Whilst the Albanese government works toward delivering the promised Religious Discrimination Act to protect religious freedom in our nation, they have tasked the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) with a review of Australia’s federal Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) which they hope will provide clarity regarding potential competing rights.
On Friday 9 December, ACL’s National Director of Politics, Wendy Francis, accompanied by our legal counsel, Christopher Brohier, and Queensland Director, Rob Norman, met with the Hon Justice Stephen Rothman AM in his role as ALRC Commissioner, appointed to oversee the review of the SDA.
The meeting afforded us a welcome opportunity to outline to Justice Rothman the tremendous concern that exists, particularly among the faith-based school sector. For example, fundamental to the effective running of a Christian school is the ability to operate under, and communicate faithfully, a Biblical worldview.
Currently, exemptions exist in the SDA which allow a Christian school to navigate the cultural clash of philosophies that exists between teaching a biological (Christian) understanding of male and female, and the popular worldview which teaches that sex is not binary and that children can choose what sex they want to be.
If exemptions such as this were removed, with no balancing clauses added, it will lead to the end of effective faith-based schooling.
Justice Rothman was generous with his time and attention and assured us that he understood the complex nature of the task assigned to him. We continue to work with the ALRC and the Government as recognised stakeholders in this space. Thank you for your support.