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Jacinta Collins (NCEC)

The National Catholic Education Commission has rejected the notion by Equality Australia that Catholic schools discriminate, or are seeking to discriminate, against staff or students on the basis of sexuality or gender.

According to SBS News, Equality Australia released a report into LGBTIQ+ discrimination in faith-based organisations yesterday claiming that LGBTIQ+ students are more likely to be discriminated against than supported by independent schools.

Last week, an Australian Law Reform Commission review recommended scrapping laws that allow religious schools to discriminate against staff on the basis of their faith.

National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins said the mission of Catholic schools is to uphold the dignity of each individual.

“Catholic schools are not seeking the right to discriminate based on personal attributes, but rather to maintain their religious identity and mission,” Ms Collins said. 

“The current exemptions are designed to ensure that discrimination legislation doesn’t impinge on religious freedom and enables faith-based schools to continue to build a community of faith by preferencing the employment of individuals who share and support the ethos and mission of our schools. 

“In the absence of religious freedom legislation these exemptions safeguard the internationally-protected religious rights and freedoms that Australia has committed to. They do not endorse discrimination,” she said. 

“Catholic education’s mission is to promote inclusivity and diversity, welcoming individuals from all backgrounds while preserving our distinct ethos. 

“If individuals do not support our ethos, they are able to choose another school for enrolment or employment. This is what a free, pluralistic society is about.

“Catholic education remains committed to advocating for legislative frameworks that respect the religious identity and mission of Catholic schools while ensuring a fair balance with other protected rights.

“There is little evidence to support the claims by Equality Australia that Catholic schools are discriminating against staff or students. Catholic schools can maintain their religious character without engaging in unjust discrimination, as we have done for over 200 years.”

Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and his Coalition counterpart Michaelia Cash will meet today for the first time since the Government’s draft laws were handed to the Opposition last week, to determine if there’s any path forward for negotiation, The Australian reports.

The Greens and crossbenchers will also be briefed by Mr Dreyfus, but it is unclear if they will receive a copy of the bills.


Catholic schools seek religious freedom, not the right to discriminate (NCEC) 

‘Do your job’: LGBTIQ+ advocates call for blanket protections across Australia (SBS News)

Coalition says there can’t be religious discrimination bipartisanship unless Anthony Albanese releases draft laws (By Rosie Lewis, The Australian)


Parents are ‘voting with their feet’ for church schools: Archbishop Fisher (Sky News Australia)

New allegations of religious discrimination (ABC News)