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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 2826


Senator WALTERS(9.29) —There is no gracious acknowledgment at all. I am delighted that the Minister is departing from the Convention. Do not let him kid himself that he is not departing from the Convention, that is all. Of course he is departing from the Convention. I congratulate him for departing from the Convention. But he has departed from conventions on so many things when it suits him to depart from a convention. Then he piously says that he cannot include things that we want him to because if he does, he will be departing from the Convention. That, of course, is just a lot of rubbish. That is the sort of argument that only this Minister would indulge in.

The Minister has not been able to show me where that particular exclusion is in the Convention. I go even further: Does that apply to individuals? As I read it, it does not; it applies only to institutions. It does not apply to individuals who have very strong feelings about the church to which they belong or the tenets, beliefs or teachings of a particular religion or creed. I think it has to be made very clear to the Australian people that while there are exemptions for particular institutions, exemptions do not apply to the individuals belonging to those religious institutions, beliefs or teachings. This is the great flaw in the whole of the Minister's Bill. It is a direct interference with the religious freedoms of this country.

Amendment agreed to.