23.7 C
Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

Coalition more homophobic than churches on aged care

Latest News

Seapeace: the late Tony Maxwell’s wetland legacy

Many curious minds have pondered the purpose of the rice paddy-like waterbodies that scallop the contour lines out into the Ewingsdale coastal plain that can be viewed from St Helena Road.

Other News

Suffolk Park residents pressure councillors over pump track

Councillors, Michael Lyon and Jeanette Martin, met Suffolk Park residents on Saturday to hear concerns around the proposed pump bike track, which is slated for the Linda Vidler park.

Top of Mt Warning

Daniel O’Brien, Federal Letters about Mt Warning were interesting. Chris Gee defended National Parks and Wildlife for adopting the views of...

Magic mushrooms

David Gilet, Byron Bay As noted in David Heilpern’s article (24 February), with drugs, whether medicinal or recreational, dosage is a...

Heritage Bruns?

David Kolb, Brunswick Head When Mathew O’Reilly spoke to Council regarding heritage listing for parts of Brunswick Heads he was quoted...

Ballina Shire Council meeting wrap-up

The last Ballina meeting was another bruising encounter for some councillors, though there were several unanimous decisions too.

Ballina cleans up!

Clean Up Australia Day was a great success in Ballina, with the beach clean up event organised by Ballina Coastcare yesterday attracting twenty volunteers.

Harley Dennett, Crikey

Senator-Sue-Boyce-small-wp
Sole standout: Liberal senator Sue Boyce will be the only coalition MP to cross the floor.

At least one coalition member will cross the floor in protest as the federal opposition doubles down to protect the right of church-run care providers to deny beds to elderly homosexual, transgender and intersex people?–?a right religious providers say they don’t even want.

Senator Sue Boyce, speaking on amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act to protect LGBTI people from unfair discrimination, said religious organisations can’t have it both ways; claiming to not discriminate yet keeping the right to do so in taxpayer-funded aged care services:

‘Why should we allow aged-care institutions that are funded by the federal government to decide who the residents of those aged-care facilities will be based on the sexual orientation or the sexual status of the people involved? I do not think it is reasonable for that to be the right of the organisations.’

Religious aged-care providers contacted by Crikey on Tuesday – including Catholic Health Australia, Anglicare Australia, UnitingCare Australia and Mission Australia – agree with Boyce. They overwhelmingly support the removal of the exemption.

WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith, who is gay, will abstain. The remainder of the coalition will vote against reforms as a whole if religious exemptions in public-funded aged care were removed, shadow attorney-general George Brandis told the Senate last night.

Despairing that a bipartisan agreement to pass the first federal anti-discrimination protections for LGBTI people has been undone by the religious aged care amendment, Brandis accused Labor of betraying the gay community through a ‘deliberate and cynical act’ with their tactics.

However, Crikey understands the coalition decision was a rushed response to appear united after Senator Gary Humphries unilaterally took up the issue in his committee minority report on the bill. Humphries cited submissions from the Australian Christian Lobby and the Catholic Women’s League Australia – both ideological lobby groups and not aged care providers – and mischaracterised the view of Catholic Health Australia, which has said it does not oppose exemption removal.

Last week, the reform had bipartisan support after months of negotiations between Brandis, church-owned providers and human rights advocates.

UnitingCare Australia national director Lin Hatfield-Dodds says the Uniting Church is ‘strongly supportive’ of the reforms and the removal of the religious exemption. ‘It’s about the dignity of every person in need. We respect and celebrate everybody in our care,’ she said.

Mission Australia CEO Toby Hall says its services are offered ‘without judgement’, regardless of belief, background or sexual orientation. ‘We do not consider such an exemption should apply to the provision of goods and services such as residential aged care, which may otherwise be used to discriminate … in the provision of these services,’ he said.

Anglicare Australia cited its mission of dignity, respect and care in its support of the reforms, and Catholic Health Australia?also questioned the need for the exemptions. CHA’s CEO Martin Laverty says the very existence of the exemption would come as a surprise to many Catholic health sector workers.

Laverty, writing in CHA’s Health Matters, identified scope for further reform:

‘Former High Court Judge Michael Kirby has asked why the legislation can’t be expanded beyond its current remit to also require religious schools and hospitals to lose their right to discriminate in who they provide services to. Justice Kirby’s question about hospitals is a good one. Catholic hospitals don’t discriminate in either employment practice or service delivery, so why is the current exemption still necessary?’

Abbott’s office responded to questions by pointing to Brandis’ Tuesday night speech.

This article was first published in Crikey


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Caravan park to pay $2.3mil plus to consumers

The NSW Court of Appeal has upheld the Supreme Court’s decision arising from the sale of the movable dwellings located on waterfront sites along the Tweed River.

Government modelling fails to reflect women’s interrupted careers

New research to be released this week analyses two decades of Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to estimate the actual labour force experience of women over their life and accounts for working when super is not paid.

Ballina cleans up!

Clean Up Australia Day was a great success in Ballina, with the beach clean up event organised by Ballina Coastcare yesterday attracting twenty volunteers.

Lismore future councillor information sessions

With the delayed Local Government elections being held in September, several councils, including Lismore City Council, are holding information sessions for community members who are thinking about running for Council.