PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Chaos in Parliament; Religious Discrimination Bill.
JOURNALIST: Jason, is anything going get done for the next two weeks?
JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS: Nothing. Nothing’s happening here at the moment. Nothing’s happening except chaos. This government has been in power now for almost a decade, with an election coming up in a couple of months, the Government’s going to ask the Australian people to vote them in again for another three years and what we’re seeing here in Parliament House today is a government that’s falling apart. In Parliament, nothing is happening, nothing except chaos. The Government is effectively being held hostage at the moment by a group of people who think getting the vaccine is just going to give you a better 5G reception.
JOURNALIST: Will Labor back in the religious discrimination laws in order for them to get through by the end of the year?
CLARE: We’ve said repeatedly we’ll work constructively with the Government on this. Peoples’ faith is a deeply held personal thing. The last thing that should become is a political battlefield. We’ve said to the Government we’ll work constructively with you on this. But we want to see the legislation. We’ve got seven days before Parliament wraps up for the end of the year, and we still haven’t seen your legislation.
JOURNALIST: This is an issue for people in your electorate, if the government has struck the right balance in this legislation, do you expect the Opposition to back it?
CLARE: No one should be discriminated against on the basis of their faith. I would have thought everyone in Australia would agree with that central tenet. But we cannot have a debate about the legislation in a vacuum. I can’t tell you what the legislation says because we haven’t seen it at the moment. I can tell you that it is really important that we don’t let people’s faith, something that is so deeply held and personal, not just by people in my community, but right across the country, we can’t allow that to become a partisan debate in this building. We’ve seen what happens when you have the two parties fight furiously over different things. The last thing that I would want to see is that to happen to people’s faith.
JOURNALIST: Are you expecting to get it today?
CLARE: Who knows.
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