For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 22 Sep 2013.
Faith-based schools face a serious potential risk to their existence from a proposed bill to be introduced to the NSW Parliament by independent MP Alex Greenwich.
Mr Greenwich has not released the text of his bill, but in a discussion paper outlines what he intends the bill to do. At face value it appears to seek to remove exemptions to student enrolment such as in areas of sex and pregnancy, transgender, marital status, homosexuality, age and disability. Mr Greenwich wants all students to be treated fairly and given the same opportunities regardless of their background, family make-up, sexuality or personal characteristics.
But these exemptions may also apply to the selection and retention of staff, which is a different issue altogether. The removal of exemptions with respect to employment would significantly impair all faith-based schools in seeking to hold to whatever beliefs they may have in terms of staffing policy.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.