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Archbishop Julian Porteous (Hobart Archdiocese)

Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous has called on the Albanese Government to reject proposals to remove protections for religious institutions from the Sex Discrimination Act because they are “a most serious threat to the existence” of religious schools. Source: The Australian. 

Archbishop Porteous, believes the Australian Law Reform Commission proposals to remove Section 38 from the SDA, to be tabled in Parliament this week, would fundamentally change religious bodies’ ability to provide the education parents want for their children.

“The proposed ALRC changes constitute a most serious threat to the existence of our schools and our ability to provide such education. Our Catholic schools must be able to remain Catholic,” Archbishop Porteous said.

“It is vital that the Albanese Government reject this attack on the freedom of our schools to fully embody their Catholic faith and fully commit to the protection of religious freedom for all Australians and the right of faith-based organisations to maintain the integrity of their beliefs in carrying out their mission of service to the Australian community.”

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

Islamic, Jewish and Christian leaders have expressed concerns about changes that would prevent schools from preferencing the employment of teachers who shared their beliefs and spiritual outlook.

Archbishop Porteous said the new proposal would “would permit teachers to promote views contrary to Catholic teaching and culture of the school”.

“In other words, Catholic schools would be prevented from maintaining the integrity of their culture and mission in educating young people. This strikes at the very heart of the founding reason for Catholic education,” he said.


Catholics warn the existence of religious schools is at threat (By Dennis Shanahan and Joe Kelly, The Australian