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Mark Dreyfus (Facebook/Mark Dreyfus)

Faith-based schools have urged Labor to safeguard the right to hire teachers who share their spiritual beliefs ahead of a report this week that is expected to recommend removing key protections from the Sex Discrimination Act. Source: The Australian.

The Australian Law Reform Commission will recommend the removal of Section 38 from the Sex Discrimination Act in its entirety in a report that is due to be tabled no later than Thursday.

An alliance of the nation’s most senior spiritual leaders warned Labor last year the removal of the exemptions in Section 38 would prevent schools from preferencing the employment of teachers who shared their beliefs and spiritual outlook.

Islamic, Jewish and Christian leaders said this would place the future of religious education in Australia under threat.

Mark Spencer, director of public policy for Christian Schools Australia, yesterday said, “We need the ability to employ staff who share our beliefs and that includes our beliefs around gender, sexuality and marriage”. 

The Coalition’s attempts to legislate protections for religious communities after the 2017 same-sex marriage vote were pulled from the former Parliament following a backbench revolt over concerns about the treatment of gay and transgender people by religious schools.

Ahead of the 2022 election, Anthony Albanese promised Labor would introduce its own religious discrimination bill.

In November that year, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus tasked the commission with looking at how to shield students and teachers against discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, while also ensuring educational institutions could maintain their “religious ethos”.

A spokeswoman for Mr Dreyfus made clear the report would not necessarily reflect the position of the Government, saying only that Labor was “considering the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report”.


Religious schools raise alarm on hiring rules (By Joe Kelly, The Australian)