The time for vague statements of intent are over, it is time to protect people of faith against discrimination and end the uncertainty for faith-based schools and LGBT students according to Christian Schools Australia Director of Public Policy, Mark Spencer.
‘The Prime Minister is correct in saying that there is no evidence that students are being expelled from faith-based schools simply because they are gay’, Mr Spencer said, ‘as we have been saying consistently for the past five years.’
‘The fear created in LGBT students by LGBT activists, however, is genuine and must be addressed, despite being totally unfounded’.
‘Christian schools care about all students, since these confected fears were first raised in 2018 we have been responding to Government proposals to address those fears’, he said’ ‘yet these proposals continue to be blocked by those who claim to be protecting LGBT students’.
‘People of faith deserve long overdue protections, the Religious Discrimination Bill 2022 would have provided those protections’, Mr Spencer said, ‘it was supported by two Parliamentary Committees, and it was overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives’.
‘We don’t need to start this process again; we need to pass that Bill and make any amendments as part of the built-in review after two years’.
‘With a Religious Discrimination Act in place the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) can then immediately start a review of the Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) and how the two laws interact’, he said, ‘as the drafting of the SDA is clearly open to being misconstrued and manipulated’.
‘The Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader need to give people of faith and LGBT students clarity and certainty in tonight’s debate’, Mr Spencer said, ‘by committing to pass the Religious Discrimination Bill 2022 once the next Parliament resumes and immediately commencing the ALRC review’.
‘If a clear commitment is made tonight by both leaders, people of faith can have protection, faith-based schools can have certainty, and LGBT students can have their fears addressed – all before Christmas’.
‘We are calling on the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader to reject the divisive posturing and claims without evidence and commit to protecting both people of faith and LGBT students’.