New laws will give older people the right to be nasty

Most at risk of ridicule are LGBTQ people in aged care facilities.

nasty older man

The federal government’s religious discrimination bill will effectively give older people the right to be nasty, say legal experts.

Most at risk of ridicule are LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer) people in aged care facilities.

An older person living in an aged care facility would be able to hang a sign in a communal area or in a person’s room that says “homosexuality is a sin”, or a nurse could tell a patient “being gay is a form of brokenness” under the proposed law, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The bill would diminish the rights of LGBTQ people in aged care homes,” said associate professor of constitutional law at Monash University, Luke Beck.

“The bill allows religious-run aged care homes to subject LGBTQ residents to ‘statements of belief’ that ridicule, humiliate or even intimidate.”

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and psychologists could also refuse to provide healthcare if they have a religious objection, says Dr Beck, adding that under the latest draft of the bill, Catholic nursing homes could even refuse to employ Muslim nurses or Hindu cleaners.

The draft has a “targeted exception” for religious hospitals in regard to employment and partnerships “to ensure such bodies can maintain their religious ethos”.

“[But] why would a nursing home ever want to subject a resident to such nasty treatment?” asked Dr Beck.

“And if nursing homes say they never would do such a thing, then why is the Morrison government proposing a law that creates a right to be nasty to vulnerable aged care home residents?”

Professor of law and ageing at the University of South Australia, Eileen Webb, said the proposed law might be at odds with existing legislation which says funding could be cut for facilities that practise discrimination.

“I think it’s a retrograde step and undermines progress that has been made regarding acceptance and inclusion of older LGBTQ people as they age,” she said.

Many LGBTQ people keep their sexuality or gender preferences to themselves, for fear of being harassed by fellow residents or treated unfairly by staff, said chief executive of AIDS Council of NSW, Nicholas Parkhill.

“Many older people come from a time when their sexuality wasn’t legal, or they were classified by the health system as deviant or sick, and they had to fight for their rights to exist,” he said.

Other legal experts say the laws will give church-goers the “right to be a bigot”.

The Uniting Church in Australia agrees with this sentiment, saying the new bill does not “get the balance right”.

“To be a welcoming, inclusive, multi-faith and multicultural society, it is important that people are able to freely practise religion without fear,” said Uniting Church president Dr Deidre Palmer.

“But privileging statements of religious belief at the expense of other people’s dignity and wellbeing is not something we support. Christians in Australia are not persecuted. In Australia, churches aren’t victims. To cultivate some kind of victim status is disingenuous.”

What are your thoughts on the redrafted religious discrimination bill?

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    COMMENTS

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    Horace Cope
    16th Mar 2020
    11:22am
    All legislation badly affects some citizens, the legislators try to make laws that upset as few as possible. So, some sections of the community are getting a bit precious because a large section of the community is able to practice their religion as they see it. I can see nothing wrong with any religion wanting to hire people of the same faith to work in a facility that has been built with money raised by that religious community for people of their faith. There will always be people who see themselves as victims and no legislation can be passed that will stop that. I can't see that any aged care facility would allow a sign in a communal area or in a person’s room that says “homosexuality is a sin”, or a support a nurse telling a patient “being gay is a form of brokenness”. If a doctor has a religious belief that precludes them from performing an operation or treating a person the surely their religious beliefs should be respected.
    Arvo
    16th Mar 2020
    3:22pm
    " I can see nothing wrong with any religion wanting to hire people of the same faith to work "

    -That means that all non-religious employers will have the right to discriminate against employing religious people.

    "If a doctor has a religious belief that precludes them from performing an operation or treating a person the surely their religious beliefs should be respected"

    -Then such religious doctors should not have been accepted by AMA to practice.

    Religions is the cause of discrimination, segregation , hatred ....I'd ban the whole concept of religion...because God did not create religion...fear-mongers created it...
    101
    16th Mar 2020
    5:12pm
    "because God did not create religion...fear-mongers created it..."
    No, sorry I must disagree, GOD was created by Fear Mongers since recorded time.
    I am all for Individual Freedom of religion in all it's forms as long as it includes freedom From Religion.
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:02am
    When you offer Choice to all - you offer Choice to all... sorry 'bout that.
    ex PS
    19th Mar 2020
    4:02pm
    Then I should be able to discriminate against Christians if I am Muslim?
    We all have the right to make our own choices.
    If we allow discrimination, we need to allow it for all.

    16th Mar 2020
    11:22am
    Bring back respect and courtesy toward all elders. I am so over rude, selfish spoiled younger people that think the world centers around them. They are all obsessed with their appearance and projecting a certain image to gain sex and adulation from someone.
    KB
    16th Mar 2020
    11:51am
    People should respect others regardless of gender and faith.That includes nursing homes. You can get good workers of any faith or genders Cannot see nursing homes putting up signs that would be offensive
    KB
    16th Mar 2020
    11:51am
    People should respect others regardless of gender and faith.That includes nursing homes. You can get good workers of any faith or genders Cannot see nursing homes putting up signs that would be offensive
    Hobbit
    16th Mar 2020
    12:06pm
    If nursing homes would never do this, then how do you explain the brutal treatment of residents as outlined in the Royal Commission?
    Travellersjoy
    16th Mar 2020
    12:11pm
    Religious belief is not an unchangeable characteristic of being human like disabilities, sex, ethnic origin and age, and should not be treated under the law as if it is.

    Religious groups are working hard to keep the privileged position they have had in many countries and across time. In a secular and democratic society, no particular section of the community should have privileges over another.

    It never seems to occur to the religious that our secular laws actually protect them from the competitions for power that have led to so much death and destruction across the world. Where no group, religious or otherwise, can be top dogs and lord it over everyone else while they rob their country blind, religious people get to live in peace because there is nothing to fight for. They have equal rights and responsibilities with everyone else.

    I have no problem with people believing what they will, but they have no 'right' to raise their beliefs above the rights of others. Imagine the screams if gay doctors refused to treat patients without discrimination, or teachers with disabilities refused to accept treatment from religious doctors and demanded a doctor who was disabled. They would be condemned as nut cases pretty quick smart.

    It is time the religious lobby got off its high horse and accepted they are no more or less important than anyone else in Australia, and that is a heck of a lot better than how they get treated in countries where religion is a determining social, political and economic factor. Even most christians are not pushing this discriminatory barrow. They know when they are better off. The push for religious privileges is about power and control, pure and simple.
    Hardworker
    16th Mar 2020
    4:11pm
    I SO agree Travellersjoy. It is the rest of us who have been discriminated against especially by the catholics. It's time they realized they are not the only ones on the planet and that some of us don't wish to believe in fantasy. I am truly sick of their whining.
    Lookfar
    16th Mar 2020
    4:44pm
    Travellers, - your article is a joy to me, - well put and succinct.
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:06am
    In some areas of discussion, Travellers, you sound like me.... but I am in different areas.

    Very well put.
    Golfer
    16th Mar 2020
    12:21pm
    I hope the comments from Dr Beck are not implying that business owners (and that includes religious enterprises) cannot hire a person that they believe is a ‘good fit’ for their company. Any organisation should choose whomever they want to fill a role in their company.

    Aged Care facilities have a responsibility of care and comfort for the people they are looking after and that MUST INCLUDE hiring the right people for the job which could mean same religious beliefs and practices.
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:10am
    I've often wondered at what point any government can dictate to a separate business (or individual) what is acceptable and what is not...

    Q. Should government be in the business of certifying belief systems? We survived for many years on a Judeo-Christian system of basic beliefs and behaviours - at what point did government accrue the right to dictate those same things? (at the point where government itself chose to introduce 'others' of differing belief systems).
    ex PS
    18th Mar 2020
    8:58am
    Golpher, since few businesses have clients that are 100% christian, it must follow that a mix of beliefs amongst its staff would be essential, if you claim catering for your customer needs is your aim.
    4b2
    16th Mar 2020
    12:36pm
    I thought we voted in a referendum to recognize LGBTQ people as being equal to the rest of us. This is the way they are born it is not a lifestyle choice. If the religious believing people really believe in GOD the they should realise we were all created by God straight and gay alike. Be nice to each other, follow the golden rule.
    KSS
    16th Mar 2020
    1:44pm
    4b2, that presumes that all faiths believe what you like to believe. They don't!
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:14am
    They always were equal - they were denied no rights and were refused none of the opportunities available in our society, and were even granted some extra 'rights', such as surgical reassignment, something the mainstream do not have or wish to have.

    That they CHOSE and CHOOSE to be 'separate' is their own decision.

    Choice-Mobile - that's the name of the game... but keep it to yourself like the rest of us do. Not hard, eh?
    aussie
    16th Mar 2020
    12:43pm
    to all religious people of all denominations ; "Love one another as i have loved you ,this is the greatest commandment i give you, Said Jesus Christ"
    KSS
    16th Mar 2020
    1:44pm
    But not all faiths follow Jesus Christ!
    Aussie
    16th Mar 2020
    3:24pm
    Correct KSS look at Pentecost and their beleives about sexuality ..... Crazy religion
    Glenn
    16th Mar 2020
    12:44pm
    There should be no place in the law for fairy tales. we are a secular society and the law should reflect this. These proposed changes are only being raised by the happy clappers in Cabinet.
    Aussie
    16th Mar 2020
    3:25pm
    Yes following the PM religion beleibes wowowowowowo
    Snowflake
    16th Mar 2020
    1:04pm
    Typical of the Morrison government. I can't really describe how much I hate the worst government I have seen in Australia. A government with no social conscience and this just shows you how far they are willing to go to prove it. Travellersjoy you summed it up well. As for religion, god, heaven and hell. Really, you give up fairy tales when you grow up.
    KSS
    16th Mar 2020
    1:46pm
    Your opinion and of course you have the right to hold it. Just as others have the right to a different opinion without fearing comments such as yours. And that is the point of the legislation.
    Lookfar
    16th Mar 2020
    6:47pm
    Snow Flake, the Materialistic religion says there is no spirit, no life force, no objective feelings. - that is a religion, and now very widespread.
    It also claims the Scientific Method but that is false, the Scientific Method can be applied to all phenomena, Micro, emotional, big, intellectual, spiritual, small, - it is a tool for understanding the Universe, Materialism is not, (Sorry KSS)
    So Christ introduced a new level in the domain of Love, - whether you believe it is a spirit or a philosophy or something else entirely is up to you, although it could never be prosperity religion, ever.
    In the past we all have Egotistic love, - love of oneself, love of one's family, ( seen as a part of oneself) Love of one's - village/county/state,/Nation, /country, /etc.
    Then over many years, perhaps better known in Greek times but was well before them, the love of a fellow human being, - not because they could give you something, but because they had a quality(')s, that was worthy of love for itself, - courage, artistic magnificance, spiritual exaltation, design, nobility of character, - you know when you meet it.
    Wow, that was a big step.
    Then came Christ with the Philosophy that we, - each of us, should love All human kind.

    Is a Philosophy a God? - in the Catholic pantheon you have spirits of Movement, spirits of Form, of time, of fire, etc, and so in other 'religions'.

    I would have to say that at the moment we are not at a good stage of loving all humans as ourselves, but we are at a lot better stage than even 20, 100, 300 years ago, we now abhor slavery, we believe that we all have rights, (not just the aristocracy/super-rich), we care about that other part of the Human Race, - the Animals, we can meet each other and genuinely appreciate that other person.

    This is amazing, - whether you feel it is something in you that is higher or just you your self, we have made progress, - call it what you want, I feel it is progress.

    Well now we are I guess a bit tested in our new ideas, - as it has always been, so how well will we do with Coved-19?
    Will we care for each other, or buy the entire toilet paper supply for your suburb?
    That is Christianity, Morrison is old testament, - before Christianity, - Each of us has to stand on what we understand at just this time, - and be prepared to shift, for the greater good.

    Developing Love and Freedom? how lucky are we?
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:17am
    Oh - I dunno - in a society where all positions are held to be equal - surely the position of personal choice should be allowed to hold the day?

    That IS the end result of holding all positions to be equal....
    KSS
    16th Mar 2020
    1:43pm
    If any facility declares itself to adhere to a particular faith's teachings whether that is Thetans from outer space, Mohammed or orthodox Christianity (or anything else), and you do not believe in that theology, why would you be applying for either a working position or residency when clearly the institution will employ the tenets of that belief? And that goes for schools or aged care facilities.

    Much like in the same sex marriage debate, claims are being made that exemplarise the most far-fetched scenario to make a mute point! It may have escaped Mr Beck's notice but people can be nasty without being employed in a health care or education facility.
    Aussie
    16th Mar 2020
    3:21pm
    THAT I WHY I STAY OVERSEAS AS MUCH AS I CAN BECAUSE THERE IS NO RESPECT FOR OLDER IN AUSTRALIA.

    And correctly statedd ... “The bill allows religious-run aged care homes to subject LGBTQ residents to ‘statements of belief’ that ridicule, humiliate or even intimidate.”

    Look at our PM he follows the pentecost religion and ofcourse they do not agree with the sexual preferences at all ... read here and see whay he is making many many decisions based on his religious beleives .......

    https://www.hrc.org/resources/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-pentecostals
    Argus
    16th Mar 2020
    3:37pm
    The LGBTQ mob just need to get on with life and stop pretending that they are actually relevant. Most people couldn't even be bothered discussing them if they just went on their way like everybody else.
    chrissie
    16th Mar 2020
    3:40pm
    What is happening to the whole world? We are in a terrible mess all round.
    If here was a god and there isn't none of the horrible things that have happened or are happening would be raising their ugly heads.
    Do unto others as you would hope others would do unto you, and let all people whatever their creed, colour, etc live in peace.
    Lookfar
    16th Mar 2020
    7:33pm
    Chrissie, in the app. 15th century the 'sages of that' time talked of the Gods Withdrawal so we could learn responsibility, - much earlier the Indian sages talked of Kali Yuga, - the Dark Ages.
    OK, so the 'Gods' have withdrawn, we are on our own, - nobody. - not even a grandfather like God, is going to intervene, so we have to like, 'grow up' - your "do unto others" is a very good start.
    Cheers, Geoff.
    Tripod
    16th Mar 2020
    4:26pm
    It's amazing what a little misinformation from the media can stir emotion like this. The article is mischievous and misleading and purposely intended to get people to respond so they can judge what the community sentiment is on any given subject. In this instance, they chose what they see as a contentious issue to stir opinion...and to do that, they twisted the intent of the proposed legislation. Good on you Sydney Morning Herald. Scrappy journalism at it's best
    101
    16th Mar 2020
    5:21pm
    Do you think Israel Folau was right?
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:19am
    How many Alphabets are actually affected? Anyone?
    Lookfar
    16th Mar 2020
    4:38pm
    Horace, yet another 'blaming the victims' and also you do not know the meanness of a (fortunately small) section of our population that would absolutely revel in the possibility of your statement - "I can't see that any aged care facility would allow a sign in a communal area or in a person’s room that says “homosexuality is a sin”" - Horace, there are some seriously sick 'f--ks out there, that would do exactly that and thank you for giving them permission so to do.
    Horace Cope
    16th Mar 2020
    4:51pm
    Oh, Lookfar, I know the meanness of a small section of the community very well. This forum is full of keyboard cowards who throw personal abuse at anyone who decides to stick up for the government. I cop loads of abuse for posting comments that are merely facts with no derogatory epithets. I agree with you that there are sick people out there and no law will stop them being a blight on society but I disagree with you that I, somehow, have given them permission to do anything.
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:20am
    Anyone ever seen such a sign - as if it matters in an aged care facility?
    ex PS
    19th Mar 2020
    4:10pm
    Karen, are you assuming that there are no gays or gender reassigned people in aged care facilities?
    Maybe you need to look more carefully.
    People in Aged Care Facilities are entitled to the same respect as anyone else, it is not up to an outsider to tell us what they would or would not care about.
    With many, the bodies may be frail but their minds are all there, many make more sense than people twenty years their junior.
    skinner
    16th Mar 2020
    6:52pm
    This religious discrimination bill is a lot of needless nonsense that MUST not be allowed to pass into law! Nobody should be allowed to discriminate against others in this way. It is WRONG, disgraceful & shouldn't even be considered in 2020. It is NOT 1320 or any earlier time, where it likely would happen! The legislators seem to be religious with a view of 'attacking' those not in their group or those that their group does not like or agree with! Nobody who works helping others, should EVER be allowed to use any religious belief they may have, as an excuse to not help or discriminate against others in any way. If they don't like it they should try another occupation!
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:21am
    Personal choice is what it's all about - where does that begin and end? It can't just be one-way all the time, you know.
    skinner
    16th Mar 2020
    6:52pm
    This religious discrimination bill is a lot of needless nonsense that MUST not be allowed to pass into law! Nobody should be allowed to discriminate against others in this way. It is WRONG, disgraceful & shouldn't even be considered in 2020. It is NOT 1320 or any earlier time, where it likely would happen! The legislators seem to be religious with a view of 'attacking' those not in their group or those that their group does not like or agree with! Nobody who works helping others, should EVER be allowed to use any religious belief they may have, as an excuse to not help or discriminate against others in any way. If they don't like it they should try another occupation!
    Jezemeg8
    16th Mar 2020
    7:21pm
    I am an ordained minister of Christ, however, I've never asked any person to whom I minister about whether he/she believes in God, what their relationship status is (including whether they're of the LGBTQ community), or any other personal question. Instead I focus on helping them cope with whatever is happening in their lives. It is not for me to judge them, as I've always aimed to do as Jesus is portrayed to have done during His earthly ministry. It is reported that Jesus chose not to judge those who came to Him, so I don't judge anyone either! (PLEASE NOTE, I am not claiming to be divine as Jesus was, I'm merely human just as everyone else in this world is). I treat everyone with love, it makes no difference to me what they choose to believe or how they choose to live!
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:22am
    I've been doing fire victim relief work for months now - none of these 'differences' ever entered my mind... same as you.
    ex PS
    18th Mar 2020
    9:11am
    A true Christian, not just a Sunday Morning Christian. Jez8, you are a credit to the human race.
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:01am
    Alphabet people are still worried about their 'validity' in a nursing home?

    Just asking....
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:24am
    Sorry - about to respond to myself.... good night.
    Karen
    17th Mar 2020
    3:03am
    When I can't find a parking spot - I park like every other OB..... if they've earned it - I certainly have...