Christian freedoms 'should be protected', says Australian PM Scott Morrison

The new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a swearing-in ceremony in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018.(Photo: Reuters/David Gray)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told the Hillsong conference that he wants everyone to feel comfortable talking about their faith.

Religious freedom has become a national debate in Australia in the wake of the row between Israel Folau and Rugby Australia, which terminated the Christian rugby player's contract over an Instagram post saying that hell awaits gay people among others. 

Morrison, a Pentecostal Christian, said that his administration would do everything it could to protect freedom of religious expression. 

His conservative government is contemplating introducing a bill to make it unlawful to discriminate against people on the ground of their religious belief or activity.

"We'll do what we must do from a legislative point of view and the law," Morrison told the annual Hillsong conference in Sydney.

He went on to say that religious freedom needed to be "nourished and protected" as he called for "more love". 

"There's a lot of talk about our freedoms as Christians in this country and they should be protected," he said.

"Australia is a free country. There's nothing more fundamental than the freedom of belief, whatever that belief might be, whether you have one or you don't."

Folau has launched a legal challenge against Rugby Australia over the termination of his $4m contract, claiming unfair dismissal and seeking loss of income. 

Morrison continued: "I speak about my faith ... because I want everyone in this place to feel comfortable about talking about their faith."

Earlier on, the Prime Minister prayed for rain to end a drought gripping parts of the country. 

"Lord, we just pray for rain: That your rain will fall on this nation," Morrison said. "Lord, that you will restore those communities, and that you will see a prosperity in this nation from the rain."