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Religious freedom review finally

Religious freedom review finally

Former attorney-general Philip Ruddock was given the job to sort out the many problems the Turnbull rushed SSM legislation was guaranteed to cause. Fairfax Media’s Jewel Topsfield seems to have a doomsday opinion of the report with this: The contents of the report – seen by Fairfax Media – are unlikely to placate conservatives and religious leaders, and will trigger concern within the LGBTI community about the treatment of gay students and teachers. It takes very little to “trigger concern within the LGBTI community” as we have seen with irksome monotony. Given the number of queers sitting in parliament in league with Labor and the bloody Greens we should not expect too much. After all, it was a minority of less than 5% of the population that won the day showing us yet again how orchestrated hype can trash democracy.

Religious schools would be guaranteed the right to turn away gay students and teachers under changes to federal anti-discrimination laws recommended by the government’s long-awaited review into religious freedom. However the report, which is still being debated by cabinet despite being handed to the Coalition four months ago, dismisses the notion religious freedom in Australia is in “imminent peril”, and warns against any radical push to let businesses refuse goods and services such as a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Source: Fairfax Media

Religious freedom review enshrines right of schools to turn away gay children and teachers

The review was commissioned in the wake of last year’s same-sex marriage victory to appease conservative MPs who feared the change would restrict people’s ability to practise their religion freely.

Former attorney-general Philip Ruddock has been appointed to ensure religious freedoms are protected as the government pushes ahead with legalising same-sex marriage.

The contents of the report – seen by Fairfax Media – are unlikely to placate conservatives and religious leaders, and will trigger concern within the LGBTI community about the treatment of gay students and teachers.

The report calls for the federal Sex Discrimination Act to be amended to allow religious schools to discriminate against students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status – something some but not all states already allow.

“There is a wide variety of religious schools in Australia and … to some school communities, cultivating an environment and ethos which conforms to their religious beliefs is of paramount importance,” the report noted.

“To the extent that this can be done in the context of appropriate safeguards for the rights and mental health of the child, the panel accepts their right to select, or preference, students who uphold the religious convictions of that school community.”

Any change to the law should only apply to new enrolments, the report said. The school would have to have a publicly available policy outlining its position, and should regard the best interests of the child as the “primary consideration of its conduct”.

The panel also agreed that faith-based schools should have some discretion to discriminate in the hiring of teachers on the basis of religious belief, sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status.

The religious freedom review, which was handed to former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in May, received more than 15,000 submissions.

The panel was chaired by Howard government attorney-general Philip Ruddock and included the Australian Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher, former Federal Court judge Annabelle Bennett, human rights lawyer and priest Frank Brennan and constitutional law professor Nicholas Aroney.

The authors rejected several measures demanded by conservatives, including some which were unsuccessfully floated as amendments to the same-sex marriage legislation passed last year.

The panel did not accept that businesses should be allowed to refuse services on religious grounds, warning this would “unnecessarily encroach on other human rights” and “may cause significant harm to vulnerable groups”.

The review also found civil celebrants should not be entitled to refuse to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies if they became celebrants after it was was legalised.

The review does not recommend any changes to the Marriage Act. Nor does it recommend a dedicated Religious Freedom Act – championed by several major Christian churches – which would have enshrined religious organisations’ exemptions from anti-discrimination laws.

“Specifically protecting freedom of religion would be out of step with the treatment of other rights,” the report found.

However it did recommend the government amend the Racial Discrimination Act or create a new Religious Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of a person’s religious belief or lack thereof.

The panel said it had heard a broad range of concerns about people’s ability to “manifest their faith publicly without suffering discrimination”.

This included wearing religious symbols and dress at school or work, communicating views based on religious understandings, obtaining goods and services and engaging in public life without fear of discrimination.

The report also recommends federal legislation “to make it clear” that religious schools cannot be forced to lease their facilities for a same-sex marriage, as long as the refusal is made in the name of religious doctrine.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month told Fairfax Media new religious freedom laws were needed to safeguard personal liberty in a changing society.

“Just because things haven’t been a problem in the past doesn’t mean they won’t be a problem in the future,” he said.

While the panel accepted the right of religious school to discriminate against students on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, it could see no justification for a school to discriminate on the basis of race, disability, pregnancy or intersex status.

It said the states should abolish any laws that allowed for discrimination against teachers or students on this basis.

Religious schools already enjoy exemptions from discrimination laws when it comes to hiring teachers in all jurisdictions.

Some religious groups argued these exemptions should be retained while LGBTI groups – who told the panel of the stress and mental health pressure on teachers forced to hide their identity – called for them to be repealed.

“(An) example was given of an employee at a religious school who was employed despite being open about being same-sex attracted,” the report said. “Later, when the leadership of the school changed, that teacher was dismissed on the basis of his sexuality.”

Last year’s same-sex marriage victory triggered the religious freedom review.

The panel found that when it came to employment in religious schools, “undoubtedly the most difficult issue” was exceptions for sexual orientation and gender identity and marital status in light of the passage of marriage equality.

It recommended the Commonwealth law be amended to allow this discrimination, but only if the school had a publicly available policy.

“For the panel, the key to the maintenance of existing exceptions (to discrimination law) is clarity and transparency…”.

The report also recommends the states ensure existing same-sex teachers are not discriminated against if they get married to a same-sex partner.

The panel also found that blasphemy laws are out of step with a modern, tolerant, multicultural society and should be abolished, and said there was an absence of any concrete indications that funding to faith-based charities was under immediate threat.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Penguinite 10/10/2018, 6:33 am

    Fence sitting TOSH

  • luk1955 10/10/2018, 6:59 am

    As the Federal Constitution states that marriage is between a man and a woman, the new SSM act is a violation of Constitutional law. The Constitution can be amended by a vote of the public plus all the legislatures, but the ssm was done this way to eliminate the rejection of this outlandish law. And since when should a Catholic school hire a moozie teacher when the islamic koran states that it is necessary for moozies to kill infidels? islam is a political ideology, and this can be easily proven by quoting from the koran, that bible of hatred and jihad widely sanctioned by western governments in their attempts to destroy western society and replace it with sharia law which would grant enormous powers to western states to remove our civil liberties.

    • Penguinite 10/10/2018, 7:44 am

      Sadly, Luk, governments manipulate and abuse us every day but the Turnbull act on homosexual marriage was an atrocious and deceitful move. This report is just another ruse to cloud our collective judgement.

    • Finn 12/10/2018, 6:55 am

      Oh, it’s alright to employ a Muslim teacher in a Jewish cool. As long as he does not listen to those stupid rocks calling out to him to kill the Jewish kids hiding behind it. (Hamas articles)

  • Rubyred 10/10/2018, 8:27 am

    If you look at the composition of the so-called Panel you will see the hand of the ex-PM.
    How on earth did Fairfax get to see it anyway?

  • Pensioner Pete 10/10/2018, 8:29 am

    Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act
    (The Constitution)
    Chapter I The Parliament
    Part V Powers of the Parliament
    Section 51 (xxi) marriage;

    Effectively giving the Parliament of Australia the power to legislate on marriage.

  • DT 10/10/2018, 8:38 am

    Mansion was determined that one day he would manipulate to change the Marriage Act to permit SSM. At the stop turnbull.com website his ambition is covered.

    And of course SSM is part of the UN agendas to dilute societies, divide and conquer.

  • DT 10/10/2018, 8:40 am

    During the Howard Government terms the Marriage Act was reinforced by adding that a marriage is between a man and a woman, both sides supported it.

    • Pensioner Pete 10/10/2018, 9:04 am

      MARRIAGE ACT 1961 – SECT 5

      (1) In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:

      “marriage” means the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

  • bushwanker 10/10/2018, 9:40 am

    Those who practice the abominable acts of homosexuality, paedophilia, zoophillia & necrophillia belong in the greatest depths of hell.

    • Graham 10/10/2018, 2:13 pm

      BW, I agree entirely but nowadays if you object to any perversion you are labelled as a ‘Deleon or Reactionary’. So called ‘Progressives’ see the march towards deviant behaviour as the natural order of things. As a society, if it is allowed to continue, there is only one outcome and it’s not nice.

  • DB8R 10/10/2018, 4:45 pm

    The ‘teacher’ who is crying fowl about being dismissed as a teacher from a Christian school based on their sexual behavior needs to a. Read their New Testament properly b. Believe in Christ by faith (this is a miraculous gift) c. Repent (metanoia gr. “turn around and go the other way”) in their lifestyle. d. Develop their newly found relationship with God (based on obedience, knitting in with a faith filled community. If that were the case then the person would not have been practicing homosexuality. Good on the school for making a stand.

    What what the ‘teacher’ thinking? Not only was homosexuality a grievous sin in the OT; in the new testament it is one that is clearly and repeatedly warned against. Grace and Mercy are for a distinct purpose. To forgive yes, but much more – to miraculously transform a person from inside out (something the Old Covenant could not do). This of course means that if someone is practicing a homosexual lifestyle (and saying they are a Christian) – they have yet to become a Christian (a Christian is elected, called, chosen, transformed, renewed, sanctified, seated with Christ in heavenly places, ruling and reigning over their carnal appetite, empowered, led by the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, full of God’s word and so much more…). In other words whilst all Christians can still stuff up – our Christ filled conscience always wins out in the end. We ‘want’ to get right with God. This person really had no idea of Christ, nor of the Word of God as they ‘protest’ the very notion of their behaviour being wrong!

    I am convinced that the real church is being driven underground (in the same way it has been and is in China, Russia, Iran etc).

    What is interesting is the Church started that way (Acts 2 v 39 onwards). It was not about beautiful buildings, steeples, Pagan decorations and ‘Clergy/Laity’ disctinctions. These are from the world, paganism and false religion. (Constantine being the main advocate for making the church more ‘wordly’). The New testament only speaks of ecclesia (gr.) for its definition of ‘church’. Ecclesia are ‘called out ones’. The Church was called “The Way”. And they met in homes.

    Therefore whilst we need to protest against the atheistic ‘creep’ that is going on in the West (and in its “Laodicean” congregations) – we also need to see the hand of God at work in refining his church to the bride that it is meant to be before his triumphant return. Most of that is best served in the home churches or smaller ‘non denomantional congregations’ (eg did you know that ‘Communion’ is actually a meal in homes called a “Love Feast” in which bread was eaten and wine served for the remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on a cross and our salvation?).

    Worthwhile study for those interested…

    • OPA 10/10/2018, 5:23 pm

      Excellent comment! As a matter of fact, I have copied it on my facebook page: Adrian Rietdyk.

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