5 Austl. & N.Z. J.L. & Educ. 74 (2000)
Religious Schools and Equal Opportunity: Lessons from Goldberg v. Korsunski Carmel School

handle is hein.journals/anzled5 and id is 78 raw text is: Case Notes
Religious Schools and Equal Opportunity: Lessons from
Goldberg v Korsunski Carmel School
Kate Offer, Law School, University of Western Australia
The decision of the Equal Opportunity Tribunal of Western Australia in Goldberg v G Korsunski
Carmel School, delivered on 14th September 1999 by the President of the Tribunal, Mr Nicholas
Hasluck QC (now Justice Hasluck of the Supreme Court of Western Australia), was a significant
one for schools which are established for religious purposes (1). A provision contained in the Equal
Opportunity Act (WA) allows such schools to discriminate in favour of members of that particular
religion or creed, as long as the discrimination is in 'good faith'. The decision of the Tribunal
reinforces the fact that 'good faith' means acting in a way that is generally in accordance with the
practices or beliefs of that religion or creed and that it is not incumbent on the school to justify
those practices or beliefs to the outside world.
Background
The G Korsunski Carmel School (Carmel School) is a private school in Perth, Western Australia.
The school was established in order to provide local Orthodox Jewish children with an Orthodox
Jewish education. In February 1996 the parents of Gregory Goldberg sought to enrol their son in
the school.
The members of the Goldberg family were adherents of Reform Judaism. Gregory's
mother, Helen Goldberg, was not born into a Jewish family and had not converted to Judaism by a
conversion process acceptable to the Orthodox Jewish faith. Judaism is matrilineal, so it is the
Jewish status of the mother only that is relevant in determining the Jewish status of the child. As
Helen Goldberg was not considered to be Jewish according to Orthodox Jewish law or halacha (2),
neither, therefore was Gregory. He was accepted into Carmel School but a number of restrictions
were placed on him, in accordance with Carmel's policy in relation to students they did not regard
as Jewish (3).
Complainant Gary Goldberg, father of Gregory Goldberg and acting as his son's next friend
in the case, contended that the restrictions placed on his son's attendance at Carmel School
constituted discrimination against his son on the grounds of religious conviction, race and family
status contrary to provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA).
1327-7634 Vol 5, No 1, 2000, pp. 74-79
74                                    Australia & New Zealand Journal of Law & Education

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