Alan Tudge: Protections for teachers are an attack on Christian schools

Alan Tudge

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge has hit out Victoria’s move to protect LGBTIQA+ teachers from discrimination in religious based schools labeling it an “attack on Christians”.

On Thursday the Andrews Government announced that they would move to close gaps in discrimination laws for LGBTQIA+ Victorians.

Currently, religious organisations and schools can sack or refuse to hire LGBTQ+ people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, where this is deemed incompatible with the religious beliefs practiced by that school or body.

The reforms will narrow these exceptions, making it unlawful for religious bodies and schools to discriminate against an employee because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or other protected attribute. Changes to the Victoria laws be similar to longstanding anti-discrimination protections that are in place in Tasmania.

Appearing on the Sky News program Credlin the federal education minister said the proposal would impede on people’s right to freedom of religion and was a blatant attack on Christians.

“We should call this out for what it is, and that is another attack by the Labor party on Christian and other religious schools.” Minister Tudge said.

“The Labor party has form on this, they’ve tried to attack religious schools on funding, but they’ve lost that debate. They’ve tried to attack them by not allowing them to open in certain places, through what used to be known as the ‘New School’s Policy’, but was colloquially was known as the ‘No New School’s Policy’, but they lost that debate.

“Now they are going after recruitment practices and trying to effectively diminish a Christian school, or a religious school, through those practices.” Tudge said.

The Education Minister said the Andrews Government had not taken the issue to the last election and the proposal was a radical departure from current practice. He also questioned why providing employment protections to LGBTIQA_ staff was a priority during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

“I honestly question why this is a priority now, in Victoria, when we haven’t had a normal term here in Victoria since 2019, and we still don’t have a plan to open the school’s here in Melbourne. So why isn’t that the priority we’re talking about, rather than this particular matter.” Tudge said.

Christian Schools Australia say the move is an attack

Christian Schools Australia has labeled the proposed protections for LGBTIQA+ teachers part of an ongoing attack on people of faith.

Alluding to the Victoria government’s laws which banned conversion and change practices in the state earlier this year, the school’s body said the Andrews government had not been content with  “potentially criminalising ‘prayer-based practices’ earlier this year.”

“The Victorian Government’s claims today are farcical,” said Director of Public Policy, Mark Spencer.

“The Attorney-General claims that the proposed changes will have ‘no impact on schools’ ability to convey their religious beliefs to students”,’ he said, “but then goes on to say that it is only where a Court or Tribunal consider it ‘appropriate’ that those schools can hire staff based on the person’s belief.”

“These proposals could fundamentally change the nature of Christian schools”, Spencer said.

“Why is the Government trying to dictate to a Christian school who it can employ or in what role?

“The Attorney-General can choose all her staff on the basis of their political beliefs – why can’t Christian schools simply choose all their staff on their religious beliefs?” Spencer asked.

The Christian Schools Association said the Andrews government was downgrading religious belief to a “second class right”.

Lyle Shelton

Lyle Shelton says there is a “war” being waged on Christian schools

Lyle Shelton, the former head of the Australian Christian Lobby and current Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party commented on the proposed legislation saying that from the moment same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia, a “war” on Christian schools was launched.

“The war on Christian schools began almost immediately after the same-sex marriage legislation passed the parliament in December 2017.” Shelton posted to his website.

Sharing a controversial image from the late cartoonist Bill Leak, which compared gay rights advocates to the German Nazi party, Shelton said the caricature of same-sex marriage activists had now come true.

Shelton said gay rights activists were now harnessing Christian schools to comply with “woke LGBTIQA+ ideology.”

OIP Staff

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