CURBING DISCRIMINATION IN RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

The Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has recommended legal changes to significantly limit the circumstances under which religious educational institutions can discriminate against their employees.

Currently, these schools are allowed to discriminate based on factors such as sex, sexual orientation, and marital status. The Federal Government tasked the ALRC with determining the best approach to implementing its policy, which dictates that educational institutions adhering to the doctrines of a particular religion must not discriminate against staff based on specified attributes, while still permitting religious preference in employment.

The commission's report, released last Thursday, suggests bringing federal law into alignment with state laws to prevent such discrimination while still permitting religious preference in hiring.

This means that religious schools can continue to prioritise hiring staff who share the same faith.

Key recommendations include repealing provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act and amending the Fair Work Act. The Attorney-General supports the changes and the importance of non-discrimination while respecting religious freedoms.

The IEU has welcomed the recommendations and is urging swift action to implement the changes.

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