For release: 30 April 2015
The Australian Christian Lobby has applauded today’s passing of a bill restoring the right of religious freedom to faith-based schools.
This amendment to the Anti-discrimination Act will bring Tasmania into line with other states and territories in allowing faith-based schools to select students who share their ethos.
“In the same way single-sex schools are able to positively discriminate in favour of students of one gender in order to ensure the goals and culture of the school are maintained, religious schools should also have this right in order to preserve their ethos and community culture,” Mr Brown said.
“The proposed changes will support the rights of parents who want to educate their children a certain way, and the rights of those children who share their parents’ faith and values,” Mr Brown said.
“It will also ensure schools can continue to make certain the distinctions that make the school what it is, thereby ensuring diversity in the types of schools available in Tasmania.”
The amendment will not, as some have suggested, unfairly target minority groups within the community but will acknowledge the vital place freedom of conscience and religion has in a healthy democracy.
“Article 18(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) specifically protects the right of parents ‘to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions’,” Mr Brown said.