LGBTIQ Australians Reject ‘Compromises’ In Government’s Religious Schools Bill


lgbt+ pride network

LGBTIQ Australians are overwhelmingly opposed to provisions in the federal government’s legislation that would allow indirect discrimination against LGBTIQ students and staff in religious schools, according to a new survey.

Advocacy group just.equal polled almost 2000 LGBTIQ Australians across all demographics and found around 94.5% opposition to the leaked Government legislation which bans discrimination against LGBTIQ students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity but allowing “indirect” discrimination on the basis of “religious ethos”.

According to the survey, 95.2% of those opposed to this proposal said they would rather wait for better legislation.

Over 90% of respondents also want teacher, other staff and parents to also be protected from discrimination.

Just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome said the results of the survey were “an emphatic ‘no’ to any compromises that allow for continued discrimination.”

“The message to lawmakers is clear, if you want to tackle discrimination tackle it all,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month vowed to scrap the law allowing religious schools to discriminate against LGBTIQ students but the legislation to do so was delayed over concerns it didn’t go far enough.

The government’s bill caused alarm because while it removed the capacity of faith-based schools to directly discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, it allowed “indirect” discrimination on the grounds of a school’s religious ethos.

The legislation also fails to protect teachers, other staff or parents from being sacked for being gay.

The just.equal survey was submitted to the Senate inquiry into discrimination in faith-based schools that is due to report in the next few days.

‘No exemptions for publicly-funded schools’

Almost a quarter of the respondents to the just.equal survey explained their reasons for their opposition to all discrimination.

The most common was that faith-based schools should not have special exemptions from discrimination law while in receipt of public funds.

Some respondents wrote about their personal experiences of discrimination in faith-based schools.

Others wrote that the suitability of staff and students should be based on their behaviour and abilities not their sexual orientation or gender identity.