Today Mark Latham is releasing a draft Religious Freedom and Equality Bill for community-wide consultation.

Based on the recommendations of the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review, specifically, that “NSW and SA should amend their anti-discrimination laws to render it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a person’s religious belief or activity, including on the basis that a person does not hold a religious belief’’.

The purpose of the Bill is to extend anti-discrimination protections in NSW beyond existing categories of citizenship (gender, sexuality, race, disability, etc.) to people of religious faith.

The draft Bill unashamedly puts the interests of personal/worker freedom ahead of corporate finance.

Regarding the Folau case, it should be noted that, as a NSW resident, he had two potential triggers for an unfair dismissal claim under the Federal Fair Work Act: if the NSW Parliament had outlawed religious discrimination; and an ILO Convention dealing with religious discrimination. He had to rely on the second trigger as the first was unavailable to him (to be corrected via this Bill).

A key issue in this area of law is the tension between Liberty and Equality. How do we reconcile the freedom to practice religious beliefs with the equality of all citizens in accessing socially available services and facilities?

The international human rights law is clear: religious freedom cannot be extinguished merely because of a clash with equality. Where there is inequality, decision-makers need to limit any incursion upon religious freedom to that which is necessary and proportionate – that is, the minimum degree of interference that might balance Liberty and Equality.

One of the ways courts have limited religious freedom claims is to deny that the claim is religious in nature, substituting their own views for those of the religious believer. The draft Bill guards against judicial activism of this kind.

In its opening statement of Principles, it refers to the Minister, Board, President and NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (when dealing with the Liberty v Equality question) to the well-established Siracusa Principles used in interpreting the limitation provisions of the ICCPR. This reflects a key recommendation of the Ruddock Review for assessing “whether a law limiting the operation of freedom of religion or other rights is unduly burdensome”.  An alternative, more explicit approach would be to write the Siracusa Principles into the Act.

A copy of the bill and explanatory notes are embedded below.

Religious Freedom and Equality Bill 2019

Explanatory Notes

Public Feedback

The Bill’s Exhibition Draft is open for public comment (up to COB, Friday 1 November 2019) by writing to Mark Latham MLC at:

NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Or emailing:

Aussie families are paying more for their everyday goods because of excessive port charges imposed on truckies.

Hard-working truckies already doing it tough financially are now being hit with unfair port surcharges.

This is clearly an example of price gouging, with truckies being slugged financially simply for presenting their vehicle at the port.

It’s time multi-national stevedoring companies stopped using Aussie truckies as ATMs.

The NSW Government continues to sit back and let the big stevedore companies fleece local truck operators.

Truckies deserve a break from escalating port surcharges. So why won’t the Government act? 

Port charges have risen by 89%, without justification, without consultation. This is hurting the competitiveness of our exports, costing NSW jobs and income.

Multi-national stevedore companies must end the practice of outrageous port surcharges being imposed on NSW truckies.

And the State Government must stamp out this rip-off. If elected to NSW parliament on 23 March, NSW One Nation (led by Mark Latham) will do everything it can to get a better deal for our trucking industry and the great people working in it.

Statement by Mark Latham, NSW One Nation Leader

NSW Government planning documents reveal an impending population increase of 2 million people in Western Sydney, yet no commitment or funding allocation for a new public hospital.

In October the Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, admitted that, “The State Government is laying the foundations for the development of a new city around (Badgerys Creek) Airport (the Aerotropolis) that when completed will be larger than Adelaide.”

Adelaide has a population of 1.3 million people. Combined with existing land and housing development in places like Oran Park, the total population increase in the Penrith-to-Camden corridor will be 2 million.

Amazingly, given the scale of urban development, the Berejiklian Government has not announced any plan for a new hospital to service this vast number of people.

The closest it has come is at page 48 of its Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis document, which talks of how: “NSW Health is investigating a site for an integrated health facility within the Aerotropolis in a metropolitan or strategic centre location supported by public transport. This could serve up to 250,000 people from around the Western Parkland City.”

Most likely, the ‘integrated health facility’ will be a series of primary care clinics. In any case, in meeting the needs of 250,000 people, it is still 1.75 million short in its servicing capacity for the surrounding population.

The Penrith/Camden corridor urgently needs State Government funding and site allocation for a new public hospital. Otherwise the strain on existing hospitals at Nepean, Liverpool, Campbelltown and Camden will be untenable.

Many people in the growth corridor will have lengthy travelling times to reach these other hospitals, which are already over-crowded and under-resourced.

The new hospital near Badgerys Creek must also have a large, high-quality peadiatric unit, in recognition of how this part of Western Sydney is becoming the youth capital of Australia.

One Nation recommends an early down payment on the hospital’s funding by abandoning the proposed Powerhouse Museum relocation to Parramatta, estimated to cost $1.1 billion.

It’s an insult to Western Sydney and our young families to think that museum facilities are more important to the region than a new hospital in and around Badgerys Creek specialising in paediatric care.

Both Labor and the Liberals are committed to spending huge amounts of public money on arts facilities in Parramatta when the overwhelming priority for the region should be hospital facilities to cope with the Penrith/Camden population explosion.

This is our age-long battle in Western Sydney: to provide essential services before the people move in.

I will fight as hard as possible to correct this latest planning atrocity in our region.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation also has a policy of cutting Australia’s permanent immigration program by two-thirds, to take these population pressures off Western Sydney in the first place.

Former Labor leader turned One Nation candidate Mark Latham has come out swinging on his first campaign pitch, accusing the NSW Berejiklian government of turning Sydney into a huge “unliveable construction site” ringed by “alien” residential towers.

Kicking off his campaign for the NSW election on March 23, Mr Latham was back at his favourite stomping ground yesterday: Sydney’s sprawling outer west.

Ten degrees hotter than the rest of Sydney and 60km from the nearest beach, the outer west has been earmarked as the site for Sydney’s new “purpose-built” city, Aerotropolis, and the city’s second international airport.

Read the full article here >>

I had a great chat with Chris Kenny on 2GB last night. We talked about where the Coalition’s going wrong – and what Shorten’s getting right.

Labor want to turn finance into an investment agency, turning taxpayer’s money into a casino. This is a major policy nightmare that every Australian should be aware of when thinking about Labor.

Also be aware: big immigration is propping up the country. That’s not good economic management. The economy isn’t working for the average Australian family.

Plus, the quality of the policy debate has declined. We must correct that.

Listen to the chat here.

You can read NSW One Nation policies here >>

Interesting analysis in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

“A rejuvenated One Nation threatens to swing the state election away from the Coalition government, with NSW leader Mark Latham pitching his party as the new voice of the bush.

“Exclusive Herald polling revealed One Nation has a primary vote of 7.5 per cent statewide, while internal Coalition research indicates minor parties could secure as much as 20 per cent of the primary vote in some seats. One Nation alone is polling in the “low double digits” in some areas.

“The Coalition needs to lose just six seats before it is plunged into minority government – a real possibility given it is defending six seats on margins of 3.2 per cent and under. Four of these seats are held by National MPs, making them particularly vulnerable to Mr Latham’s rural push.

“There is huge potential for minority government,” one Liberal source said.
In a clear pitch to disaffected country voters, Mr Latham, who is vying for a seat in the NSW upper house, described his party as an alternative “for people neglected by the Sydney-centric major parties”.

“After huge swings in the Orange and Wagga Wagga by-elections, it is clear country people feel neglected by the Berejiklian Government,” Mr Latham, who became leader of NSW One Nation last month, said.

While One Nation is not expected to win any lower house seats, the government fears the party will wreak havoc in regional areas by cannibalising the National Party’s primary vote and exposing even safe seats to the threat of a strong challenger.

“All National seats are under threat from One Nation and the Shooters, but the best they can deliver is Labor or an independent,” a government source said. “The biggest threat in the world for us is a strong independent.”
One Nation would not confirm how many seats it planned to contest at the March election, with a spokeswoman noting only that the party was “currently in the process of preselection across the whole state”…

Read the full article here.

You can read more about NSW One Nation policies here >>