Independent MP Alex Greenwich has announced he will introduce legislation protecting LGBTI students and teachers at faith-based schools if re-elected at the upcoming NSW election.

In a post on Facebook, Greenwich called out the federal government for dragging their feet on the issue, and said he would continue to fight for the removal of religious exemptions allowing faith-based schools to discriminate against students and staff on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“If re-elected, I will introduce legislation to remove exemptions that allow private schools to discriminate against LGBTI students and teachers,” he wrote.

“The federal parliament failed to act, [so] I will work hard to see the state parliament succeed.”

Greenwich, a longtime advocate for LGBTI people in faith-based schools, first introduced a bill addressing the issue in 2013, which would have made private schools subject to the same laws that make discrimination unlawful in public schools.

Speaking to the Star Observer at the time, Greenwich said the then-Labor-backed bill would “put private schools on an equal playing field with public schools”.

While the bill didn’t pass, Greenwich believes that a 2019 bill would have better luck, particularly in light of Australia’s strong Yes vote for marriage equality and the likelihood of a more progressive NSW parliament following the state election.

“If elected, I will use my position in the next parliament to prioritise full equality and the removal of all discrimination for the LGBTI community,” he told the Star Observer.

Data released in January by Equality Australia revealed that 72 per cent of Australians supported legal protections for LGBTI students and teachers.

Equality Australia’s report also highlighted that 67 per cent of Liberal voters supported legal protections preventing faith-based schools from expelling students or firing teachers “for being gay or transgender”.

The Morrison government currently looks set to take religious freedoms legislation to the next federal election, which is due to be held in May.

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