PM sticks to plans to introduce religious discrimination law without at the same time amending sex discrimination law

The Prime Minister stands by his decision to advance the Religious Discrimination Act without making changes to protect gay students at the same time.

The government tried to push through the legislation earlier this year, with Scott Morrison saying it would better protect religious communities from religious discrimination.

Plans have also been put in place to amend a section of the Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) at the same time so that students are not expelled on the basis of their sexual orientation.

These changes were introduced after Labor and some moderate Liberals raised concerns about the need to protect LGBTQI children in religious schools.

However, Mr Morrison said he would handle the issue differently if re-elected. And on Saturday, he defended his decision to advance the Religious Discrimination Act (RDA) as stand-alone legislation.

“We will deal with RDA first.”

The promise to introduce the RDA was made before the 2019 elections.

On Saturday, Mr Morrison was asked to provide a new timetable on how he would handle the case if he won this time around.

“Let’s see what happens in the election and see what the Australian people decide,” he said.

“I would like that to happen.”

Liberal MPs Trent Zimmerman, Fiona Martin, Katie Allen and Bridget Archer crossed the floor over religious freedom laws. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)

The moderate liberals have made it clear that they want the government to handle the RDA and the SDA changes at the same time.

Mr Morrison was asked whether his decision not to address protections for gay students at the same time would stoke tensions within his own party.

Government Minister Sussan Ley was pressed on whether it was appropriate to separate the issues. She insisted it was not something to be discussed during the election campaign.

“If I understand correctly, these two issues will be dealt with separately after the elections,” she said.

“At the moment we are not painting a picture of what we might do in government after the election. We are working very hard every day between now and May 21,” she said.

His comments come despite the Prime Minister spending the past four weeks outlining what a coalition government would do if re-elected.

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