Activists, parliamentarians and trans children arrived at Australia’s parliament on Wednesday (24 October). They called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make good on a promise to ban LGBTI discrimination in schools.
Earlier this month, Morrison promised to make legal amendments to make clear that religious schools should not be allowed to expel LGBTI students.
It came following the release of a controversial federal review which recommends granting religious schools the right to reject students on the grounds of their sexuality.
‘Where is the bill?’ asked senator Janet Rice of the Greens as she called on the Prime Minister to make good on his promise.
Morrison promised in the run up to hotly-contested by-elections in Wentworth, Rice explained.
‘There is one day of parliament left, so he better hurry. Time is ticking, Prime Minister’, the senator said in a statement.
If Morrison fails to introduce a bill in this session, the Greens will introduce a bill and ‘do his job for him’, she said.
Rice was joined in Australia’s capital, Canberra, by senator Tim Storer and representatives of the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC), Parents of Gender Diverse Children (PGDC), and Rainbow Families.
Transgender and gender diverse children also joined the group.
It’s time to end discrimination against #LGBT students and teachers in schools’ HRLC senior lawyer Lee Carnie said on Twitter.
PGDC said ‘our transgender children and their teachers to be treated with respect, dignity and fairness’.
It was so great to meet these three wonderful trans kids. They’re the ones religious schools can expel because of who they are. That’s just not on.@ScottMorrisonMP you promised to end this discrimination this week. Time’s ticking ⏰#greens #auspol @rightsagenda @PGDCsupport pic.twitter.com/aEN5VvFFpv
— Janet Rice (@janet_rice) October 24, 2018
Thank you to everyone who stood by us today as we asked @ScottMorrisonMP and the government for our transgender children and their teachers to be treated with respect, dignity and fairness @janet_rice @rightsagenda @HumanHeadline @storertim @Louise_Pratt @RainbowFamVic pic.twitter.com/TPJINY0UYs
— PGDC Australia (@PGDCsupport) October 24, 2018
We call on @ScottMorrisonMP to bring on the bill to remove discrimination faced by LGBTI young people at faith based schools just like he promised he would. Senators Rex Patrick @janet_rice @Louise_Pratt @HumanHeadline @storertim @rightsagenda @PGDCsupport pic.twitter.com/kdvSP4cKhx
— Rainbow Families (@RainbowFamVic) October 24, 2018
On 13 October, Morrison said the attorney general would begin making amendments to current law to remove religious exemptions.
He said the issue would be raised in parliament within two weeks.
Currently, religious schools in some states are allowed to discriminate against staff or students based on the sexuality or gender identity.
‘Our government does not support [the] expulsion of students from religious non-state schools on the basis of their sexuality,’ Morrison said.
A heated debate surrounding LGBTI discrimination in schools come after the publication of a long-awaited federal review into religious freedoms.
The review recommended that the Sex Discrimination Act to allow religious education establishments could legally turn away LGBTI students or staff.
This angered LGBTI Australians, their allies, and rights defenders, who were concerned it could override anti-discrimination laws in place in some states.
The review was launched last year by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to appease religious and conservative groups following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia.