After submitting to the Senate inquiry into legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students, teachers and staff ahead of the 26 November reporting deadline, Amnesty International Advocacy Manager Emma Bull said:
“The government has said that it will remove religious schools’ ability to expel students on the basis of their sexuality – which we welcome. This is a step in the right but without extending these protections to teachers and other staff, we are only going halfway to making schools inclusive and welcoming.
“By addressing these issues through amending the Sex Discrimination Act, the government can potentially contribute to the first generation of LGBTQI kids that are safe from entrenched discrimination at school and beyond – a new, secure and accepting world.
“Research indicates that LGBTQI children and young people are more likely than other children and young people to experience discrimination, bullying and abuse and are significantly more at risk of suicide, self harm and mental health impacts as a result.
“This is not about limiting religious beliefs, but ensuring those beliefs are not allowed to manifest through vilification and discrimination, and that the public purse does not fund that discrimination.
“This isn’t just about schools either – any institution that is publicly funded or provides services on behalf of the government, should not be able to discriminate in the provision of those services in in any way.
“The LGBTQI community have been put through a postal vote and multiple inquiries on their human rights in the last 18-months. It’s time for the government to act quickly and decisively”.