A nasty little idea that seeks to enshrine prejudice

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

A nasty little idea that seeks to enshrine prejudice

THE changes to the equal opportunity laws are really about giving so-called faith-based organisations privileges over the rest of us, but not just to reject or sack workers whose “lifestyle” they disapprove of (“Minister’s error sinks equality law change”, The Age, 27 May). It also allows them to deny services to those people.

They mean religious-run counselling services, aged-care homes, schools, hospitals, clinics and even breakfast cereal manufacturer Sanitarium will be able to refuse to help gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, same-sex couples, single mothers, members of other faiths and, what’s worse, their children.

That’s bad enough, but as more and more government services are farmed out to these judgmental people, it means we, through our taxes, are paying them to shun us, sack us, and refuse to help or employ us. If ever anything deserved the much-abused label “un-Australian”, this nasty piece of legislation does.

I hope Mary Wooldridge missed the vote because the thought of supporting this sort of legislated prejudice sickened her stomach and forced a detour on the way to the chamber.

Doug Pollard, Eltham [Victoria]

What about the fair go?

HAVING worked as a teacher in the state system, I witnessed the widespread bullying and discrimination that existed against gays, women and other vulnerable groups. Thankfully, much of that has disappeared over the years.

The state government will bring back some of the horror of this discrimination if it reverses parts of the Equal Opportunity Act. Religious institutions should build love and understanding in the community, but they often do the reverse.

Just as we expect immigrants to follow our way of life in Australia, we should also expect churches to do so. Why should churches be allowed to discriminate when Australians expect everyone else to give others a fair go?

Brendan L’Huillier, Keysborough [Vic.]

A double standard

I HAVE no objection to the Baillieu government’s equal opportunity bill, as long as those who use it to discriminate based on religion, sexuality or marital status receive no taxpayer funding.

If they wish to live by religious law, then raise money through religious means, not at the expense of taxpayers, who are not permitted to discriminate. We rail against sharia for its discrimination against women, yet we are willing to enshrine a discriminatory law.

The fact is, the Equal Opportunity Act is an oxymoron.

Robert Graham, Yarragon [Vic.]

From: http://www.theage.com.au/national/letters/a-nasty-little-idea-that-seeks...