Teachers and parents of Launceston Church Grammar School have expressed concerns about recent staff changes, claiming they are a move to a more conservative form of Anglicanism.
Unionised members of staff at Grammar have passed two no-confidence motions in headmaster Richard Ford, who was appointed in 2018, due to a perceived lack of consultation and a culture change. Over the past two years 38 teachers have left the school.
Mr Ford responded by saying in an email to staff on Thursday he had "listened and learned" and was looking to change.
At least six new staff members from the mainland have been appointed to Grammar in the past two years: the headmaster, four non-teaching positions, and a chief operating officer.
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"I've seen a change of attitudes and culture where the staff are becoming a lot more traditional," one mother said, speaking anonymously due to fears there could be consequences for her child.
"It's always been an Anglican school, but it used to be that Christian studies and chapel were about sharing Bible messages in a way that all religions could embrace."
The chief operating officer is Peter Bain, who moved to Launceston from Victoria after running unsuccessfully for the Liberal Party at the 2019 federal election. He had defected to the Liberals from conservative Christian political party Family First, for whom he stood unsuccessfully in 2016.
During the 2019 campaign Mr Bain was criticised in the Victorian media for his views, including advocating a ban on gay couples adopting children, and calling for a royal commission into climate science for the purposes of debunking it.
On a Family First website bearing his name, Mr Bain said that only "married couples consisting of a man and a woman" should be allowed to adopt children, the Herald Sun reported.
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His website also stated "married women appear to have a lower risk of domestic violence than cohabiting or dating women" and he said "the federal government should pull all funding for schools and hospitals and there should be a flat tax system," the article said.
Mr Bain told The Examiner "all commentary and quotes attributed to me in the Herald Sun article are inaccurate, untrue and unfounded".
The appointments of Mr Ford, Mr Bain, and other staff hired from the mainland were the responsibility of the Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, who became bishop in 2016 after 14 years at St Jude's Church in Carlton, Victoria.
He is also chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON)'s Australian branch, which formed in 2008 to oppose trends within the Anglican church towards more progressive social values.
In a 2019 speech posted on the GAFCON website, Bishop Condie explained the basis for the organisation. He said it was formed after five national Anglican churches "rejected the authority of the Bible on human sexuality and marriage" by allowing the blessings of same-sex marriages.
"Over the last 30 years, the Anglican communion globally has been walking away from the biblical foundations of our faith," he said. "Parts of the communion have been rejecting the Bible as the authority on the ordering on our human relationships."
A school spokesperson said staffing appointments were not ideologically motivated: "The bishop has not spoken to the school about GAFCON and his views have had no impact on the values at Grammar. Launceston Grammar has and always will be an inclusive community which values and welcomes all people."
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