Just.Equal have questions for Labor’s Mark Dreyfus

Mark Dreyfus

Rights organisation Just.Equal Australia has written to Labor’s Shadow Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, asking him to clarify Opposition policy on LGBTQ+ teachers in faith-based schools.

Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said Labor’s stance during the Religious Discrimination Bill debate was at times vague, contradictory and discriminatory.

“Labor made it clear it would protect LGBTQ+ students, however, its position on teachers and other workers in faith-based organisations is worrying,” Croome said.

The organisation says it has concerns over a statement released by leader Anthony Albanese in February.

“Labor would protect teachers from discrimination at work, whilst maintaining the right of religious schools to preference people of their faith in the selection of staff.” the Labor leader said.

Croome said the statement suggests working LGBTQ+ teachers and staff could be protected from discrimination under a Labor Government, but that faith schools will be permitted to deny employment to LGBTQ+ teachers and staff at the point of recruitment.

Just.Equal says they are also concerned that Labor also voted for a section of the Coalition’s Religious Discrimination Bill that overrode existing discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ teachers in faith-based schools in Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and Queensland.

Rodney Croome said, the party had previously said it would not override state based discrimination laws, so it’s actions when debating the Religious Discrimination Bill need to be explained.

“We have written to Mr Dreyfus asking him a series of questions to clarify Labor’s confused and worrying position.”

“We want to know if a Labor Government will prohibit all discrimination against LGBTQ+ teachers including at the point of recruitment.”

“We want to know if a Labor Government will respect existing state and territory laws protecting teachers in faith-based schools.”

“And we want to know if a Labor Government will rule out allowing faith-based schools to discriminate against LGBTQ+ teachers under cover of a school’s ‘religious ethos’.” Croome said.

Just.Equal has also asked if Labor will protect LGBTQ+ employees working in faith-based services such as employment and housing providers, charities, health centres, and aged care facilities.

“Labor has so far made no public statements with regard to LGBTQ+ workers in publicly funded faith-based services.”

Rondey Croome said Just.Equal will continue to highlight the policies of all political parties, and seek improvements, in the lead up to the federal election expected in May.

To take Just.Equal’s federal election priorities survey click here.

OIP Staff

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