Media Release
Thursday January 11th 2017 
Equality advocates call on Labor to oppose anti-LGBTI discrimination exemptions

Equality advocates have called on Labor to adopt a policy of scrapping existing legal exemptions that allow LGBTI people to be sacked or refused service by faith-based schools, hospitals and charities.

The call comes after Deputy Labor leader, Tanya Plibersek, defended such exemptions saying “we’re not proposing to change any of the current exemptions for Catholic schools...we think the balance is about right”.

Spokesperson for just.equal, Brian Greig, said the Federal Labor party has “thrown LGBTI people under the wedding bus”, only weeks after dancing in parliament and waving rainbow flags to celebrate marriage equality.

“The callous state laws around Australia which privilege faith-based schools with special exemptions are used almost exclusively to target LGBTI staff and students."

“These laws were created decades ago when homosexuality was still deeply stigmatised and have no place in today's Australia."

Mr Greig said it was wrong for Tanya Plibersek to say that  “...most Catholic schools are very thoughtful about keeping the very best staff, I don’t expect to see a spate of people sacked because of their sexuality.”

“Only in recent weeks a Perth church school dumped a teacher for being gay, while Catholic bishops have it made clear that married LGBTI employee in the Catholic education system will not be welcome,” Mr Greig said. 

“We now have the extraordinary situation whereby LGBTI people can legally marry under Federal law, and the next day be sacked under State law – because of the Commonwealth’s failure to protect the human rights of LGBTI people at a national level,” Mr Greig said.

Tasmania is the only state where this discrimination cannot legally occur. That state’s parliament chose not to include exemptions allowing LGBTI discrimination by faith-organisations in its Anti-Discrimination Act adopted in 1998.

Mr Greig said it was inexcusable for Federal Labor to maintain anti-LGBTI laws on the mainland, but oppose them in Tasmania.

“In Britain, no church school which accepts government funding can discriminate like this, it must adhere to the UK Human Rights Act or forfeit any taxpayer money."

“Just.equal is calling on the Labor Party to adopt the same position; there should be no public funding for private prejudice."
For a news report on Ms Plibersek's comments, click here.
For a copy of his statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Brian Greig on 0407 776 961.