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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Overwhelming majority of NSW rejects “equality” bill

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Debate on the so-called “equality bill” tabled by the Independent member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich MP is set to begin after a NSW parliamentary inquiry recommended it be considered by the parliament.

Following an inquiry that surveyed more than 13,000 people, received 66 submissions and heard from 44 witnesses—including our own Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP—the parliamentary committee failed to recommend even one change to the bill. Instead, it made a singular recommendation: that parliament consider the bill, including stakeholder input offered to the inquiry.

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It is baffling that the committee couldn’t find even one item in the bill that it might recommend changing or dropping altogether.

After all, despite its benign-sounding name, the bill includes many anti-religious, anti-woman and anti-child provisions. Not only would it remove all religious protections from anti-discrimination law except for those that allow Catholics to maintain a male-only priesthood, it would allow kids to be prescribed puberty blockers against their parents’ wishes, give men the ability to legally change their sex on their birth certificates and access female-only spaces, and permit NSW residents to shop for surrogate mothers and children overseas.

Additionally, it would permit people to solicit for prostitution outside churches and schools, among other places. As I have written before, if this was passed, we would live in a state that punishes quiet prayer within 150 metres of an abortion clinic with six months’ imprisonment but allows prostitutes to sell sex in the forecourt of St Mary’s Cathedral.

Apart from its single recommendation, the committee also made two findings. The first was that “there were diverse and conflicting views on the amendments proposed by the bill and how they will operate.”

While that is technically true, it is also true that the overwhelming majority of those who made their voices heard were opposed to the bill. The majority, 85.13 per cent, of the 13,258 people who responded to the public survey on the bill indicated they were opposed to its passage.

It is clear that this is not something that the people of our state want.

In terms of the written submissions and public testimony, the numbers in favour and opposed to the bill were much more evenly split. However, this should not be seen as a reflection of community attitude: the ability to offer a written submission or appear before a public inquiry was by invitation only and the survey results make it clear that the invitation list was aimed at giving advocates and opponents of the bill equal time. That’s a reasonable approach for an inquiry to take, however, it would be nonsensical for the MPs now tasked with considering their position on the bill to not take note of the significant opposition to this bill in the community.

The other finding made by the committee, however, was not so reasonable because it appears to indicate that opposing views did not get equal consideration.

The second finding was that there was a need for “additional policy measures and funding to improve the safety and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people” that may be directed “towards addressing issues like disadvantage, discrimination and poorer health outcomes experienced by LGBTIQA+ people.”

While the recommendation seems reasonable on its face, the committee failed to mention the number of submissions that called for an end to the use of gender-affirming treatments like puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for minors in light of them being banned in several other jurisdictions because of the lack of evidence as to their efficacy and their negative side effects. This glaring omission is the most unbalanced part of the report.

This matter is now out of the committee’s hands and into the hands of MPs. It is crucial that we make our voices heard, so that our MPs know that the 85 per cent of survey respondents who opposed the bill are expecting them to listen. You can find your MP’s contact details and an easy writing guide at

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