Schools Can Hire Faith Based Teachers Under Religious Discrimination Bill, Says Alan Tudge | Australian education
Education Minister Alan Tudge said the federal government’s revised religious discrimination bill will allow schools to hire on the basis of faith, but they will not be able to discriminate on other characteristics, such as sexuality.
As the government signals its intention to have the legislation passed through the Senate by the end of the year, former Labor Senator Jacinta Collins is also urging Labor to support the right to affirmative action in employment for faith-based institutions.
But even though Labor backs the movement for denominational schools, the passage of the revised bill by Parliament is complicated by the inclusion of a controversial ‘statement of belief’ clause that will prevail over other anti-discrimination laws. states, territories and the Commonwealth.
The government removed the controversial Folau clause, which would have protected employers from claims of indirect discrimination if they sanctioned employees for misconduct for expressing religious beliefs. But he retains a similar measure for qualified organizations.
Moderate MPs still reserve the right to speak on the legislation, which will be presented to the Coalition Party Hall when Parliament resumes next week.
Tudge defended the decision to protect the right of schools to employ people of their own faith, but said that would not extend to allowing a Catholic school, for example, to discriminate against a gay teacher.
“It wouldn’t be legal under our bill,” Tudge told Sky News on Wednesday.
“So the bill will certainly allow religious schools to employ people of their own faith – now that’s a core principle at play here, because… you can’t be a Catholic school if you can’t. employ Catholic teachers, you can. You can’t be a Muslim school without employing Muslim teachers.
“So we plan to protect this very critical right for schools to be able to employ teachers of their own faith. “
He said it would replace existing state and territory laws “if necessary.”
When asked if it was appropriate for this to mean that a Catholic school could refuse to hire a Muslim math teacher, Tudge replied that it was about “the overall values of the individual.”
“If a school has a set of religious values that it conveys, then it should be able to employ teachers who have values consistent with these articulated principles.”
Collins, now director general of the National Catholic Education Commission, has welcomed any proposal to allow schools to consider teachers’ faith in their initial employment and throughout their employment.
“I would expect Labor readiness to support religious freedom legislation,” Collins told Guardian Australia, citing his platform.
The Labor Party platform declares that it recognizes “the right of religious organizations to act in accordance with the doctrines, principles, beliefs or teachings of their faith” and that “these rights must be protected by law” and be submitted only the limitations necessary to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
Collins, a strong supporter of religious freedom in Parliament, noted that in 2018 Labor backed symbolic second reading amendments recognizing the right of schools to uphold their ethics.
But she acknowledged that there were “nuances around how this is expressed and that the greater complexity will be this matter of state priority”, meaning if a positive right in federal law define institutional ethics will take precedence over state anti-discrimination laws, such as the Victoria Equal Opportunity Laws. .
Regarding gay teachers, Collins said there was no intention to use the provisions of the ethos to discriminate on grounds such as sexuality, which is “not at all a problem or an evil. in our schools “.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he did not support discrimination on the basis of religion but would not support measures that “increase discrimination in other areas”.
Collins noted that the Folau clause had been removed from the bill, which should make it easier for Labor to support “reasonable provisions to support freedom of religion”, but added “what exactly this implies remains to be seen” because the bill had not been published and had not been published. I did not pass the Coalition ballroom.