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Church wants to work with Qld Govt to remove flaws in new legislation

Bishop John Gerry, acting for Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby, has said that the Catholic Church wants to work with the Queensland Government to ensure a satisfactory outcome for all on the new anti-discrimination legislation.

Bishop Gerry stated the Church's opposition to the proposed legislation relates primarily to the wording and removal of clauses that would affect operations in religious institutions.

The Queensland Government has modified legislation that would remove the right of Catholic schools to discriminate in their employment practices against teachers whose personal lifestyle does not conform to Church teaching.

"We are looking for a win-win situation that will allow the passage of the law, but not do harm to the rights of any of the different stakeholders involved," Bishop Gerry said.

"Although we might prefer that society's standards and values accorded more closely with Church teachings, the Catholic Church is a compassionate Church, we do not seek to condemn homosexuals or people in de facto relationships," he said. "Nor would we look to impede the passing of legislation to which the Government seeks to ensure property rights and surety of inheritance for them and for children impacted upon by their circumstances."

But he made clear the Church's view that religious freedom should not suffer in any way as a result of the legislation. The "safeguards" originally offered by the Government were regarded by the Church's legal advisers as falling well short of the minimum required to protect our rights.

"We are firm in retaining the right to promote our own values through the operation of our institutions, schools and other Church entities, and we want our capacity to do that protected and preserved in some appropriate form, as is the case in every state and territory of the Commonwealth," he said.

Archdiocese of Brisbane

Beattie denies backflip on teacher discrimination (26/11/02)
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

27 Nov 2002