December 1st 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Will Morrison and Shorten remove freedoms from faith-based schools?

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Immigrants caught in English-language nether world

CANBERRA OBSERVED China's pushiness provokes pushback among neighbours

FOREIGN AFFAIRS U.S. midterm elections leave Trump in charge

DEFENCE Perth Defence conference prioritises Indo-Pacific

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Countering fake news: Jair Bolsonaro may just save Brazil's democracy

GENDER POLITICS Small signs of a turn in the tide of the transgender flood

FOREIGN AFFAIRS European Union's winder of discontent

AUTOBIOGRAPHY Wynand du Toit: writing into the sunset

ASIAN AFFAIRS China uses salami tactics to isolate Taiwan

ENERGY Hydroelectric power and pump storage

LEGAL MATTERS Universities put themselves above the law

John le Carre, Smiley and the spy novel

MUSIC The mercurial Freddie: Power without emotion

CINEMA Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

BOOK REVIEW Commentator has got it right

BOOK REVIEW We are ill equipped for next big shift

BOOK REVIEW The father of the Reformation

FICTION The Lonely Man

LETTERS

VICTORIAN ELECTION Coalition collapse in Victoria

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COVER STORY Will Morrison and Shorten remove freedoms from faith-based schools?

by Patrick J. Byrne

News Weekly, December 1, 2018

It used to be that a disruptive boy could face discipline or be expelled from school for repeatedly putting girls at risk by entering the girls change rooms or toilets.

Now, if the Federal Government, Labor and the Greens remove exemptions for faith-based schools from the federal Sex Discrimination Act, principals and teachers may face discrimination charges for refusing to allow a biological boy, who identifies as a girl, access to female safe spaces.

This move has come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in October that his Government did “not support expulsion of students from religious non-state schools on the basis of their sexuality”.

The Greens and Labor upped the ante on Morrison with a Senate bill to remove the exemptions clause covering both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the Sex Discrimination Act for faith-based schools.

These controversial, newly created rights come from the 2013 dramatic changes to the Sex Discrimination Act to protect a person by their “gender identity”, in place of their “sex”. The act sets no minimum threshold for a boy to identify as a girl – he has only to self-identify as female. He does not have to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. If medical evidence is requested, a letter from a medical practitioner is all that is required, which is as easy as obtaining a flu shot from a doctor.What’s the difference between “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”? Answer: Boys with a gay sexual orientation don’t use the girls’ toilets, but a biological boy who self-identifies as a girl – and says his gender identity is female – claims the legal right to use the girls’ toilets and play in girls’ sports.

As the Sex Discrimination Act covers state schools, the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and South Australian state education departments quickly issued policies obliging state school authorities to give boys identifying as girls access to girls’ sports, change rooms, showers, toilets and other female safe spaces like girls’ clubs, dormitories and camps.

For example, the NSW Legal Services Directorate issued “Transgender students in schools – legal rights and responsibilities”, advising the NSW Department of Education and TAFE of these new requirements.

It also contains risk assessments and management proposals. It assesses the risk for “use of toilets and change rooms” as “high” and says that teachers are required to manage the risk of having students “change in [a] cubicle”. Then staff are “to monitor length of time in change room … [and] report any incidents in the change room to principal.” There was to be “zero tolerance to ‘skylarking’ in change rooms”. Are teachers supposed to become toilet police?

The only reason these policies have not been imposed on faith-based schools is because these schools have a tenuous exemptions clause in section 38 of the Sex Discrimination Act.

Prime Minister Morrison plans to remove these exemptions. This would remove the freedom for faith-based schools to say “no” to biological boys in girls’ safe spaces and to protect the inherent right of girls to these safe spaces.

Furthermore, removal of these exem­ptions would place school authorities at risk of discrimination charges. Indeed, the South Australian education department’s “Transgender and intersex student support” policy explicitly warns that principals and teachers may “breach anti-discrimination legislation” if they fail to provide transgender students with access to appropriate services and facilities.

This means they may not only face legal penalties, but also loss of professional accreditation and employment for doing no more than exercising their duty of care for, and protecting the rights of, biologically female students.

Media reports suggest that the Prime Minister may propose a new clause in the Sex Discrimination Act requiring that staff and pupils be expected to abide by the rules of the school, but at the same time the school must act “in the best interest of the student”. Who will determine the best interest of the student? Parents? Teachers? In the case of a transgender student, it is more likely to be the gender clinic that provides a letter saying that a particular biological boy is now a girl.

The radical sex-education program, Safe Schools, justified its advocacy for teaching kids they can change their sex on the legal recognition of gender identity in the Sex Discrimination Act. Not only did the Coalition Government reject the program and axe future funding, but Scott Morrison has said that he personally opposes radical gender ideology and “gender whispering” being forced on Australian state schools.

So, why does he now plan to force gender ideology on faith-based schools?

Why should political parties be able to choose their staff and members in accordance with the party’s policies, but faith-based schools be denied this same right in relation to enrolments and staff?

Do the PM and Leader of the Opposition really understand the consequences of recognising a person by their “gender identity” and imposing legal obligations on schools?

Patrick J Byrne is president of the National Civic Council and author of Transgender: One Shade of Grey – the legal consequences for man & woman, schools, sport, politics, democracy, (2018).




























All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99


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