New laws making it harder for religious schools to sack LGBTQ+ teachers and staff living out of wedlock will be introduced in Queensland by the end of the year. Source: The Australian.
Controversial law changes, recommended by the state’s Human Rights Commission last year, would prevent church-run schools from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexuality, marital status and gender identity.
Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman yesterday confirmed the state government had supported in-principle the 122 recommendations of the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner’s landmark review into the Anti-Discrimination Act (1991).
Under expected law changes, schools still would be able to discriminate against staff directly involved in teaching religion but others, such as maths teachers, could not be fired on the basis of their sexuality or marital status.
It is understood the state would allow religious school to discriminate when hiring staff and enrolling new students but will restrict grounds for terminating employees or expelling students.
In its response the state, said more consultation would be held before a bill was drafted to ensure laws “strike the right balance” between individual rights and religious freedoms.
Two Christian schooling associations have slammed the proposed reforms as “radical” and warn they will strip church-run schools of their rights.
Australian Association of Christian Schools executive director Vanessa Cheng said any restrictions on employment decisions was a “serious concern”.
The Australian Law Reform Commission is consulting on federal anti-discrimination laws for religious schools with a report due on April 21. Queensland plans to align its laws with federal reforms.
Christian Schools Australia director of public policy Mark Spencer said laws must be “aligned and compatible” across the country so school leaders could stay focused on providing education.
New Queensland laws to protect gay teachers from being fired for their sexuality (By Lydia Lynch, The Australian)