Draft religious freedom bill nearly finalised

A draft of a new religious protection law appears to be on track for completion by mid-August with the Coalition government continuing its wide-reaching consultation process.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Attorney-General Christian Porter is preparing to hold final consultations with Liberal and National MPs on improving religious protection in an effort to unite some contrasting views within the Coalition party room.

A few dozen backbenchers have already taken part in sessions in Canberra, Sydney and Perth and Mr Porter will front groups of MPs in Brisbane and Melbourne this week, before Parliament returns on July 22.

The government expects to have a completed draft of a new religious discrimination bill ready by mid-August and believes some concerns about the scope of new protections from some conservative Coalition MPs will be satisfied by the final plan.

According to The Australian, on July 10 Mr Porter made a commitment to meet Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP to discuss a way forward on the complex topic. Mr Porter will also meet with other churches and religious groups, charities and non-profits after the workshops with MPs are completed and before holding talks with Labor.

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