Tasmanian News

Review targets gay teachers and students at religious schools

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Faith-based schools could be given greater rights to refuse gay teachers and students, under changes recommended by a review into religious freedoms.

The Ruddock Review of religious freedoms has made the recommendation.

Tasmanian gay rights campaigner Rodney Croome is disturbed that gay teachers in faith-based schools currently shielded by state laws would be impacted.

“They feel protected by our laws, they feel that they have the same rights as everyone else. If that was to be watered down than that would put them in a much less secure position. They would be judged not according to their ability as teachers but according to their sexual orientation which should be completely irrelevant,” he said.

Institute of Public Affairs Director of Policy Simon Brehny said schools must be given the right to choose their students and teachers.

“Freedom association is a two way street. Just as you have the right as a parent or a child to choose your school, I think schools also have the right to choose their students,” he said.

Campaigner Rodney Croome said Tasmania’s state laws, which have been in place for 20 years, have been working well for our schools.

“No faith-based school has complained about that, the sky hasn’t fallen in. In fact, it’s made our schools and community in general much more inclusive and much safer places. I think that the Tasmanian model of not allowing discrimination should be adopted nationally, rather than have our anti-discrimination laws brought down in the way that the Ruddock inquiry has proposed,” he said.

Cabinet is still debating the findings, after receiving the report four months ago.

Image supplied: Tracey Nearmy, AAP.

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