Scott Morrison is accused of “throwing transgender students under the bus” by refusing to protect them from discrimination.
A government proposal to amend the Sex Discrimination Act will ban faith-based schools from expelling students and teachers for their sexual orientation.
However, the amendment won’t extend to protecting transgender students as well.
Law referred for review
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham revealed the last minute omission of transgender students from the proposed amendment on Tuesday morning.
“I understand the proposal that is put forward is to repeal the exemption as it relates to students being exempted from the Sex Discrimination Act on the basis of their sexual orientation,” Senator Birmingham said.
“It doesn’t go further than that.”
The Australian Law Reform Commission will now spend the next 12-months reviewing discrimination against transgender students issue.
The last minute removal of trans students from the proposed amendment is designed to satisfy conservative Christians.
Assistant Attorney-General Amanda Stoker, (an outspoken anti-gay, anti-trans, fundamentalist Christian), expressed concern about “unintended consequences”.
She believes schools will be unable to maintain standards of behaviour by discriminating against gender nonconforming students, although she did not provide any evidence to support this assertion.
Moderate Liberals threaten to cross the floor
Meanwhile, moderate Liberals have threatened to vote against the separate Religious Discrimination Bill the government plans to introduce to parliament today.
They worry the proposed legislation goes too far in giving people the right to discriminate against others based on religion.
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Labor’s position unclear
Meanwhile, Labor’s position remains unclear, although opposition members have indicated they will support the legislation.
Anthony Albanese maintains he is yet to see the final version of the bill.
However, he previously said that people “shouldn’t be discriminated against on the basis of their faith, or their gender, or their sexuality, or their race”.
“But legislation has to be workable,” he said. “And the test is – can you ensure that you’re supporting non-discrimination without discriminating against another group? That’s the test here that we’ve said all along we would apply.”
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Scott Morrison throws transgender student under the bus
Greens senator Janet Rice, whose late wife was transgender, said the decision to only scrap exemptions on sexual orientation “is throwing trans people under the bus”.
“It’s absolutely appalling — this is kids’ lives that Morrison is playing with,” Senator Rice said.
“Everything Morrison and his government does is about winning an election.”
Mr Morrison first promised to amend the Sex Discrimination Act in 2018 to remove exemptions for faith-based schools to expel LGBTIQ kids from schools.
However, after nearly four years, he has failed to do so.
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Life is hard enough
Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan described the omission of trans students from the proposed amendment as “disgraceful”.
“Trans kids find life hard enough as it is,” Mr Heffernan said.
“However, since losing the marriage equality debate, conservative Christians have waged war on transgender people.
“It is disgraceful that such a marginalised section of the community experiences so much hatred and discrimination.”
Same-sex schools a non-issue
Furthermore, Mr Heffernan scoffed at concerns about transgender students attending same-sex schools.
He pointed to Xavier College in Melbourne, where a student came out as transgender last year.
The all-boys school supported the student’s decision to come out and also said it looked forward to championing her as she completed her Year 12 studies.
“You see, it’s not that hard,” Mr Heffernan said.
“Xavier College had no problem supporting and accommodating a transgender student as part of their same-sex school community.
“I find it curious that so many people of faith are constantly so concerned about other people’s genitals and who other people have sex with.”
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