New Polling Supports National Safeguards for Religious Beliefs

An October 2022 national poll commissioned by Australian Christian Schools Alliance found that 75 per cent of respondents supported the right of a religious school to employ teachers who support stated values and beliefs of the schools.

The level of support rose to nearly 90% amongst parents with children in a faith-based school. 

In a new question in this polling, more than 60% of Christian school parents support terminating the employment of staff if they no longer share these beliefs.

The polling, conducted ­between October 24 and 26, also found that more than two thirds of respondents believed Australian laws should protect the right to hold and practice religious beliefs.

Not surprisingly, over 91% of those who actively practice a faith support these protections – but there was majority support even from those without a faith.

Support for parental choice in education has grown significantly, with 86% in support of right to schooling that reflects parents’ strongly held beliefs. This is up 5% from another independent poll in May 2022.

The results are consistent or stronger in numbers than polling conducted earlier in the year immediately after the Federal Election, and with the results from polling in 2021 and 2019.

As reported by The Australian, Christian schools groups have called for the government to implement legislation with “fair protections”.

“These results show the overwhelming support religious schools have across the Australian community to employ people who share the same values and beliefs.

“The high-profile Andrew Thorburn case proves that people of faith do experience religious discrimination and it is overdue for this fundamental human right to be protected in Australian law.”

– Vanessa Cheng, executive officer at Australian Association of Christian Schools.

The groups have urged all federal parliamentarians to pass legislation with strong protections for Christian schools.

“Support is growing for protections ensuring Christian schools can chose staff who share their ­beliefs, and parents recognise that this may require staff to move to another school if they no longer share those beliefs.”

– Mark Spencer, public policy director at Christian Schools Australia

While the polling shows clear public support for these rights and protections, as seen in the earlier polling in May, there is still the need to ensure that this results in political support.

The polling data in a double-sided A4 format can be downloaded below.