Worse still, is the absence of proper process. The Catholic Church should apply for an admistrative exemption from the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner like everyone else. İnstead, in advance of a state election, it has leant on the Government for a legislative exemption that will punch a gaping hole in the Anti-Discrimination Act, put church schools beyond a law the rest of us are expected to obey, and set a precedent for further exemptions on other grounds.
The exemption is not quite as bad as feared. İt only applies to enrollments, and not to students already enrolled. It appears to apply to ‘relıgıous belıef’ as defıned by the student not the school.
But there ıs still a danger the exemption wıll be misused by schools to discriminate on grounds other than religion, lıke sexual orientatıon, lawful sexual activity and (parental) marital status.
At the very least, the Government must state publicly and during parliamentary debate that this exemption should not be misused to justify discrimination against openly gay students, students with unmarried parents, and students using contraception, among others.
İt must also move forward on the other issues that were identified in its review of the Anti-discrimination Act, including stronger protections for transgender and intersex people.
Most of all it needs to explain to those of us who expect more from it, why it is giving the Catholic Church special treatment ın an Act that was intended to foster equality for all.
For more on this issue see Rodney Croome’s previous comments…
The Catholic Church justifies immense public funding of its schools on the basis that this gives parents a choice about how their children are educated. Now the Church wants to take away that choice AND keep its funding. The people who will suffer most are non-Catholic families who swallowed the choice rationale and enrolled their kids at the local parish school. Now they will be sent to the back of the enrollment queue.