Joint Submission to Equal Opportunity exemptions review in SA

19 February 2016 | Author: CSA Canberra

As indicated in our earlier briefing the South Australian government, through the South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI), is once again reviewing the exemptions protecting the freedoms of Christian schools in South Australia.

SALRI, on a reference from the South Australian Government, has undertaken an audit that identified ‘the many current South Australian laws that discriminate or potentially discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or intersex status’. The Audit Paper was prepared by SALRI following a review of all South Australian laws, ‘followed by extensive consultation by SALRI with LGBTIQ individuals and community organisations and included a [limited] public submission process’.

SALRI subsequently released an Issues Paper focussing on the ‘effect of exceptions under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) South Australians’.

In a comprehensive submission by CSA and Adventist Schools Australia (ASA) to the Issues Paper we:

  • Emphasised the importance of religious formation as part of the education provided within Christian schools;
  • Described the implications of this approach for staffing within these schools;
  • Reiterated the importance of religious freedom and the protections for this freedom in international and domestic law;
  • Discussed the problems with the current form of protections with the Act for this freedom;
  • Analysed the proposals in the Issues Paper for alternative approaches;
  • Proposed an alternative option which we consider provides a better solution and a more equitable balancing of rights.

The submission also points out some of the significant flaws identified in the process undertaken to date and some of the conclusions drawn from that process and looks at the context of the issues raised within the broader consideration of the impacts on the South Australian community.

A copy of the submission has been circulated to all South Australian schools.