Warren Entsch accused of failing to back Liberal MPs on religious discrimination amendments

Warren Entsch has come under fire for abandoning an offer to help first-term Liberal MPs vote up religious discrimination bill amendments to protect LGBTQ+ students.

A Liberal MP told Guardian Australia that Entsch had “promised the ‘youngsters’ in the party that he would provide them cover” to stand up to the Morrison government before refusing to join five colleagues who crossed the floor.

The comments are the latest salvo in a battle over the government’s decision to ditch the bill due to amendments preventing religious schools discriminating on gender and sexuality.

在周五, Entsch and the defence minister, 彼得·达顿, accused unnamed Liberal MPs of breaching commitments to the government.

As Guardian Australia revealed, while Bridget Archer and Trent Zimmerman were the first two to cross, Fiona Martin provided the crucial third vote. They were then joined by Dave Sharma and Katie Allen who had said they would cross if the government were already set to lose the vote.

Entsch expressed concerns about the religious discrimination bill, but told the House of Representatives on Wednesday he had chosen to “bank the successes” of improvements removing the Folau and conscientious objection clauses.

Entsch also secured a shorter six-month timeframe and broader terms of reference for a review into gender and sexuality discrimination in schools.

But a Liberal MP told Guardian Australia Entsch had “loudly and proudly claimed last year that after 19 years of defending the LGBTIQ+ community he would not sell them out on religious freedom”.

“But once he got his North Queensland reinsurance scheme, his objections evaporated.”

Entsch rejected the charge, 另一方面是如此规模和复杂的网络攻击,它们可以在全国范围内进行 the reinsurance pool was announced in the May 2021 预算, shortly after he promised to recontest the 2022 选举.

Details of the design of the scheme were finalised and announced on 7 二月, with minor changes to benefit strata properties and provide small business marine property insurance.

“I’m not going to perpetuate this bullshit,” Entsch told Guardian Australia. “People can do their mischief but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the religious discrimination bill.”

Asked if he offered “cover” to junior MPs, Entsch said he “did, over time” but decided to bank successes on the religious bill because he could see his own party room wouldn’t shift and Labor would support the bill anyway.

“They were trying to jam us – and that’s exactly what they did. You’ve got to know when you’d be able to win and when you’ll lose.”

On Sunday Scott Morrison said he was “devastated” by the failure to deliver the religious discrimination bill, claiming the government had shelved it because he “would rather lay down our attempt to secure those additional [religious] protections than see them compromised or undermined” by protections for LGBTQ+ students, which conservatives claim would harm schools’ ability to set rules enforcing their religious views.

The opposition leader, 安东尼艾博年, said on Monday that Labor would “deal with” religious discrimination legislation if elected.

“We think that everyone should be free from discrimination. That includes people of faith,“ 他说.

“You can do that without increasing discrimination against others.”

Albanese said the government legislation “was not consistent with what the prime minister himself said would happen last year and put in writing to me in December” when he promised to prevent “any form of discrimination against a student on the basis of sexuality or gender identity”.

On Monday the assistant attorney general, Amanda Stoker, confirmed the religious discrimination bill was “something we’ll have to revisit post-election”.

Stoker said she was “certainly surprised to find that people other than Ms Archer and Mr Zimmerman acted as they did” in crossing the floor.

The deputy Liberal leader, 乔什·弗莱登伯格, told ABC Radio he had consulted Martin “ahead of that vote” and acknowledged she was in a difficult position.

“I would like all our members of our team to stick together when it comes to votes on the floor of the house – but at the same time I want to see her re-elected in her seat.”

Frydenberg confirmed “there was an understanding that there would be more support than there was on the floor of the house, but that’s now behind us”.

On Friday Martin responded to claims she had breached a commitment to the government by saying: “I protected the human rights of our most vulnerable in our parliament. I did what was right. I supported the religious discrimination bill, I supported people of faith and I protected the rights of vulnerable young students. To me, that was the right balance.”

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