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Definitions

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Accredited representative

A person nominated by a religious leader/authority to represent a faith group.

Authorised program

A program of religious instruction approved by the faith group for delivery to students of that faith group in a single or cooperative arrangement. The religious leader/s of the faith group authorises the program of instruction (s.28 Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017).

Blue card

A plasticised card, issued to a person who is the holder of a current positive notice by Blue Card Services. A blue card is valid for 3 years from the date of issue unless it is suspended earlier by Blue Card Services. The blue card includes the following information:

  • the name of the person who is the holder of the positive notice
  • a registration number for the person
  • an expiry date for the positive notice
  • the signature of the person to whom the positive notice is issued.

Cooperative arrangement

When religious leaders of two or more faith groups that have right-of-entry agree to work together to provide religious instruction as joint faith groups.

Distribution of sectarian publications

(s.34 and s.67 Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017)

Only a minister of religion or accredited representative of a faith group can distribute denominational or society publications to students who are attending that religious instruction class. The principal may grant permission for the distribution of non-educational materials.

Faith group

A religion, religious denomination or religious society.

Faith group publications

(may be known as denominational, society or sectarian publications)

Any publications that contain information about or seek to promote or denigrate the distinctive tenets or doctrines of a religious denomination, society or sect. It includes texts specific to a religious group e.g. A Prayer Book for Australia (the Anglican Church), The Daily Missal (the Roman Catholic Church) or The Watchtower (the Jehovah's Witnesses). It does not include the fundamental religious texts such as the Bible, the Koran, the Tripitaka or the Torah.

Other instruction

Students who are not participating in religious instruction must be provided with other instruction in a separate location during the period arranged for religious instruction (s.31 Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017). The other instruction (previously referred to as 'alternative activity') must relate to part of a subject area that has already been covered in the student's class and may include, but is not limited to, personal research and/or assignments, revision of class work such as creative writing or literacy and/or numeracy activities which could include online programs currently accessed by the students of that school (i.e. Mathletics, Reading Eggs), and wider reading such as independent reading appropriate for the student.

Parent notice

(s.76 Education (General Provisions) Act 2006)

Written information given by a parent that informs the principal as to the participation or non-participation of a student in religious instruction or another activity with religious content.

Proselytising

Soliciting a student for a decision to change their religious affiliation.

Religious denomination or society

The meaning of the term 'religion' was considered by the High Court of Australia in The Church of the New Faith v. Commissioner of Pay-roll Tax (Vic) [1983] HCA 40 at point 14 (PDF, 283KB).

In short the High Court determined that the two most important factors for determining whether a particular set of beliefs and practices constitute a religion are:

  • belief in a supernatural Being, Thing or Principle and
  • acceptance of canons of conduct which give effect to that belief, but which do not offend against the ordinary laws.

Religious education (RE)

The study of an approved curriculum relating to religion (e.g. Authority subject Study of Religion or Authority-registered subject Religion and Ethics).

Religious instruction (RI)

(s.76 Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 and Part 5 Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017)

A program of instruction approved and provided by a religious denomination or religious society to eligible students for up to one hour per week or an amount of time that is equivalent to this (not exceeding the total of one hour per week) at another time during the term.

Religious instruction coordinator

A person nominated by the religious leader (or leaders in a cooperative arrangement) to be the link between the faith group/s and the school and to coordinate the religious instructors and the delivery of the authorised program.

Religious instructor

A religious leader who has right-of-entry or a person nominated by the faith group as an accredited representative who is approved by the Minister for Education (or delegate) to provide religious instruction (s.76 Education (General Provisions) Act 2006).

Religious leader

A minister of a religious denomination or society or a person recognised by a faith group as having authority to discharge duties of a minister of religion or spiritual leader.

A religious leader may be officially ordained or commissioned, have a specific level of theological or relevant training, have a position distinct from that of the ordinary adherent of the faith group, be recognised as having authority in matters of doctrine or religious practice, be authorised to discharge the duties of a religious or spiritual leader (including the conduct of religious worship and other religious ceremonies), and acknowledged as a leader in the spiritual affairs of the faith group.

Right-of-entry

(s.76 Education (General Provisions) Act 2006)

Legislation allows any minister of a religious denomination or society, or an accredited representative of a faith group who has been approved by the Minister, to give religious instruction to students who are members of the religious denomination or society in attendance at a state school.

Single arrangement

When a religious leader of a single faith group that has right-of-entry elects to deliver religious instruction separate from other faith groups.

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Last updated 14 November 2018