Protecting the rights of the most vulnerable
The Uniting Church Assembly's submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission
March 15, 2023
The Uniting Church Assembly has made a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) affirming the principle that the safety and care of students be paramount in anti-discrimination legislation regarding Religious Educational Institutions.
"The Uniting Church has a long-confirmed commitment to the dignity and worth of all people, and maintains issues raised by the ALRC enquiry should be resolved with the best interests of students being paramount"
Recently the ALRC was asked by the Federal Government to lead an enquiry regarding legislation that would prevent discrimination against either students or staff of religious educational institutions.
The enquiry focused on preventing discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as sexual orientation or gender identity, while also enabling such institutions to conduct themselves according to the doctrines, beliefs and teachings of their faith and to appropriately preference members of that faith in the selection of staff.
As a result, the ALRC produced a consultation paper suggesting a way forward and inviting submissions.
The Uniting Church recognises that these issues require balancing the rights of individuals to be free of discrimination with the rights of religious people and institutions to engage in the practice of their faith.
The Uniting Church has a long-confirmed commitment to the dignity and worth of all people, and as such maintains issues raised by the ALRC enquiry should be resolved with the best interests of students being paramount. As a result, the UCA is broadly supportive of the principles and proposals contained in the ALRC consultation paper.