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News Article

Discrimination bill would undermine fundamental freedoms
Friday, August 30, 2013

“Sydney Independent MP Alex Greenwich’s bill to remove discrimination exemptions for private schools would undermine fundamental freedoms of association and religion,” FamilyVoice NSW state officer Graeme Mitchell said today.  

On 28 August Mr Greenwich gave notice that he would introduce the bill in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly.  His website says: “Schools… should not be a place where children and young people are subject to discrimination, unfair treatment and left exposed to abuse or bullying.”

“I agree that no student should be subject to bullying or unfair treatment,” Graeme Mitchell said.  “But sadly, even state schools cannot be relied upon to protect against it.

“On 26 February this year, a drag queen visited Burwood Girls High School as part of an official Proud Schools celebration.  Students were encouraged to support gay marriage by signing a ‘love heart’ mural – and we have been told that those who declined to participate were bullied by other students.  It would appear that the Proud Schools program may have contributed to an increase in bullying, contrary to the NSW government’s stated policy.

“Freedom of religion, enshrined in UN conventions, means that parents have the right to determine the religious and moral education of their children,” Mr Mitchell said.  “It means that parents with biblical values have the right to choose a school that supports these values.  The Greenwich bill would seriously undermine this fundamental right to choose.”

Graeme Mitchell said that officers from FamilyVoice Australia have talked with many Christian school principals in past years.

We have never yet encountered a principal who would expel a student merely because the student was sexually attracted to others of the same sex,” Mr Mitchell said.  “However it would be different if the student caused problems for others by continually flaunting his or her sexual preference.  A student who behaves inappropriately towards opposite-sex students would also face censure.  Principals we have known would always deal sensitively with both situations.

“If students and their parents are unhappy with the school’s ethos, they are free to choose another school.

“We need to encourage respect and stamp out bullying, but Mr Greenwich’s bill is not the solution,” Graeme Mitchell said.   


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