An alliance of the nation’s faith leaders is warning the future of religious education is under threat and that their schools will not be allowed to choose teachers who share the same faith under proposed anti-discrimination reforms. Source: The Australian.
The group – including more than 30 leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths – wrote a letter to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus yesterday sounding the alarm on a controversial reform proposal put forward in late January by the powerful Australian Law Reform Commission.
Under the ALRC plan, principals would be barred from preferencing the employment of teachers with the same beliefs and spiritual outlook as the educational institution.
In their letter, religious leaders warned the new limits on religious schools were “neither expressly nor impliedly called for in the (Government’s) terms of reference” and that faith-based teachers were now at risk of being betrayed by a failure of process.
They said that, under the plan, schools would be forced to hire teachers who “may not share or support the religious beliefs of the organisation” and whose employment could only be terminated when they “actively undermine” the religious ethos of the school.
The ALRC consultation paper proposed that religious educators could only “continue to give preference to prospective staff on religious grounds where the teaching, observance, or practice of religion is, genuinely, a part of the role”. For all other teaching roles – including essential subjects such as maths, science, history and English – it would be unlawful for schools to preference the employment of teachers who shared or were willing to commit to supporting the religious beliefs of the school.
The faith leaders, including Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, warned in their letter that the ALRC reform proposals could not be accepted in their current form and represented a “major blow to authentic faith-based education”.
Anthony Albanese faces political bushfire over faith-based schools (By Joe Kelly, The Australian)
Anthony Albanese faces political bushfire over faith-based schools (The Australian)