Victoria vows to fight for laws that make it unlawful to sack LGBTIQA+ staff

Victoria’s Attorney-General Jacqueline Symes has promised the local LGBTIQA+ communities that the Andrews government ‘has their back’, vowing to fight any challenge to the state’s recently added protection for LGBTIQA+ students and teachers.

“I hope that with this long-overdue change all LGBTIQ+ Victorians can live authentically free of fear and in no doubt that laws such as this also have their back,” Symes said in relation to the new laws which passed the state’s upper house last week.

The Equal Opportunity (Religious Exemptions) Amendment bill passed the states upper house on Friday 22 votes to 12. The amendment means government funded religious bodies will prohibited from refusing services to LGBTIQA+ people because of their sexuality.

It also make it illegal for schools to discriminate against staff members because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or other protected attributes. Schools will be limited in making religious belief a requirement for employment, now it can only be applied where religious belief is critical to the job, such as teaching religious studies.

Similar laws are already in place in Tasmania, but both states face the prospect of their laws being overturned if the federal government’s Religious Discrimination bill is passed. The Victoria government has indicated that if that were to occur they would consider launching a High Court challenge over the validity of the federal laws.

Under Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Religious Freedom bill religious bodies would be allowed to discriminate of the basis of religious belief as long as they had a publicly available statement of belief outlining how the areas where they chose to discriminate linked to religious beliefs.

OIP Staff

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