Religious discrimination bill set to be amended by Scott Morrison to protect LGBTIQ students

That process involved looking at the repeal of the s38(3) of the Sex Discrimination Act, which gives church schools a legal exemption to discriminate against LGBTIQ students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including by expelling them, if it is done “in good faith in order to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents” of the religion.


As recently as Wednesday, assistant minister to Attorney-General Amanda Stoker reiterated the government’s intention to address the issue after the passage of the bill, telling ABC radio that Citipointe’s conduct was made legal by the exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act.

She said the government “has committed to taking away those exceptions, and we will do it as soon as we have the Religious Discrimination Act in force”.

Senator Stoker said some schools had told her the “only circumstance” in which they would seek to use the exemptions was against “activist” students and families.

“There is a concern that’s occasionally expressed to me by schools about, I guess, the activist family that joins a school, not to become a part of its community, but for the purposes of inflicting change upon an otherwise traditional way of doing things,” she said.


The controversy surrounding Centrepoint Christian College this week prompted a group of moderate Liberal MPs – including Angie Bell, Dave Sharma and Katie Allen – to renew their push for the exemption to be scrapped alongside any vote on the religious discrimination bill. The delicate nature of the balance of power in Federal Parliament means Liberal and National MPs prepared to abstain or cross the floor can significantly influence whether the government brings legislation on for a vote.

The since-retracted Citipointe contract, issued to families on Friday, stated that in line with the school’s ethos it would “only enrol the student on the basis of the gender that corresponds to their biological sex” and reserved the school’s “right to exclude a student from the college who no longer adheres to the college’s doctrinal precepts”.

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