Australia’s new Prime Minister Scott Morrison voted against same-sex marriage — should LGBT Australians be concerned?
His appointment may come as a concern to LGBT+ people in Australia.
Speaking after his appointment, he said he wanted to bring his party back together after it had been “bruised and battered” during a contentious leadership race.
Morrison’s appointment marks Australia’s sixth change of prime minister in just over a decade.
The new socially conservative leader of the country’s Liberal party said last November, after 61% of Australians voted in favour of introducing marriage equality, that as many – if not more Australians – wanted to see laws introduced that would protect religious freedom.
Morrison, who is a member of a Sydney Pentecostal evangelical church, has also called for parents to be able to withdraw their children from classes where their values are not being protected, and wants organisations that believe marriage is between a man and a woman to be protected.
He also believes that people of strong religious views “have been subject to quite dreadful hate speech and bigotry,” and that discrimination against religious people “always starts innocently and it’s always said it is just a joke.”
“I’m gonna call that out,” he added. “With what I’ve seen happen in the last year, I’ve just taken the decision more recently, I’m just not going to put up with that any more, I don’t think my colleagues are either.”
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Morrison came under fire in April from LGBT+ groups after he defended rugby player Israel Folau, who said that gay people would go “to hell unless they repent their sins.”
Morrison praised his “strength of character in just standing up for what he believes in.”
Before being elected prime minister, Morrison served as treasurer in the Turbull administration. Prior to that, he was immigration minister, where he was responsible for a number of hardline policies.
In his first speech as prime minister elect, he said his government would address Australia’s “economic and national security” as well as the long-running drought in New South Wales.
Morrison faced off against Peter Dutton for the leadership, who also holds strong views on LGBT+ people. He once said the advancement of their rights was a “PC agenda”, and later said that people should not be referred to by their preferred pronouns, saying society needs to “stare this down.”
“This is a significant movement, there are people making fortunes out of all this garbage,” he added.