Leader of the Australian Sex Party and Victorian MP Fiona Patten has today called on all Australian governments to end the privileged position of religion after  census data release showing “no religion” as the top answer to the religious belief question.

“It’s time to take religion out of politics. I’s time to end the unjustified privilege,” said Ms Patten.

“Religious groups have pushed themselves into every corner of the political landscape, using that influence to tell people how to run their lives.

“We’ve seen religious groups stall marriage equality, demand a right to discriminate against the disabled, deny sexual abuse survivors the compensation they deserve, stand in the way of people wanting to die with dignity, insert chaplains into schools and demand taxpayer money to fuel profit-making enterprises,” said the MP.

“Specific legal exemptions give religions a license to discriminate. Billions in tax revenue that could build schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure is lost each year because religions have tax-free status.

“Why do religious organisations think they are above the rest of society?”

During the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee process Ms Patten uncovered nearly half a billion dollars in lost revenue as a result of Victorian religious exemptions, but the Premier refused to even consider changing the law.

“Politicians must stop protecting religious privilege,” said Ms Patten. 

“Religion is at a tipping point for a reason. It’s not just about belief anymore. These are carefully crafted businesses, leveraging their license to discriminate and tax-free status. It’s time they are treated like every other organisation. Taxpayers should not be propping up religious profits.”