Nationals MP Trevor Khan has slammed the Anglican school he attended as a child for demanding the right to sack gay staff, in a moving open letter.
The NSW MLC has revealed he was furious and then profoundly disappointed by a letter to all MPs penned by some of the nation’s most prestigious Anglican schools.
Urging religious leaders to consider more deeply the Bible’s teaching to “do to others what you would have them do to you”, he also attacked the decision to spend the collection plate on fighting gay marriage.
“Even accounting for the passage of so many years since I left school, this is not the Anglican Church I was brought up in,” Mr Khan said.
“Then it was inclusive, now, at least as far as the Sydney Anglicans are concerned, it seems those days are gone. You only have to remember that they spent $1 million of church monies on the ‘No’ campaign in the same-sex marriage plebiscite to realise how far they’ve drifted.”
His letter, obtained by The New Daily, is addressed to the principal of the Illawarra Grammar school.
“I write to you as a former student of your school, having commenced in Kindergarten in 1962 and left with the completion of High School in 1975. I remember with very considerable affection my school years at TIGS and know that I received a well-rounded education.
“I am therefore saddened, indeed disheartened, that I must write to express my profound disappointment that you are a signatory to the letter, dated 25 October 2018, signed by the Sydney Anglicans as one of fifty Heads of School.
“I agree with you that a teacher plays an ‘exemplar role’, and that a teacher must (to use your words) support ‘the values, ethos and mission’ of the school.
“I equally agree that a teacher who undermines or denigrates the beliefs and teaching of the school should not be employed, but tell me, are you seriously suggesting that a teacher will undermine or denigrate those teachings simply by being gay?”
Mr Khan said there were many gay teachers and students during his time at the school many years ago.
“I know that some of my teachers, as well as students, during my time at TIGS were gay. I have no doubt that there are students and teachers at the school now who also are gay. What is the message that you are sending to them through signing the letter?
“Are you saying that simply because of their sexuality they cannot share the ‘values and ethos’ of your school? Are you saying that a gay teacher is unable to fulfil the school’s stated objective of developing students with ‘wisdom, compassion and justice (who are) faithful stewards of our world’?
“Do you realise that the current exemption which you wish to uphold would allow for them to be excluded simply because of their sexuality, not on the basis of whether they uphold the school’s ‘values, ethos and mission’?
“Finally, let me conclude by noting that there is one essential rule that was taught to me by my parents, and reinforced in me throughout my many years at TIGS, it is the words in Matthew 7:12. Those words, just as they have guided me in my time in the practice of the law and now my time in Parliament, should guide us all. Regards, Trevor Khan.”
Angry Liberal moderate MPs have privately accused the government of again making a mess of the debate predicting that the laws to protect gay students from being expelled will not pass Parliament before the election.
The Morrison government has left the door open to supporting the right of private schools to sack gay teachers.
Independent MP Kerryn Phelps told The New Daily she was confident that any moves to bolster the rights of schools to sack gay teachers would be rejected by the hung Parliament.
“I do not believe that the law should allow discrimination against students or teachers on the basis of their sexuality or perceived sexuality or marital status,” she said.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus said laws to allow schools to sack gay staff were not acceptable.
“Nobody should be discriminated against at work because of their gender or sexuality.”