Media release: Discrimination Bill delayed

3 December 2018

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm today supported the Government’s call to delay the vote on Labor’s sex discrimination amendment that will, among other things, ban non-government schools from excluding or expelling gay or transgender students.

“The Bill is poorly drafted and needs further careful consideration,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“Rushing a sub-standard Bill through the Senate for the sake of getting it passed before Christmas — or before the next Federal election — is legislation on the run and not acceptable.”

Senator Leyonhjelm said Labor’s Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018 was misguided.

“While discrimination against children on the basis of their sexuality is abhorrent, it is not the government’s place to dictate to non-government schools what criteria they must place on the enrolment of students,” he said.

“It is preferable that schools that preach homophobia, be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Callithumpian, remain free to express their religious principles so that parents can make informed decisions on the type of education they want for their child and vote with their feet accordingly.

“What parent would want to send their gay child to a school that believes he or she is an abomination anyway?”

Senator Leyonhjelm said while the libertarian principle of equality before the law demanded government bodies not discriminate against people on the basis of sexuality or gender, non-government schools should remain free to express and exercise their beliefs and tenets, regardless of how unfair or obnoxious other Australians who do not share those views might find them.

“We all discriminate against others every day of our lives,” he said.

“We form opinions and make decisions based on our beliefs and our prejudices and no amount of government legislation is going to change this basic human behaviour.

“Forcing homophobic behaviour underground by legislating against open discrimination in private schools will have no positive net effect on the psyche of any young person struggling with their sexuality.”

Media: Kelly Burke 0408 734 586

Kelly.burke@aph.gov.au