Christian Schools call for action on Religious Discrimination laws


A group of organisations representing Christian schools is urging the Albanese government to quickly bring in proposed religious discrimination laws citing new research that they claim shows overwhelming public support for the legislation.

The Australian Association of Christian Schools (AACS), Christian Schools Australia and Associated Christian Schools jointly commissioned the report and they say it shows there is strong support for the laws.

The latest commissioned by the group shows seventy five percent of the respondents support the right of a religious school to employ teachers and other staff who support the clearly stated values and beliefs of the school.

They claim that over two thirds of Australians believe that Australian laws should protect the right to hold and practice religious beliefs, and support is strong amongst young voters.

The report says 62 per cent of younger voters (18-24) support this right, with the highest support (77 per cent) in that age bracket from those with postgraduate university qualifications

The survey says that 88 per cent of those actively practicing a religious faith supported these protections, but they were still supported by a majority of voters without any religious faith.

Australian Assocation of Religious Schools Executive Officer Vanessa Cheng said Prime Minister Albanese should make addressing religious discrimination a top priorty of his government.

“We are calling upon Prime Minister Albanese to deliver on the ALP’s election commitment that his government will prioritise preventing discrimination against people of faith and maintain the right of religious schools to preference people of the same faith in the selection of staff,” she said.

“We hope and pray that an Albanese Government can succeed in achieving this overdue reform for people of faith where the Morrison Government failed.” Cheng said.

Christian Schools Australia Director of Public Policy Mark Spencer said Australians regardless of their political persuasions wanted the laws to be introduced.

“The support for protections across all party lines and amongst those without a religious faith is reassuring,” he said.

“Parents with children in a faith-based school clearly understand the importance of ensuring staff share the school’s beliefs, with nearly 90% expressing support for protecting that right.”

The poll commissioned by the organisations representing religious schools found strikingly different results to polls commissioned by LGBTIQA+ rights groups. A poll undertaken by You Gov Galaxy on behalf of Just.Equal found little support for the most recent Religious Discrimination legislation put forward by the former Morrison government.

That poll found that 64% of those surveyed did not support religious-based schools being allowed to expel students who were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or take action against the students if their parents were in a same-sex relationship. There was a similar level of support for teachers with 62% of people being opposed to faith-based schools removing teachers who they discover a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Opposition to harmful speech in the name of religion was higher among Labor voters. The survey showed that 81 per cent of Labor voters did not support provisions for religious based speech, and 75% per cent opposed enrolment discrimination.

Back in February, after the Morrison government shelved its long promised Religious Discrimination bill, Anthony Albaese said Labor would deal with the issue if elected to government, but stopped short of declaring it a legislative priority.

“The issue of making sure that everyone is free from discrimination is an issue that’s dear to Labor’s heart. That includes people of faith. You can do that without increasing discrimination against others,” Albanese told ABC radio.

OIP Staff

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