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Speech: legalised discrimination against LGBTQI+ students and teachers

Speeches in Parliament
Mehreen Faruqi 15 Oct 2018

Last week I thought I'd woken up in the 1950s. The Ruddock review into religious freedom recommended that the ability for religious schools to legally discriminate against LGBTQI students and teachers be entrenched in federal law. We already know the horrific consequences that such laws have for people in our community. Young people in all schools are receiving the very public message that they are not accepted. LGBTQI students feel they have to live their teenage years in silence and hide their identity for fear of being expelled. For teachers, laws that allow discrimination mean they're forced to live double lives and constantly worry about the risk of losing their job if they are outed. We seriously have to ask the question—and this is what the motion proposes—whether schools which discriminate on any basis should get a single cent of public money. We know there should be no discrimination, full stop, against students, teachers, parents or staff. If any school or organisation chooses to accept public funding, they must also accept the secular values of our society and what the community wants. Our schools should be places where social inequality is undone, not entrenched, where all students are accepted and where staff are able to teach as themselves and instil an appreciation of all people in their students.

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