Howard: Don’t fund schools if parents can’t opt kids out of classes

Former Prime Minister John Howard has called for the de-funding of schools that don’t allow parents to remove their children from classes that don’t align with their values.

In a submission to the government’s Religious Freedom review, which is due to report on Friday, Howard said both private and public schools should have funding withheld should parents not be able to opt their kids out of classes.

“Speaking practically, the preferable approach would be for the Commonwealth government to make it a condition of funding for both government and non-government schools that parental rights of this kind be respected,” Howard wrote.

The former PM also said that the federal government should also pass legislation that permits religious schools to hire staff who “support the ethos of the bodies employing them.”

Earlier this week, a new Galaxy Poll commissioned by LGBTI+ advocacy group just.equal was released, showing that a large number of Australians were opposed to special discriminatory rights for religious schools.

82% of those questioned were against church schools having the right to expel LGBTI students, while 79% were against LGBTI teachers who marry under Australia’s amended Marriage Act.

Speaking to Melbourne’s 3AW Radio on Tuesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his former leader’s submission would not be considered, as he was unaware of any schools where parents were unable to remove their kids from sexual education classes.

“I think the universal practice around the country is to give parents that right, as they should have that right.”