Barnaby Joyce insists new religious freedom laws should give people the right to express “completely and utterly dopey” opinions.
The Nationals MP used rugby star Israel Folau’s sacking as an example, saying his anti-gay views should only be an issue if it affected his ability to perform at work.
“I think a lot of what Israel Folau said is just completely and utterly dopey. But it’s his right to be dopey,” Mr Joyce told ABC Radio National on Monday.
“If you’re employed to hit a golf ball and you believe if you jump over a broomstick you go to the fairy garden at the bottom of the hill then that is your belief.
“It’s got nothing to do with how you hit a golf ball.”
Mr Joyce said people had a tendency to temper views in the workplace and other social settings.
“We’ve got people who are a pain in the arse and they’re in every office, but we can’t just go around sacking them because they’re annoying,” he said.
“If someone is a complete and utter dill then they’re going to find themselves socially isolated and out of the job.”
The ex-deputy prime minister attended a workshop for Coalition MPs about the proposed religious freedom legislation on Friday.
More than 20 MPs were at Attorney-General Christian Porter’s first session, where Mr Joyce talked about the nexus between someone’s beliefs and their job.
“The goal is to not discriminate,” he said.
“If you’re gay you should not be discriminated against. If you have strong religious views, you should not be discriminated against.”