PIAC’s submission built on our previous submissions to the Religious Freedom Review, and a previous Senate Inquiry into discrimination against LGBT students and teachers.
This includes calling for the adoption of best practice anti-discrimination legislation, such as the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, which:
-Prohibits discrimination by religious schools against LGBT students and teachers while
-Allowing discrimination by religious schools on the basis of religious belief in the admission of students and employment of teachers and other staff.
In our submission we support Labor’s Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018 to protect LGBT students against discrimination, while also supporting the amendment put forward by Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick clarifying the scope of ‘religious educational institutions’.
We also support the amendment put forward by Greens Senator Janet Rice to amend the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) to protect LGBT teachers and other staff against discrimination, while noting the need for additional amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to achieve this outcome.
We recommend that the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee reject the five sets of amendments put forward by the Government, on the basis that they would increase the complexity of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, allow discrimination against LGBT students to continue, and fundamentally undermine the intention of the Bill.
Finally, we call for legislation to protect LGBT students and, hopefully, teachers to be passed as a matter of priority, rather than for the issue to be referred to the Australian Law Reform Commission, which the Government has proposed as part of its response to the Religious Freedom Report.