Why we are always on the back foot

Why we are always on the back foot

This business about “expelling gay kids” is a red herring. – Martyn Iles

Debate on the Religious Discrimination Bill recommences in Canberra tomorrow.

It is unfinished business from the same-sex marriage campaign and that’s why rainbow activists are in overdrive trying to shut it down.

They have the band back together from 2017, including former Olympian Ian Thorpe and Benjamin “I want to hate F…. conservatives” Law, and were working the corridors of Parliament today.

We have no celebrities and no one with Law’s turn of phrase.

Under pressure from John Howard and cut-through from the No campaign, Malcolm Turnbull promised to address the consequences of redefining marriage in the wake of the 2017 plebiscite.

The Coalition for Marriage, which ran the No case, predicted that de-gendering marriage would weaponise flawed anti-discrimination laws, allowing activists to shut down free speech, teach kids their gender was fluid and go after Christian schools.

We were told these concerns were red herrings but that was before Citipointe, Israel Folau, Bendigo Christian College, Penrith Christian School, ubiquitous “wear it purple days” and me getting sued by a couple of drag queens for saying they are dangerous role models for children.

Former Prime Minister Howard could see what was about to hit and urged Turnbull to fix the freedoms issue before he legislated.

But alas, Turnbull had rainbow stars in his eyes and Morrison has been left to clean up the mess.

Sadly, Morrison put it on the go-slow for three years and he and his team have been too timid to make the case for freedom in public. The rainbow mouse roars.

We always struggle because our people won’t sustain debates in public like the left do.

As a result, the narrative has been framed by activists and Australians think the government is trying to empower Christian schools to expel gay and trans kids. It sounds mean.

It is of course not true.

Martyn Iles, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, explained it best, including how Morrison has made it harder for Christian schools, in a Facebook post tonight. It is worth quoting Martyn at length.

First, this business about “expelling gay kids” is a red herring. That is not a school policy anywhere.
Yes, the Sex Discrimination Act s38 theoretically gives a school the ability to expel a gay kid, but that is not why the law exists, and it is not the way the law is used.
The law exists for a different reason – namely, so schools can have codes of conduct that address sex, sexuality and gender.
Whether Toby in year 12 is gay or not isn’t an issue for any school – but if he hosts a Mardi Gras week in the quadrangle, brings his boyfriend to the school formal, persistently promotes LGBTQ political causes on campus, and tells the local paper that the school isn’t ‘gay affirming’ because his efforts are not smiled on… well, he’s not upholding the school’s ethos – he is trying to undermine it - and the school may need take some disciplinary action to enforce their code of conduct.
Of course, Toby and his lawyers may allege in a court or tribunal that he was disciplined “because he is gay.” That’s not exactly correct, but the nuance of the issue will be lost for legal reasons which I’ll spare you from for now.
That is why the Sex Discrimination Act s38 says what it says. It doesn’t mean gay kids get expelled for their sexuality, but it does mean schools can require certain behavioural standards.
Without the Sex Discrimination Act s38, schools will struggle greatly to uphold any kind of ethos on sex, sexuality or gender. This is a major blow to the whole idea of Christian schooling.
Which brings me to the Prime Minister.
He said he will change the law, making it much harder for schools to have these codes of conduct on sex, sexuality or gender issues.
Afterall, that’s all Citipointe did. They wrote a code of conduct which said the school won’t go along with boys in girls toilets or dorms, or pronoun changes, and such like…
They wrote a code of conduct which espoused the Biblical, Christian position on an issue, for a Christian school environment.
If they cannot do that, then no parent can send their child to a school which is safe from this destructive nonsense.
If they cannot do that, then no Christian school can be reliably Christian on these matters.
The situation is unfolding, but as of this afternoon, the planned changes to the Sex Discrimination Act s38 look set to make it harder for schools to enshrine standards around sexuality, but the issue of gender is left untouched.
In other words, it’s not good. It's a backward step. But it could be worse.
We shall see whether this holds, or if the PM has – intentionally or unintentionally - set something bigger in motion.

While the bill is far from perfect – it doesn’t protect Israel Folau, it doesn’t not protect me against the drag queens ($70,000 in legal fees so far and counting), or properly protect Christian schools - it is still better than nothing.

It sends a message to hostile activists that our society values the freedom of Christians and other religious people to hold and express views different to the rainbow bullies who now dominate culture.

Christian Schools Australia have set up a brilliant on-line tool that allows you to send an email to your local member of Parliament and Senators urging them to support the bill.

It is likely a vote will be held in the House of Representatives tomorrow and in the Senate by Thursday.

Please use this excellent tool to make sure your voice for freedom is heard.

Last week they came for the Christian schools. They will not leave you and your family alone until you genuflect to the rainbow flag.

Please speak up while you can.


Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communication for the Christian Democratic Party. A former managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle was a spokesperson for and director of the Coalition for Marriage during the same-sex marriage plebiscite. He graduated from a Christian school and his four children attended Christian schools. To keep in touch with Lyle's political commentary, sign up here