Review targets gay students and teachers

12 Octubre, 2018, 13:45 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Australian PM Scott Morrison

Morrison was commenting on the contents of a leaked report on religious freedoms, reigniting debate about what constitutes unlawful discrimination against gay people just months after Australia's Parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

The panel supported the right for religious groups and schools to choose students and congregants in accordance with their beliefs.

"To the extent that some jurisdictions do not now allow religious schools to discriminate against students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender characteristics, the panel sees no need to introduce such provisions".

"To the extent that this can be done in the context of appropriate safeguards for the rights and mental health of the child, the panel accepts their right to select, or preference, students who uphold the religious convictions of that school community".

The existing federal law does say it is not "unlawful" to discriminate against someone for their sexuality, gender identity or pregnancy "in connection with the provision of education".

Anna Brown, the co-chair of the Equality Campaign and director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, told Guardian Australia that it is true there is a "gap in federal discrimination law when it comes to protections for religious minorities".

"It's a report to government, not from government", Mr Morrison told reporters on the New South Wales central coast.

"We're not proposing to change that law to take away that existing arrangement that exists", Morrison said.

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"The fact of the matter is that every child is entitled to human dignity".

Mr Sharma, who is contesting the critical byelection in Malcolm Turnbull's former seat, distanced himself from recommendations in the government's long-awaited review into religious freedom. "We shouldn't even be having this debate", opposition leader Bill Shorten said.

Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher said he and his cabinet colleagues had not seen the document.

Recently when the senate passed a motion demanding the report be released, Senator Mathias Cormann said it could not be made public because it was now being considered by cabinet.

The review found civil celebrants should not be able to refuse to conduct same-sex marriages, and that a Religious Freedom Act was unnecessary.

Senate candidate for the Australian Conservatives and former Australian Christian Lobby head Lyle Shelton said the review was about religious communities being allowed to preserve their ethos. "Live and let live", he said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Alex Greenwich, an MP from Sydney and a gay rights activist, said he was concerned about the divisiveness of the report.

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