Star Observer – Australia’s PM Accused Of ‘Selling Out’ Over Promise To Protect LGBT Students

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This article was originally published by the Star Observer. You can find the original article here.

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Advocacy groups have urged Anthony Albanese to not delay a bill to protect LGBTQI students and staff in religious schools, with one group accusing the Prime Minister of “selling out” vulnerable students and staff across the country. 

On Tuesday, media reports said that Albanese had told a caucus meeting that he would proceed with changes to Australia’s religious discrimination laws only with bipartisan support from Opposition leader Peter Dutton. 

Advocacy groups said successive governments had failed to remove exemptions in Australia’s anti-discrimination laws that allow religious schools to expel students and sack teachers for being LGBTQI. 

‘Crushing Blow’

Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown said the PM’s reported stand was a “crushing blow” to LGBTQI students and teachers. 

“This will come as a crushing blow for those waiting for better protections including women, people who are divorced or in de facto relationships, and people of faith,” said Brown in a statement.

“We urge the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and all parliamentarians to do the right thing and get these reforms through parliament. The law is out of step with 21st-century community expectations and it’s time for it to finally change,” Brown said.  

‘Election Promise Broken’

Just.Equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome pointed to the Coalition’s past stand on the religious discrimination law and accused the Labor government of breaking its election commitment. 

In 2022, then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison failed to get his flawed Religious Discrimination Bill in Parliament. The Bill was slammed by advocacy groups for allowing religious schools to discriminate against gay and trans students, disabled people, women and minority groups.

Following the Federal elections in 2022, the victorious Labor government tasked the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) ALRC to come up with recommendations to reform federal anti-discrimination laws.  Last year, the ALRC released a Consultation Paper and sought a response from the general public about the proposed anti-discrimination rules that would make it illegal for religious schools to expel students or sack staff for being LGBTQI.

‘Write To The PM’

“In its entire time in office the Coalition failed to protect LGBTIQA+ students and staff from discrimination by faith-based schools, and it’s very unlikely to have changed its mind,” Croome said in a statement. 

“By giving the Coalition a veto over Labor policy, Anthony Albanese has broken Labor’s election commitment and sold out LGBTIQA+ students and staff. It’s deeply disappointing Anthony Albanese has put prejudice ahead of the equal human rights of vulnerable students and hard-working teachers.”

“Last year Albanese walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge to mark World Pride and now he is throwing us off the bridge to appease those who want the right to expel, sack and otherwise mistreat us,” Croome said. The activist urged LGBTQI Australians to write to the PM urging him to stick to his promise. 

“If the Prime Minister is serious about fulfilling his election commitment, he can take simple and quick steps right now to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ students and staff in religious schools,” said Equality Australia Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh. 

“While we continue to wait for the law to change, more people will lose their jobs and more children will be denied leadership roles or be forced to leave school.” 

This article was originally published by the Star Observer. You can find the original article here.

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