This teacher was fired because of his sexuality


Laws already allow some schools to discriminate against LGBTIQ teachers. Craig Campbell is one of those who lost their jobs for what they are.

High school teacher Craig Campbell received an email from the WA Teacher Registration Board indicating that after working for two years as a relief teacher at a Baptist college south of Perth, he had been kidnapped from the list of available teachers.

And by the time he got the email, Mr. Campbell was well aware that the school had terminated his job so coldly because of his sexuality.

Indeed, he had recently informed the director of the college that he had a homosexual relationship.

Under Western Australian and Commonwealth law, religious schools are permitted to discriminate against teachers on the basis of their sexuality. And although the school never formally invoked the law, both sides understood what was implied when he was fired.

And as the Morrison government is on the verge of introducing a religious discrimination law that should strengthen existing religious exemptions – if not expand them – Mr. Campbell is speaking out against these damaging and harmful laws as part of the National secular lobby campaign against them.


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A culture of “fear and silence”

“I am not in a position to comment on South Coast Baptist College or the reasons for leaving South Coast Baptist College,” Campbell said first.

“It’s an isolating and frightening experience that pits teachers against their entire school,” he explained. “The exemptions create a system in which schools have little responsibility for their reasoning and manner of dismissing or disciplining, and the individual has little or no recourse.”

“Given the sensitive and private nature of the subject – particularly within conservative religious communities – it is even more unlikely that the staff concerned will speak out,” said the high school teacher at Sydney Criminal Lawyers.

According to the teacher, “the perceived ‘sexual’ nature” behind the reasons for the layoffs – or the alternative, which is “forced shutdown” – is “particularly magnified” as the teachers involved work closely with young students.

Questioning their professionalism in this way hampers a teacher’s ability to educate students, he added. And these laws also have an impact on mental health, whether it be through dismissal, closure, or exclusion from employment opportunities at government-funded religious schools.

“We have to ask ourselves why we don’t hear stories about this, because there are certainly LGBTQI teachers who work in religious schools,” said Mr. Campbell. “The threat is keeping them locked up or something is going on behind the scenes to keep people quiet.”

Article 38 of the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984 authorizes religious education institutions to discriminate against employees, contractors and students on the basis of “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, status. marriage or relationship or pregnancy ”.

While the Western Australian Equal Opportunities Act 1984 provides article 73 that religious schools are legally permitted to discriminate against employees, contractors and students on the basis of sexual orientation or gender background, among other attributes.

“When schools don’t actively challenge these exemptions,” Campbell said, “they send the message to all staff and students that LGBTQI people are less good and do not deserve protection, either within the community. this school community or Australian society at large. “

Rally Against Equal Rights

The Ruddock Religious Freedoms Review was prepared by Malcolm Turnbull just a week later the return of the Yes to marriage equality. It was an attempt to appease religious right-wing politicians who opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The recommendations of the review suggested the religious exemptions contained in the sex discrimination law be reassessed, not with a view to repealing them, but to make it clearer that they are “based on the precepts of religion”.

The realization that the law allows religious schools to expel students and fire teachers because of their sexuality has sparked a public outcry. And after initially defending the laws, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would repeal the student provision, though he was silent on teachers.

However, despite a weak attempt by Mr. Morrison to repeal the law targeting LGBTIQ students, it remains in place. And instead, the prime minister announced last December that he has decided to bring forward yet another recommendation for review, which passes a law on religious discrimination.

Legislate more privileges

While the Australian Christian Lobby may be eagerly awaiting the tabling of the Religious Discrimination Act, the wider community is questioning why this legislation seeks to protect religious people from discrimination, as well as their right to discriminate, is now a priority.

And while Morrison has emphasized the need to protect religious freedoms in a multicultural society, the real push for these laws is led by an all-English-speaking Australian choir focused solely on protecting the majority religion in that country: Christianity.

Marion Maddox, professor at Macquarie University highlighted that in recent decades, when the debate over religious freedoms has arisen, the religious right has overthrown it. And it only seems now that they feel their privilege is threatened that they want to enshrine it more in law.

Mr. Campbell stressed that while religious freedom is important, as far as he can see the proposed law “is a response to appease” the “electoral base” of Morrison who lost in the plebiscite.

And former NSW Council for Civil Liberties chairman Stephen Blanks made the observation when the current debate started that rather than establishing a law that privileges one right over all others, the government should consider a bill of rights which protects all human rights under the law.

Repeal the right to discriminate

Of course, a very obvious reason why the discussion of religious freedom has gotten to the point where the Federal Parliament is about to debate religious protections is that the nation has a Pentecostal Prime Minister, who wears his faith on his sleeve.

And when the nation revealed its outrage at the pre-existing exemption laws, rather than admit how wrong they were, it struggled to hide your smile as he repeatedly told reporters that these exemptions were already provided for by law, so that was it.

But, despite the measures to strengthen these discriminatory rights under the new legislation, it is certain that most people want to see the possibility of discriminating against teachers and students abolished. And as Campbell pointed out, these schools “to a large extent” are funded by taxpayers.

“The complexities of religious freedom in all areas do not concern me, but government sanctioned discrimination in schools is,” Campbell concluded.

“The gaps are out of step with public sentiment and broader Australian values. Take them out and we help create safe and healthy learning environments for all staff and students. “