Parents choose faith-based schools, expecting that all staff will uphold their faith’s values

FamilyVoice Victoria director Peter Stevens wants to know why the Andrews government is delaying, possibly indefinitely, an upper house vote on the controversial Equal Opportunity Amendment (Religious Exceptions)Bill.

The bill has already passed the Legislative Assembly.  Debate has begun in the Legislative Council, and a vote was expected this week – but nothing happened. 

The bill has caused great community concern because it would deny parents their right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to determine the religious and moral education of their children. 

“All staff at a faith-based school – not only chaplains, but teachers, receptionists, librarians and groundspeople – have an impact on the students by the way they live their lives,” Peter Stevens said.  “Yet this bill would limit the school’s right to select the most suitable staff for all positions.  A government appointee would have the power to determine whether faith is an ‘inherent requirement’ for jobs at the school.

“By contrast, Premier Andrews has no such restriction.  He is free to choose all his personal staff from those who support Labor Party values.  How fair is that?”

A majority of Victorian Legislative Councillors are said to share Peter Stevens’ concerns.

“Please bring on the vote, Mr Premier!” he said.