Australia Seeks to Ban Schools From Expelling Gay Students After Public Outcry

  • Australia Seeks to Ban Schools From Expelling Gay Students After Public Outcry

Australia Seeks to Ban Schools From Expelling Gay Students After Public Outcry

Laws protecting gay teachers from discrimination at religious schools will have to wait despite pressure from Labor and some Liberals to bring them in now.

"These laws are no longer appropriate, if indeed they ever were appropriate".

The federal parliament will this week remove the power of faith-based schools to discriminate against children on the basis of their sexuality.

In a new statement released October 13, following a letter sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison by opposition leader Bill Shorten, the government announced it would reassess the Sex Discrimination Act and remove the power for any school to exclude students based on their sexuality. "It's time our laws reflected the values we teach our children". Speaking to Sky News, Morrison said he would "happily take the criticism" for not ruling out sexuality as a grounds for discrimination of students sooner while also accusing initial media coverage of misrepresenting the report.

The report into religious freedom - known as the Ruddock Report - was commissioned to address fears that same-sex marriage would restrict people's ability to practise their religion.

"We want to deal with the issue of students".

However, the minister would not say whether the same legislative support would be extended to gay teachers.

Deputy Liberal leader Josh Frydenberg agreed that there should not be any room for discrimination, "be it [against] a student or a teacher".

His comments came after days of controversy over the leaked recommendations of a review into religious freedoms.

The review, led by former attorney-general Philip Ruddock, recommended laws should be changed so religious schools could discriminate against gay teachers and students.

As the debate grew louder, the prime minister finally said Saturday that he would introduce a bill to prevent sexuality-based discrimination, to end "confusion and anxiety for parents and students".

"But let's be very careful that anti-discrimination laws designed as shields are not converted by activists into swords".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a news conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, September 19, 2018.

The report, commissioned after same-sex marriage was made legal a year ago, suggested that procedures for non-state schools to reject gay students should be made consistent nationwide, raising the possibility of allowing such rejections across Australia.

Three-quarters of respondents to a Fairfax-Ipsos poll rejected the exemptions to discrimination laws, including a majority of coalition, Labor, Greens and One Nation voters.

But Mr Morrison said the teachers would have to wait.