Gay ad­vo­cates push for anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws

The Advocate (Perth) - - NEWS -

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.

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