Gay law reforms to hit Queensland Catholic schools
Catholic schools in Queensland will no longer be able to refuse to employ a teacher simply because he or she is homosexual, under amended anti-discrimination legislation introduced to State Parliament.
An exemption granted by the 1991 Anti-Discrimination Act to religious schools to reject a teacher on the grounds of sexuality will be taken away under the Discrimination Law Amendment Bill brought in by Attorney-General Rod Welford on Wednesday.
Premier Peter Beattie (pictured) said yesterday the Catholic system still would be permitted to discriminate in favour of Catholics.
"If the Catholic system wants to employ a Catholic teacher, they can," he said.
If two equal candidates - one Catholic, the other Anglican - applied for a teaching position in a Catholic school, the school would still be entitled under the new legislation to favour the Catholic.
However, the Premier said if two Catholic candidates - one heterosexual, the other homosexual - presented for an interview, the position would have to be determined entirely on professional merit.
"You can't be discriminated against on the grounds that you're gay," he said.
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Government Updates Discrimination Laws (Qld Attorney-General & Justice Minister Hon. Rod Welford MP)
Catholic Education Commission Queensland
VIC TEACHERS' UNION SEEKS MORE FUNDING FOR NON-GOVT SCHOOLS
A substantial increase in funding for non-government schools, particularly Catholic schools, and the indexation of that funding to the cost of education are the major platforms of the Victorian Independent Education Union's election bid.
The union's general secretary, Tony Keenan, said the schools need a substantial funding increase to be able to reduce class sizes and improve teacher conditions. He said Catholic primary and secondary schools had the largest classes in the state.
A recent survey of about 2300 Catholic school teachers conducted by the union showed that wages and class sizes were the two issues of greatest concern to teachers, Mr Keenan said. "The level of funding for Victorian non-government schools, particularly poorer non-government schools, is the lowest of any state or territory."
The plea for increased funding has been supported by the Catholic Education Office. Acting director Peter Annett said Catholic schools had, on average, about 85 per cent of the resources of government schools.
Mr Annett said that in 2001 the average primary class in Catholic schools was 26.6 students, compared with 24 in government schools.
He feared that unless funding was increased to the sector, student-teacher ratios would worsen.
"We are concerned that many parents believe that the resources available in Catholic schools are at a point where they seriously consider other alternatives," he said.
Opposition education spokesman Phil Honeywood said funding to non-government schools should be indexed to match inflation.
A spokeswoman for Education Minister Lynne Kosky declined to comment.
Victorian Independent Education Union | Catholic School Redundancies
8 Nov 2002