Discrimination in Schools

The Senate is undertaking an inquiry into discrimination by faith-based educational institutions.

The Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee was tasked on Wednesday with undertaking the inquiry to report by 26 November.  This is the first sitting day of the final fortnight of Parliamentary sittings for the year.

The Terms of Reference for the inquiry are to report on –

‘Legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students, teachers and staff, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and other attributes covered by the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, with particular reference to proposals for amendments to current legislation, and any related matters.’

The inquiry is likely to be highly political and many question the need for a further inquiry when the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom has so recently concluded a far more extensive review.

In addition to making a submission on behalf of member schools CSA has been invited to participate at public hearings in Melbourne next Monday, 19 November.

Individual schools can make a submission to the Senate Inquiry if desired.  Submission details and more information can be found on the Committee’s website.

If schools are making submissions we strongly encourage you to focus on the need to –

  • ensure our staff share our faith, our values and beliefs and can share that in their life and relationships within the school;
  • teach from a Biblical perspective, including about issues or morality, sexuality and sexual conduct – but not limited to them;
  • enforce behavioural standards within our community consistent with our faith, values and beliefs.

In addition, it will also be important to denounce and repudiate the suggestion that ‘gay’ students being expelled from our schools.

It is likely that any school which makes a submission can expect from response from activists.  All media enquiries can be directed to Mark Spencer, Executive Officer Policy, Governance and Staff Relations.

We would also appreciate a copy of any submissions made.