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Children's Commissioner Questions School Discrimination

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Tags: Children and Young People, Discrimination, Schools, Religion

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Human Services spokesperson

Tasmania's Commissioner for Children has expressed concern about the Liberal Government's policy of allowing religious schools to discriminate against students of different religious and cultural backgrounds.

The Commissioner for Children's Annual Report released to Parliament today details correspondence from Commissioner, Mark Morrissey to government querying the impact of the discrimination policy on students.

In his advice to government, the Commissioner raises the potential for the faith-based schools' exemption under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 to contravene the human rights of young people under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mr Morrissey clearly recognises the harm that discrimination on the basis of religion, cultural background and sexuality can cause young people. His concerns were ignored by government.

Regrettably, the government is wedded to a policy that sends a message to young people that discriminating against people on the basis of their religion, or any other difference, is acceptable in our community. 

This approach insults our principles of fairness and inclusiveness. It also limits our capacity as a community to create a community where every person feels equal before the law.