Politicians Must Disclose Their Religion
“The Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 has the unintended consequence of requiring all federal MPs to disclose their religious belief” said Trevor Bell, retired lawyer and secular commentator.
“The proposed laws will grant significant privileges to religious bodies. If a politician is a member of a religion then that conflict of interest must be disclosed.”
At the moment, it is common for federal parliamentarians to disclose membership of all sorts of obscure organisations. Take the Attorney General, Christian Porter, for example. In his register of interests he has listed everything from patronage of the “Hills Junction Poultry Society” to membership of the “Society of Modest Members”.
“But until now, most parliamentarians have considered it unnecessary to disclose their membership of religious groups. The upcoming debate over the Religious Discrimination Bill places an obligation on parliamentarians to come clean on any religious affiliations which may influence their decision.”
“If patronage of the Hills Junction Poultry Society is relevant then surely, at this time, when religion is being debated so fiercely, membership of a religion is far more relevant.”
Some people may argue that this is somehow a breach of privacy and no-one’s business. “But unfortunately religious belief is relevant if parliamentarians vote to increase privileges for religious bodies.”
“If they really want to maintain privacy I suppose they could abstain from the vote.”
“To those parliamentarians who would object I say look at the register of Scott Morrison. He has no problem with including his membership of Horizon Church Sutherland.”
“On this occasion, The Prime Minister should be congratulated for showing true leadership in openly declaring a potential conflict of interest.”