Australia: Labor to support bill to stop faith schools from expelling students based on sexual orientation
The Labor party in New South Wales is to back a bill which would remove protections for private schools wishing to expel or discriminate against LGBT students.
The private members bill was introduced by Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich back in July, which would stop faith schools from being allowed to discriminate, by removing exemptions from the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.
The act makes it unlawful for public schools and educational institutions to discriminate against, or expel students based on sexuality or gender identity. Private schools are exempt from the act, however.
An education spokeswoman for Labor, Carmel Tebbutt, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the party had decided against a conscience vote on the issue, and that it would support the party outright.
“The vast majority of non-government schools do the right thing and do not discriminate against students. However, consultation undertaken by Alex Greenwich MP has highlighted some examples of students who have had poor experiences or been subject to bullying at school,” she said.
“Labor believes it is important to support this bill to demonstrate our support for tolerance and diversity and to send a clear message that discrimination against any student is unacceptable.”
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The future of the bill, however, remains uncertain, as the Liberal party is yet to give an opinion on the matter. The Liberals have said there will not be a conscience vote on the issue, but the party has not decided on what its stance will be.
Mr Greenwich welcomed Labor’s decision and also said that he hopes the bill will be supported by the Australian Government..
“This is an issue that should be above politics and about vulnerable students who are negatively affected by discrimination,” he said.