News Item

WA: Effort to stop Christian schools from exclusively hiring Christian staff

The Hon Nick Goiran MLC, has sponsored a well worded parliamentary e-petition to give WA voters a means to voice their strong opposition to the Law Reform Commission’s recommendations which would remove the right of Christian schools to exclusively hire teachers and staff whose values align with the religious ethos of the school.

When the Law Reform Commission’s
Review of Equal Opportunity Act 1984
was tabled in Parliament, the Attorney General confirmed that the McGowan Government had ‘broadly accepted’ the 163 recommended changes to the Equal Opportunity Act 1984. 

For Christian schools, the biggest concern is recommendation 79 which will have the effect of removing the current right of faith-based schools to give preference to applicants who share the faith and worldview of the school.

The LRC wants to restrict the right to ‘discriminate’ to where the state will deem that ‘faith’ is an ‘inherent requirement’ for the role, and a ‘reasonable and proportionate’ test, in line with the Victorian legislation. The report rejected the argument that faith schools should be able to require all staff to hold to and model the faith of the school to the students.

What is particularly galling is that the Law Reform Commission has only recommended narrowing the exemptions provided for religious organisations and religious schools, but NOT for political parties nor for staffing of MPs or Ministers offices. 

Everyone would agree that a Greens Senator should have the right to discriminate and not employ a person who does not believe in ‘climate change’. Under the Law Reform Commission’s recommendations, the Greens Senator can continue to discriminate, and terminate a staffer who has an epiphany and no longer believes in climate change. 

But a Christian school cannot terminate a staff member who no longer embraces and lives by the Christian faith.    

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 18(4) is very clear that signatory states have an obligation to show …. respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardian, to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.

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