Former PM John Howard calls for schools to retain religious exemptions

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard has called on the government to retain provisions that allow schools to fire teachers who do not meet the standards of their religion.

The former Liberal leader said schools should be able to hire people based on their religious beliefs in the same way that it is accepted that people working for political parties will have shared values.  Howard made the comments while speaking to religious group Family Voice Australia on Tuesday night.  His comments were reported in The Guardian.

Last week Liberal backbencher Kevin Andrews spoke to the same group and shared his understanding that Attorney General Christian Porter is about to release the latest iteration of the government’s controversial religious freedom bill.

Speaking to the group Howard said people in authority in Australia had to stand up to ‘woke culture” and moves to “alter society”.

“I’m hopeful when the government finally produces its legislative formula to deal with this issue is the absolute right of faith-based schools, whether they be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic or the like, the absolute right of those schools to teach the precepts of the faith which guides that school.” Howard told the group.

The former PM said he hoped that federal legislation would protect schools rights to hire and fire people with protections similar to those enjoyed by political parties.

“I wouldn’t expect the Labor party to employ somebody in their office or on the staff of a Labor member who was a card-carrying member of the Liberal party.

“I think that the Labor party is perfectly entitled, the same as my own party, perfectly entitled to say well we’re not going to employ somebody who is barracking for the other side.

“Everybody accepts the common sense of that. Well, if you accept the common sense of that, why can’t you accept common sense that religious schools are entitled to require a general assent to the beliefs of the particular religion that inspires the teaching of that school?”

Howard also used his appearance to criticise Victoria’s laws banning conversion therapy, urging people to lobby politicians to have the legislation reversed.

“If people believe it goes too far – and on the face of it seems to me completely unnecessary legislation, and something that interferes potentially with individual rights and parental rights and parental responsibilities – they should voice those concerns as vigorously as they want to, to any member of the Victorian upper house they can get their eyes on,” he said.

“Particularly on the Liberal-National party side of politics, because they have some capacity to affect the legislation, and thus far I haven’t seen enough evidence that they’re doing anything much about it.”

While Kevin Andrews has claimed the government is preparing a new version of the religious freedom legislation, Attorney General Christian Andrews has told the media that the bill would be introduced at “an appropriate time”, but would not provide a time-frame.

OIP Staff

Love OUTinPerth Campaign

Help support the publication of OUTinPerth by contributing to our
GoFundMe campaign.


Tags: , , ,

You must be logged in to post a comment Login