CALL FOR TEACHERS TO BE PROTECTED FROM DISCRIMINATION
Advocates have welcomed a Senate inquiry report into discrimination in faith-based schools, but say legislation should cover teachers as well as students.
The report recommends faith-based schools not be able to discriminate against students on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and that further consideration be given to not allowing such discrimination against teachers and other staff.
Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,
“We welcome the Senate inquiry recommendation that students should no longer face discrimination, but believe teachers and other staff should be protected as well .”
“A school environment where LGBTI teachers can be fired because of who they are is a profoundly unsafe environment for LGBTI students.”
Mr Croome noted the Senate inquiry recommended further consideration of those provisions of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act that prohibit discrimination against LGBTI teachers and other staff in faith-based schools.
“Tasmanian faith-based schools are immensely better learning environments thanks to the state’s strong anti-discrimination laws.”
“If Tasmania’s faith-based schools can operate well without the right to discriminate against LGBTI teachers, schools in other states can too.”
A copy of the survey report is attached.
The Senate Inquiry also called for the release of the Ruddock report and for broad-based protections for religious freedom.
The recommendations are below.
2.126 The committee recommends that the government reject recommendations 5 and 7 of the Religious Freedom Review, which permit faith‑based educational institutions to single out certain groups for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status, in particular circumstances.
2.127 The committee recommends that the government immediately release to the public the full report and findings of the Religious Freedom Review.
2.131 The committee recommends the Australian Government amend section 37 and remove subsection 38(3) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, and amend any other relevant legislative provisions, to prohibit discrimination against students on the grounds of the protected attributes in the Act.
2.137 The committee recommends that further consideration be given to amending the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, and any other relevant legislation, to prohibit discrimination by faith‑based educational institutions against teachers and staff on the grounds of the protected attributes in the Act. In so doing, consideration should be given to the relevant provisions of the Anti‑Discrimination Act 1998 (TAS) discussed in this report.
2.140 The committee recommends that consideration be given to inserting in law a positive affirmation and protection of religious freedom in Australia that is appropriately balanced with other rights.