South Australian Premier Steven Marshall wants the right of religious schools to discriminate against LGBTQ staff and students banned.
Currently, religious schools can lawfully sack or refuse to hire staff and expel students based on their sexuality.
South Australian Premier wants school discrimination banned
Mr Marshall made the comments following a report by Nine News about a school in Adelaide’s southern suburbs which declares it will not employ homosexuals.
Southern Vales Christian College tells prospective employees that it will not hire same-sex attracted people.
“Our beliefs are such that we do not accept that homosexuality is appropriate.” the schools employment documents state.
Furthermore, it highlights that anybody who is LGBTQI+ will not be employed.
Premier Marshall express shock and disappointment at the school’s policy.
“South Australia has always been a diverse, accepting, respectful state and we don’t want to have discrimination here in our state.” the Premier said.
Both state and federal anti-discrimination legislation bans discrimination based on a person’s sexuality, gender identity or marital status.
However, the legislation provides an exemption for religious organisations, such as schools, hospitals and nursing homes.
They are permitted to discriminate against LGBTIQ staff, including sacking them or refusing to hire them.
Moreover, they can also discriminate against LGBTIQ students by expelling them or refusing to enroll them.
No one should have the right to discriminate
Employment lawyer Stephen Dryley-Collins from Discrimination Claims says no one should be exempt from anti-discrimination laws.
“I don’t think there should be any right for any religious institution, school or otherwise, to discriminate against students or workers on the basis of sexual orientation,” he said.
Mr Dryley-Collins expressed concern for the LGBTIQ students who attend Southern Vales Christian College.
“Imagine being different and your school telling you that you are less than, and that you deserve less rights than other people, because of who you are – it’s disgraceful,” he said.
“The exemption has to go, so any employee, be it a teacher or anyone else at a religious institution is safe, and that they are there based on merit, and not their sexuality.”
Scotty the Announcer fails to deliver
In 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he would end the right for religious schools to expel gay students.
But what has become a signature move of his leadership, the announcement was just that – an announcement without substance.
More than 1000 days later, Morrison has failed to deliver on his promise.
Meanwhile, his government is due to release the third draft of its troubled Religious Freedom legislation before the end of the year.
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