Macnamara Candidates Forum – Question on Discrimination in Religious Schools – April 7 2019

Macnamara Candidates Forum – 2019 Federal Election – Question on discrimination in religious schools

Great Debate Macnamara 2019 banner

The Great Debate: Macnamara (at Glen Eira Town Hall)

AUJS and the AZYC, in partnership with the Australian Jewish News, are proud to present The Great Debate for the federal seat of Macnamara.
In the lead up to the federal election, it is vitally important for our community to ask questions and receive answers about the most pressing issues concerning us. This year, we’re giving YOU the power to ask those most burning questions on your mind. We’re opening up submissions now, so click here to submit your questions.
Venue will be announced closer to the date.
Confirmed to attend are:
Josh Burns (Labor)
Kate Ashmor (Liberal)
Steph Hodgins May (Greens)
This event is open to members of our community of all ages. We’re looking forward to stimulating debate and thoughtful dialogue!

Question by Michael Barnett:

“What is your party doing to ensure that all students, and also all teachers and other staff members, at religious schools are fully protected from both direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or intersex status?”

Listen to the question followed by responses from Steph Hodgins-May (Greens) @ 1:10, Josh Burns (ALP) @ 2:19, and Kate Ashmor (Liberal) @ 3:47:


Live-blogging via Galus Australis Community:

Al M Fein Michael Barnett asking a question about religious discrimination against LGBTQI people.

Hannah Aroni Next qu: what is your party doing to ensure all students and teachers at religious schools are protected from direct and indirect discrimination re their gender, sexuality or intersex status

Al M Fein People in the audience are talking and giggling. How gross. But good applause.

Hannah Aroni Clarifying this is about uniforms, bathrooms, discrimination re parents, hiding relationships or identity, being forced to attend religious ceremonies w hurtful statements

Al M Fein Steph Hodgins May talking about support for Safe School and oppose religious based discrimination.

Al M Fein Talking more about funding mental health.

Al M Fein Huge applause.

Hannah Aroni Steph noting Greens are long time advocates of safe schools and oppose teacher exemptions from protection against discrimination. Also coming back to mental health funding and hoping to continue working w schools and community to keep kids safe. Big youth applause on that!

Al M Fein Josh Burns talking about most of the Jewish schools making statements condemning homophobia.

Hannah Aroni Josh referencing statements from many specific Jewish schools re not wanting the power to discriminate, saying he’s happy about that, saying we shouldn’t be able to discriminate against students or staff.

Al M Fein Josh sinking the boot into Scomo for bringing religious based discrimination back Рfunding a Pride Centre in St Kilda

Al M Fein Kate Ashmor talking about being in the Midsumma Pride rally.

Hannah Aroni Josh saying last year the PM sent kids home after reversing onthis issue. Says people should imagine kids going home for summer thinking about that. Noting in this electorate 82% voted for marriage equality, noted Labor commitment to building Pride Centre in St K

Al M Fein¬†And Kate says she voted ‘yes’ in the marriage equality debate BUT she’s saying that she will ensure freedom of religion – and institutionalised homophobia.

Al M Fein Talking about funding in the budget for mental health Рto applause.

Hannah Aroni Kate saying she voted yes bc as a Lib she supports freedom and human rights. But saying freedom of religion is a cornerstone of the comm and that parents should be able to choose the values taught in schools and saying she will be a strong voice for that. Saying she was happy w the 720 mil funding and 30 new headspace centres, 4 new ED clinics

Hannah Aroni Being pulled back on this to topic by the moderator. Moderator correcting Kate РKate tried to claim changes to law didn’t pass parliament bc labor refused, Mod says no, this was bc Libs refused to pas Lab changes

Hannah Aroni¬†Kate saying she supports law to protect students, but stands w the PM re teachers and is … wow how do I do justice to this

Al M Fein More men yelling over women.

Hannah Aroni She’s going on about not being a typical pollie and the crowd thinks she’s full of shit, and Josh has pushed back to say this shows where she stands on the issue

Al M Fein Josh just put Kate back in her box after she claimed that she was talking shit because she is not a ‘staffer’

Hannah Aroni Next qu is about pill testing and harm reduction re drug users

Religious Freedom Review: ECAJ ‘cautiously welcomes’ findings + Schools reject discrimination | AJN

See also:

ajn-20181221-p5 ECAJ cautiously welcomes findings + Schools reject discrmination

ECAJ ‚Äėcautiously welcomes‚Äô findings

December 23, 2018

THE Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has ‚Äúcautiously welcomed‚ÄĚ the long-awaited release of the Religious Freedom Review and the federal government‚Äôs response.

The government has endorsed 15 of the 20 recommendations in the report, which was handed down in May but only released last week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government plans to introduce a Religious Discrimination Act, employ a Freedom of Religion Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission and look to introduce a range of other amendments.

The issue of whether religious schools should be allowed to discriminate based on LGBTI+ status has been deferred for the time being.

‚ÄúDiscrimination on the basis of a person‚Äôs identity ‚Äď including their religious identity ‚Äď is unacceptable ‚Ķ we [also] respect the right of religious institutions to maintain their distinctive religious ethos. Our laws should reflect these values,‚ÄĚ Morrison and Attorney-General Christian Porter said last week.

‚ÄúOur commitment to striking an appropriate balance is clear. We are committed to finding a way forward that cuts through the political debates about whether some rights are more important than others.‚ÄĚ

ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim said that although the roof body believed religious freedom in Australia is not under threat, ‚Äúas both an ethnic and a faith community we support the government‚Äôs intention ‚Äėto further protect, and better promote and balance, the right to freedom of religion under Australian law and in the public sphere‚Äô.‚ÄĚ

He said there ‚Äúshould be little controversy‚ÄĚ about the endorsed recommendations, but did say the introduction of a Religious Discrimination Act will be more contentious.

‚ÄúOn the one hand the legislation will prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person‚Äôs religious belief or activity ‚Ķ on the other hand there will be similar exemptions to those in other anti-discrimination legislation,‚ÄĚ he said.

‚ÄúIn practice, however, some difficult situations may arise in which one or the other principle will have to give way, and where no broad social consensus exists as to which principle ought to prevail.‚ÄĚ

Wertheim added the creation of the Freedom of Religion Commissioner role was ‚Äúgood sense‚ÄĚ.

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council director of community affairs Jeremy Jones said the government would have a ‚Äúdifficult task trying to get the correct balance between protecting the right of all Australians to enjoy religious freedom while also trying to ensure that we can have full and robust discussion on matters of concern‚ÄĚ.

GARETH NARUNSKY

Zoe Goodhardt, Liebler Yavneh College, religious freedom and equality

One parent at Leibler Yavneh College is reported to not value “freedom and equality” for her children despite the school stating it won’t discriminate against LGBTIQ students and staff.

On the front page of The Australian today (“Keeping religion alive lies at heart of family‚Äôs values”; Dec 14 2018) Brad Norington and Elias Visontay write of parent Zoe Goodhardt’s decision to send her children to Orthodox Jewish school Leibler Yavneh College:

20181214 The Australian front page

When it comes to freedom and equality, she says there are plenty of other schools for parents to enrol their children, but choosing a school for Ezra, Rami and ­Jasmine was about choosing a community.

The article concludes with:

Mr Morrison confirmed yesterday that his government had ­accepted most recommendations of a review by former Howard government minister Philip Ruddock into religious freedoms.

Attempting to defuse a parliamentary impasse over the treatment of gay students within religious schools, Mr Morrison will refer this issue for further ­review by the Australian Law ­Reform Commission.

Legislation enabling same-sex marriage has created theological and ethical difficulties for several religious schools, including Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Coptic-Christian and Catholic, where it may clash with traditional teachings

On November 27 2018 J-Wire reported of Leibler Yavneh College:

Principal Cherylyn Skewes and Chair Avi Gilboa stated: “Our College ethos is underpinned by Jewish Law (Halacha) which mandates love and compassion towards our fellow. As such, we ask that the Senate Inquiry ensures that no student or staff member suffers any form of discrimination including those relating to sexual orientation and gender.

It’s unclear exactly what Zoe Goodhardt had in mind when she was responding to a question from The Australian on “freedom and equality”, but what is clear is the position Leibler Yavneh College has made on not discriminating against LGBTIQ students and staff.

It’s disappointing comment was not sought by The Australian from the school’s principal, as this would have offered the necessary degree of balance and perspective that is typically absent from this publication’s content.


Keeping religion alive lies at heart of family’s values

Zoe Goodhardt with her children, Ezra, 6, Jasmine, 1, and Rami, 4, at their home in Caulfield, Melbourne. Picture: David Geraghty
Zoe Goodhardt with her children, Ezra, 6, Jasmine, 1, and Rami, 4, at their home in Caulfield, Melbourne. Picture: David Geraghty

Sending her three children to Leibler Yavneh College at Elsternwick, in Melbourne‚Äôs southeast, is a form of ‚Äúlife insurance‚ÄĚ for Zoe Goodhardt.

But this is an insurance policy like no other. It is the guarantee, Ms Goodhardt says, that her family’s Jewish faith and way of life can continue untrammelled.

So it is no surprise as rising secularism clashes with the beliefs and values of traditional faiths that Ms Goodhardt, 32, has rushed to support Scott Morrison’s pledge to protect religious freedom.

The Prime Minister’s commitment to overhaul federal discrimination laws, revealed in The Australian yesterday, is intended to introduce new provisions prohibiting discrimination against the right of individuals to practise their religions.

‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs our right, and the right of the school, to cultivate a community at the school in line with their ethos and values,‚ÄĚ Ms Goodhardt says.

When it comes to freedom and equality, she says there are plenty of other schools for parents to enrol their children, but choosing a school for Ezra, Rami and ­Jasmine was about choosing a community.

At Yavneh College, that community is based around the modern orthodox school’s mission to adhere to Jewish law (Halacha), ethical behaviour (Derech Eretz) and Zionist ideals.

Mr Morrison’s pledge on religious freedom will allow Yavneh to keep its strict admission policy permitting Orthodox Jews only.

‚ÄúI know the kids could get a great education at a public school, but I want them to grow up in a community with our values,‚ÄĚ Ms Goodhardt says.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs problematic to think that the school I and my family have grown up in wouldn‚Äôt have the right to continue with their ¬≠culture.‚ÄĚ

Ms Goodhardt, a marketing manager, lives with her husband, Dan, and their children in Caulfield North, a suburb in the heart of Melbourne’s Jewish community, the nation’s largest.

Both also attended Yavneh.

Zoe Goodhardt’s parents were the children of Holocaust survivors, originally from Lodz, Poland, who arrived in Australia after the war looking for a safe Jewish community.

Mr Goodhardt, a counter-¬≠terrorism analyst, arrived from England as a boy with his parents, whose similar quest was ‚Äúfor a free Jewish community‚ÄĚ.

The family, says Ms Goodhardt, feels safe but with much thanks to the Jewish community in Melbourne that has been able to grow. Daughter Ezra, 6, has just finished Grade 1 at Yavneh while Rami, 4, has completed senior kinder at the school; Jasmine, 1, will start at the Yavneh creche next year.

In its mission statement, ¬≠Yavneh says the school strives to develop resilient, independent learners equipped to ‚Äúparticipate effectively as Jews in the outside world‚ÄĚ. The school embraces Australian heritage as well, encouraging students to take pride in it and contribute to the nation‚Äôs future.

Mr Morrison confirmed yesterday that his government had ­accepted most recommendations of a review by former Howard government minister Philip Ruddock into religious freedoms.

Attempting to defuse a parliamentary impasse over the treatment of gay students within religious schools, Mr Morrison will refer this issue for further ­review by the Australian Law ­Reform Commission.

Legislation enabling same-sex marriage has created theological and ethical difficulties for several religious schools, including Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Coptic-Christian and Catholic, where it may clash with traditional teachings.

Moriah College rejects all discrimination against LGBTIQ staff and students

Moriah College’s statement on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Moriah College logo cropped.jpg

Aleph Melbourne warmly welcomes Moriah College’s statement rejecting all legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students and staff.

Further to their statement “We expect staff to act publicly in a manner that is not inconsistent with the ethos, tenets and values of the school.” the school advises “that Moriah‚Äôs expectations are the same for, and of, all staff”.

See our table of responses from Jewish schools across Australia.

20181206-Moriah-College-position-on-discrimination

UJEB’s statement on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

UJEB’s statement on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

UJEB logo

Aleph Melbourne warmly welcomes a statement from the United Jewish Education Board (UJEB) rejecting discrimination against students, parents, teachers or other members of staff on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

See our table of responses from Jewish schools across Australia.

20181204-UJEB-statement-on-discrimination-based-on-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity

Jewish community responses to religious discrimination in schools

Jewish Community responses to the removal of discrimination against staff and students at religious schools.

This table will be updated as further details come to hand.
Last update: 5:54pm 04-Dec-2018

Organisation (click for statement)StateRemove exemptions
Bialik CollegeVIC
The King David SchoolVIC
Mount Scopus Memorial CollegeVIC
Leibler Yavneh CollegeVIC
Mount Sinai CollegeNSW
Emanuel SchoolNSW
Institute for Judaism and CivilisationVIC
Aleph MelbourneVIC
Sholem Aleichem CollegeVIC
Moriah CollegeNSW
United Jewish Education BoardVIC
Yeshivah & Beth Rivkah CollegesVIC
NSW Board of Jewish EducationNSW
Board of Progressive Jewish EducationNSW
Carmel SchoolWA
Sinai CollegeQLD

Sholem Aleichem College rejects discrimination against LGBTIQ staff and students

Sholem Alecichem College rejects discrimination on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity.

Sholem Aleichem College logoAleph Melbourne warmly welcomes Sholem Aleichem College’s statement rejecting legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students and staff.

See our table of responses from Jewish schools across Australia.

20181018 Sholem Aleichem College statement

David Southwick must stop abusing the LGBTIQ community

David Southwick must stop abusing the LGBTIQ community.

On January 28 2018 David Southwick had his photo taken with Jewish LGBTIQ groups at Pride March.

20180128 David Southwick and Jewish LGBTIQ groups at Pride March

Aleph Melbourne noted:

During the 2018 Victorian State Election David Southwick claimed of the Safe Schools program:

“really young children [are] being exposed to sexual education”

We have demonstrated his claim is lacking in factual accuracy and have invited him to apologise for his error.

At Pride March 2019 Aleph Melbourne will remind the community of David Southwick’s damaging and misleading claims if a sufficient apology is not forthcoming.

We would however prefer that David Southwick’s presence at Pride March 2019 was uncontroversial.

David Southwick must apologise for misrepresenting Safe Schools

David Southwick peddled misinformation about Safe School in his election campaign and owes the community an apology.

David Southwick was reported in the Australian Jewish News (Nov 23 2018), commenting on the Safe Schools program:

Southwick and Grasso clashed over the Liberals’ plans to scrap the Safe Schools program in which he said “really young children [are] being exposed to sexual education” and replace it with anti-bullying legislation, which she said would not teach respect for those with diverse sexual orientations.

20181123 AJN Caulfield candidates clash (Safe Schools crop)

The entire question from Michael Barnett, answer from David Southwick, and comments from Sorina Grasso and Dinesh Mathew, can be heard at Caulfield Candidates Forum: What is the Liberal Party doing to strengthen support for LGBTIQ people? (Nov 15 2018).

On Nov 22 2017 The Conversation article FactCheck: does the Safe Schools program contain ‚Äėhighly explicit material‚Äô? stated:

One Nation Queensland leader Steve Dickson‚Äôs claim that the Safe Schools program ‚Äúcontains highly explicit material directed at young children in their formative years‚ÄĚ is incorrect.

There is no discussion of the details of specific sex acts, sex aids or sexual health in Safe Schools resources.

Safe Schools is an optional resource for schools and teachers. Its aim is to help school staff create safer and more inclusive environments for LGBTI students and families.

It is apparent that the understanding David Southwick has of the Safe Schools program, held uniformly across the Liberal Party, differs markedly from the reality of the program.

Is it deeply concerning that David Southwick campaigned on misinformation and fear-mongering, rather than truth and honesty.

David Southwick owes the voters and residents of Caulfield, the Jewish and wider community who put their trust in him, LGBTIQ people and their families, and all Victorians a sincere apology for flagrantly peddling damaging misinformation.

ABC RN Roundtable: Discrimination & faith based schools

Discrimination & faith based schools

Sunday 25 November 2018 9:30AM (view full episode)

Religious schools signsA Senate inquiry looking into the the issue of whether faith-based schools should be allowed to discriminate against students, teachers and staff is due to report on Monday.

It’s examining whether exemptions which allow religious schools the right expel same sex students and dismiss gay teachers should stay in place.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised amendments to discrimination law to make clear no student at religious school should be expelled on the basis of their sexuality.

Guests:

Michael Kirby, former High Court Judge

Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, Principal of Bialik College, Melbourne

Abdullah Khan, Principal of the Australian Islamic College (Perth & Adelaide) and Chair of the Islamic Schools Association of Australia

Mark Spencer, Executive Officer Policy, Governance and Staff Relations at Christian Schools Australia