Major parties close to deal on gay student protections

The Senate is due to debate and vote on Labor’s bill to remove discrimination against students by lunchtime today (Wikimedia)

Schools could be prevented from expelling children based on their gender or sexual identity by week’s end, after the Coalition and Labor left open the possibility of reaching a deal on legislation. Source: The Australian.

Attorney-General Christian Porter declared last night that the “door is now open for a resolution” after Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten exchanged letters in an attempt to reach consensus before Parliament rises tomorrow.

An open letter to the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader and crossbench parliamentarians was signed last night by a range of religious organisations sounding the alarm on what was described as an “extraordinary and unprecedented incursion on religious freedom”.

The letter, obtained by The Australian, warned that Labor’s bill “represents an extraordinary attack” on basic freedoms and, if government amendments were not accepted, argued there would be consequences that extended beyond the classroom.

The letter was signed by the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies; moderator-general of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, John Wilson; Christian Schools Australia and the Australian Association of Christian Schools.

“In the amendment to s37 of the Sex Discrimination Act proposed by Labor, anti-discrimination law would extend beyond the schoolyard and into churches, synagogues, mosques and temples nationwide wherever their actions are ‘connected with the provision … of education’, censoring doctrines that are thousands of years in the making,” the letter said.

“In removing the exception to discrimination law in s38(3) of the Act without providing any balancing measures for faith-based educational institutions (including tertiary institutions), the Bill would allow the threat of discrimination claims to censor religious teaching. The impact of these changes is to deny faith-based educational institutions the right to operate consistently with the principles on which they are founded and to build and maintain a culture of adherence to the tenets of their faith.”

The Senate is due to debate and vote on Labor’s bill to remove discrimination against students by lunchtime today.

Mr Porter said. “We think we’ve offered a very balanced approach and I hope those negotiations reach a resolution.”

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Libs, Labor close to consensus on gay student protections (The Australian)

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