By New Zealand Herald
The Israel Folau saga that dominated headlines across the world looks set to have after effects in politics, with conservative coalition MPs in Australia calling for stronger religious freedom laws in the country.
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce is pushing for religious beliefs to be exempt from employment contracts, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald.
“You can’t bring people’s faith beliefs into a contract,” Joyce told the Sydney newspaper.
“Your own views on who God is, where God is or whether there’s a God should remain your own personal views and not part of any contractual obligation.”
Joyce added that such a law shouldn’t be nicknamed “Folau’s Law” as it “should be designed for everybody”.
As part of an election promise, Attorney-General Christian Porter is due to bring a Religious Discrimination Act to Australian parliament in July as part of an election promise.
Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells joined in on Joyce’s sentiment, saying a more immediate legislative action is needed, with an Australian Law Reform Commission review on the issue not due until next year.
“This is vitally important to not only address our concerns but afford protection against these constant incursions from Labor, the Greens and their acolytes. It’s a new dawn on this issue,” Fierravanti-Wells told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Earlier this month, Folau’s four-year A$4 million contract was terminated by Rugby Australia for repeated offensive social media posts about homosexuals.
The 30-year-old former Wallabies star is currently considering his next step and has reportedly approached high-profile Australian workplace relations lawyer as he considers taking Rugby Australia to court over his sacking.
Meanwhile, the Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) said there will be a review into players expressing religious beliefs and set out clear guidelines around the matter.
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