Monday, 10 December, 2018

Gay Students And Teachers Could Be Rejected From Religious Schools After Review

Australian PM Scott Morrison Australian PM Scott Morrison
Ellis Copeland | 13 October, 2018, 22:41

"It's believed the review has also recommended the right of schools to turn away gay staff and students be strengthened".

Religious schools already have exemptions to discrimination laws that allow them to exclude gay people in several states, including NSW, but not in others like Queensland.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended leaked proposals to let religious schools discriminate against gay students, saying that the proposals were already "existing law" in some states.

"To some school communities, cultivating an environment and ethos which conforms to their religious beliefs is of paramount importance", the review said.

'We will protect religious freedom, and get the balance right.

Mr Morrison says religious schools should be able to operate according to their beliefs, but argues the review calls for the interests of children be put first.

"To the extent that this can be done in the context of appropriate safeguards for the rights and mental health of the child, the panel accepts their right to select, or preference, students who uphold the religious convictions of that school community".

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While the review's primary recommendation - to entrench the power of religious schools to discriminate on the basis of sexuality - appears dead on arrival due to Senate opposition, LGBTI advocates agree in theory that discrimination on the basis of religion should be outlawed.

The review was ordered after same-sex marriage became legal in December 2017, to address concerns of religious communities who anxious marriage equality would infringe on their right to act in accordance with their beliefs.

Morrison told ABC's AM that the Ruddock review had recommended that people of different faiths should have the "same protections" as other attributes such as gender and race.

Mr Sharma, who is contesting the critical byelection in Malcolm Turnbull's former seat, distanced himself from recommendations in the government's long-awaited review into religious freedom. "The Government should be protecting kids in schools, not allowing them to be turned away for be gay or trans".

Schools would have to make their policies on gay staff and students public, the proposals reportedly say.

"We think all people should be considered equally for employment or enrolment", he said.

They have rejected some of the conservatives' demands, including allowing businesses to refuse services on religious grounds, as well as allowing civil celebrants to refuse to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies if they became celebrants after marriage equality was legalised. On Thursday Greens leader Richard Di Natale announced the party will introduce a private members bill to amend the federal Sex Discrimination Act to stop discrimination against students and teachers on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identification "anywhere in Australia".

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