Media Release
Friday April 14th 2023

Presbyterian ban on LGBTQ+ student leaders shows need for national anti-bias protection

Just.Equal Australia has condemned the Presbyterian Church for wanting to exclude LGBTQ+ students from leadership positions, saying it shows the need for a national law preventing such discrimination.

The Church made the claim in its submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission's inquiry into the need for national laws that prevent discrimination on a range of grounds including sexual orientation, gender identity and relationship status.

Just.Equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

"Excluding LGBTQ+ students from leadership positions sends the message that these students do not fully belong in the school community and will encourage further discrimination against them."

"Religious schools have consistently said they don't exercise their right to discriminate against LGBTQ+ students and teachers, but the Presbyterian Church has exposed that as untrue."

"The Presbyterian position, plus last year's revelations about anti-gay and anti-trans policies at Citipointe Baptist School, show there is a pattern of discrimination in some faith-based schools."

"These ongoing revelations show why national laws are needed to protect LGBTIQ+ students and teachers from discrimination."

Mr Croome said prohibiting anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination is not a radical proposal.

"Most states and territories already prohibit anti-LGBTQA+ discrimination in faith-based schools, including Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT, Queensland, the Northern Territory and soon WA."

"The emerging consensus is that faith-based schools should not be allowed to discriminate and national law must reflect and re-inforce that consensus."

“This is not just in regard to students but also teachers, who should be protected from all discrimination at all points including recruitment.”

“Just.Equal has raised concerns that some statements by the current Federal Government appear to allow discrimination at the point of recruitment and we re-iterate our view that this would be unacceptable.”

Commoneting on the Presbyterian school debate, former Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, told Sky News:

“I just think that parents have a right to say, ‘I had these values and I want the school to have these values because that’s why I’m putting my hands in my pocket to pay money.’

In response, Mr Croome said,

"Parents who send their children to faith-based schools pay for what they believe will be a good education, not discrimination and exclusion."

“Most funding for faith-based schools came from taxpayers and as such these schools have a duty to represent the values of the majority of Australians.”

YouGov Galaxy polled 1,015 Australians in 2018 and found 78% of respondents said church schools which discriminate against LGBTQ+ teachers and students should not be entitled to taxpayer funds.

For a news report, click here
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.