Andrew Thorburn: Peter Dutton wants Essendon bombers coach reinstated

Opposition leader Peter Dutton has weighed into the AFL crisis, doubling down on his wish to reinstate Andrew Thorburn to Essendon.

Mr Thorburn was appointed as the club’s CEO on Monday but resigned on Tuesday in the wake of the Herald Sun’s revelations that he was also chairman of a church which had likened abortion to the Holocaust.

On Sunday, Mr Dutton told ABC’s Insiders that Thorburn “wasn’t the one who gave the sermon” and “didn’t support discrimination on any basis”.

“We are in a dangerous position in our country that we can discriminate against somebody because of their Christian values, their religious adherence to whatever religion it is,” Mr Dutton said.

“He has a religious belief different from yours and mine but we live in a great country where we tolerate that and he shouldn’t be excluded on that basis.”

Mr Dutton was asked whether organisations should be able to hire and fire based on someone’s sexuality.

“Islamic schools, Jewish schools, Christian schools in our country who want to teach their faith and they should be free to do so,” Mr Dutton said.

“If they have children enrolled in that school by their parents, the parents expect that there will be an adherence to that doctrine.”

Mr Dutton said Mr Thorburn’s case was different to religious schools who said they should be able to hire and fire based on their beliefs.

“If you are a person of a Jewish faith and you are sending your child to that school, it is for a reason,” Mr Dutton said.

“You’ve made a decision to send your child there to receive religion as part of a more general education. And that should be unhindered.

“So any thought that somebody could be discriminated against as in the circumstance of Mr Thorburn is completely unacceptable.”

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