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Freedom from Discrimination
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Pages tagged "schools"
Support Back Our Chappies Bus Tour
· February 13, 2014 11:00 AM
If you're in Queensland, we encourage you to show your support for the national school chaplaincy program by getting involved in the ‘Back Our Chappies’ bus tour, which will be travelling to more than 20 communities across the state. The tour will commence on the 10
of March and run for three weeks.
The tour is run by Scripture Union Queensland (SU Qld) to spread the message of school chaplaincy throughout Queensland.
to find out if the bus is coming to a town near you.
In September last year,
ACL informed supporters of SU Qld being called before the High Court a second time
to defend the national school chaplaincy program.
The case continues, and the High Court will sit in the first two weeks of May this year to hear the case in regards to ongoing federal funding for school chaplaincy.
Thank you for ensuring our school chaplains continue to serve our school communities to bring hope to the next generation.
for more information.
Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 - Liberals move for a general exception for faith-based schools
· December 12, 2012 11:00 AM
about proposed Federal Anti-Discrimination legislation have echoed some of the concerns surrounding a bill before the Tasmanian Parliament to amend its Anti-Discrimination Act.
The two major area’s ACL has concerns with relate to:
1. Extending the “offence to offend” component of the current Act to encompass pretty much any characteristic e.g. age, political affiliation, sexual orientation etc. Currently such terminology is limited to 7 gender specific attributes linked to sexual harassment prohibition.
2. Changes to exemptions for faith-based schools that would threaten the ability of religious schools to maintain their ethos through selective enrolment. The suggested changes would allow schools to apply for an exception if the school was at capacity on a case-by-case basis. Such requirements, we believe, are onerous and not applicable to the majority of faith-based schools who are not fully enrolled.
ACL has been lobbying for the “offence to offend” component of the current Act to be unchanged and the school exemption clause to be a general one i.e. just as single-sex schools can positively discriminate in selecting students of one sex, schools which are set up to serve a particular faith community must be allowed to uphold the purpose and intent of their schools by selecting students of a particular faith, should they choose to do so.
In November the school exemption portion of the amendment bill was voted down (by the Liberals and Greens - for very different reasons) in the lower house while the “offence to offend” changes were passed. The Upper House will debate the bill early in 2013.
The Liberal Party has been very supportive of both of our positions on these proposed changes – particularly on the school exemption question. They agreed that the proposed exemption was not the best option for any of the faith-based or independent schools in Tasmania and would have actually been worse than the current situation for many of those schools (removing the current ability for all schools to apply for an exemption for a defined period).
The Liberals support a general exception for all faith-based schools (removing the need to apply for an exemption) – as currently exists in every other state and will move for the general exception to be made a part of this Bill when debate begins in the Upper House next year.
MR: Freedom of speech and freedom of religion threatened by Tasmanian anti-discrimination legislation
· November 14, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Freedom of speech and freedom of religion will be diminished in Tasmania if amendments to anti-discrimination legislation are passed by the Parliament, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
The Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2012, which is being debated today, would threaten the ability of religious schools to maintain their ethos, ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said.
“In the same way political parties are able to positively discriminate in favour of people who share their ethos, religious schools should also have this right in order to preserve their distinctives,” Mr Brown said.
The proposed changes would deny schools the ability to select students according to the faith and values of students or their parents.
Schools could apply for an exception on a case-by-case basis but the requirements are onerous.
“The proposed changes to the Bill violate 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.
“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".
“Faith-based schools should have the right to determine their enrolments according to their mission and purpose. This is to ensure that the religious ethos and community culture of the school is maintained,” Mr Brown said.
“Instead of case-by-case exceptions, there should be a general exemption allowing schools to select students of the particular faith of the school.
“Just as single-sex schools will positively discriminate in selecting students of one sex, schools which are set up to serve a particular faith community must be allowed to uphold the purpose and intent of their schools by selecting students of a particular faith, should they choose to do so,” Mr Brown said.
The proposed legislation would also expand the prohibition of conduct which “offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults, or ridicules".
Mr Brown said such changes would threaten free speech and open dialogue and increase unnecessary litigation, concerns which are heightened by the experience with anti-vilification laws in Victoria.
“ACL certainly objects to behaviour that incites hatred or ridicules another but to open the prohibition of offence to things like religious or political belief or sexual orientation is a threat to freedom of speech. Who doesn’t get offended or insulted at times by others’ differences of opinion? This is part of living in a democracy,” Mr Brown said.
“Censoring free speech based on hurt feelings is to trivialise discrimination and is political correctness gone mad.”
WA Director Letter to Supporters - November 2012
· November 09, 2012 11:00 AM
The Western Australia Director, Rhys Vallance, letter to supporters in the state is now available online.
“We are past the time of the wars within religion and now face a war on religion.” Greg Craven, Vice Chancellor, Australian Catholic University
to continue reading.
ACT Director Letter to Supporters - September 2012
· September 14, 2012 10:00 AM
The ACL’s Director for ACT Richard Thackway’s letter to supporters in the territory is now available online.
An air of excitement is building in Canberra for the 2012 ACT election on 20 October.
to read the rest of Richard's letter.
MR: Leading UK QC warns teachers who refuse to teach gay marriage will be sacked
· September 11, 2012 10:00 AM
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has renewed its concern about the consequences of same-sex marriage after a
senior UK QC advised
that teachers could possibly be sacked for refusing to endorse it in the classroom.
An expert on religious freedom and human rights, Aidan O’Neill also advised that parents would not be able to pull their children out of lessons if they object to them being taught about gay marriage.
“It is naïve for our government to think that religious freedom would not be challenged in Australia if the definition of marriage is changed,” ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said.
Not only does Mr O’Neill mention the influence it would have on education systems, he also refers to the most serious consequence being felt within the church where vicars and priests could be taken to court if they refuse to conduct a gay marriage ceremony.
“The Government must bring this issue to a head through a vote in the Parliament next week,” Mr Wallace said.
“It is totally irresponsible for a government to create a legal vulnerability to people in the exercise of their fundamental human right of religious freedom and conscience.”
ACL's submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry on sexting
· August 29, 2012 10:00 AM
On 27 August 2012, Victorian Director Dan Flynn presented the submission of the Australian Christian Lobby to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into sexting. Click
to read the submission.
Sexting refers to the increasing practice among young people of taking indecent pictures of themselves and transmitting them to another on smartphones and computers. Significant harm may follow,including harrassment and bullying-particularly when images are forwarded to others.
ACL pointed out that once the image is taken and forwarded the creator has no control over the use that the image will be put to. The dangers of sexting include permanent damage to the subject's digital footprint. Incidents of harassment related suicides resulting from sexting were referred to and recommended that priority should be given to education programs in schools that alert students to the harmful effects.
ACL supports legislative amendment that would currently see young people naively sexting facing charges of creating child pornograhy with potential terms of imprisonment and registration on the Sex Offenders Register for 8+ years, charged with a more suitable offence, in appropriate cases.
However ACL does not support the decriminalising of sexting. Mr Flynn said that decriminalisation would send a message that it is now "ok " to sext and would result in an increase in this dangerous practice.
ACL also submitted that any new legislation must ensure that genuinely predatory adults are placed on a Sex Offender Register when guilty of producing or transmitting child pornography.
The submission called on the Victorian Government to request the Federal Government to implement its promised mandatory Internet filter of "Refused Classification" material-a practical measure to reduce the "sexualisation of culture" and protect children.
The Victorian Law Reform Committee will report to the Parliament later this year.
to read the transcript.
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