Dear Prime Minister,

Senator Penny Wong is one of Australia’s strongest Finance Ministers, yet under the proposed federal anti-discrimination bill, she could be fired from a tuck-shop in a religiously affiliated school. Despite being Prime Minister, as a declared atheist, a school could ban you from providing leadership training to young girls.

Me? No, I'm meant to be here… Pic: Marie Nirme

A church-run hospital in an isolated indigenous community could reject the expert knowledge of former AMA President Prof. Kerryn Phelps.

Not only does discrimination directly affect those discriminated against, it affects entire communities. Religiously affiliated service providers are able to deny a community the best possible teachers, doctors, nurses, and counsellors, on grounds totally unrelated to to their ability to perform the job.

As I am sure you have, my office has recently been inundated with stories of discrimination.  One teacher told me she was fired in case her “gayness” infected students and patients in regional hospitals have told me they are nervous about seeking sexual health advice for fear of being thrown out.

The damage caused by this discrimination has seriously negative mental health impacts and can increase the risk of suicide. The Australian Christian Lobby head, Jim Wallace, recently boasted how much time of yours he gets.  It’s time you met with those damaged by the discrimination practiced by people like Jim Wallace.

Also affected by the cruel exemptions in the bill are single mums. Not only have you recently reduced their financial support by moving them to Newstart, the proposed bill potentially reduces the number of opportunities they have to find work. A publicly funded service provider, that happens to managed by a church, could deem their “situation” to be “inappropriate” and therefore reject their application, regardless of what skills they have or how increasingly desperate they now are to find a job. 

Of course, we are not talking about what happens in the church. We are talking about the religious organisations who tender to receive taxpayer funding to provide a public service. They are then legally able to abuse their duty of care by denying service provision to some groups and also ignore equitable employment practices.

It is expected that aged-care providers will not be able to practice these type of discrimination, due to the vulnerability of those involved. This is to be applauded, but must be extended to all publicly funded sectors, as LGBTI youth and single mums are also especially vulnerable.

The harmonisation of national anti-discrimination laws provides your government with the chance to make a positive change to lives of individuals and communities across Australia. Failure to do so would be a shameful misuse of an historic opportunity.

Yours in good faith,

Alex Greenwich MP
NSW Member for Sydney

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

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    • Helt says:

      05:03am | 22/01/13

      I could go on and on about the times I have been discriminated against but the simple rule should be if you can do the job you should be able to have it but if you cant its not discrimination.

    • VVS says:

      07:33am | 22/01/13

      Actually it should be if you are the best applicant for the position, you should have it.

      Most people who apply for most jobs would do be able to do the job competently, especially lower level jobs like working in a tuckshop or being the guy who holds the “Stop/Slow” sign on the road, therefore it should be the best candidate.

      But I get your point.

      A lot of people mistakenly cry discrimination when they don’t get a position for a variety of reasons. It could be that you were not qualified, not experienced enough, or most likely, someone was a better candidate.

    • Eric #2 says:

      08:51am | 22/01/13

      One of the most important selection criteria most organisations have is ‘cultural fit’.  A person may be the best candidate academically, etc but they would not be a good ‘fit’ into the organisational culture.  We all know of people who may have been the best sales person, or the best accountant but they were toxic to the wider organisation because of their inability to fit in.  So organisations have the right to select people who ‘fit’ the organisation’s culture.

    • ZSRenn says:

      08:51am | 22/01/13

      The question that comes to my mind is WHY?

      Why would someone who has the best qualifications for a job, and obviously could get a job anywhere, want a job with a group of people who hold a juxtaposition to their own.

      Legislation would assure them of the job but their would be no law that could tell a group of people that they have to socialize with the person with the opposing view. It would be a very lonely working experience and i would think not very rewarding.

      Imagine a devout evangelistic Christian turning up for a job at a gay bar. I am sure the boys and girls would make him or her most welcome at after work drinks when they started expressing their conservative christian views to everyone over a couple of Pimms.

      PC is just becoming to intrusive when it forces people to work together who will not get along.

    • ZSRenn says:

      09:21am | 22/01/13

      I just read the bio on the author and did a search. I have another few questions.

      People of Sydney are you fucking serious?
      Is Clover Moore still Mayor?
      Is this the same Clover Moore that wanted to rename Australia Day, Invasion Day?
      Is this over indulgence in PC really how you want the world to view your great city?

    • AFR says:

      09:32am | 22/01/13

      ZSRen hits the nail on the head for me…

      If you are gay, why would you WANT to work for a religious organization who thinks you are an abomination?

    • CJ Johnson says:

      10:19am | 22/01/13

      AFR: It’s touched upon in the article; What if, where you want to work, there is no choice? Like, say, a mission hospital in rural Australia? If you want to do good out there, and are more than qualified, why should your sexual orientation or otherwise get in the way of that?

      You can’t just say “oh well, I guess I’ll start my OWN secular rural hospital, with all this money I don’t have. But since it’s secular, I have to pay taxes.”

      THAT’S my main problem with it. These hospitals are doing good, I’ll admit. But why should they (Or any other religious run organization) be allowed to discriminate? They are basically getting free rein from the Government. At the end of the day, they are essentially getting Government blessing to shirk what laws they feel don’t “fit” into their “culture”.

    • Big Banana says:

      10:24am | 22/01/13

      ZSRENN juxtaposition. Good word. Now look up the meaning in that book where words are listed alphabetically.

    • AFR says:

      10:40am | 22/01/13

      CJ Johnson, you do make a good point when it comes to charities…. most charities, well the bigger ones in health and education anyway, have SOME religious basis, even if it’s not well publicised.

      When it comes tot he laws, I believe anti-discrimination laws should apply everywhere. Of course the reality will always be what it is.

    • Mick says:

      11:17am | 22/01/13

      Do we really need more anti discrimination laws which just put more money into lawyers pockets and drain the already over strained judicial system?
      Why shouldn’t an employer have the right to employ a person they feel is suitable for their business?
      I am an over 50 white male and have tried on numerous occasions to apply for different positions which suit my qualifications and can not even get an interview.Discrimination? Perhaps,but unfortunately that’s the way it is.
      How can you enforce anti discrimination when they don’t tell you why you didn’t get the job?

    • iMitchy says:

      11:53am | 22/01/13

      The issue isn’t that LGBT or single mums want to work for these groups necessarily, but that their tax dollars fund these groups who discriminate against them. Then these groups don’t contribute any tax back to the hand that feeds.

      The real question is why is this secular government giving any taxpayer money to any kind of religious institution when they are already tax exempt? By all means, let them discriminate, but withdraw the funding - them’s secular dollars.

    • Tator says:

      03:37pm | 22/01/13

      Phil Browne,
      i found that after reading the whole article that the teacher was sacked because she did not comply with a “lifestyle” clause that was a condition of employment, not that she was actually pregnant.  Albeit, the pregnancy is being used as proof of this breach. 
      The agreement states:

      Lifestyle Agreement which states “it is a genuine occupational requirement” that nothing in the deliberate conduct of the staff “should be incompatible with the intrinsic character of their position, especially, but not only, in relation to the expression of human sexuality through heterosexual, monogamous relationships, expressed intimately through marriage”.

      and the teacher signed it as a condition of employment when she started working there.  Conditions of employment are legally enforcible

    • Bear says:

      05:47am | 22/01/13

      Mr Greenwich’s argument is rather dishonest - relying on innuendo rather than discussing the issue. The argument is that obviously religious organisations will behave in an unreasonable way to everyone outside the religious group. Yes, some bigots will - but bigots come in all persuasions, even GLBTI.

      At the core of the exemptions is to allow organisations not employ people who are inimical to the goal of the organisation, or who will undermine it. For example, a GLBTI advocacy organisation would not employ a lay preacher who preaches that homosexuality is fundamentally wrong and that one should persecute GLBTI people. Some would see this as discrimination on the basis of belief.

      In private industry, employees are obliged to not work against the interests of their employers. If they do, then it is considered misconduct and the employee can be disciplined and dismissed.

      As for religious schools employing GLBTI teachers, I know several GLBTI teachers working in religious schools, even giving religious instruction.

    • Josh says:

      07:33am | 22/01/13

      Bear, what a load of crock. The obvious argument here is that the lay preacher is being openly discriminatory and hateful, while the GLBTI employee is just being who they are while not preaching a dogma of inequality. You can’t speak up for equality by asking that bigots be treated with the same rights that the people who are being discriminated against are trying to achieve.

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:52am | 22/01/13

      “At the core of the exemptions is to allow organisations not employ people who are inimical to the goal of the organisation, or who will undermine it”

      Which is what the article is discussing. It provides cogent arguments that they should not be allowed to disciminate when they are accepting taxpayer’s money to provide a service to a broader community and can discriminate in the provision of that service. This has worse impacts in communities where they are the only service provider. This is often the case. The government has outsourced the service but has allowed the outsource provider to discriminate. This is unreasonable. It is unnecessary and unfair to restrict the employment opportunities of taxpayers just because you have decided to outsource the provision of services to an organisation that is allowed to engage in discrimination.

      “In private industry, employees are obliged to not work against the interests of their employers. If they do, then it is considered misconduct and the employee can be disciplined and dismissed.”

      It’s onlt the commercial interests of your company that you cannot interfere with. Your company has no say in how you conduct your private life and cannot discriminate against you.

    • fml says:

      08:10am | 22/01/13

      “Yes, some bigots will - but bigots come in all persuasions, even GLBTI.”

      Yes, but they don’t receive government funding to provide public services.

      Employment is not the entire issue, the issue encompasses the services these organisations provide, which include the religious run hospitals that MR Greenwich mentioned.

      If religious run hospitals can refuse treatment if they disagree with the patients lifestyle, then Atheist doctors should be able to refuse treatment to the religious. That will never happen, because atheist doctors follow the hippocratic oath.

    • Eric says:

      09:16am | 22/01/13

      A gay atheist would be welcomed into that kind of situation among peers, but in a school where young minds are at their most impressionable certainly not. I’m quite sure that an evangelical christian would be made to feel quite unwelcome at most gay / atheist adult organisations let alone God forbid at any gay schools or fundamentally atheist schools. Discrimination? Freedom of association? Freedom of belief? Make it law, and one minority or orher will exploit and abuse it.

    • maria says:

      09:58am | 22/01/13

      The argument is that obviously religious organisations will behave in an unreasonable way to everyone outside the religious group.

      Is religion above democracy in a democratic society?

      Did we vote for a one way anti-discrimination law?

      Why do we give a preference to religions when we allow special rules in our public swimming polls, hospitals, schools, jails even allow special foods etc….

      Some would see this as discrimination on the basis of belief

      IT IS WITHOUT ANY DOUBTS.

      CANdo group who is in favour of a systm of direct democracy a la Switzerland in which only the people are sovereign and believes that Australian voters need a greater voice in deciding the future of the country.

      Are a democracy in which the people are supreme or are a theocracy in which God is supreme or are we a mafiacracy in which only the mob is supreme with their cronies?

    • Joan says:

      11:31am | 22/01/13

      If 20 religious people apply for religious based position why should the job be given to the atheist or other of different persuasion ?  Up to organisation to decide who fits best

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:10pm | 22/01/13

      Joan
      The pouint is that the religious organisation is receiving taxpayers funds to continue their activities.
      This crowds out employment opprotunities in the marketplace because they become one of the sole providers in one area.
      It’s fine for religious institutions to discriminate according to their doctrine but it’s not fine for them to accept taxpayer’s funds to run a business or service that employs people especially when they are the only employer of that service in an area
      Clear enough now?

    • wakeuppls says:

      12:14pm | 22/01/13

      fml

      You should rock up to your local battered woman’s shelter and demand they accept men or they are hateful bigots. We all know you won’t, though.

    • Joan says:

      12:43pm | 22/01/13

      Tubesteak;  The best fit is the right fit - funding or no funding.  No reason to chose an outsider if there is plenty of choice of best to fit role-  up to institution to make up rules for best fit not outsiders.

    • fml says:

      01:30pm | 22/01/13

      wakeuppls,

      that isn’t even the same example, the example with the religious run hospitals are not specifically meant for particular religions. It may take a months for your mind to comprehend that PUBLIC hospitals are for ALL of the public. you want to start a hospital which practices religious medicine, go start one up, we all know you won’t though…

    • Tubesteak says:

      02:11pm | 22/01/13

      Joan
      Not if they are receiving taxpayer money. They should not be able to discriminate especially if they are crowding out other more equitable employers from the marketplace.

    • wakeuppls says:

      02:17pm | 22/01/13

      fml

      A public hospital is for the public in the same way as a women’s shelter is for the public. You just don’t like a certain group of people being able to discriminate.

    • Phil says:

      04:13pm | 22/01/13

      I would expect the author to again write to the PM regarding the discrimination shown to a white non aboriginal woman senator in the NT. After all if its really about discrimination then Trish was surely a victim of her own government. If I was her I would vote against the government in protest and they could not get much legislation through parliment.

    • Daniel Watson says:

      05:57am | 22/01/13

      Well said Alex. Ms Gillard doesn’t realise that she is cruising to defeat in this next election… but actually if she took a stand and defended the cause of marriage equality a) she would be supporting the view held by the majority of the country’s voting populous, b) she would probably win new support and popularity for being courageous and pioneering, c) absolutely nothing bad will happen to the folks who think the sky will fall in. Nothing. And if she is then defeated at the next election which will happen anyway, then she will be forever revered as the Prime Minister who DID something!

    • Hope Springs says:

      07:59am | 22/01/13

      It is too late for Gillard and her government. She has demonstrated time andtone again she is totally unqualified for her job or any job for that matter. This is the country’s worst PM in history and what a shame she has brought down the ALP and this country’s last legit PM. We need change and we need her to go before any progress can be made.

    • james says:

      09:59am | 22/01/13

      She doesnt loose any votes by her position, same sex attracted australians most like vote green/labor anyway.
      The position maintains votes of the blue collar base who have been defecting to the LNP.

    • JoniM says:

      02:50pm | 22/01/13

      Dream on Daniel !

      (a) Gillard’s already floundering support would be completely obliterated by the loss of the ALP blue collar base, if she ever came out openly and supported gay marriage !
      (b) She would win no new supporters. The proponents of gay marriage already vote Green or ALP !
      (c) Absolutely nothing will happen because neither the politiciancs nor the electorate via referendum, would vote to change the marriage Act from its traditional meaning. Even Alex Greenwich knows that, and therefore doesn’t lobby for a referendum. Instead the focus is on pushing hard via the rare circumstances of the hung Federal parliament, as the best ever likely opportunity to force a legislated victory for the gay marriage proposal !

    • Sunil Gopinath says:

      06:16am | 22/01/13

      So ridiculous, right? Keep up the fighting on this! Its not going to be easy. Even here in the US where we’ve had a long history of diversity President Obama feels the needs to add: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” to his inauguration speech.

    • YaThinkN says:

      06:22am | 22/01/13

      The sad thing is that many of the women that Julia Gillard had started to win to her side are now offside with this.  All of us have gay friends, single mum friends etc., and these exemptions, in my case, basically wipe out everyone I know?  In this day & age it is just wrong!

      The fact that the Govt keeps outsourcing community services to these organisations that are legally allowed to discriminate is just offensive.  How the hell can tax payer money be given to an organisation that can then turn around and discriminate against those tax payers?  Worse, most average punters who will be hurt by these exemptions are not even aware of it, a chat with friends (all who would be discriminated against) prompted this sadly: http://yathink.com.au/article-display/ms-gillard-why-placate-the-religious-they-wont-vote-for-you,41

      I wonder…  If you added up the LGBT, Single Mothers, People ‘Living in Sin’ etc., basically all who will be discriminated against here, what percentage of the population would it be?  Particularly compared to the ACL who as we know from the last census, is decreasing? 

      All these people and any groups that represent them need to band together with one voice, that would be such a large group that it would dwarf the ACL and could not be ignored!

    • Nathan says:

      10:37am | 22/01/13

      That’s a bit of a silly view - the state laws (Liberal party run) are currently with that in place. Tasmania (ALP) does not have this law in there at the moment.

      So be reasonable - the Coalition didn’t even allow a conscience vote on marriage equality - ALP at least did that.

      Although Gillard needs to stop trying to win the vote of fundies - the expansion of chaplains in schools is an example.

      Currently they’re just rolling up the laws into a national level one - they should have done a bit of house cleaning.

    • Ando says:

      01:05pm | 22/01/13

      “The sad thing is that many of the women that Julia Gillard had started to win to her side are now offside ”  Thats a good thing. The sad thing was that people thought she stood for something other than improving her polling.

    • ZSRenn says:

      04:34pm | 22/01/13

      Wasn’t Gillard who crossed the floor to vote against Gay Marriage?

      What would you expect from her regarding the debate since.

      Of course she is against Gays, that crossing proved it!

    • Phil says:

      06:45am | 22/01/13

      Simple solution Alex, why dont you and other like minded individuals stump up your own coin and start a gay and lesbian hospital and or school. That way you are free to employ exactly whoever you choose.

      See would I a straight hetro male be excluded from the applicants for the job of running mardi gras? or a gay and lesbian helpline? or similar. You bet I would and probably should. You might like to name all the straight people who have been employed to run mardi gras for us.

      See you lot hate descrimination when when these examples are shown it shows just how lame your argument is.

      Further why would you want a job working for an organisation whose docrtine clearly is at odds with your lifestyle choices, or is it so they can take legal action and change legislation to gay is the new black rather than the minority it is.

      Let me make this perfectly clear, I am not against gays and lesbians, we have friends who fit these descriptions, but I dont want my kids to be taught at school that being gay is a lifestyle choice and normal when in reality it occurs for 10% of the population at best probably less. 

      Attending a christian school I want them to be taughts gods principals for life. Whatever their life choices I will support them because I love them unconditionally.

      Further as a member of parliment where would you find the additional say 100-200 billion up front and over 10 years if all religious hospitals and schools shut tomorrow and you had to then find beds for the sick and classrooms for the children. We both know the systems would collapse and the level of education would suffer, cause I bet the land schools are on is worth heaps more to develop for these organisations as shown by the past labor government

    • fml says:

      08:13am | 22/01/13

      Simple question,

      Why should non-religious tax payers fund your religious lifestyle? Can you please explain to me the moral rationalisation needed to accept money from another of different belief then actively discriminate against them?

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      08:30am | 22/01/13

      “We both know the systems would collapse and the level of education would suffer”

      So…basically you’re a parasite that is too dangerous to remove, is that what you’re saying?  Something like a tick.  Let us be OR ELSE.  Just let you have your fill of blood and you’ll be good.

      To be honest, in the long run the short term pain of removing religious organisations and replacing them with secular ones would be worth it, in my opinion.

    • Tim says:

      08:44am | 22/01/13

      fml,
      the money is provided for a specific purpose, in the cases mentioned either schooling of children or health services.

      In return for the money, the organisation agrees to either teach to an approved curriculum or provide certain health services to an agreed standard. That’s the deal they have struck with the government to provide services that would otherwise need to be fully government funded and run.

      Firstly, if the organisations didn’t take any government money, would you think they could do as they like?
      Secondly, how much control do you think that receiving government money gives over an organisation? And what level of funding gives what level of control?

    • Borderer says:

      08:54am | 22/01/13

      @fml
      Funding is on a per student basis, so either it’s public or private, I really don’t see it being relevant, after all the parents pay their taxes too.
      As for hospitals, I know some hospitals (Catholic) won’t perform nominated abortions because of religeous reasons but there are enough other facilities to cover that, any other refusal to treat is unethical. I know in the case of abortions they will offer councilling and other options before referring to somewhere that will perform the proceedure. I really don’t think it’s as bad as you make out but if you can demonstrate examples I’m all ears.

    • Phil says:

      09:00am | 22/01/13

      fml
      In relation to schools, my children receive less total government funding than those that attend a local state school. This is evidenced by the fact that I make up a sizeable chunk of the cost of educating them despite the fact I pay a lot of tax.
      I am not sure about your comment of accepting money from one belief and giving it to another. That applies everywhere in life. Given that many pay no net taxation, does it not mean that those that do pay net tax should have any more or less say than others?
      Yes many gays fit into the DINK category, and as such do pay taxes, but I also fund as a taxpayer many organisations and events that specifically benefit them and you dont see me whinging. The same goes for state schools, should I not say parents should better get off their rears and work harder to provide a better start for their kids. That would be wrong and offensive.
      For all those complaining about your taxpayer funded dollars going into christian or private schools, would you rather we didnt and the government had to fork out billions more. Further I wonder exactly how much net tax many of the whingers actually pay and how many receive far more than they pay in benefits.
      My daughters current school does not have a tuck shop, the new high school does and most are volunteers not paid employees as was the case when I went to school.
      Finally would you as a taxpayer be prepared to fork out extra taxes to cease all christian and independant schools and hospitals. If so how much, cause I recon per capita it would be a five grand per tax payer per annum at least to fill the gap, buy the infrastructure and maintain it on top of land purchases cause we all know the government system cannot cope.

    • fml says:

      09:05am | 22/01/13

      Tim,

      Yes the money is provided for a specific purpose, and should be used on the public without conditions.

      Yes, agree again, where is the stipulation for who they are to provide for?

      “Firstly, if the organisations didn’t take any government money, would you think they could do as they like?” Well yes and no. Firstly they are not allowed to discriminate even if they do not have public funding. Although, they are allowed to have a hiring policy which allows to get the best candidate for the company. A private bar can refuse entry to patrons because they are drunk, can they refuse patrons solely based on skin color? Can a publicly funded religious hospital refuse service based on religious belief? Can a public hospital do the same? Why is there a separate set of laws both being funded by the public?

      “Secondly, how much control do you think that receiving government money gives over an organisation? And what level of funding gives what level of control?”

      Government funding should not provide a platform to refuse service to any member of the public. If the organisation is receiving public funds to provide a service to the public, they should provide the service to the entire public.

      You also didn’t answer my question, what rationalisation is needed to accept money from the public and then to be able to legally discriminate against the people they are receiving money to service.

    • fml says:

      09:24am | 22/01/13

      phil,

      “I am not sure about your comment of accepting money from one belief and giving it to another.”

      that’s because I didn’t say it..

      “This is evidenced by the fact that I make up a sizeable chunk of the cost of educating them despite the fact I pay a lot of tax.” As do the people whose money goes into religious organization..

      “Given that many pay no net taxation, does it not mean that those that do pay net tax should have any more or less say than others?”
      They should have the same say, as they should also have the ability to use the same services provided by public funding.

      “For all those complaining about your taxpayer funded dollars going into christian or private schools, would you rather we didnt and the government had to fork out billions more. “

      I would rather the government funded public schools and those who wanted a religious education fund private schools. So the government would actually save money and not fund private institutions. It’s is your decision to put your kids into a private school, and just like how I don’t expect you to fund the lifestyle choices of others, I expect not to pay for your lifestyle choices.

      “Further I wonder exactly how much net tax many of the whingers actually pay and how many receive far more than they pay in benefits”

      Probably more than you think, because you probably think that anybody who disagrees with you (i.e whingers) are on the benefits, right?

      “Finally would you as a taxpayer be prepared to fork out extra taxes to cease all christian and independant schools and hospitals. If so how much, cause I recon per capita it would be a five grand per tax payer per annum at least to fill the gap, buy the infrastructure and maintain it on top of land purchases cause we all know the government system cannot cope. “

      Yes, private institutions should be privately funded. If they are publicly funded they should not be able to discriminate. Either religious organisations become self sufficient or they follow national anti-discrimation laws. I also believe that your statement that if the religious organisations are removed, that the government would not be able to cope with the extra costs. No one is asking for the religious organisations to be removed, they are saying if they want to discriminate then they should be self funded.

    • Phil says:

      09:25am | 22/01/13

      Tim the toolman. Your name is rather apt.

      You are entitled to your opinion, just as I am of mine. I simply posed a few questions, would you like to pay an extra $ 5000 per taxpayer to get rid off all independent schools, medical and assistance programs run by church affiliated or indepenent organisations or not?

      See in the past the churches looked after the needy and when you look at Vinnies, St Vincent De Paul, Missionbeat, Wayside Chapel, Youth off the streets, anti drugs groups, soup kitchens etc many of these are run by churches. I know the church I attend organises community activities for underprivilaged kids, bbq’s in the street, games, equipment etc to give them a hope. We do this for free, nothing expected except to put a smile on kids faces. Many of the best hospitals in the country are private or run by catholic or other faith based groups. Should these be shut down. St Vincents would deal with many drug overdoeses a night, do they turn them away, hell no. They are based right in the heart of the gay mecca, do they refuse treatment to gays, of course not. My daughter goes to school with a child of a gay parent, hey the school isnt happy, but we accept her and her mum into our home with welcome arms, cause we are taught not to judge but to accept and help.
      See you will get idiots in every corner. The left, right, atheists, christians, muslims etc.

    • Tim says:

      09:36am | 22/01/13

      Fml,
      “what rationalisation is needed to accept money from the public and then to be able to legally discriminate against the people they are receiving money to service. “

      Because the money IS going to service the public. In the case of schools, they get far less money than they otherwise would have. Having private schools actively saves the public taxpayer money on education. 

      BTW do you also have a problem with public selective schools who can discriminate?

      When we’re talking about discrimination we are talking about exceptions to protected qualities like sex, sexuality, political stance, pregnancy, race etc. They are defined as protected attributes in the law.

      Some private organisations that do not receive public money already have exemptions like women only gyms and the like.
      There are also organisations that receive public money that can discriminate like political parties, indigenous groups, homosexual groups and religions.

      If you think that no one should be able to discriminate are you going to support forcing aboriginal organisations to hire non aboriginals or homosexual groups to hire non homosexuals?

    • fml says:

      09:41am | 22/01/13

      Once the purpose of hospitals moves from helping the sick and injured to promoting religious fervor, then all is lost.

      Preaching belongs in a church, healing in a hospital.

    • fml says:

      10:04am | 22/01/13

      Tim,

      “Having private schools actively saves the public taxpayer money on education.”
      That is the cost of being discriminatory. You get centrelink money, you have to find a job, it’s the cost of getting free money.

      “BTW do you also have a problem with public selective schools who can discriminate?” Only on area and grades as it should be, not religious or sexual preference.

      “Some private organisations that do not receive public money already have exemptions like women only gyms and the like.” Well yes, they fund them selves. As I think it should be if you wish to discriminate.

      “If you think that no one should be able to discriminate are you going to support forcing aboriginal organisations to hire non aboriginals or homosexual groups to hire non homosexuals?” That’s the thing, I have seen non-aboriginals working in publicly funded aboriginal based government departments and I have seen LGBT organisations where people who work with non-LGBT. They really do not care, the religious do. Anyway, I am not saying do not discriminate, they should have the right to do so, they only shouldn’t have the right if they are publicly funded. If they get government funds to provide a service to the public, they should offer it to all the public, if they want to discriminate based on religious belief, then become a private entity.

    • james says:

      10:04am | 22/01/13

      “See would I a straight hetro male be excluded from the applicants for the job of running mardi gras? or a gay and lesbian helpline? or similar. You bet I would and probably should. You might like to name all the straight people who have been employed to run mardi gras for us.”

      You miss the point Phil, straight people are not discriminated against or baneed to work for these sort of organisations.

    • Nathan says:

      10:34am | 22/01/13

      How about the church “stump up its own coin” - they receive BILLIONS from the taxpayers and then they think they have the right to use it to discriminate.

      I’m all for churches not receiving govt funding - that’d be a great start.

      “would I a straight hetro male be excluded from the applicants for the job of running mardi gras? or a gay and lesbian helpline? or similar.”

      No - only religious groups could decide that something completely unrelated would be grounds to exclude you. e.g. you want to get the job of setting up the seating or lights for mardi-gras - your sexuality is irrelevant. But were you getting a job setting up the seats or lights for a church event - they can sack you for being gay/unmarried and pregnant etc. You would have grounds for unfair dismissal if you’d been sacked for not being gay from non-church organisations.


      >Let me make this perfectly clear, I am not against gays and lesbians,

      Well, you sure sound like you’re ignorant and homophobic.

      >we have friends who fit these descriptions,

      Pfft.. Rubbish or you wouldn’t be saying the following:

      >but I dont want my kids to be taught at school that being gay is a lifestyle choice and normal when in reality it occurs for 10% of the population at best probably less.

      Being gay is not a “lifestyle choice” - only churches teach that.  It is no more a “choice” than your sex or skin colour. You clearly have not spent any time talking to gay people if you think they’re somehow making a lifestyle choice (yeah, great lifestyle - having to put up with homophobic idiots and discrimination, less job opportunities and higher suicide rates courtesy of people like yourself discriminating).

      And it is normal - did you make a choice to be heterosexual (assuming you are - because homophobic people are likely to be closeted gay)? I didn’t choose to be straight- and it’s the same for gay people - they just ARE.
      You do however get to choose your religion and your homophobia/sexism/racism - yet for some reason that should take preference.


      >where would you find the additional say 100-200 billion up front and over 10 years if all religious hospitals and schools shut tomorrow

      Oh, so they would all shut if they had to hire/fire people based on whether they can perform their job, rather than a bunch of irrelevant stuff?
      Should we also allow them to discriminate against race just in case they want to have a “no blacks allowed” rule with all that taxpayer funded money we give them.

    • Tim says:

      11:34am | 22/01/13

      FML,
      “That is the cost of being discriminatory. You get centrelink money, you have to find a job, it’s the cost of getting free money.”

      That is exactly what I’m saying. They receive less money because they can discriminate.

      “That’s the thing, I have seen non-aboriginals working in publicly funded aboriginal based government departments and I have seen LGBT organisations where people who work with non-LGBT”

      And I’ve seen many gay people working in religious organisations.

      The point is that these organisations which are publically funded also have the option to discriminate if they wish and they often do.
      This article solely focuses on religious organisations but doesn’t even mention other groups that are publically funded and have exemptions from the discrimination laws.

      My point is that if you want to remove these discrimination exemptions then you don’t just get to pick on religious organisations, it has to involve every organisation that receives public money.
      So political parties can no longer hire people based on their political views. ie The Labor party will have to hire the best candidate for a position regardless of whether they are a Labor party member or not.
      Aboriginal groups must hire non Aboriginals, etc etc.

      The problem is that a lot of people supporting this, only want to target the religious groups.

    • Borderer says:

      12:15pm | 22/01/13

      @fml
      I am aware that Catholic hospitals won’t perform abortions etc. I don’t necessarily have an issue with this unless there is nowhere else to go. For example my local private hospital doesn’t offer neurosurgery, it would be crazy to picket them to have it?
      I was more concerned if hospitals refused to treat people because of one reason or another, like faith or sexuality.
      Personally I’m against abortion but pro choice, I have an opinion but not a right to tell people what they can and can’t do.

    • wakeuppls says:

      12:17pm | 22/01/13

      fml

      Simple question.

      Why do you rail on religious organisations ad nauseum whilst ignoring a plethora of State sponsored discrimination that actually matters?

    • fml says:

      12:21pm | 22/01/13

      Tim,

      “My point is that if you want to remove these discrimination exemptions then you don’t just get to pick on religious organisations, it has to involve every organisation that receives public money.”

      Then we are arguing the same thing as I have always said, that there should be one law for all. And, it is obviously not the same because at the moment religious groups are allowed to discriminate and other people are not.

    • Bryan says:

      01:14pm | 22/01/13

      Phil, absolutely, 100% agree with all that you have said and I could not have put it better myself.

      Unfortunately, it has come to pass that the squeaky wheel always gets the most amount of oil. In this case the discussion is based on red herrings, conjecture and the usual “I am the victim” of injustice screams. The problem is that most people that agree with you and your point of view are not that vocal and prefer a quiet and non-combative way of life instead of the constant bickering and fighting that many of these “groups” choose to make their norm. Built entirely on the basis that they “assume” that they are being treated unfairly.

    • Tim says:

      01:47pm | 22/01/13

      FML,
      “And, it is obviously not the same because at the moment religious groups are allowed to discriminate and other people are not”

      This isn’t true. There’s many organisations that currently have exemptions and anyone can apply for one. If people want to change the law so no one can have any exemptions then I’m OK with that, but if they are simply calling for the religious exemptions to end then I’m not OK with it.

      Somehow I think it’s more the second option than the first. They don’t want to allow religious organisations to be able to discriminate but they still want their own pet causes to be able to.

    • fml says:

      01:47pm | 22/01/13

      borderer,

      Religious hospitals should not be able to refuse treatment to patients based on religious grounds if they are publicly funded, it is different from the hospital not having the resources to do it.

      Would it be acceptable for a 7th day adventist run hospital which is publicly funded to refuse someone a blood transfer which would save their life, if it was an emergency situation?

      that is commendable that you do not want to tell others what to do, the same goes for the religious, why should they refuse a person treatment when that person funds them?

      wakeuppls,

      “Why do you rail on religious organisations ad nauseum” Because it is an article about religion?

      “whilst ignoring a plethora of State sponsored discrimination that actually matters? ”  What exactly? What services are available (to who ever you are referring to) and do not have a similar service available for the rest of the population?

      And for the hospital example, which I am talking about, religious organisations who run publicly funded hospitals should not refuse treatment, if they want to start their own hospital, fair enough. I think equality is the key, if an atheist doctor wishes to refuse chemotherapy to a person with a religious belief they should be able to, no? Or is discrimination only ok if its one way?

    • ZSRenn says:

      04:31pm | 22/01/13

      @ Nathan I would argue with you but you seem to be having enough trouble arguing with yourself and typically you didn’t answer one of your questions.

    • wakeuppls says:

      04:37pm | 22/01/13

      fml

      I’ve given you at least 4 examples in this thread and past threads.

    • Fiddler says:

      06:48am | 22/01/13

      yes, single mums on newstart after their youngest turns 8, such a tragedy. What about single dads? Oh wait, every single dad I know (inclduing myself) works full time.

      Being a parent is not the martyrdom a lot make it out to be. Yes, it is work, but FMD if you can’t fit working into your day when your youngest is 8 years old then you simply aren’t trying.

    • Andy says:

      06:51am | 22/01/13

      * single parents. Otherwise yes, I completely agree.

    • Christine says:

      07:12am | 22/01/13

      In Queensland, Private school tuckshops rely heavily on volunteer parents or friends to man the school tuckshop. There is often a shortage of volunteers. Perhaps Minister Wong may have her opportunity to do volunteer work on the school tuck shop when her child is of school age, I am sure she would be welcome particularly with her financial skills. Perhaps she could collect all the coin.  How much for a fruit juice or an apple.

    • Rose says:

      08:13am | 22/01/13

      Two problems there, as with her peers she is not the volunteering type and given her financial skills, she will have the tuckshop in debt for $1,000,000 before they know what is happening.

    • james says:

      11:44am | 22/01/13

      She is also same sex attracted so that rules her out automatically.

      Joe Hockey would be better to recommend as an auditor though smile

    • wakeuppls says:

      12:24pm | 22/01/13

      Christine

      Modern day politicians are career bureaucrats and as such have no qualifications applicable to the real world and as such the tuck shop would probably reject her.

    • Gregg says:

      07:30am | 22/01/13

      Love the photo
      ” Me? No, I’m meant to be here…”
      And the girl might say
      ” But you look a bit as though you might eat me! “

      Isn’t that chap a real darling, getting down to earth and meeting real people, even children.

      It does seem as though we can get some strange laws at times and even stranger considering many critics would claim it is the opposition who might favour some church bias or is it just that Julia is a victim to Tory’s confirmation bias and is again popping too many red pills?

      Maybe that guy is right, we just have complete chaos coming from anything goes if it comes from a polling group and we can get the numbers behind it.

    • Christine says:

      07:35am | 22/01/13

      Private schools in Queensland rely heavily on volunteer parents or friends to man the school tuck shop and there is usually a shortage of same. Perhaps when Senator Wong’s child is of school age, she could volunteer to help. I am sure she would be welcomed and with her finanical expertise would be well suited to collecting coin from the school children.  How much for an apple or a fruit juice, may I have my 10c change please. 
      I am sure advice from the Medical Association or Community Health properly authorised and distributed would not be rejected if appropriate to situation, regardless of author. Be practical.  Besides wouldn’t it be the government’s responsibility to provide health services in this ‘Isolated indigenous community’?

    • Colin says:

      07:51am | 22/01/13

      I’d looove to work in a tuck shop..!  All those lollies, pies, soft drinks, fresh salad rolls…Yum.

      But, of course, it isn’t that simple, is it? We have to drag in adult nonsense about being gay, or a single parent, or religious…So that our children are able to learn to perpetuate the idiotic arguments that they see grown-ups participate in.

      Whatever happened to the “Live and let live” Australian society that we so proudly boast of..? Oh, that’s right; it never existed, did it? No. it didn’t; we really are a society of ocker bogans who show a (fake) “Cheeky larrikin” side to the Rest of the World whilst demeaning and repressing our own people. In reality, we are a nation of bigots, haters, whingers, layabouts, ne’er-do-wells, wowsers, and prudes whose churlishness and incivility to those fellow human beings who do not conform to their worldview is as insidious as it is powerful.

      Yes, it’s OK to be whatever you like in Australia - provided it’s what we agree with…

    • gof says:

      08:45am | 22/01/13

      #colin,
      “Oh, that’s right; it never existed, did it? No. it didn’t; we really are a society of ocker bogans who show a (fake) “Cheeky larrikin” side to the Rest of the World whilst demeaning and repressing our own people. In reality, we are a nation of bigots, haters, whingers, layabouts, ne’er-do-wells, wowsers, and prudes whose churlishness and incivility to those fellow human beings who do not conform to their worldview is as insidious as it is powerful.”

      You really need to get out of Minto more often.

    • Colin says:

      09:06am | 22/01/13

      @ Gof

      Minto? Really? I have never been that far South-West (unless flying over it in an aeroplane)

      No, it’s ‘Straya wide, and you - and al the other ‘Defenders of Orshtrayan Kulcha’ at some level - full-well know it.

    • Knemon says:

      09:50am | 22/01/13

      LOL - Lovely work Colin, I couldn’t agree more, spot on cobber. tongue laugh

    • Stephen T says:

      12:53pm | 22/01/13

      @Colin: “In reality, we are a nation of bigots, haters, whingers, layabouts, ne’er-do-wells, wowsers, and prudes whose churlishness and incivility to those fellow human beings who do not conform to their worldview is as insidious as it is powerful.”

      Strange I’m a grumpy old man and I don’t feel this way Colin, I do notice that you have included yourself in the description though ‘we’ which does make for an interesting argument.  I’d also like to remark that your composition skills, logic and vernacular have considerably improved +1.

      “Yes, it’s OK to be whatever you like in Australia - provided it’s what we agree with…”

      A fair comment that works both ways, still having been seconded to several different liaison groups and task forces at various times I can say not everyone feels that way.  Most people are just happy to get along. 
      smile

    • Colin says:

      03:11pm | 22/01/13

      @ Stephen T

      “I’d also like to remark that your composition skills, logic and vernacular have considerably improved +1.”

      My vernacular has improved? You mean the way that i speak in my native tongue has improved? Hmmm.

      Now, I know that you were trying to appear erudite with that statement (whilst also trying to appear ‘clever’ by putting me down at the same time), but I think that you meant something completely different to ‘vernacular’, Stephen…But, then, that’s always the case wit those who try to use words beyond their ken in inappropriate places or inappropriate ways in sentences, isn’t it..?

    • Stephen T says:

      04:15pm | 22/01/13

      @Colin:  And there I was trying to be nice, it may be your ‘Native Tongue’ but that doesn’t mean that you are proficient in it, yes your ever day use of the language has improved since I first viewed your posts, your vocabulary has also improved all though your comprehension skills and ability to place words in context are still somewhat lacking.  Still you are improving wink

    • Colin says:

      05:01pm | 22/01/13

      @ Stephen T

      “@Colin:  And there I was trying to be nice…”

      No, Stephen, we know that you weren’t. And as for,

      “...your vocabulary has also improved all though your comprehension skills and ability to place words in context are still somewhat lacking…”

      You still are trying to look erudite in front of your peers at my expense, aren’t you?

      That’s just plain sad.

    • dominique says:

      07:52am | 22/01/13

      I will only vote for Gillard ‘cause Abbott is the terrifying alternative. I wish she would do something about letting the religious discriminate. People aren’t allowed to discriminate against them for their religion (a choice!) but they can discriminate against others on the basis of sexuality (not a choice and you can’t “catch it”. What a stupid idea)

    • Incredulous says:

      09:06am | 22/01/13

      If you seriously think that anything Abbott MAY (or may not) do is more terrifying that most of what Julia Gillard has ALREADY done, then there truly is no hope.

    • Nathan says:

      11:06am | 22/01/13

      Incredulous:
      Abbott had as a health minister special control over RU486 - meaning it needed his sign off as minister for women to use it for an abortion.
      He did not permit a conscience vote recently on marriage equality.
      He is not afraid to suck up to religious fundamentalists.
      The Liberal party is outright hostile to public education - it shifted the balance so far toward private education than it receives the majority of federal funding (courtesy the Howard years).

      Sure, gillard’s not been great, but Abbott’s shown he is willing to go to lengths to blur the line of church and state.

    • ZSRenn says:

      04:37pm | 22/01/13

      Nothing to see here just more Abbott bashing rather than ALP supporters talking about how Gillard can fix the problems she has created to win back power!

    • Blazes says:

      07:56am | 22/01/13

      “The damage caused by this discrimination has seriously negative mental health impacts and can increase the risk of suicide.”

      Any evidence for that statement? No, didn’t think so.

      Maybe if you’re going to make such ludicrous, offensive statements, please try to back them up with some sound reasoning.

    • Phil says:

      09:33am | 22/01/13

      Yeah cause you know many would want to take their own lives if they missed out on a few hours a week in a churchy tuck shop.

      See I dont care what 2 adults do at home, but I dont want it rammed down my kids throats.

      Huge beat up. If he mentioned sacked for working in a hospital might have had better view but a tuck shop FFS.

      Mind you many nurses ive met are gay and lesbians lovely professionals who do a great job. Why would anyone sack them if they do a great job. The same goes for a school teacher who decides to jump the fence. Just trrim it in keep it kosher and wella no loss of job.

    • Tommy says:

      08:04am | 22/01/13

      The thing you don’t understand Alex is that if a Christian organisation has a particular philosophy on sexuality, they will want to employ only people who agree with that philosophy. If they hire workers who openly disagree with that philosophy, it undermines the organisation’s principles. So the right to “discriminate” (in this context, discriminate = employ who you want) is perfectly justifiable.

      “Of course, we are not talking about what happens in the church. We are talking about the religious organisations who tender to receive taxpayer funding to provide a public service. They are then legally able to abuse their duty of care by denying service provision to some groups and also ignore equitable employment practices.”

      This is just plain silly. Take for example state parliament: each member is allowed to use taxpayer money to hire a few staffers, but that doesn’t mean that they are forced to hire people who disagree with their political philosophy. Liberal party members don’t hire members of the Labor Party as staffers, and vice versa, even if they’re more qualified than staffers from their own party, and in spite of the fact that they pay their staffers with taxpayer funding.

    • Timmeh says:

      11:30am | 22/01/13

      BS. I worked for a Christian school and they never asked my religion. I never attended church, and no-one cared. I just did my work and kept lunch-time conversations to safe topics. Being an atheist and a vegetarian in meat-eating Christian territory, I was used to that grin

      Fact 2: my kids go to a Christian school (different one than above), and the topic of religion was never broached during the “entry interview”, and hasn’t been mentioned since. I think a show of hands would find very few practicing Christians amongst the parents, and quite a few never-been-Christians as well. Multi culti and all that.

    • gof says:

      08:06am | 22/01/13

      The photo says it all. I believe Tony has found his calling….tuckshop laddie. The problem is he wouldn’t be able to balance till at the end of the day!

    • Mont says:

      08:30am | 22/01/13

      Gillard knows that if she loses the religious vote she could well be out of office. Why are we surprised that a local politician is choosing to save her skin rather than act on her beliefs?

    • Al says:

      08:32am | 22/01/13

      Aren’t we done with this yet?
      1) Julia Gillard didn’t bring in the exemptions, they were already there and she simply choose not to remove them (so it is not new, and the system won’t fall apart because it wasn’t removed).
      2) Even if it does not fall under discrimination if a person was treated differently during employment it could still fall under unfair dismissal (being harsh, unjust or unreasonable). It would be hard for an organisation to argue that it was not harsh to terminate someone for having a drink on the weekend when they are employed at a religous organisation that considers this a sin. If they went around spouting off “I am employeed by XXXX and those idiots think drinking is evil, what a bunch of morons!” then terminating them could be justified.
      Nothing new and a whole bunch of whinging about nothing realy.
      Now if you wan’t to discuss their tax exempt status, that I am happy to have removed.

    • Tropical says:

      08:33am | 22/01/13

      Wong is a strong finance minister, spare me such drivel.
      If she is as good as you say how come her and Swan could not produce a surplus during a mining boom?
      I also find you childish attempts at humour with the Abbott photo - pathetic.

    • Knemon says:

      09:59am | 22/01/13

      “I also find you childish attempts at humour with the Abbott photo - pathetic”

      Lighten up…Abbott does these stunts for the photo ops, some you win, some you lose…in this case, he lost big time but it did give me a giggle or two!

    • SAm says:

      01:21pm | 22/01/13

      so Liberals dont have a sense of humour..
      You lot honestly see him as an infallible saint dont you?

    • james says:

      02:00pm | 22/01/13

      Read the budget papers tropical and look at revenue to GDP ratio.

      Please explain how Christopher Pyne would have produced 5 surpluses without sending Australia into a deep recession.

    • Audra Blue says:

      04:42pm | 22/01/13

      Slightly off topic:  is it just me, or does everyone get a huge gay vibe off Christopher Pyne?

    • Chillin says:

      06:03pm | 22/01/13

      @Audra

      I am sure his wife and four kids will be very disappointed.  No doubt if he was the socialist left would love him though.

    • AdamC says:

      08:36am | 22/01/13

      “...patients in regional hospitals have told me they are nervous about seeking sexual health advice for fear of being thrown out.”

      On what basis could a regional hospital do that? That sounds like nonsense to me.

      The Punch seems to have published innumerable articles on this subject. I am still mystified why Churches should lose the right to ‘discriminate’ against people on bona fide religious grounds. Aside from two anecdotal cases mentioned in this article (one of which is highly suspect, on the face of it) there seems little evidence that religious organisations’ long-standing, limited exemption to the laws are creating any sort of injustice.

    • Hamish says:

      08:55am | 22/01/13

      Both anecdotes seemed pretty thin to me…the second is probably just made up. And Kerryn Phelps is a GP, hardly that ‘expert’ anyway. I have no idea where this issue even came from. The whole article is a load of twaddle. The desperate lengths atheists are going to to provide even extremely dubious examples of the ‘injustice’ Church exemptions create are almost comical. I think a lot of people don’t realise the Church already has exemptions, we’re talking about not changing something…

    • fml says:

      09:13am | 22/01/13

      “I am still mystified why Churches should lose the right to ‘discriminate’ against people on bona fide religious grounds”

      Because it creates division. Public hospitals are not allowed to discriminate on religious grounds. Should atheist doctors be allowed to refuse service to the religious? or peoples belief system that they do not agree with? Will this mean that eventually there will be segregation of services, and in the end the people who need help will not get it?

      Maybe you cannot see it (I am unsure why) but in an egalitarian society there cannot be a group of people who can legally discriminate against others. It then ceases to be an egalitarian society. It’s funny, how can you not see the inequality in this situation?

      It is quite simple really, either everyone is able to discriminate or no one.

    • AdamC says:

      12:06pm | 22/01/13

      Hamish, I think it is pretty instructive that this issue has come to prominence not because of any case of actual discrimination or injustice, but because some Labor media rabble rousers have managed to agitate the capital-A Atheists.

      Most of the non-believing bloviators carping on about this probably do not even know that religious exemptions are an established aspect of anti-discrimination laws. Yet, even though they have never even noticed the exemptions before, they now insist that something should, nay, must be done about them!

      Fml says:

      “Should atheist doctors be allowed to refuse service to the religious?”

      Of course not, just as a Christian doctor should not be allowed to refuse to treat a Muslim or a Buddhist. Nobody is remotely considering allowing that. Seriously, do you ever consider that, if you have to make up crap to support your debating position, there might be somethig wrong with that position? That you might be, you know, wrong?

    • fml says:

      01:54pm | 22/01/13

      AdamC,

      “I am still mystified why Churches should lose the right to ‘discriminate’ against people on bona fide religious grounds.” Not surprised. You only seem to look in one direction.

      “Of course not, just as a Christian doctor should not be allowed to refuse to treat a Muslim or a Buddhist. Nobody is remotely considering allowing that.”

      That is exactly what is happening, they are refusing treatment based on religious belief.  Most of you religious nut cases are incapable of supporting any concept which doesn’t involve you getting the upper hand in discriminating by using your vile belief system.

      You are arguing for legal discrimination based on religious belief (or at least say you can’t understand why they shouldn’t) , then say you are saying no one is asking for that. Like all you religious right wing nut jobs, you are extremely confused..

    • Hamish says:

      02:33pm | 22/01/13

      fml, I’m not religious, I just don’t kid myself into thinking it’s because I’m too smart for it like most of you intellectually insecure anti-religious bigots. Maybe if you could provide examples of people being refused necessary medical treatment for religious reasons, I’d take your argument more seriously.

    • kitteh says:

      02:59pm | 22/01/13

      “That is exactly what is happening, they are refusing treatment based on religious belief.”

      I think the argument is that in reality, it isn’t happening, therefore the author’s hysteria is unwarranted. Whether or not the premise is there, the actuality is that religious institutions aren’t refusing to treat people, or employ people, or help people, in spite of said protections being in place for years.

      Let’s be rational here: you lose your case when you overstate it. If the author wants the bill to be turned down, he should be able to provide a strong basis for it without having to resort to this kind of exaggeration.  I have issues with the discrimination laws, but I won’t be won over by half-truths and melodrama. By essentially suggesting that I must have imagined all the clinics and hospices for AIDS patients that were run by religious organisations, he’s insulted my intelligence and lost my interest in any valid points he may have.

      Anecdotally, I have worked at a religious institution alongside staff, and for clients, who were openly gay, cohabiting, or athiest (and all three!). It just wasn’t an issue. On the other hand, when I approached two utterly secular medical clinics to be sterilised, I was turned down on the basis of being childless. Evidently refusal of service is alive and well - but perhaps not in the way people think.

    • AdamC says:

      03:09pm | 22/01/13

      Fml, you would be easier to take seriously if you bothered to inform yourself about the topic under discussion before mouthing off about it. Despite your mystifying belief that religious doctors can refuse to treat non-believers, they cannot. The only basis for your ridiculous comment is your own ignorance of the facts at hand.

      I mean, seriously, fml, even if the laws did enable doctors to pick and choose their patients on the basis of religion, how would a doctor even know about the religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) of his or her patient? Does your doctor inquire as to the frequency of your Church attendance or something?

      Anyway, in case you were afte some actual facts to base your opinions on (a change is as good as a holiday, they say) here is the wording of the religious exemption for individuals from the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act:

      “Nothing in Part 4 applies to discrimination by a person against another person on the basis of that person’s religious belief or activity, sex, sexual orientation, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parental status or gender identity if the discrimination is reasonably necessary for the first person to comply with the doctrines, beliefs or principles of their religion.”

      Would you like to try to explain how that wording could possibly extend to accommodate your delusional scenario?

      And, just FYI, I am not religious. But don’t let that get in the way of your silly prejudices.

    • Stephen T says:

      03:47pm | 22/01/13

      @Hamish: The reason that they don’t quote it is because the instances of it happening are rare, and if they did manage to find a case it would be anecdotal.  What annoys me is that to a large extent everyone is discussing this aspect of the laws while the truly terrible legislation incorporated within it is dropping from the radar.

    • Tim says:

      05:20pm | 22/01/13

      Actually,
      doctors can refuse to treat people or perform certain procedures if it goes against their religious convictions.

    • Tim says:

      05:20pm | 22/01/13

      Actually,
      doctors can refuse to treat people or perform certain procedures if it goes against their religious convictions.

    • fml says:

      06:38pm | 22/01/13

      You are one to talk about prejudices.. apparantly not being religious , even though you support everything the religious nut jobs do makes your view points tangible. Hospitals have already refused handing out contraception to single mothers and have begun refusing treatment to people with polar beliefs. Yet you fail to see this. Ah well. How about you just call me a socialist leftie and we continue on our way. Btw you are absurd your religious tainted glasses are obscuricating your thinking.. your assertion that religious doctors will not follow medical directives from upper management is naive absurd and redicilous. You need to calm down mate. The frothing at the mouth blind religious naivity doesnt suit your arrogant modern personae!

    • lostinperth says:

      08:40am | 22/01/13

      “As I am sure you have, my office has recently been inundated with stories of discrimination”

      Actually no. That is presumptous of you and incorrect. There is no inundation of stories, just a flood of self righteous people engaging in a spot of religion bashing.

      “We are talking about the religious organisations who tender to receive taxpayer funding to provide a public service. They are then legally able to abuse their duty of care by denying service provision to some groups and also ignore equitable employment practices. “

      Could you provide some examples where they denied service to people on the basis of their religion? Not on who they hire, but on who they are supposed to serve.

      “The damage caused by this discrimination has seriously negative mental health impacts and can increase the risk of suicide” Any evidence on this either?

      Would you employ a staffer who spends his time (at your expense) disagreeing with youyr policies and urging people to vote for the major parties at the next election. If not, aren’t you showing the same discrimination that you complain about?

    • Nathan says:

      10:46am | 22/01/13

      Love how people asking for the taxpayer funded churches to drop their completely unnecessary discrimination are “religion bashing”.

      >Could you provide some examples where they denied service to people on the basis of their religion?

      Their schools.

      And why are they permitted to exclude people from employment on matters completely irrelevant to the job?

      >Not on who they hire, but on who they are supposed to serve.

      Not sure why you think it’s acceptable to decide to sack an unwed mother, gay person or atheist from a job that’s funded by the taxpayers.
      It is NOT THEIR MONEY to decide to do that with.

      >Any evidence on this either?

      It’s pretty well known that suicide rates in gay/lesbians are far above norms.  You’ve heard of google right?

      >Would you employ a staffer who spends his time (at your expense) disagreeing with youyr policies and urging people to vote for the major parties at the next election.

      This is not what “discrimination” laws are about. Of course a person should not be working against the business - but someone being a gay person teaching maths in a school and who is an excellent maths teacher - why should they be sacked when they are doing their job? Why is it that someone making weet-bix (made by 7th day adventist owned sanitarium) can be sacked for having a pregnant girlfriend who is not married. What on EARTH does it have to do with their ability to do their job?

      This is not saying you have to hire people who are not suitable for the work they’re going to do - if you need a degree/qualification/licence for the job at hand - that’s fine. This is the irrelevant private stuff and stuff that people have no choice. You have a choice to be a bigot, homophobe, sexist or racist - but we sure as hell shouldn’t let that be the criteria for denying jobs (especially when it’s taxpayer funded).

    • kitteh says:

      12:05pm | 22/01/13

      I too am puzzled by the whole ‘inundated’ thing, and wondering why the legions of athiest tuckshop ladies sacked by teh ebil Catlicks haven’t been flinging sausage rolls at the Vatican lately. Talk about a beat-up.

    • Backtothedrawingboard says:

      08:43am | 22/01/13

      Bigots aside, religion aside. This is the most discriminatory LAW ever to be thought of. Whoever the mastermind is behind this needs to be sacked. This is something we would expect from someone who is uneducated. Not very well thought out at all. Hide the draft, shred it, don’t own up to having written it. It should just disappear.

    • Al says:

      08:57am | 22/01/13

      “Whoever the mastermind is behind this needs to be sacked.”
      So that would be the various state, territory and federal laws that provide for this and were written under governments long past?
      As I have stated previously, this is NOT a new right to religous organisations, it has been around for a very long time and to put it forward as a new right is simply incorrect.
      The new legislation simply maintains what is already in place under various legislation regarding this, it does not add additional rights.

    • Stephen T says:

      04:08pm | 22/01/13

      @Al: You are only looking at one aspect of the Law, they are trying to combine the legal concepts discrimination and harassment and the inept fools have made a total botch of it in their legislation.

      Harassment and discrimination are different things, if the bill passes in its present form a good portion of the contributors to the Punch would be guilty of a crime, several rusted on Labor recidivists would be in dire straights as based on the current content of their posts the moderators would never allow their comments to be posted.

      Much as I disagree with their opinions they do have the right to state their views even if they are offensive.

      What I find truly offensive is that a group of people and one person in particular who barely qualified to practice law is making a decision that basically affects every person’s right to free speech.  The way they are going it will be easier to name what is legal rather than what is prohibited as the former will be sorely in the minority.

    • Davo says:

      08:48am | 22/01/13

      ha ha ha ha. great photo in this article.

      looks like tony abbot found a job where he can handle an economy without having to make any policies.

      can i have a boston bun please? and a sausage roll with sauce.

    • Hanzel says:

      08:50am | 22/01/13

      Everyone discriminates, the publicly funded gay mardi gras wouldn’t allow a float in the parade that celebrates heterosexuality, or mum and dad families….tax payer funded gay health clinics wouldn’t hire a conservative christian who may upset the patients….the publicly funded ABC or SBS won’t hire someone who likes Australia and so on.

    • Jaqui says:

      08:51am | 22/01/13

      What part of “Religiously affiliated service providers” was hard for you to understand? What would an atheist want to have anything to do with such an organisation since it stands in stark contrast to your own religion of not believing.

    • james says:

      10:10am | 22/01/13

      Humanity is a wonderful thing.

    • concerneddad says:

      08:59am | 22/01/13

      Why is it a crime to be Christian now , I doubt you have the courage to engage other faiths and nor should you .
      Also what about the single dad , people like me - my ex hasn’t worked in 17 years - everybody helps a woman not the same same for loving dads who ofen just battle on working and paying. Sorry you have to work mum’s but we have been doing our fair share.

    • Jimmy says:

      09:06am | 22/01/13

      Atheists don’t like it when tax money goes to churches and religious organisations and schools, and religious people aren’t fond of their tax money going to state schools where the theory of evolution is taught, and when tax money funds abortions…you know what - the government decides where tax money goes. The government can’t please everyone. You’ll always agree and disagree where the tax money goes. It goes to various atheist and religious organisations; it’s not one-sided. And remember -  the government aren’t your parents! How much “look after me!” do people really want?

    • seanb says:

      09:09am | 22/01/13

      I am sure that many employers could benefit from being able to dismiss single parents on “moral” grounds - think of all the money they’d save on parental leave - they just don’t have a “religion” card to play.

    • Christine says:

      09:10am | 22/01/13

      In every day life, how many people would be asked at their job interview what was their sexual preference. I don’t believe one is permitted to ask such a question.  Is there any relevance in the fact that some in the community need to broadcast loudly who they are and this is off putting regardless of sexual persuasion. Some matters are deemed to be private and do not need to be foisted on to everyone else. 

      I support Koch’s view in relation to breast feeding.  This is a beautiful time for mother and baby and permitted in public. However, surely there are discreet ways of doing so without foisting oneself on all and sundry to view your exposure of more than baby’s head. Over exposure seems to degrade the beauty of a natural process and seems to be more about the mother than the delightful bub. Obviously others have a different view.

    • Nathan says:

      10:56am | 22/01/13

      Aren’t you fortunate as a woman that you have the vote these days? And cannot be denied a job simply for being a woman. Amazing how people forget that your side of the species used to be discriminated against in day to day work/employment/government. It might pay you to consider how your day-to-day life would be if you were expected to stay home in the kitchen still because it was ok to discriminate against women (clearly too weak/inferior/stupid to hold down jobs that men do). 

      >In every day life, how many people would be asked at their job interview what was their sexual preference.

      Never in the private or public sector because it is ILLEGAL under the anti-discrimination laws - but with the taxpayer funded and tax-free church businesses - that can be asked and you can apparently be sacked for no other reason than someone finds out you’re not a straight, catholic, married man/woman who shuns contraception/IVF.

      That’s the point.

      >Some matters are deemed to be private and do not need to be foisted on to everyone else.

      Precisely - that’s why people are arguing that private matters like sexuality and marital status be regarded as private and not “we can sack you for it” like the churches do with their businesses.

      There’s nothing about “foisting” anything on anyone except the church foisting its homophobia, sexism and persecution of unmarried or single parents.

      Is a black skinned person “foisting” who they are on other people? What word would you use to describe someone who thought that someone was making a fuss by having black skin? A racist perhaps?
      So what about someone who thinks the same because someone is gay - homophobic perhaps?
      And do you really think that someone’s marital status is “foisting” upon people if they do not get married and have a kid?

      So how about you stop making excuses about your discrimination - the churches can just get into line with every other business in Australia. Or they can hand over their businesses to the govt or someone who will hire people based on the things that matter, rather than some notion of “sinners should be punished”.

    • Paul Horn says:

      12:42pm | 22/01/13

      Nathan my friend you are spouting PC tripe.

      My wife works for Anglicare which as you would know is a non profit religiously affiliated organisation. It provides respite care for the disabled and others who are unable to care for themselves. My wife’s direct supervisor is an extremely blatant lesbian as is also her section manager. I have never seen such a concentration of homosexuals in my life. Some are outright in their chosen preference and others prefer it remain a known ‘secret’.

      In fact Nathan these women are some of the most spiteful vindictive individuals my wife has had the displeasure of working with. The behaviour of some of them is outrageous and would not be tolerated in a private organisation. Yet Anglicaer continues to employ them. Never once have they been questioned or called to account for their sexual behaviour - that Nathan would be illegal in this context.

      That said Nathan what would not be tolerated is if vulnerable clients were to be encouraged to indulge in homosexual actvity. The same would apply towards heterosexuality as many are incapable of negotiating any form of sexual relationship.

      I also attended a private Anglican high school many many many years ago and I can tell you there were a number of let us say non heterosexually inclined masters. This was especially prevalent amongst the clergy. The difference was Nathan that they kept their sexuality to themselves as did their heterosexual counterparts. It did not affect their teaching style one whit and they were inspiring examples of the teaching profession. The difference would be Nathan if said teachers were to encourage vulnerable students to taste of the homosexual lifestyle - that would not be tolerated and would be beyond the bounds of their vocation.

      Is that what you and Mr Greenwich are really advocating - to proseltyse your preference? If so then you should be called to account for such behaviour.

      And by the ay Nathan these are non profit organisations - not businesses. Businesess are in the business of making a profit. Not for Profits are in the business of serving others though judging by some of the people Anglicare employ that would be debatable.

    • yetanothertom says:

      06:38pm | 22/01/13

      @Paul Horn, you do realise that what you said sounds a bit of a homophobic, don’t you? :(

    • Harquebus says:

      09:23am | 22/01/13

      If we combated and destroyed religion, a lot of problems would just disappear. At the very least, we should not be supporting it. Indoctrinating minors to religion is, in my opinion, child abuse.

    • Paul Horn says:

      10:31am | 22/01/13

      Yes that’s right Harquebus! Communist Russia was the great atheist experiment that yielded fantastic advances in human rights and improved living standards. I mean the hundred or so milion that perished in its gulags are simply not worth mentioning as many professed Chrisitian beliefs deemed subversive to a state based atheistic regime. Google League of Militant Atheists if you wish to educate yourself on the wondrous humanity of a belief about ...nothing!

    • fml says:

      10:47am | 22/01/13

      In communist Russia everyone was treated equally bad, or equally well if they kept their mouth shut!

    • Doh says:

      09:26am | 22/01/13

      So what you are saying is that you don’t like people holding a gun to your head forcing you how to act/behave/live you life.  But you feel quite okay to hold a gun against the head of others to force them to act how you want.

      If you are so keen to serve in a tuck shop go support your local public school, they will definitely appreciate it.

    • Nathan says:

      10:15am | 22/01/13

      And by “others” you mean organisations (not people.. churches are not people - they are businesses) who are receiving BILLIONS a year of taxpayer money to majority fund their schools, hospitals and other businesses and who use those billions to promote their discrimination.

      If they want to discriminate and not provide a secular, non-discriminatory service with the public funding - they should not get the public funding. Not that we should be in the business of promoting religion using taxpayer funding anyhow.

      The only people “holding a gun to your head” are the religious organisations and they’re doing it with things that people have no real choice over - their sexuality, their gender.

      Would you be supportive if they said “we don’t agree with the Negro lifestyle” or “we don’t agree with the aboriginal lifestyle” and barred people based on race as well as sex, sexuality, marital status etc.

    • Doh says:

      03:10pm | 22/01/13

      Wow, are you getting paid per post today Nathan?

      If you put as much energy and effort into running a school or hospital as you do in responding to posts you could probably successfully set up in competition to the discriminatory organisations and put them out of business.

    • what a crock says:

      09:30am | 22/01/13

      Alex who? Build a bridge princess…

    • P. Darvio says:

      09:56am | 22/01/13

      I can only hope that Christianity now finally sacks all those homosexual gay paedophile priests and homosexual gay paedophile Christian teachers/workers under this legislation and protect our children ….sorry….what……they wont – why not? – don’t they believe in equal rights under law? Don’t they believe the law applies to them as well? Don’t they believe in protecting our children? Clearly not – what a bunch of hypocrites……clearly religion is discrimination.

    • Christine says:

      10:10am | 22/01/13

      There seems to be a fair amount of religion bashing going on lately.  Does punch mostly engage’ Writers’  who delight in encouraging religious vilification. It seems to me that discrimination against religion is being promoted through the Punch. 

      At least there is a writer on another article to day on a quite serious issue that is the Defence of our country or should I say our lack of ability to defend our country..

    • the phantom says:

      10:32am | 22/01/13

      Has your carer got the day off?

    • Colin says:

      12:06pm | 22/01/13

      @  the phantom

      “Has your carer got the day off?”

      Ha! I laughed so hard at that oh-so-poignant remark that i nearly fell off my chair! Well done grin

    • Hanzel says:

      01:24pm | 22/01/13

      @ Christine, they have the right to free speech….to write and publish whatever they want. Of course, Christians could band together and establish a website, paper, and TV channel reporting on the issues of the day that people actually want to read…but sadly, many Christians today prefer to complain about things rather than build something new. There’s no reason why a new Christian media network couldn’t be bigger than News, Fairfax and the ABC…combined.

    • kfr says:

      10:15am | 22/01/13

      An article showing all the signs of lack of relevance syndome by an independent in the nsw parliament. Cannot get a word in parliament so do it here. By the way, this was done to death last week so please, move on. MOst of us including the press have.

    • Gerry W says:

      10:18am | 22/01/13

      We are going backwards at an accelerated rate in the last few years. Criminals get a better deal. I want to know what rapists murderers live in my area not just pedophiles. Anyone who is caught damaging property should be made to pay for it, not us law abiding ratepayers etc I do not care what religion serves or chats to me as long as they are good people.

    • Terry2 says:

      10:36am | 22/01/13

      The Consolidation of Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination laws is exactly that, a consolidation.  the draft legislation certainly retains, at this stage , the pre - existing exemptions for religious bodies to discriminate in areas of employment (S.33).

      http://www.ag.gov.au/Consultations/Pages/ConsolidationofCommonwealthanti-discriminationlaws.aspx

      To most Australians this form of discrimination is entirely unacceptable so, as the Bill commences its passage through our legislature it is for us to let our local members know that this is a flawed piece of legislation, perpetuating prejudices of the nineteenth century.
      Personally, I cannot see this legislation getting up in the Senate and if it is passed in the Reps we need to look no further that the independents and the opposition.

    • Jimmy says:

      10:38am | 22/01/13

      Alex, as the Chairperson of Australian Marriage Equality, do you believe that anyone, any age, any number of persons, any objects, should be able to get married? If not, why do you just support monogamous heterosexual and homosexual marriage? That’s discrimination!

    • fml says:

      10:49am | 22/01/13

      Easy, because inanimate objects and animals cannot verbally accept a proposal, also no one is asking to lower the marriage age. It is equal discrimination for under the marriage age, the key word being equal.

    • Paul Horn says:

      05:18pm | 22/01/13

      Crap argument fml. Pigs do not consent to being slaughtered either so if I rescue a pig by marrying it the consent would be obvious.

      Would someone need your consent if they wished to deposit a million bucks in your bank account. I think you would be rather peeved if your bank manger turned away a very generous offer on the basis that you were not there to agree to it.

      Anyway marriage has been made to be utterly meaningless now so who really cares and what are people really consenting to fml. I mean people get married to obtain residency status in another country, people get married in Vegas while drunk and then have it anulled the next day.

      Hell Kardashian did’nt even last 72 hours in her second marriage and I believe she was having intimate relations with some other bloke on her wedding night. It’s just a circus created by the progressive Labour ‘no fault divorce’ countercultural brigade.

      At least an animal will stick it out. And fml to the pig marriage would only confer benefits beyond being simply a pet which it can’t consent to either.       

      You need to do better or get with the times.

    • Stephen says:

      10:48am | 22/01/13

      Religious institutions have NO entitlement to taxation benefits.

      Why is the non-believing Australian taxpayer paying more, so these institutions to the blind, the scared and the feeble minded pay less.

      Their cost to society far outweighs their benefit.

    • Hamish says:

      12:05pm | 22/01/13

      Yet another ignorant misrepresentation of how the taxation and funding system works for religious organisations. But hey, why let the facts get in the way of your bigotry.

    • Colin says:

      12:20pm | 22/01/13

      @ Stephen

      “Why is the non-believing Australian taxpayer paying more, so these institutions to the blind, the scared and the feeble minded pay less.(?)”

      Indeed. In fact, why are we contributing money to a bunch of loonies who believe in virgin birth, sky-faeries, zombie resurrections, and talking burning bushes in the first place..?

      Frankly, I find it galling that any organisation based on such a ridiculous set of tenets has any rights whatsoever in any Modern Society. Seriously, religious nuts; if you want to believe all of your silly nonsense, you really shouldn’t be practicing it within a largely secular society - particularly when it annoys so many of us.

    • Ray says:

      11:06am | 22/01/13

      Alex, as an independent MP how many full members of any political party do you have on your staff?
      I am sure you have your own political beliefs and I am sure you would be reluctant to employ anyone who’s strongly held politically beliefs were at odds with yours.
      I think it is fair and reasonable that any organisation (religious or otherwise) whose main work is centred around a strongly held and widely publicised set of beliefs should have the right to choose to employ people whose beliefs are not at odds with the organisation’s core beliefs, especially in key roles.

    • Jim Moriarty says:

      11:09am | 22/01/13

      I grew up in Ireland. The Republic, not the North.

      In case you don’t know - very Catholic society.

      I was out. I got fired from a lot of service jobs, usually on some stupid made up reason, like I apparently nicked something. This was usually after a coworker had seen me out with a guy.

    • james says:

      11:52am | 22/01/13

      You should not have moved here then.

    • Jim Moriarty says:

      12:40pm | 22/01/13

      @James

      My partner is Australian. We met in London. He wanted to move back here, and I came with him.

    • Greg says:

      11:25am | 22/01/13

      “Everyone should have the right to work in a tuck shop”

      Really? How about sex offenders and paedophiles? Should they have that right too? Don’t any restrictions apply?

      Is it OK for creationists to take jobs that teach evolution? Should racists be eligible for jobs as diversity coordinators? Should a Johovah’s Witness take a job managing a blood bank?

      No doubt Alex Greenwich and his fellow travellers would be outraged about the latter scenarios. They are hypocrites, only ever wanting to get more exclusive entitlements for people who share their own ideology.

    • fml says:

      12:22pm | 22/01/13

      “Is it OK for creationists to take jobs that teach evolution? Should racists be eligible for jobs as diversity coordinators? Should a Johovah’s Witness take a job managing a blood bank?”

      Yes it is alright, jobs should be based on experience, not gender or sexual orientation, they are two different attributes, even though you are trying to say they are the same.

    • Greg says:

      03:56pm | 22/01/13

      @fml, experience is not the issue, it is a fundamental cultural and philosophical incompatibility between the employer and employer.

      Does anybody ever care how much work experience that creationists, racists or Johovah’s Witnesses have with the jobs mentioned? Would you support their job applications?

    • tez says:

      11:47am | 22/01/13

      You would hope that religious schools and hospitals would be hiring the best candidate for the job, not the second best because they had the faith.

    • Esteban says:

      02:53pm | 22/01/13

      If they hire the best then the second best will be in the state scxhools and hospitals.

    • Gordon says:

      12:01pm | 22/01/13

      Remember the famous Keatingism about the ^&%$ in the cake shop? Looks like he’s moved jobs.

    • Jay2 says:

      12:40pm | 22/01/13

      “Also affected by the cruel exemptions in the bill are single mums. Not only have you recently reduced their financial support by moving them to Newstart, the proposed bill potentially reduces the number of opportunities they have to find work.”

      @ Alex, are you referring this to Tony Abbott? If so, I think you might be better taking your concerns regarding this to Julia Gillard (The current Prime Minister-only mentioning it because you seem confused over WHO exactly is , supposedly, running this country) and Bill Shorten who were actively have sought to have single parents off parenting onto the dole and have thus far ignored requests to assist such women in finding work.
      Surely, this can’t be continually lumped at Abbott (Abbott, Abbott..) when last time I looked he was in OPPOSITION.

    • Yetanothertom says:

      12:49pm | 22/01/13

      Surely the bottom line is that we, as a diverse society governed by secular laws, have decided that discrimination based on prejudice is not acceptable in our society (in the same way we don’t accept thievery or violence). Once this has been agreed, there is no room for exception, religious or otherwise. Most of the discussion here is not so much about the validity of religious exemptions to secular laws, but rather around whether discrimination is ok or not – which is a separate question. What most folk who are arguing in support of religious exemptions are actually saying is that discrimination is ok by them, which, to my mind, demonstrates exactly why antidiscrimination laws are required and why there should be no exemptions. 

      Discrimination and prejudice is discrimination and prejudice whether born of ignorance, intolerance, fear or religion, it has no place in our society and the law should reflect this.

    • Carramaena says:

      01:08pm | 22/01/13

      Surely the caption should read “what’s that you want, a fair shake of the sauce bottle?”
      wink

    • Esteban says:

      01:10pm | 22/01/13

      After the next election no one should deny Penny Wong employment in a tuck shop.

      I think she would be well suited to the role as long as she is excluded from the finances of the tuck shop.

    • john of solomon says:

      01:18pm | 22/01/13

      I hear all the cries about the religious organisations all sucking on the public tit, but what about the funds that are given to these organisations by their followers or church members, as one previous blogger said if the Govt had to replace or fully fund all the schools and hospitals we would be in a hell of a mess. Surely these organisations are entitled to some control over who they employ.

    • Gem says:

      02:30pm | 22/01/13

      Rubbish article. True discrimination is a terrible thing. Saying an athiest cannot work in a religious school is not true discrimination - It is the school’s attempt to ensure that the religious education it offers and advertises is truly carried out. How can a religious institution educate/train/bring up children in the religious fashion advertised if it has staff members who are blatantly opposed to it? Especially vocal staff would disrupt the learning environment these schools try to create within their walls.

      It goes against common sense to have someone blatantly opposed to a belief system to work with that institution working to achieve a common goal – because the two parties have 2 very different goals.

      It doesn’t make sense for a health ambassador to promote KFC, or a anti-vaccinationist to hand out vaccination leaflets, so why is there so much complaining going on here? If an atheist (etc) teacher wants to teach at a religious school, I say let them, provided they are 100% committed to fostering the religious environment and goals of the institution. Otherwise how would it work?

 

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