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Govt stands by school discrimination of LGBTI youth

Media Release
Penny Wright 25 Jun 2013

The Labor Government has refused to acknowledge government anti-discrimination policy may have a direct impact on LGBTI students, said Australian Greens spokesperson for education and legal affairs Senator Penny Wright.

In Question Time today, Senator Wright quizzed the Government on exemptions that allow religious schools to discriminate against LGBTI students.

"Education Minister Peter Garrett this morning called for same sex marriage to be legalised to spare some Australian teenagers from bullying," Senator Wright said.

"But the Federal Government is setting the opposite example on this by allowing religious exemptions from discrimination laws to continue.

"On the other side of the chamber we have Shadow Attorney General George Brandis saying religious freedoms should trump freedom from discrimination.

"Labor's response today did nothing to condemn those comments.

"The Australian Greens are standing up for LGBTI youth and we want to fix Minister Garrett's Australian Education Act to ensure anti-discrimination laws are in force at every school.

 "Given the institutionalised discrimination through exemptions, it is not surprising there are significantly less protections for LGBTI students against bullying in religious schools.

"There are LGBTI kids in every education system in Australia and research shows homophobic bullying and abuse has worsened in the last decade.

"The Australian Greens say all students should be safe from bullying at schools. The Federal Government must set the right example and end the anti-discrimination free pass for religious bodies receiving Commonwealth funding."


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