Following are the 10 questions asked of candidates in the lead up to the Queensland State Election on Saturday, 31 January 2015. Some of the questions have notes attached to provide some background and context to the question.
1. Religious Instruction:
Do you support removing the joint provision of Religious Instruction (by volunteers) and Bible lessons in class (by classroom teachers)?
. Religious Instruction In School Hours .
From 1875 to 1910 the Queensland Education Act required state schools to be ‘secular’ places with no time allotted to Religious Instruction. In 1910, the Education Act was amended, removing all requirements for state schools to be ‘secular spaces’, to allow Religious Instruction given by volunteer Church representatives from outside the school to be held in classrooms, as well as Bible lessons (no other faith’s Holy books are catered for) able to be given by the classroom teacher.
In Queensland state schools, Religious Instruction is a voluntary, opt-in, non-curriculum activity run for 30 to 60 minutes a week (40 weeks) only for students whose parents have stated their religion on the enrolment form, if that religion/denomination is catered for in that school. The Bible lessons given by classroom teachers are opt-out, with a letter to the principal required, not opt-in.
2. Secular Schooling:
Do you support the return of the 1875-1910 secular provision into the Education Act to prevent Creationism (Intelligent Design) from being taught as, or in, Science classes?
. Creationism in Science Classes .
This arrangement continues in the Education Act today and our state schools, unlike in other states/territories, remain without the protection of the ‘secular’ clause, which allows, for instance, the teaching of Creationism – Intelligent Design in Science classes if the Science teacher chooses to teach it.
Are you opposed to the compulsory Religious Instruction school enrollment question, that compels parents to divulge their faith/non-faith to Education Queensland, with those answers stored forever in OneSchool central database?
While parents are able to opt their child in to voluntary Religious Instruction, Education Queensland has mandated that the question relating to the opt-in provision is a compulsory question, which, if not answered, can result in the principal refusing to enrol a student.
4. Comparative Religious Education:
Would you support a professionally designed and teacher-run curriculum topic, ‘comparative worldviews’ that covered a multitude of faiths, denominations and worldviews?
. Secular status of Education Queensland schools .
In the Queensland state schools, Religious Instruction is not to be confused with ‘religious education’, as might be delivered in a ‘comparative religion’ course. Religious Instruction is the legally provided ability to evangelise directly to students who are of the same faith or denomination as the person delivering the Religious Instruction class.
5. School Chaplaincy:
Do you believe it is inappropriate, in a state school setting, for our Governments to fund ‘religious and spiritual advice’ from tax dollars to be given to students from Prep years on to Y12?
The Commonwealth and Queensland Governments each fund schemes to provide Christian school chaplains in our non-secular state schools. The new role, as determined by the Commonwealth Government, will see school chaplains providing ‘religious and spiritual advice’ to students. In Education Queensland, the role of the school chaplains prohibits any counselling work.
6. Voluntary Euthanasia:
Would you support a bill that allowed a terminally or incurably ill person the right to choose the manner and timing of their death, under strict safeguards, by providing humane medical assistance?
7. Age of Consent:
Do you support uniformity of age among laws relating to the age of consent for lawful sexual activity, as already applies in the rest of Australia?
Queensland out of step on age of consent laws
May 16, 2013 | Bridie Jabour
Age of consent laws for heterosexuals and homosexuals should be brought in line with each other in an overhaul which also focuses on age differences in prosecutions, according to a youth advocate.
8. Mandatory Reporting Laws:
Are you in favour of removing religious exemptions to the mandatory reporting of child abuse?
9. Anti-discrimination Legislation:
Should religious bodies be prevented from discriminating in employment when the religious observance or polices are not a genuine occupational qualification for that job?
10. Taxation Law:
Are you in favour of changing laws effecting Church property trusts in order to free up funds to compensate survivors of child abuse?