Gay advocates push for anti-discrimination laws
ADVOCATES for WA’s LGBTI community have rejected the State Attorney General’s claims that he is unable to stop discrimination against gay teachers and students until he considers a Commonwealth review into religious freedom.
The LGBTI Advocacy Group WA raised the issue of discrimination in private schools after a recent incident involving South Coast Baptist College teacher Craig Campbell, who was removed from the school’s relief teacher roster after his students discovered he was gay.
Spokesperson Brian Greig said Attorney General John Quigley had responded to the lobby group’s call for action by saying he would do nothing about the loophole in WA’s Equal Opportunity Act until he considered the outcome of the Federal review chaired by former Howard government minister Phillip Ruddock.
“The Attorney General has no excuses not to act immediately on fixing this State law; it’s a cop-out and the agenda of the State Labor Government should not be driven by the Federal Liberal Government’s priorities,” Mr Greig said.
“All that is required is a one-sentence amendment to Section 73 of the WA Equal Opportunity Act that strips private and church schools of the right to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender history and marital status; it can be drafted in 10 minutes.”
Mr Quigley said the State Government did not plan to change the section.
“The Federal review will likely touch on issues relevant to any discussion of whether section 73 of the Equal Opportunity Act should be amended,” Mr Quigley said.
“Section 38 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) provides a very similar exception to section 73 of the Equal Opportunity Act and it is anticipated that as part of the federal review, the scope, effect and appropriateness of section 38 will be considered.”
The federal review is expected to be completed by March 31.