Expelling gay students in NSW; restoring a discrimination free-for-all in Victoria

I’m not sure why anybody is surprised – this is exactly the exemption that the religious lobby here in Victoria fought so hard for last year:

A SENIOR Anglican bishop calls it “appalling” and a gay and lesbian rights group condemns it as “deeply offensive”, but the Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, backs a NSW law that allows private schools to expel gay students simply for being gay.

Through a spokesman, Mr Hatzistergos, described the 30-year-old law as necessary “to maintain a sometimes delicate balance between protecting individuals from unlawful discrimination while allowing people to practise their own beliefs”.

I suppose if a school community believed in expelling all the christian students, they’d be fine with that?

Respecting people’s beliefs is one thing. Permitting them to rely on those beliefs to discriminate in fundamental areas of life – like employment and education – is quite another.

And remember, this is 2011. That’s a present government Minister defending a law that lets schools expel kids just for being gay. Not for being disruptive, or argumentative, or in any way actually expressing their sexuality (as they bloody well should have as much right to do as any other student) – just for being gay and being found out and having had parents who put their educational futures in the hands of people who want them to hate themselves and therefore should have no business having children put in their care at all.

There is no excuse for this kind of cruelty to kids, and anyone who thinks their beliefs require them to do such a thing really needs to have a look at what kind of person they’ve become.

ELSEWHERE: And in Victoria the supposedly “moderate” Baillieu government is quickly revealing its true colours as it winds back even the extremely limited reforms Labor made in this area:

THE Baillieu government is preparing to restore unlimited rights to religious organisations to discriminate against gays and lesbians, single mothers and people who hold different spiritual beliefs…

Under the Labor reforms, for instance, a religious welfare agency that refuses to serve a same-sex couple must prove how this action conformed to its faith, or a Catholic school that refused to employ a single mother as a receptionist must show why the job was important to following the school’s faith.

But this so-called ”inherent requirements” test would soon be scrapped, Mr Clark said in an interview with The Sunday Age.

Because it’s vital to a religious school’s functioning that the lesbian receptionist be sacked.

Funnily enough, I doubt they’d be happy with secular schools sacking Christian receptionists…

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16 responses to “Expelling gay students in NSW; restoring a discrimination free-for-all in Victoria

  1. Religion what a scourge on humanity. When will we rid ourselves of this insanity? But of course anyone who has as they say “Been around” knows full well the adherents to this nuttiness, are the worst offenders in the pleasures of the flesh.

    The priests and other clergy inject their madness into children by the use of religious blow jobs and anal injection. Then after their pleasure, they all sit around in the parlour “More tea vicar?” is heard above the cacophony of wails and not to subtle insults against our Gay community.These f&*(%$# have the ear of government, and would have the telephone number of the P.M.

    They make me wanna puke.

    I would take the lot of them out and put them up against a wall and execute them. But hey this ain’t 1917, and that would make me as bad as them. However having them all certified insane and locked up would go a long way to some, sorry sanity.

    Fu&^! I feel better already.

  2. Expect to see more of it the long-term Labor governments are slowly overturned, state by state, for simply being in power too long. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but there seems to be a trend where conservatism in Australia is slowly being infiltrated by the same sort of conservatism that constitutes the Tea Party in the U.S.

    There they have states where religion, in becoming desperate not to be made totally redundant, are gaining power and winding back everything liberals have fought for. Things like, education, health care, equal rights, and freedom from religion.

    I’m not looking forward to the next 10-15 years in this country, because Labor is on the nose and the Libs can probably cruise into power without revealing their true desires: theocracy.

  3. And there, folks, is a perfect example of why the ‘conservatives’ do not want a Bill of Rights.
    Without legal protections, everybody is fair game to the whims of the government of the day.

    Cheers

  4. “Funnily enough, I doubt they’d be happy with secular schools sacking Christian receptionists…”

    This I would like to see!
    Better yet, a mass expulsion of christian kids from all public (ie secular) schools. Would they recognise the inherent absurdity? The hypocrisy?
    Or just see it as some kind of excuse for a holy war. I think it is worth finding out, don’t you?

    Any principals out there have the balls to pull that one off?

  5. “There they have states where religion, in becoming desperate not to be made totally redundant, are gaining power and winding back everything liberals have fought for. Things like, education, health care, equal rights, and freedom from religion.”

    Indeed the rot has already set in. The following from a well known cracker jack right wing blog.

    “what you misunderstand is that if the religious faith is a part of the curriculum then a “well qualified” teacher with no faith is actually unqualified to teach at that school. Its as simple as that in my book and there is no issue of discrimination.
    You must also realise that all teachers are expected to provide a good example of the school philosophy not only in words but in the way they live their lives, I know this because I am married to a teacher.”

    This is the kind of twisted logic society is up against. The contradiction here is breath taking. I guess if you are teaching in an Islamic school, you are expected to plan suicide missions. All of us on the progressive left will have to be vigilant. We, if not careful, will have the insane take over the asylum. Interesting times ahead.

  6. Garrett’s review of the National Chaplain program will be an interesting barometer of how far the pro-discrimination side has its hooks into the political classes.

  7. ““what you misunderstand is that if the religious faith is a part of the curriculum then a “well qualified” teacher with no faith is actually unqualified to teach at that school. Its as simple as that in my book and there is no issue of discrimination.
    You must also realise that all teachers are expected to provide a good example of the school philosophy not only in words but in the way they live their lives, I know this because I am married to a teacher.””

    That’s moronic. Under the Victorian legislation that Baillieu is changing, the schools already had the power to sack teaching staff, for example – all they had to do was draw a nexus between the role and the behaviour. But Baillieu’s making it even easier – there isn’t any link between the gardener’s sexuality and his job, but certain religious organisations want to sack him anyway. And the state Libs want to help them do it.

    You live in fear and secrecy, gay people! Live in fear and secrecy!

    As for the idea that parents have chosen to send their kids to such a school – well, the kid didn’t choose it. And it’s the young person who is going to suffer the damage of their school expelling them, with all the disruption to their education, their loss of friends – it’s about punishing those kids for being gay, and forcing them to live in silence. And, hello, have we not heard of the massively increased likelihood of suicide in gay teenagers? Way to make that worse.

    Any school that would treat a student with such contempt, such irresponsible hatred, has no place being in a position of care or responsibility over young people.

  8. There’s a few things a law like this completely and utterly ignores:

    * Children don’t generally have any say in what school they attend
    * People don’t realise they’re gay at the same age. You might end up attending a Christian school from the age of 12 and not realise you’re gay until your late teens – when a change in school would be detrimental to your education, friendships and self-esteem
    *These school receive Government funding. Our tax dollars. No school that seeks to expell the children of parents they receive tax funding from should receive a single cent in Government funding. Not one cent. How can they argue that they should be allowed to expell people who are paying them TWICE, purely on the basis of a childs sexuality?
    *If a Christian school wants to expel whoever they want on the basis of sexuality, then they should not be eligible for state-funding. End of. They cannot expect to operate outside of the expected norms of the rest of the education system and still receive funding from it.

  9. No Divorcees to be employed at Catholic Schools! Sinners out!

    Anyone who liked Brokeback Mountain to be sacked from AoG schools…

    Any other headlines you can think of that might be a result of this change?

  10. “If a Christian school wants to expel whoever they want on the basis of sexuality, then they should not be eligible for state-funding.”

    Sod state funding. They should not be in a position of care over any students at all.

    Education is compulsory in Australia. We recognise that every child deserves and should receive a full, competent, reasonable education. They are not getting that when their school can kick them out at a moment’s notice if they happen to discover they’re gay.

    Any school that would do such a thing should not be recognised by the Education Department as providing an adequate educational service.

  11. I usually have a fairly strong libertarian impulse, but in this case I agree with Jeremy. Schooling is like healthcare – it’s a basic right and a necessary service, and those who provide it should simply not be allowed to discriminate against children on the basis of religious belief, sexuality or race. Period.

    I suppose in practice it would be difficult to ban schools that do discriminate on such grounds, but geez I’d like to see someone try.

  12. jordanrastrick

    The state funding thing is relevant – if for no other reason that it puts the discrimination on constitutionally shaky ground. I’d like to see some of our high court judgements on our establishment clause to get a sense of why it’s been interpreted so much more narrowly here than in america.

    To be honest I think there’s more tension from a libertarian view with the rights of non-gay kids to not grow up indoctrinated as homophobes. Naieve Libertarianism as a rule doesnt deal well with the existence of parties who aren’t fully capable of rational consent, which is why they like to fantasize that eg Szasz is 100% right about psychiatry. Kids though are the most glaring example – the state isn’t allowed to protect their rights at all if you’re a card-carrying Ayn Randite, which means parents have carte blanch to teach their offspring that Jews eat babies, or beat them if they don’t do chores, and all that other loveliness.

    Jefferson was, notably, in favour of a completely public universal education system.

  13. narcoticmusing

    Same sex attracted young people are three times more likely to attempt suicide; six times more likely in rural and regional areas. http://www.headspace.org.au

    “…gay and lesbian young people account for as many as 30 per cent of completed youth suicides each year.” It is because of a “… society that stigmatises homosexuality and fails to recognise a substantial number of young people have a gay or lesbian orientation. Theoretical models linking suicide risk to stress and alienation tend to support this view.” – Suicide Prevention Task Force Report 1997 [40] (available from health.vic.gov.au).

    Given this, let us consider for a moment, the Christian perspective:
    Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”
    Now, some Christians may talks about being gay being sinful, but Jesus answered that in respect to adultery in a very famous passage in John 8:7 “…Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her…”

    But what of all those laws gays break you ask? Doesn’t that exclude gahs from Romans 8:1? Well, no… Romans 8:3,4 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

    Hmm… perhaps Christ is a hate filled, bigoted god? Well, we could consider the Christian’s favourite passage, John 3:16
    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I don’t see a caveat here about gays… hmm… am I not looking hard enough?

    Galations 3:28? “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ”

    I wonder if God realised that that Christians would put a caveat on all of that, that says something like ‘oh as long as you aren’t gay… or a woman (despite females being specifically mentioned)… or whatever the particular group is we hate today’. Doesn’t really fit with the whole good samaritan approach that Jesus taught about does it?

    Christians – what do you think your God thinks of all your hate? These are young people and children you are condemning. Here’s the thing, Jesus told you the answer to that too:
    Matthe 18:6 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
    IE – if one of these kids (you know, little ones) that attends a Christian school is gay, and you condemn them for it, then you are better off putting a stone around your neck and being drowned compared to what God thinks of you.

    I can manage to comprehend this without being homosexual or Christian. Why is this so difficult for the Christians?

  14. A letter in today’s SMH says it all about Jim Wallace’s position:

    “Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby says it is a ”loving response” to suggest that a gay student ”search for alternatives” or leave a school (”’Appalling’ law lets schools expel gay students”, February 12-13). Imagine you are 15, you have been at a particular school for years and have friends there, but you have come to realise you are attracted to the same sex. That’s a significant challenge for any young person.

    To be told at that point to somehow change your sexuality (an impossibility) or leave the school is the opposite of loving; it is cruel, spiteful and ignorant.

    No wonder suicide rates among gay young people are so high.”

    AS North Manly

  15. I think Keri has a really good point re: funding. I resent my tax dollars paying for people to discriminate against gays.

  16. Splatterbottom

    All of Keri’s points were good points.

    On funding, while this factor exacerbates the issue, the real issue is discrimination. Protection should also extend to any institution that offers services to the public.

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