Just.Equal Australia has called on the Government to stop spreading misinformation about its Religious Discrimination Bill.
In defence of the Bill, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has said the Bill was conventional and uncontroversial, and that he had “locked in protections for gay kids”.
Spokesperson for Just Equal, Brian Greig, said those claims are false and misleading.
“The government is spinning the Religious Discrimination Bill as an unremarkable when, in fact, it is extreme legislation that weakens discrimination protections across the country.
"In reality, the Bill cuts a swath through existing discrimination laws, allowing humiliating and demeaning comments in the name of religion that are now prohibited."
“It could also allow discrimination against LGBTIQ+ students and teachers.
“This is because the Bill establishes a positive right for faith-based schools and to discriminate on the basis of religious belief, including the tenets of a religion.
“This could mean LGBTIQ+ teachers are sacked for not conforming to religious tenets, and LGBTIQ+ students are forced to learn in classrooms where homosexuality is denounced as ‘intrinsically disordered’.
“This may not be direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, but harming LGBTIQ+ teachers and students is the result.”
Mr Greig said the Prime Minister had promised to end discrimination against LGBTIQ+ students three years ago but had done nothing about it.
“We have heard all this before. No legislation has been drafted to prevent faith schools from discriminating against LGBTIQ+ students, and the government has shown no inclination to also protect LGBTIQ+ teachers and staff.”
Mr Greig said the letter from Attorney General Michaela Cash sent to the Australian Law Reform Commission this week, asked for “detailed drafting instructions [to protect LGBT students]” but will not be received until 2023 under current requirements, and unlikely to take effect until 2024.
“Far from being ‘locked in’, protection for LGBTIQ kids in faith schools is nothing more than a proposal which has been kicked down the road a further three years, when who knows what government will be in power and how they might address this,” he said.
Greig said Cash’s comments were only quarantined to “suspension and expulsion”, with no assurances that other forms of LGBTIQ+ discrimination would be stopped.
“There is nothing in the Attorney’s statement, for example, that would prohibit a faith school from refusing to enrol an LGBT student, or discriminating against them within classroom, schoolyard and sporting activities,” he said.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Brian Greig on 0407 776 961.