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Beattie denies backflip on teacher discrimination

Teachers fear McCarthyist witch-hunts could follow a Queensland government decision to let church schools keep the power to discriminate against teachers who flaunted a gay or defacto lifestyle.

Queensland Independent Education Union general secretary Terry Burke said the Government had caved in and now had to ensure teachers at religious schools would not be left in fear of a whispering campaign about their private lives.

The schools said that under the planned laws, they would have been stopped from rejecting teachers who were openly gay or living in a defacto relationship - unlike under special exceptions in other states' anti-discrimination laws.

"The churches have put to us that they want people who are supportive of their principles to teach in their schools - we don't have a problem with that," Mr Beattie said.

Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Joe McCorley welcomed the changes, saying the original legislation "would have taken away our religious freedom to run our schools in a way parents choose".

"The Government had taken this legislation stronger than every other state - every other state has protection in this area," Mr McCorley said.

But he denied there would now be an attempt to expose the private lives of teachers.

The Courier-Mail (payment required)

Church persuades Beattie to rethink discrimination issue (25/11/02)
Talks deadlock (Catholic Leader)

Catholic newspaper drawn into discrimination law controversy (20/11/02)
Laws threaten Church values (The Catholic Weekly, reproduced from The Catholic Leader)
Catholic Leader front page 18/11/02
Church may fight Queensland discrimination laws (14/11/02)
Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland | Re: Discrimination Law Amendment Bill launch
The Queensland Cabinet | Government Updates Discrimination Laws (media release 6/11/02)
Gay law reforms to hit Queensland Catholic schools (8/11/02)
Catholic Education Commission Queensland
CEO Archdiocese of Brisbane

26 Nov 2002