St Andrews Christian College asks parents to vote for ‘fundamental rights’

St Andrews umbrella organization Christian Schools Australia launched a campaign this week urging the winner of the May 21 federal election to resurrect the religious discrimination bill, which was defeated in February with the help of five lawmakers. moderate liberals who crossed the floor of parliament.

Christian Schools Australia also wants the next government to deal with exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act that allow faith-based schools to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, and then pass amendments to the law.

The school is in Alan Tudge's constituency.

The school is in Alan Tudge’s constituency.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

This would address concerns that religious schools could use the act to discriminate against LGBTQ students, said Christian Schools Australia public policy director Mark Spencer.

But Spencer said faith schools should have the right to hire and fire employees based on their adherence to the school’s religious values ​​and beliefs.

“We have employees in our schools who are same-sex attracted but understand and accept that living an authentic biblical life, living their faith, needs to be a temptation they don’t respond to,” Spencer said.

“And they choose to do that, they choose to seek their identity in Christ more than their same-sex attraction, and these employees fit entirely within our school context.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will revive the religious discrimination bill if the Coalition wins the election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will revive the religious discrimination bill if the Coalition wins the election. Credit:James Brickwood

St Andrews Christian College is in the safe liberal headquarters of Aston, east Melbourne, occupied by Alan Tudge, who stepped down as education minister after allegations he had mentally and physically abused a woman he was having an extramarital relationship with. . case. Tudge confirmed the case, but denied the allegations of mental abuse and assault.

Tudge has Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s backing to return to the portfolio if the Coalition wins the May 21 election.

Morrison vowed this month that he would revive the religious discrimination bill if the Coalition were returned to government.

Deb James, secretary of the Independent Education Union Victoria Tasmania, said that almost all non-governmental schools “are open, diverse and welcoming, and don’t need or want laws that give them the right to discriminate against a trans student, a single parent. teacher, a gay lab technician or a classroom assistant undergoing IVF treatment.”

“Religious school staff and students deserve better-than-second-rate protection from discrimination and bigotry, and they certainly deserve more than having their rights exploited as a cynical political wedge in an election campaign,” James said.

Equality Australia’s chief executive Anna Brown said faith-based organizations should no longer be able to fire or lay off LGBTQ+ employees who could do the work required of them.

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“[It] remains legal under federal law for faith schools and other faith-based organizations to discriminate against students, faculty, staff, and people who access services simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Brown said.

“Whoever forms the government in this election must act quickly to reverse these outdated exclusions in the Sex Discrimination Act to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people by religious organizations.”

St Andrews Christian College was contacted for comment.

If you or someone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counseling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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