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Tasmanian Govt backs down on promise to Church

The Tasmanian Government has narrowed an amendment to its Anti-Discrimination Act, contravening an assurance given to the Archbishop of Hobart, Adrian Doyle.

The Government had put legislation into Parliament that satisfied the Church's concerns, but then reduced the coverage without any consultation.

The amendment was made on Thursday evening, prior to State Parliament's rising for the summer recess.

A spokesperson for Archbishop Doyle says attempts by the Archbishop to contact the Premier were ignored.

The Church in Tasmania has been seeking to preserve the right to employ only those with an appreciation for Catholic values.

The original amended legislation had covered all religious institutions. Under Thursday's amendment, only education is covered, leaving out the Church as employer and the various welfare, aged care and hospital facilities around the State.

The Archbishop's understanding was that the legislation would clearly set out the exemption as applying to the Church as a whole. It was in this form that the Government presented its legislation to the Parliament.

The spokesperson said the Archbishop considers the narrowing of the exemption to be a serious breach of the understanding reached with the Government, and the Government must expect political consequences.

Tasmanian media reject job ads for Catholic teachers (4/4/01)

Catholic Media Office (TAS)