage has weaponised such laws because anyone not agreeing with the LGBTIQAX+ view of marriage and gender-fluidity can be dragged to a commission or tribunal for hurting a gay activist’s feelings.

Taxpayer-funded LGBT legal services stand ready to help them.

My case has already involved two compulsory “conciliations”, cost $70,000 (all raised through the generous support of other free-speech loving Australians – thank you!) and there is no end in sight to my legal nightmare.

Cash’s bill will provide some limited protections to religious schools and some limited protection for religious speech made in certain narrow circumstances.

But there is no consistency in its application. If Israel Folau is not protected, none of us are.

Why should a pastor be protected in his or her workplace but a parishioner not in theirs?

Asked earlier in the week about the CCP’s bullying of Australian parliamentarians, Morrison waxed lyrical about Australia’s commitment to free speech.

“Australia is a free country where you can speak your mind and under our government you can be very sure that will be retained and always stood up for in whatever form is necessary.”

This is not true.

De-fanging our broken anti-discrimination laws is the answer to freedom of religion and freedom of speech in Australia, not putting lipstick on a pig.

Lyle Shelton is National Director of the Family First Party. He started his career as a rural journalist before being elected as a member of the Toowoomba City Council and serving the Australian Christian Lobby for 10 years, half of that decade as ACL's Managing Director. He was a Director and spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage during the 2017 postal survey campaign which resulted in the legal undefinition of marriage. He also blogs here.

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