Plaintiff lawyers call for amendments to Sex Discrimination Act
20th Nov 2018
The national peak body for plaintiff lawyers has called for the removal of exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act so that every child can safely attend any school without experiencing discrimination based on their sexuality or gender orientation.
“Every child has a right to education, irrespective of their sexuality or gender identity,” said Noor Blumer, National President, Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA). “Allowing organisations to discriminate, directly or indirectly, is a serious erosion of this right to education.
“Balance can be achieved that respects a faith-based school’s right to maintain its religious ethos without discriminating against its students.
“We know that the damage caused by discrimination at school can have long-lasting and serious consequences for LGBTI people. The law is there to protect people from the harm and disadvantage that can be caused by discrimination and so these exemptions need to be removed.”
The ALA is calling for the repeal of the section 38 (3) exemption which allows for discrimination by faith-based schools. In addition, the ALA is proposing that section 37 of the Act is amended so that it is clear that section 37d does not apply to schools.
“Discrimination law is complex and fully removing the exemption in the Act is the best way to avoid further confusion,” said Ms Blumer. “The current exemption is just unnecessary as there other are already laws in pace that allow private schools to impose reasonable conditions on students to uphold their values.”
The ALA has made a submission on this issue to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee. Read out submission here: https://www.lawyersalliance.com.au/documents/item/1407