Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Australian law allows religious schools to reject gays: PM

Australian law allows religious schools to reject gays: PM

"I'm not comfortable with discrimination against people's religious faith, against their gender, against their sexuality, against their race", Scott Morrison told 3AW radio on Thursday.

One of the recommendations is that the legislative provisions allowing religious schools to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status should be made consistent around the country.

Morrison said the Ruddock review had not yet gone to cabinet and the government had a "timetable to deal with this by the end of the year", appearing to confirm fears of former high court judge Michael Kirby and the independent candidate Kerryn Phelps it will not be released until after the 20 October Wentworth byelection.

Former Liberal minister Phillip Ruddock, who chaired the review, said the right of religious schools to turn away gay students and teachers should be enshrined in the Sex Discrimination Act.

Australia's prime minister has defended leaked proposals to let religious schools discriminate against gay students.

"There is a wide variety of religious schools in Australia some school communities, cultivating an environment and ethos which conforms to their religious beliefs is of paramount importance", Fairfax quoted the report as saying.

'Specifically protecting freedom of religion would be out of step with the treatment of other rights, ' the report stated.

"I'm all for religious freedoms, but I can't respect institutions, particularly schools, that turn away children simply because they're gay", says Ben Fordham.

"The panel accepts their right to select, or preference, students who uphold the religious convictions of that school community".

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Mr Hawke said people of faith in Australia were under attack.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he couldn't believe the prime minister hadn't immediately ruled out the "silly" proposal.

"The fact is every children is entitled to human dignity".

They have rejected some of the conservatives' demands, including allowing businesses to refuse services on religious grounds, as well as allowing civil celebrants to refuse to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies if they became celebrants after marriage equality was legalised.

They are contained in a report into religious freedom that was commissioned after same-sex marriage was made legal previous year.

"We think all people should be considered equally for employment or enrolment", he said. They should stick to that.

The report calls for pregnancy to be removed as a reason for rejecting a student, and requires schools to be upfront about what may lead to a rejection, insisting on published policies.

"Schools can not discriminate against a child or a teacher on the grounds of sexuality".

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