Australian PM: Religious schools can reject gay students

Australian PM Scott Morrison

Mr Morrison said the proposals - which have not yet been debated by cabinet - would be considered "carefully and respectfully".

The leaked review, commissioned after last year's same-sex marriage victory to appease conservative MPs, was not expected to be released until after the byelection.

Today's events have indicated that more members of the media may have accessed report than members of the cabinet, and the government has been hit by a barrage of calls for the report to be released.

There was also a suggestion that religious-based schools should have discretion to discriminate in the hiring of teachers on the basis of religious belief, sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status.

Religious schools would be guaranteed the right to reject gay students and teachers through changes to anti-discrimination laws recommended by a long-awaited review into religious freedoms.

The report, which is chaired by former attorney-general Philip Ruddock, was ordered by Prime Minister Scott Morrison after the legalisation of gay marriage prompted fears that people's religious freedom may be infringed.

However, the review states that religious schools should not discriminate students or teachers on the basis of their race, disability, pregnancy or intersex status.

'There is a wide variety of religious schools in Australia some school communities, cultivating an environment and ethos which conforms to their religious beliefs is of paramount importance, ' the report stated.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he couldn't believe the prime minister hadn't immediately ruled out the "silly" proposal.

"The fact of the matter is that every child is entitled to human dignity".

"We're going to protect religious freedom and we're not going to allow discrimination against children", he said.

They are contained in a report into religious freedom that was commissioned after same-sex marriage was made legal past year.

The Yes (to same-sex marriage) Campaign said redefining marriage would have "no consequences" for other peoples' beliefs.

Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek said expanding discrimination was a "disturbing proposition".

Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter said in a statement Wednesday that the report does not propose creating any new exemptions for religious schools to discriminate on the basis of sexuality, nor does it make any changes to the regime now in place.

Gay rights activists have slammed the proposal as a shameful assault on equality.

However, the review appeared to have stop short of allowing businesses to opt out of serving LGBTI people on religious grounds, as this would "unnecessarily encroach on other human rights" and "may cause significant harm to vulnerable groups" reported Fairfax.



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