Non-Discrimination Laws and Religious Schools in Australia
27 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2010
Date Written: July 6, 2010
This article examines extent to which Australian religious schools should be exempt from non-discrimination laws that apply to other schools. Religious schools are common in Australia and attract significant government funding. The question of the extent to which they must comply with discrimination law is therefore a significant issue of public policy that impacts on the education of a substantial portion of Australian children and the employment opportunities of teachers and other school employees. The first section of the article outlines some of the types of discrimination which religious schools may wish to engage in; the second discusses some arguments for and against permitting such discrimination. The third section examines the way in which the laws and practices in various Australian jurisdictions allow religious schools to engage in particular forms of discrimination. The article concludes by arguing that some degree of permissible discrimination may be necessary to assist religious schools to maintain their distinctive character, but that wide exemptions to discrimination laws (such as those seen in some Australian States) are not appropriate.
Keywords: Australia, religious schools, discrimination law
JEL Classification: J71, K00, K19, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation