I'm an educator and atheist living in Florida (United States). I will be visiting various cities in Australia over a two-month period from June 13 until August 10, 2017, as part of an exploratory relocation trip.
I am hoping to gain a better understanding of the religious and political climate of Australia, especially as it relates to employment discrimination due to religious morality and its connection, if any, with government politics.
While most of my common questions about Australia can easily be answered with a quick Google search, the following questions are something that only a local with a deep understanding of Australian society would know, so here goes:
As you likely are aware, the United States of America has a strange relationship with sexuality, most likely due to the close association of religion and politics in American culture. For example, unlike the Netherlands and most of Western Europe, the majority of schools in the United States use an abstinence-only model to educate our kids about sex, despite ample scientific research that shows abstinence-only models do not work and are much less effective compared to the science-based comprehensive models.
That said, I'm trying to understand what the cultural and political relationships are with regard to lawful sexual conduct/expression and employment discrimination, especially with regard to teachers and other public employees, in Australia. Please understand that my questions pertain exclusively to LAWFUL sexual conduct (e.g, patronizing a brothel or strip club, working in a brothel or strip club, attending a sex/swinger club, engaging in gay, bisexual, or straight sexual acts, etc.). It is quite obvious that any UNLAWFUL conduct or expression would lead to adverse employment action.
For example, in Australia, would a licensed, experienced, and competent teacher, with absolutely no criminal background, be fired or have their teaching license revoked upon discovery of his or her prior (or current) lawful, off-duty sexual conduct?
In Queensland, for example, prostitution is legal and regulated. Suppose a girl worked in a brothel for many years and ultimately became a teacher, would she be at risk of losing her job if the school later discovered about her prior work? Or, if she had disclosed it during a job interview, would that prior (or current) lawful employment be sufficient grounds not to hire her?
Or, in a current context, what if she were a teacher during the day while moonlighting at night or on the weekend in a brothel (or dancing in a strip club) to earn additional money … would that be grounds for the school to dismiss her?
I'm trying to understand whether Australian culture, specifically Queensland, considers the lawful sex industry to be unethical or immoral and therefore sufficient grounds for adverse employment action against teachers (or other public employees) who have or had an association with the lawful sex industry, or engaged in lawful sexual expression, more generally.
Turning outside of sex work, what about lawful sexual practices? -- would the analysis change if a teacher were openly gay, transgender, or non-monogamous (e.g., swinger, polyamorous, or in an open relationship with his or her partner)? To illustrate, modify the situation above to where the teacher’s role moves from sex industry employee to consumer. Suppose a male teacher, for example, were a customer at a lawful brothel, strip club, or swingers club, would the school's discovery of that lawful sexual conduct be sufficient grounds to dismiss the teacher?
Some detailed example(s):
1. A male (or female) teacher is seen by a parent frequenting a local lawful brothel or strip club on his or her own time. The parent is offended that their kid's teacher is going to such a place, so the parent complains to the principal. Can that teacher be dismissed?
2. A couple is at a lawful local swinger (sex) club. They noticed that another couple at the sex club is their kid's teacher with his or her partner. They complain to the principle that a teacher should not be in such a club (even though the complaining parents, themselves, were there). They argue to the principal that teachers should be "held to a higher moral standard." Is the teacher at risk of losing his or her job?
3. A female (or male) teacher needs extra money and decides to work part-time, on the weekends, in a lawful brother or strip club. A parent comes in on the weekend and notices that their kid's teacher is working there. The parent complains to the principal. Would that teacher be dismissed?
In America, the answer to these questions is undoubtedly ‘Yes,’ but I’m wondering if Australia has the same schizophrenic relationship with sexuality that America does. Or, does Australia have a more progressive, sexually-open/tolerant society, like the Netherlands, Germany, etc.?
As a point of reference, the following stories are examples of what happens to teachers (or other public employees e.g., police officers, firefighters, city/town managers, etc.) in America. Would this happen in Australia, too?
Ashley Payne (teacher):
Kaity Pearson (teacher's asssitant):
Olivia Sprauer (teacher):
Erica Chevillar (teacher):
Tonya Whyte (teacher):
Shawn Loftis (teacher):
Scott Janke (city manager):
David Mech (my story):
Mike Verdugo (police officer):
...and there are many more stories where those came from, unfortunately.
Would these teachers (and other public employees) have retained their employment had they lived in Australia?
As you can see, before I invest significant time and resources moving to the other side of the world, I want to make sure I don't run into the same political issues that exist here in the United States with regard to prior (or even current) lawful sexual conduct.
Therefore, are any members of this forum able to shine some light on this topic? Detailed, thoughtful comments on this topic are very much appreciated.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read and, hopefully, develop this thread into a robust and meaningful discussion! :)