Published: Fri, October 12, 2018

Philip Ruddock clears up controversy on review suggesting schools ban gay children

Philip Ruddock clears up controversy on review suggesting schools ban gay children

THE State Government has announced a review of WA's "outdated" equal opportunity laws amid an escalating debate about the ability of religious schools across the country to discriminate against gay teachers and students.

"We have not sought concessions to discriminate against students or teachers based on their sexuality, gender identity or relationship status".

"This idea that there is discrimination in Australian religious schools is false". "We're not proposing to change that law to take away that existing arrangement".

"Storm of the century" Hurricane Michael rips roof off hotel on live TVIt said: 'There is a wide variety of religious schools in Australia and ... to some school communities, cultivating an environment and ethos which conforms to their religious beliefs is of paramount importance.

'To the extent that this can be done in the context of appropriate safeguards for the rights and mental health of the child, the panel accepts their right to select, or preference, students who uphold the religious convictions of that school community'.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he couldn't believe the prime minister hadn't immediately ruled out the "silly" proposal.

Mr Morrison - a devout Christian - previously said he wanted to take a "proactive approach" to protecting religious freedom.

Religious schools already have exemptions to discrimination laws that allow them to exclude gay people in several states, including NSW, but not in others like Queensland.


However, a long-awaited review of whether religious freedoms are adequately protected in Australia has recommended that exemptions for religious schools be trimmed.

"Everyone of faith feels the pressure ... it's a constant pressure from the left of society on people of faith", he said.

The review - led by former Liberal MP Philip Ruddock - was completed five months ago but the Government has refused to release it publicly until it has been considered by Cabinet.

Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek said expanding discrimination was a "disturbing proposition".

"As a human being and as a mother, the idea that adults would be discriminating against or rejecting children seems to me pretty very bad", Ms Plibersek told Sky News earlier today.

"The Ruddock inquiry recommendations are direct and shameful assault on the dignity and equality of LGBTI people and we will oppose their implementation tooth and nail".

He says the recommendations made to the government suggest if certain schools wish to continue to turn away students and teachers based on their sexuality, they need to make it "abundantly clear".

It also found that businesses should not be allowed to refuse service to customers on religious grounds because it would "unnecessarily encroach on other human rights" and "may cause significant harm to vulnerable groups", Fairfax reported.

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