Monday, 15 October 2018

Gov pressured to can discrimination against LGBT teachers in religious schools

The backfire of the marriage equality postal survey continues on against the far RWNJ's in the gov. 

First they thought the plebiscite would delay action on marriage equality into the foreseeable future as the senate rejected it. Then they became so pressured to act on it, they dreamed up the postal survey brain fart, thinking that only old people mail letters and the results would be skewed against gay marriage and that there was a "silent majority" out there that were to scared to say they were against it. 

Then when the postal survey returned a resounding Yes vote, they thought they could replace the months long negotiated bill with a lunar right marriage inequality bill penned by the Australian Christian Lobby and Lyle Shelton. When that failed they thought they could get through amendments to the marriage equality bill to protect religion. 

When that failed they then demanded the Ruddock religious freedom review (done without LGBT representation) thinking that they could get their religious freedom amendments through the parliament that way. And when some of the religious freedom review's recommendations were recently leaked to the media, they completely underestimated the strong reaction of Australians against them.

At first PM Mad Morrison (one of the far RWNJ's) stood steadfastly saying repeatedly that to discriminate against LGBT kids in religious schools was "existing law" and all he wanted to do was to enshrine that in Federal legislation that would override any state laws already in place. Well we all know how that worked out.

Australian's were so aghast that these laws were actually in existence in some states that there was a forthright demand in the public space to ditch these outdated laws. With the gov in trouble in this weekend's Wentworth by election Mad Morrison had no choice but to capitulate. And so was the latest backfire from the far right of the gov.
No better example than the recommendation that garnered headlines last week: adjustments to the Sex Discrimination Act that would enshrine, but also clarify, the ability for schools to reject or expel gay students. It's a freedom religious schools have long enjoyed under federal law, because they are exempt from the usual anti-discrimination rules. However, some states deny schools this power.

Regardless of the law, it's not an area schools want to get into. Catholic educators immediately made it clear they've got no desire to punt kids for being gay. Many people – probably most people – didn't even realise this power exists. Ruddock proposed tinkering with a religious freedom most voters didn't know about – and now that they do, they probably think it should be scrapped altogether.

 It took a day or two, but Morrison now wants it scrapped too. It appeared untenable on Thursday when he told radio host Neil Mitchell he didn't think it was a good law but he wasn't going to get rid of it, just "fine tune" it. By Friday, Morrison remembered he is now chief-law-making-guy and vowed to kill off religious schools' right to expel students because of their sexuality.

And so the great irony of Ruddock's religious freedom review is that its first consequence has been a reduction in religious freedom, spurred by the realisation that even the current latitude given to the churches is out of step with the community. The narrative has turned around: existing exemptions are now under the microscope. The whole thing has spectacularly backfired. Canberra Times
But it continues now. After the long held privilege of religious schools being legally able to discriminate against gay students was so suddenly killed off, it took a mere number of hours for the question to be asked in the national debate, why is it OK for religious schools to discriminate against teachers? Who can be fired for being gay.

The Greens have long held this position, but now the Labor opposition has decided that now is the time to also remove the right of religious schools to discriminate against LGBT staff.
Mr Shorten this morning called on the government to extend the legislation, to stop religious schools discriminating against gay students, to include teachers. 

With the Government and Opposition united in a move to remove the power, Bill Shorten today flagged his intention to go further. 

And while Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and Wentworth candidate, Dave Sharma, have both backed teachers, Mr Morrison didn’t. Nine News
And so the dominoes begin to fall....  

Yet Mad Morrison still resists, even going against members of his own party. As he would being a Pentecostal fundie. This is hallowed turf for him. Surely religious schools shouldn't have to hire people on merit instead of their sexuality! What blasphemy is this? He's made it clear his kids are in a private religious school to keep them away from the dreaded gays. And now the dreaded gays may be at the doors!

But again he puts himself in an impossible situation. He wants the Australian people to accept that religion, and religion alone, should have the special privilege of discriminating against hard working teachers who've dedicated their working lives to teaching children. Discrimination only on the basis of their sexuality. Well that's going to go down like a lead balloon. 

Indeed people are asking now, that why in a secular society that Australia is, do these archaic laws even exist anymore? The religious freedom review has had the exact opposite effect that the far RWNJ's wanted; namely to reduce religious freedom.

Even if the opposition doesn't get the teacher's bit included in the legislation, Labor has promised to pass it if it wins gov. And I don't think that time is too far off. Only about 6 months left now if the gov stretches it right out until May when it must go to the polls.   

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