Gay students, teachers could be banned by Australian religious schools

Gay students and teachers could be banned by religious schools in Australia.

Under proposed changes to discrimination laws religious schools would have the right to turn away gay students and teachers so they can "cultivate an environment which conforms to their beliefs".

It's the controversial recommendation of a leaked review into religious freedom which was carried out after last year's same-sex marriage vote.

Some states - but not all - already allow schools to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status.

Commonwealth laws also contain some provisions to permit faith-based schools to exercise this discretion.

A Fairfax Media report suggested the review recommended the right be enshrined in the federal Sex Discrimination Act to ensure a consistent national approach.

The review's panel, chaired by former Liberal minister Phillip Ruddock, said it accepted the right of schools to select or preference students who uphold their religious convictions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison played down the proposal, saying such exemptions to anti-discrimination laws already exist.

"We're not proposing to change that law to take away that existing arrangement," he told reporters.

Attorney-General Christian Porter later clarified that no changes to the current arrangement, created by Labor in 2013, are proposed in the report.

"The Ruddock report does not recommend any changes to this regime," Mr Porter said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he can't believe the prime minister hasn't ruled out the "silly" idea completely.

"The fact is every child is entitled to human dignity. We shouldn't even be having this debate," Mr Shorten told reporters, demanding the Government release the report.

Gay rights activists slammed the proposal as a shameful assault on equality.

Alex Greenwich, who co-chaired the national campaign in support of same-sex marriage, is demanding the Federal Government rule it out.

The panel reportedly did not accept that businesses should be allowed to refuse services on religious grounds, such as denying a gay couple a wedding cake.

Under proposed changes to discrimination laws, religious schools could be offered new rights. Source: 1 NEWS

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