House debates

Wednesday, 9 February 2022


Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2021; Consideration in Detail

4:18 am

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts) Share this | Hansard source

The government does not support this amendment. The government's proposed amendments, which I will move shortly, give effect to our commitment to ensure that no child is expelled from their school due to their sexual orientation. In considering the ongoing appropriateness of other existing religious exemptions, it's necessary to balance the rights of all people to be free from discrimination in education with the rights of religious institutions to conduct their affairs in a way which is consistent with their religious ethos. Such a task is complex and requires consultation across all sections of the community. In particular, we must protect against unintended consequences to ensure that religious single-sex schools are able to operate in accordance with their purpose and their religious ethos. Practical matters, such as appropriate facilities and pastoral care must also be considered.

This is why the government has referred an inquiry to the Australian Law Reform Commission to consider the current framework of religious exemptions in Commonwealth, state and territory anti-discrimination law, including the Sex Discrimination Act. In the government's view that is the appropriate forum in which to consider these important matters.


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