Divisive Faux Outrage Harms Schools and Staff

26 July 2022

More confected outrage is being reported today about the unsurprising expectation that Christian schools should want to employ Christian staff.  Breathless headlines exclaim that ‘Teachers could be sacked ..’ and LGBTQ activists claim ‘flagrant disregard of state law’ in today’s Herald-Sun article, simply as a result of schools being open and transparent with their staff.

‘The Australian Government can advertise for staff who “share the values and priorities” of the new Government and not a comment is made, said Mark Spencer, Director of Public Policy at Christian Schools Australia, ‘yet LGBTQ activists want to deny faith-based schools the same rights’.

‘The Expert Panel on Religious Freedom recommended in 2018, regarding relation to employment exemptions, that “the school has a publicly available policy outlining its position” and provide “a copy of the policy in writing to employees and contractors and prospective employees and contractors” – a similar requirement to having these expectations clearly spelt out in the contract’, Mr Spencer said.

‘The Religious Discrimination Bill 2022 passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year, but which lapsed with the 46th Parliament, also contained a requirement along the same lines’.

‘We want to ensure that staff make informed choices to work at a Christian school.  Children and young people will quickly see through the hypocrisy of staff who claim to adhere to certain beliefs but do not reflect this in their conduct and behaviours; he said, ‘Staff who do not share our beliefs have many other choices regarding where they can work, but only Christian schools offer the education we provide’.

‘Christian schools of our type seek to provide a holistic approach to education encompassing the “intellectual, physical, social, emotional, moral, spiritual and aesthetic development and wellbeing of young Australians” as set out in the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration (December 2019)’ Mr Spencer said.

‘The much-quoted African proverb is that “It takes a village to raise a child”, in our schools it takes the whole community of staff to model and share our faith’.

‘Our latest polling confirms that three out of four Australians support the right of a religious school to employ teachers and other staff who support the clearly stated values and beliefs of the school’, Mr Spencer said, ‘it is just plain common sense’.

ENDS

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Mark Spencer

Director of Public Policy

Christian Schools Australia

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About Christian Schools Australia

Christian Schools Australia is the largest association of Christian schools in the country and has member schools educating around 72,000 students and employing more than 10,000 staff at more than 180 locations across Australia. CSA is part of a global ACSI network of 24,000 schools, educating in excess of 5.5 million students in over 108 countries world-wide.