Law reform of discrimination against LGBTIQ students

BY Adrian Saturday, 13 October 2018

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised amendments of religious discrimination laws against LGBTIQ students. 

A clear messaged has been sent this week, there is no place for such discriminatory laws in Australia. A petition launched by Australia’s LGBTIQ youth charity Minus18, in response to the leaks, received 20,000 signatures in just over 48 hours, highlighting an exception that is out of touch with the views of most Australians.

LGBTIQ rights lobby group Just Equal, released a YouGov Galaxy poll, finding that:

  • 82% opposed the existing discrimination law exemptions that allowed expulsion of gay and lesbian students, and 
  • 79% opposed the schools’ ability to fire teachers if they married a person of the same sex.
  • Furthermore, The YouGov poll found 78% of respondents opposed religious schools’ ability to fire transgender staff or expel transgender students.

The amendments must seek to abolish existing exceptions for religious organisations under State and Federal anti-discrimination laws. These are actively operating laws allowing religious schools to discriminate in several states, including New South Wales and Victoria. These specifically are: 

SEX DISCRIMINATION ACT 1984 - SECT 38 Educational institutions established for religious purpose

  • Nothing in paragraph 14(1)(a) or (b) or 14(2)(c) renders it unlawful for a person to discriminate against another person on the ground of the other person's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or relationship status 

Minus18 calls for the laws to be changed so that any religious organisation that receives public funding can no longer discriminate on the basis of sexuality or gender identity

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