NSW

The “Equality” legislation
attacks religious education

The NSW “Equality” Bill attacks religious schools and seriously erodes their ability to maintain their faith-based character.

The bill removes important provisions in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 for the religious freedom rights of religious schools, with regard to the controversial issues of sexuality and transgender.

Parliament has delayed the vote on the “Equality” bill debate until March 14, giving us more time to convince them to reject this bill. 

The NSW Government has already committed to reviewing the anti-discrimination regime and should not support any changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act before this review is complete.

Nevertheless, Alex Greenwich’s “Equality” bill ignores this fact and tries to change the Anti-Discrimination Act by removing all protections for religious schools that allow them to operate according to their faith.

Under this legislation, schools can be taken to court and would need to convince a judge that their actions are ‘reasonable’ when:

  • refusing to employ a Principal, a religious instruction teacher or a chaplain who is transgender;
  • refusing to employ a teacher who publicly moonlights as a sex-worker;
  • not permitting biological boys access to girls’ toilets or change facilities; 
  • a single-sex school and affiliated boarding house seeks to only admit students and boarders on the basis of their biological sex;
  • requiring that boys and girls below the age of thirteen play sport in their own teams and competitions (potentially exposing children to transgender issues against the wishes of parents);
  • teaching a traditional view of marriage, sexuality or gender; 
  • directing a teacher not to teach views which are against the faith of the school;
  • declining to use curriculum approved English texts or sex education resources that promote progressive forms of sexuality; or
  • declining to allow LGBTIQ+ student clubs or to promote Pride days where equivalent clubs or activities are permitted in the school.

In these various ways, the Bill would transfer from the Parliament to the judiciary the determination of important policy issues. Such matters should be determined by the Parliament, according to its democratic mandate. Unelected and unaccountable judges should not be given the final say on such contentious policy questions through the unfettered ‘reasonableness test’.

This bill attacks religious schools.

The bill removes balancing provisions that protect the religious freedom rights of religious schools with regard to sexuality and transgender.

The bill should be rejected in its entirety.

The time to speak up is NOW!

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