Schools ask parents to protect religious freedom when voting
NORTHERN Rivers parents and carers with children at Christian schools will be receiving a leaflet urging them to consider the protection of religious rights in the upcoming federal election.
The leaflet was created by Christian Schools Australia, an organisation that has three schools for the Northern Rivers amongst its members.
The leaflet did not tell parents how to vote, but said Labor has indicated it would amend the Sex Discrimination Act to remove exemptions that permit religious schools to discriminate against students and staff, while the Liberal Party said it would protect the right to freedom of religion and rights of equality and non-discrimination in law.
The message also said the Greens have threatened the ability of schools to employ staff with shared beliefs.
"Careful consideration of how to vote in the Senate will be vital for all those committed to protecting our freedoms," the leaflet said.
The message also encourages parents to follow a Facebook page called ValuEd Voices.
Hinterland Christian School in Mullumbimby decided not to send the leaflets to parents.
Teaching principal Karlene Grinham confirmed the leaflet was offered to them but a decision was taken no to distribute them.
Casino Christian School confirmed the leaflet was sent to parents and carers of their 240 students in their weekly newsletter via email from Wednesday.
Principal Graeme Jolliffe said the leaflet does not tell parents how to vote.
"At Casino Christian School we would like to think of ourselves as non-political. However, at this election, UN article 18 which deals with freedom of thought, conscience and religion is under threat," he said.
"One of the issues for the upcoming election involves faith-based schools and their ability to employ staff who hold values and beliefs consistent with our Statement of Faith.
"We have distributed a flyer, supplied by Christian Schools Australia, to the parents of our students, which outlines the position of some the parties regarding this issue and encouraged them to consider the stance of the parties on this issue as they vote.
"We have also made it very clear that we are not telling parents who to vote for, that is up to each individual's conscience," Mr Joliffe said.
Summerland Christian College in Goonellabah was contacted for comment.