Citipointe College highlights the need for federal reforms

10 June, 2024 – Equality Australia has welcomed an expression of regret made by Citipointe Christian College after parents at the school took legal action over discrimination against gay and trans students. 

The Brisbane Christian school sparked national debate in January 2022 when it forced parents to sign a declaration of faith to keep their children enrolled. 

The declaration included the statement that homosexuality was “sinful and offensive to God” and “destructive to human society”. 

It also stated that students could only be enrolled on the basis of their "biological sex" and teachers were forced to accept that it was a requirement of their role to only express their sexuality through married heterosexual relationships. 

A group of Citipointe parents made a complaint to the Queensland Human Rights Commission, resulting in a settlement and the expression of regret on Sunday. 

“We welcome this outcome and hope the school community can now move forward together,” said Equality Australia Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh. 

“Schools have no business encroaching into these deeply personal aspects of life of their students and teachers when it has absolutely nothing to do with what happens in the classroom.” 

Mr Kassisieh called on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to urgently introduce a bill to federal parliament removing exemptions for religious schools, saying the Citipointe outcome was only possible because there are anti-discrimination protections for students in Queensland.  

“In NSW or Western Australia parents would be forced to agree with these outdated and offensive contracts just to keep their kids enrolled at school,” he said. 

“What happened at Citipointe is happening elsewhere around the country and we are powerless to stop it without strong national laws, as well as fixing up the remaining gaps in state laws. “  

Ms Kassisieh said such contracts were deeply offensive to most Australians.  

“Citipointe shows us that when many parents choose a religious school for their children, they don’t leave their inclusive faith at the door and they shouldn’t be asked to,” he said. 

“Australians are genuinely shocked to discover a religious school can legally fire a woman for falling pregnant outside of marriage or expel a student because they are gay or trans. 

“Citipointes are happening across the country on this federal government’s watch. It’s time for Prime Minister Albanese to introduce the laws he promised at the last election, and protect all of us from discrimination, equally. 

“We know the Bills are ready – let the parliament do its job”. 

Mr Kassisieh also called on the Queensland government to release its proposed improvements to the state’s anti-discrimination laws.  

“This could have been avoided altogether if Queensland’s anti-discrimination laws were clearer,” he said. 

“Citipointe highlights the need to tighten protections in Queensland’s anti-discrimination laws, particularly for teachers, and we call on the state government to introduce into parliament it’s proposed improvements.”