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Polling shows that two-thirds of the population believe Australian laws must protect the “universal human right to hold and practise religious beliefs.”  70% of Australians support the right of faith-based educators to recruit staff willing to uphold the religious ethos of a school.  Commissioned by the Christian Schools Alliance, the poll comes after the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader recently offered their views on the dispute between Rugby Australia and Israel Folau over his religious views on homosexuals.  The findings will increase pressure on Labor to explain how it would prevent activist teachers from undermining the values of faith-based educators.

Labor has told religious schools it’s policy is to remove key protections for religious schools from the Sex Discrimination Act to better protect teachers from being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation.  The pledge has raised concerns among Christian educators, who fear they will be legally exposed if they move against teachers who seek to undermine promotion of a traditional view of marriage as being between a man and a woman.  The survey of more than 2000 people across the country found that 70% of Australians support the “right of a religious school to employ teachers and other staff who support the values and beliefs of the school”.

National executive officer of Christian Schools Australia (CSA) Mark Spencer said the poll confirmed “resounding support” for schools to hire staff who shared the beliefs of the schools they taught in.  “These results are consistent with the policy views of the CSA, and should serve as a reassurance for policymakers and politicians,’’ he said.  “Australians back Christian schools and are very supportive of protecting their values.”  The poll also found 66 per cent of respondents thought our “laws should uphold and protect the universal human right to hold and practise religious beliefs”.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports