ACT Chief Minister plans reform to protect students & teachers from religious discrimination
LGBTIQ advocates have welcomed the announcement that the ACT Government will table legislation to protect students and teachers from unjust discrimination in the ACT next week.
Just.equal spokesperson and proud Canberran, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, said,
“It came as a shock to many Canberrans, including possibly several in the Legislative Assembly, that discrimination against our students and teachers remains lawful in the Territory.”
“The leaked Ruddock Report has highlighted outdated laws that still allow discrimination in many jurisdictions in Australia and given us a unique opportunity to review these laws and ensure they meet community expectations.”
“I’m confident our community will welcome news that the ACT Government is actively working to create a more inclusive society.”
The Chief Minister announced that the government will audit existing law to identify other forms of discrimination and develop a reform package to “close gaps or loopholes”.
“For 20 years Tasmanian law has provided protection for students and staff in religious organisations. We hope the ACT Liberals will support this reform in the same way Tasmanian Liberals are proud of their laws and the inclusive society they helped to create.”
Mr Hinton-Teoh said,
“We welcome the Government’s commitment to review existing laws and remove discriminatory provisions behind which prejudice continues to hide.”
The ACT has a strong recent history in supporting LGBTI citizens, returning the highest support nationally for marriage equality in the 2017 postal survey.
"The Chief Minister is right when he describes the Canberra community as inclusive and welcoming. I am proud that my community returned the highest response in the nation for marriage equality (74%) and I am confident that they would want the legislative assembly to build on this goodwill."
“Religious organisations have continued to operate in Tasmania in the same way they will continue to function in the ACT, in a community that so strongly opposes LGBTIQ discrimination.”
“The ACT government recognises that there is more work to be done and, with their ongoing commitment to remove unjust discrimination, we are one step closer to genuinely being the Rainbow Territory.”
In May 2018 just.equal commissioned a poll by YouGov Galaxy in relation to discrimination suffered by students and teachers.
"Nationally, four out of five Australians oppose discrimination against staff and students. I am confident that this result, if conducted in the Rainbow Territory, would be even higher."
The Chief Minister's post on social media announcing the reform is here.
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