'Awful' plan to reject gay students, teachers

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Church schools in Australia may soon be legally allowed to reject gay and transgender students to protect "religious freedom".

Despite receiving the report over four months ago the government has kept details of what it recommends secret and has declared it's contents must be kept secret while cabinet debates its proposals.

One of the recommendations is that the legislative provisions allowing religious schools to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status should be made consistent around the country.

The leaked review, commissioned after last year's same-sex marriage victory to appease conservative MPs, was not expected to be released until after the byelection.

Wentworth has a large gay community, as well as a significant number of Jewish voters.

"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", Fairfax quoted the report as saying.

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison is being urged to amend the Racial Discrimination Act or create a new Religious Discrimination Act after a report to Government recommended laws banning discrimination against people of faith.

"Schools can not discriminate against a child or a teacher on the grounds of sexuality".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Prime Minister Scott Morrison

"I'm all for religious freedoms, but I can't respect institutions, particularly schools, that turn away children simply because they're gay", says Ben Fordham.

Protection of religious belief already exists in nearly every jurisdiction, except NSW and South Australia.

The review said any amendments would only apply to new students, and that schools should still make chldrens" welfare the "primary consideration of its conduct'.

Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek told ABC it was a "disturbing proposition".

Senator Derryn Hinch says schools that throw out gay teens or teachers should be stripped of government funding.

"It's hard to comment without seeing the report, but our general proposition is Labour doesn't expand discrimination opportunities", Ms Plibersek said. "We shouldn't even be having this debate", said opposition leader Bill Shorten.

"We do not think that children should be discriminated against", Mr Morrison told Sky. The report apparently warns the government off making any radical changes to anti-discrimination laws such as allowing businesses such as bakers or florists to refuse to service customers because they are opposed to same-sex marriages.

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