Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Australian law allows religious schools to reject gays: PM

Philip Ruddock’s government-commissioned review of religious freedoms in Australia will urge the Morrison government to enshrine the right of religious schools Row over Australia plan to let faith schools reject gay students
Pablo Mccormick | 12 October, 2018, 13:43

GAY students and teachers could be rejected by religious schools under changes to anti-discrimination laws being recommended by a federal review into religious freedom.

'We will protect religious freedom, and get the balance right.

In the federal sphere, senator Derryn Hinch and Centre Alliance have also opposed discrimination by religious schools, with Hinch announcing he will bring a motion calling on the government to strip public funds from religious schools if they discriminate on sexuality.

One of the recommendations is that the legislative provisions allowing religious schools to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status should be made consistent around the country.

"It is existing law", he told reporters on the NSW Central Coast.

He said stakeholders would be consulted and the Ruddock report would be taken into consideration.

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Mr Alban's lawyer, Joel Garcia, told reporters that when he last saw Mr Alban on Sunday, "he was not beaten, he was fine". On Monday, Reverol said Alban had also been investigated for "destabilising activities directed from overseas ".

However Fairfax reported that it did not find that religious freedom was under threat in Australia.

"We're not proposing to change that law to take away that existing arrangement that exists", Morrison said.

"The fact is every children is entitled to human dignity".

Morrison said the Ruddock review had not yet gone to cabinet and the government had a "timetable to deal with this by the end of the year", appearing to confirm fears of former high court judge Michael Kirby and the independent candidate Kerryn Phelps it will not be released until after the 20 October Wentworth byelection.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he couldn't believe the prime minister hadn't immediately ruled out the "silly" proposal.

The Ruddock inquiry was convened in the wash up of the same-sex marriage debate that saw gay couples legally allowed to Wednesday from January this year.

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But anti-marriage advocates insisted the rights of those with strong religious convictions were being trampled on with the much quoted example of a baker who could be compelled to produce a wedding cake for a gay couple.

However they rejected the notion that businesses should be allowed to refuse customers on a religious basis as it would "unnecessarily encroach on other human rights" and "may cause significant harm to vulnerable groups".

Just over half of Australians identified as Christian in the last census, while 30 per cent said they had no religion. "Live and let live", he said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Gay rights activists have slammed the proposal as a shameful assault on equality.

Schools would have to publicly outline their policy on the matter, and the measures could only be used in expelling current students if their parents were warned of the school's policy prior to enrolment.

"Schools should be places of learning, not breeding grounds of prejudice".

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