“A bill before the Victorian Legislative Council could make it much harder for Christian schools to maintain biblical standards,” FamilyVoice Australia research officer Ros Phillips said today.
“The Victorian Education and Training Reform Amendment (Funding of Non-Government Schools) Bill 2014 would ensure funding for these schools – provided they comply with ‘reasonable’ conditions imposed by an Advisory Council appointed by the government.”
Ros Phillips said the bill sounds fair enough – until people ask the meaning of “reasonable”, which is not defined in the bill. Nor does the legislation guarantee that the Advisory Council will include representatives of Christian schools. In the UK, this type of wording has been interpreted to downgrade or deregister some Christian schools, despite their high academic standards. Their biblical teaching of love and compassion for all students and their families has nevertheless been deemed to fail the “equality and diversity” test.
“Rachel Carling-Jenkins MLC (DLP) has proposed amendments to alleviate these concerns,” Ros Phillips said. “Sadly, the Andrews government seems disinclined to accept them.
“We are urging Education Minister James Merlino (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Victorian Legislative Council to preserve the religious freedom of its citizens and accept the proposed very reasonable amendments to this bill.”
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