Bob Brown is a bigot who doesn’t know his
home state’s constitution.

The Greens leader’s motion for an inquisition
into the Exclusive Brethren sect was overwhelmingly defeated in the Senate last
night, 59 votes to four. Labor and the Democrats joined Government senators and
Family First’s Steve Fielding in opposing the unprecedented move against
freedom of religion.

The Exclusive Brethren placed several
newspaper advertisements during the Tasmanian election campaign earlier this
year.

As Brown’s fellow Tasmanian, Liberal Eric
Abetz, pointed out, the Brethren is a lawful religious minority. “Their only sin
is that they ventured into politics,” he said. “When the leader of a political
party starts scapegoating religious minorities, the alarm bells of history
should be ringing loud and clear.”

But Brown doesn’t know his history. He
seems unaware of the provisions of Tasmania’s 1934
Constitution Act
.
Tasmania has specific guarantees of religious freedom. Brown postures as a
defender of freedom. He might like to look at Section 46:

Part V – General Provisions 46. Religious
freedom

(1) Freedom of
conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to
public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.

(2) No person
shall be subject to any disability, or be required to take any oath on account
of his religion or religious belief and no religious test shall be imposed in
respect of the appointment to or holding of any public office.

Peter Fray

A lot can happen in 3 months.

3 months is a long time in 2020. Join us to make sense of it all.

Get you first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12. Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

12 weeks for $12