Religious schools reserve the power to discriminate against LGBTQI teachers and same-sex parents across Australia.
Federal Attorney General, Christian Porter, has delayed the reporting date for the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into taxpayer-funded religious schools’ right to discriminate against LGBTQI staff – originally due this month.
The ALRC’s review into the framework of religious exemptions in anti-discrimination legislation has made the reporting date: “twelve months from the date the Religious Discrimination Bill is passed by Parliament”.
Rodney Croome from National advocacy group, Just.Equal says:
“The ALRC inquiry was established to review the issue of LGBTIQ students in religious schools and to implement Scott Morrison’s promise to end discrimination against them before Christmas 2018.”
“But now the Government is saying it won’t release the ALRC report until a full year after the Religious Discrimination Bill becomes law.”
Given the extension of the review, it is unlikely that Scott Morrison will fulfill his commitment to protect LGBTQI teachers before the next election.
“That Bill hasn’t even been tabled yet and there is no guarantee it will even pass through parliament, so what happens then?”
While Tasmania, Queensland, the ACT, and Northern Territory have abolished the protections, and although Federal laws allow same-sex marriage, teachers can still be sacked in Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia.
“Clearly, the Federal Government is more interested in pushing laws allowing discrimination in the name of religion than protecting children from discrimination, so the states must step up.”
Mr. Croome said that the state governments “no longer have excuses for ignoring this issue or failing to act. Other states have outlawed this discrimination against students, and there is no point in deferring to the Federal Government for leadership.”