National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins says Catholic education will continue to make the voices of people of faith heard and respected across the nation in the fight for religious freedom. Source: NCEC.
Speaking at Newman College, Melbourne last week on the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) proposed reforms on religious educational institutions and anti-discrimination law, Ms Collins said there was “a push by some in our society to remove the last vestiges of Church from public life”.
“Religious belief is increasingly becoming counter-cultural and marginalised in Australian society. It is not surprising that the teaching of religious beliefs and values are being rejected by some,” she said.
“We see it in calls to remove prayer and Scripture lessons from public schools; to defund faith-based schools; to remove exemptions that currently allow people of faith to positively discriminate to enrol and employ people of their own faith background. We see it in the changes to legislation across many states and territories that continues to narrow protections for religious belief, including the right of parents to choose a school in line with those beliefs for their children.”
Ms Collins said the ALRC’s inquiry proposed several reforms that, if adopted, would go further than state and territory legislation, making it impossible for Catholic schools to be authentically Catholic.
“To be clear, Catholic schools do not, and do not seek to, discriminate against individuals based on their personal attributes (protected or not). However, the ALRC’s proposed recommendations, if applied, so severely limit the ability of faith-based schools to operate and teach as religious schools that it makes a mockery of the nature and purpose of faith-based schools.”