Our Kids have rights! Let's Protect them.
Look at what “Safe Schools” resources include:
Gay and lesbian sex techniques
Boys wearing girls school dresses
Chest binding for girls to inhibit breast growth
Sex toy links
Fetish club links
A mother explains her concern with so-called ‘Safe Schools’
Watch new video on the Safe Schools program: Paige (mum of 2 and La Trobe student) –“It is contrary to what I am telling her at home. …don’t cut parents out of the conversation … making sure that if a family has concerns they are not shut down … called bigots.” (Alternative YouTube link)
Safe Schools controversy deepens as more parents denounce the program
Parents discuss the Safe Schools LGBT sex education program. Is it “safe”? Is it respectful of diverse values and beliefs of all parents? Does it allow parents to decide when and how to tell their children about matters of sexuality and identity? What do you think? What do you want for your child? (Alternative YouTube link)
Mother of four Cella White speaks in detail about how she withdrew her children from Frankston High School in Victoria in order to protect them from the so called ‘Safe Schools’ program.
VIDEO: Watch Steve, a heroic father, talk about the ‘Safe Schools’ program in his daughter’s school.
George Christensen exposes Safe Schools Coalition Australia adult sex links in federal parliament
George Christensen shows adult sex links
Why Safe Schools is really “Unsafe Schools”
The Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA) links to pornographic web content, sex shops, adult online communities and sex clubs. It encourages many risky sexual activities.
It is so controversial that the Prime Minister has ordered a review of the Federal Government’s funding for the program.
SSCA was created at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. Many SSCA resources have been produced by Minus18. Both have received Victorian government and the Federal government has provided $8 million to SSCA. It was first rolled out in Victorian schools.
More recently, the program has been expanded across Australia to over 520 schools. The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, has declared that it is to be compulsory in all Victorian schools by 2018.
Kids have rights, and those rights must be protected
All children have the right not to be bullied at school or online. Anti-bullying programs must emphasise respect for each and every other person, not single out any one group as though only that group faces bullying.
Parents have the right to decide when it is the right time to talk to their children about intimate LGBTI issues, not the state and not the school.
Parents have the right to determine what values they want taught to their children. Of concern is that the person who set up the Safe Schools Coalition Australia, Roz Ward, claims that the program is part of a strategy to radically change society as claimed by its creator, Roz Ward, who claims that “the homosexual cannot win liberation without a general sexual liberation.”
While children an education in human biology appropriate to their age, they also have the right to be protected by the state and by their schools from the Safe Schools Coalition program that links to pornographic web content, sex shops, adult online communities and sex clubs.
Check out which schools have signed up to the Safe Schools program:
This petition will be sent to Federal, State and Territory governments promoting and funding Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA).
– The Liberal and National Coalition will cut all Federal funding to Safe Schools, however this does not stop or ban the program which comes under the authority of State Education Ministers.
– Labor has committed a further $6 million in funding to the Safe Schools program (Federal election 2016 Labor commits $6m for safe schools)
– The Greens have committed to increasing Federal funding for the Safe Schools program to $32 million. They also seek to repeal religious exemptions allowing the state to impose the Safe Schools program on faith-based schools.
To Prime Minister Turnbull, and State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers, and Federal, State and Territory Education Ministers:
We the undersigned object to any government permitting, promoting and/or funding the Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA) program for schools.
We object strongly to:
- SSCA resources providing school students with links to pornographic web content, sex shops, adult online communities and sex clubs;
- the program promoting risky behaviour such as chest-binding and gender transition treatment;
- students being taught how to cover their internet browsing history so their parents may not know what they are accessing online;
- the promotion of a wide variety of risky sexual activities as normal behaviour;
- the SSCA program being part of a strategy to radically change society as claimed by its creator, Roz Ward, who says that “the homosexual cannot win liberation without a general sexual liberation.”
We the undersigned urge your government to promote and fund genuine anti-bullying programs that teach students to respect each and every person, and call on your government to defund and remove the SSCA program from schools.
Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 28 March 2017
Four-year-olds who exhibit sexist behaviour at preschool are the latest targets of the Victorian government’s crusade against family violence, with early childhood educators to be taught how to eradicate gendered norms and stereotypes from the classrooms.
The Victorian Education and Training Department will train 4000 early childhood educators during the next year to implement respectful relationships programs in preschools. It is seeking a supplier to develop and deliver a course that will increase educators’ knowledge of the role of “gender equality in preventing family violence”.
According to a tender document released last week, research has shown that children become aware of “gender expectations” and try to “fit within these gendered norms” by the time they are in preschool. “As young children learn about gender, they may also begin to enact sexist values, beliefs and attitudes that may contribute to disrespect and gender inequality,” the document says.
“Professional learning will increase the capacity of early childhood educators to understand and implement respectful relationships and gender equality into their program delivery.
“It will build the capacity of educators to use reflective practice to critically evaluate their work with children using anti-bias approaches specifically regarding gender bias.”
The push into preschools is the latest element of the Andrews Labor government’s $21.8 million Respectful Relationships package for schools, inspired by the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Unveiled late last year, the package attracted widespread criticism for pushing the concept of “male privilege” and “hegemonic masculinity” into classrooms, and for failing to consider the multiple, complex drivers of family violence, which also has an impact on men and boys.
Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Kevin Donnelly has been critical of the Victorian government’s interpretation of Respectful Relationships, which he believes is laden in gender and sexuality theory similar to the Safe Schools program. Dr Donnelly pointed out that the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, which guides early childhood professionals in the state, already stressed the importance of encouraging respectful relationships in the preschool setting as well as avoiding practices that directly or indirectly contribute to gender inequality, prejudice and discrimination. “Why are we indoctrinating kids to believe that being a boy, or being a girl, is abnormal? It’s actually quite dangerous,” he said. “This is simply extending that gender and sexuality theory to preschool and kindergarten.”
The new program will cost taxpayers $3.4m. Existing materials aimed at the foundation level cautions teachers against phrases such as “boys will be boys’’and reinforcing stereotypical labelling “boys are strong, girls are gentle”.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos defended the early childhood program, saying it would be appropriately designed. “The early years are an important time to start helping children develop a secure sense of self and healthy, respectful relationships — this will help prevent family violence in the long-term,” Ms Mikakos said.
Liberal families spokesman Georgie Crozier said the government should “let kids be kids”.
Victorian school students allowed to identify as ‘undefined gender’ in official documents Safe Schools Coalition
Herald Sun, 22 March 2017
SENIOR high school pupils are being allowed to identify as having an “undefined gender” in official documents.
Personal details forms this year allow VCE and VCAL pupils — some as young as 15 — to choose whether they are male, female or “gender X”.
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority altered the form after requests from pupils who are transgender or “a gender that is not exclusively male or female”. Its spokesman said: “Schools also expressed similar concerns on behalf of students.
“The inclusion of Gender X in student records is of importance to the health and welfare of individual students who do not identify as male or female.”
But the Australian Christian Lobby’s Victorian director Dan Flynn said it was a “threat to change rooms and bathroom usage” and could create problems in selecting sex-specific sports teams.
“Giving boys the right to self-identify as a girl creates all those safety problems,” he said.
“Boys are boys and girls are girls and there would be a fractional category of people who are truly intersex. We are also opening the door to say ‘I don’t want to be a male or a female, I want to be something else’.
“This is out of step with the school community’s expectation and parents’ expectations,” Mr Flynn said.
Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said: “(Premier) Daniel Andrews needs to … stop pushing his radical gender and sexuality theories onto other people’s children.”
But Education Minister James Merlino said schools must cater to all pupils: “We do have young people in our education system who are gender diverse so it is about reflecting and respecting every student.”
The VCAA may use the gender X statistics in reports that distinguish genders, including those that compare male and female VCE results.
Transgender Victoria called for the forms to offer four options: male, female, “other please specify”, and one allowing pupils not to answer.
Its executive director Sally Goldner hit out at claims that transgender children who used the toilets matching the sex they identified with were risking other pupils’ safety.
“There has never been a proven case (of misconduct) in Australia involving transgender people … in bathrooms. I really have to express my frustration that we keep having this ‘nothing’ debate,” she said.
School standards drop as Vic government pushes a politically correct program Government • Safe Schools Coalition
Kevin Donnelly, Herald Sun, 13 March 2017
PARENTS should be worried about the LGBTI Safe Schools gender and sexuality program being forced on government schools by Daniel Andrews’ government.
Add the fact, as reported in The Australian recently, that vulnerable teenagers with intellectual disabilities enrolled in Victorian special schools are also being indoctrinated, and it’s understandable why so many now call the program Un-Safe Schools.
Such was the furore last year about Safe Schools’ indoctrinating of pupils with a Marxist-inspired curriculum, where gender is fluid and limitless and boys can be girls and girls can be boys, that the Commonwealth censored the program and cut its funding.
Not so in Victoria, where the uncensored version is being promoted. Education Minister James Merlino has said “Work is under way on expanding Safe Schools to all government schools by the end of 2018.”
Supporters argue it is an anti-bullying program to make schools safer. Wrong.
Roz Ward, the Marxist academic responsible for its design, publicly admits its real purpose is to impose a radical, alternative view about gender and sexuality: “Safe Schools Coalition is about supporting gender and sexual diversity, not about stopping bullying.” She says it’s about “sexual diversity, about same-sex attraction, about being transgender, about being lesbian, gay, bisexual — say the words transgender, intersex”.
While the government severed ties with Ward and La Trobe University’s Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society late last year, the Safe Schools material is still guilty of advocating an extreme, cultural-Left view of gender and sexuality.
Notwithstanding that about 98 per cent of Australians identify as heterosexual and are comfortable being men and women, one of the resources, OMG I’M Queer, tells pupils that “sexuality can’t really be defined”. It is stated that “sexuality is fluid, and changes over time” and “Looking at sexuality as something that’s fluid and always changing is pretty cool”.
According to Safe Schools, “what you label yourself is up to you” as “common definitions of sexuality, gender and sex are often limited” and because gender and sexuality “exist on a spectrum rather than absolute binaries”.
Ignored (as argued by the American College of Pediatricians, and with very rare exceptions) is that we are all born with either XY or XX chromosomes, and “Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species”.
Even though most children are happy being boys or girls, the Safe Schools material argues “Gender isn’t quite as simple as whether you’re ‘male’ or ‘female’. Everyone has their own gender identity in relation to masculinity or femininity”. Victoria’s version of Safe Schools also repeats the misleading statistics used by the LGBTI lobby when justifying the need for government funding and positive discrimination.
The All of Us booklet tells pupils 10 per cent of people are same-sex-attracted. Ignored is one of the largest Australian surveys, by Anthony Smith and Paul Badcock, Sexual identity and practices, that concludes only 1.6 per cent of men identify as gay and 0.8 per cent of women as lesbian.
On reading the Safe Schools material on the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s website, parents are left in no doubt that Safe Schools is more about LGBTI advocacy than stopping bullying. Schools are told that language should be gender-neutral and, as a result, “Phrases like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ or ‘boys and girls’ should be avoided”.
Schools are also told they should ensure, regardless of whether pupils are male and female, that they should be able to use “the toilets, changing rooms, showers and swimming facilities based on the student’s gender identity and the facilities they feel most comfortable with”.
Safe Schools is not the only alternative, cultural-Left program. The Respectful Relationships material is also one-sided and biased. Even though the Victorian royal commission concluded that 25 per cent of family violence involves men as victims, the Respectful Relationships program implies it’s only women who are at risk. Boys and men are portrayed as misogynist and violent.
Once again gender is presented as a social construct that is impossible to define because whatever gender you are is “determined by what an individual feels and does and how individuals understand their identities including being a man, women, transgender, gender queer and many other gender positions”.
But at the same time the government is forcing a politically correct gender and sexuality program on government schools, we are going backwards in international literacy and numeracy tests; we are now ranked 24th in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study. So much for the basics.
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of Dumbing Down
David Penberthy, Sunday Herald Sun, 12 March 2017
MY KIDS were laughing the other night about that hapless couple who got booted off My Kitchen Rules after devising a Japanese-Italian menu that sought to combine pasta and pizza with sushi and sashimi.
I joked that perhaps they had been inspired by World War II and should have a themed Axis Powers restaurant serving raw tuna with pesto on a bed of sauerkraut. The kids, aged 10 and 14, looked at me blankly and a brief chat established that they had no idea what I was on about. That is because in Australia these days it is possible to be in year 6, or year 9, without having learnt about the three of the chief protagonists of the defining conflict of the 20th century.
Our schools have changed a lot in one generation. Effective rote-learning teaching methods have been wound back. The discipline of a morning spelling bee, the start of all my primary school days, seems to have vanished. Traditional sciences have made way for environmental studies, health and nutrition has become a subject, possibly to make up for poor parenting, and concepts such as wellness and emotional intelligence have equal billing with what were once regarded as the nuts and bolts of the curriculum.
Victoria is something of a Petri dish for the trendiest thinking in education, 2017-style, as illustrated by its Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program. The Victorian Government is championing the program in part as a political response to the attacks on the Safe Schools program. Much of the discussion has centred on its sexual and gender-based content. There is a fair bit of that in it, for sure. Some of it is so PC as to invite derision, such as the book for kids entitled Tango Makes Three, which targets heteronormative bigotry (among five-year-olds) by telling them the story of two gay male penguins who decide to adopt a penguin chick. The stuff for the teenagers is racier but I don’t know why you need group discussions among teenage boys about masturbating. I’m sure they will have worked that out on their own. The program’s objectives are defined on the website: “Efforts to promote social and emotional skills and positive gender norms in children and young people have been shown to improve health-related outcomes and subjective wellbeing. It also reduces anti-social behaviours including engagement in gender-related violence.” Reading through the modules, the program in essence is about teaching young people self-esteem and shielding them from prejudice. That’s noble but it strikes me as an alternative to the one thing that schools should provide. Learning. Historically, self-esteem was something you developed by learning meaningful skills, ideally in a safe environment. It didn’t matter if it was history, maths or English, technical skills such as woodwork and metalwork or home economics, proficiency at sport … all those helped you develop a sense of purpose and self.
Much of the focus of Victoria’s resilience program strikes me as a kind of Oprah Winfrey show for teens and tots, where everyone talks about how they feel, without actually learning anything. It is feel-good stuff that has been plonked in the curriculum at the expense of acquiring knowledge. Its focus on gender identity and sexuality strikes me almost as a cult of the self, where very young people, many of whom may never have had a sexually driven or gender-based thought, are encouraged to spend time thinking about themselves in the context of their gender and sexual identity.
The year-by-year benchmarks for the “outcomes” of this program are illustrative. The key moments of World War II aren’t mentioned, but by year 5 kids should have learnt about gender identity and whether gender is “born or made”, the difference between same-sex-attracted, heterosexual and transgender and the power divisions between men and women, including unequal pay. That’s not me paraphrasing. It is the stated aim of the modules for students in years 5 and 6.
I would not be dismissive of the need to challenge and eliminate prejudice towards gay youths or kids dealing with gender issues. But there is a big leap from teaching respect and tackling discrimination to subsuming actual learning for this self-centred stuff. Anyone who disputes that should reflect on the recent NAPLAN results, which showed a continuing slide across the nation in literacy and numeracy. Perhaps the vibe of the times is that those things matter less, as long as everyone feels good about themselves.
David Penberthy is a Sunday Herald Sun columnist
ACT MP questions Safe Schools program, says children should be taught the law on underage sex Government • Safe Schools Coalition
The Canberra Times, 3 March 2017
Liberal Elizabeth Kikkert has questioned the Safe Schools program in ACT schools, asking why children are not being taught instead that it is illegal to have sex before 16.
“Is it illegal or is it breaking the law if you perform sexual intercourse underage?” Mrs Kikkert asked education officials at parliamentary hearings on Friday.
“I’m not an authority to speak,” an education directorate official responded.
“I don’t think that’s relevant,” Education Minister Yvette Berry said.
“I’m pretty sure it is [illegal],” Mrs Kikkert shot back. “So what I’m trying to get at is why is the Safe Schools program teaching safe sex to underage kids? Why don’t we teach them that this is breaking the law first. I think we have it all backwards.”
The ACT is developing its own Safe Schools program to help LGTBIQ children and children coming to terms with diverse sexuality after the federal government backed away from its national program. The ACT material, funded by $100,000 added to the budget this year, will be ready for schools in term 3.
There was confusion at Friday’s hearings about whether Canberra teachers are teaching the Safe Schools program in their classrooms, with officials saying the program was not delivered in classrooms, but later conceding they couldn’t be sure what individual schools did with it.
Mrs Kikkert asked if parents could choose whether their child took part in the Safe Schools program, to which the Education Directorate’s head of policy, Jacinta Evans, said there was no need to opt in or out because the program provided individual support for students and advice for schools on how to help students. It was not a program delivered in classrooms, but was material available to schools, she said.
Ms Berry said classes had not been delivered on the Safe Schools material.
“The Safe Schools Coalition has not delivered a class on the material on the Safe Schools website that was provided by the Commonwealth government,” Ms Berry said. “Teachers in their classrooms may have received advice from the Safe Schools Coalition on curriculum support materials to complement lessons on health and well being.”
Mrs Kikkert hit back: “Are you in denial, because we want to know the truth. The Safe Schools program was taught in the classroom in an ACT school. It was provided to the teachers. They had training on it. Students were given a consent form to the parents asking whether the kids were okay to attend this program called the Safe School program.”
Ms Howson asked Mrs Kikkert to provide more information about the case, but Ms Berry asked her not to name the school in public.
Ms Howson said schools in the ACT had autonomy, and principals could make thier own decisions about programs they “invite in from outside”.
“So you’re right, Mrs Kikkert, to be absolutely categoric is probably foolish from me at this point.”
Mrs Kikkert said “It’s also more than teaching kids to be respectful for other people and to respect who they are, it’s teaching them about having safe sex, so the Safe School program, it’s not safe school, it’s safe sex. That’s what it is.”
“I’d ask you to be respectful,” Labor committee chairman Michael Pettersson told Mrs Kikkert.
Ms Berry said she had spoken recently with students who said the program had made them “feel like they were included and part of their school community, they weren’t treated any differently because if their different sexual identities, that they were ordinary people loved and respected by their school community”.
Ms Berry said she would not be concerned to discover such a program had been taught in classrooms.
“So the teacher could stand in front of the classroom and teach it?” Mrs Kikkert asked.
“They could,” Ms Berry said. “They could use some of the tools, some of the materials that’s being developed to support individual students and students within their classroom. Yes they could.”
Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 2 March 2017
Teenagers with intellectual disabilities are being exposed to complex and contentious gender and sexuality theory, with a growing number of Victorian special schools incorporating the Safe Schools program into their curriculum.
Ballarat Specialist School, which caters for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities, joined the Safe Schools Coalition late last year, according to an updated membership list seen by The Australian.
The school advised parents of the decision via the school newsletter last week, revealing it was in the process of “implementing relevant parts of the Safe Schools program … as part of our wider health curriculum”. The Ballarat school, which has 480 students aged from three to 18, is the third special school to sign up to the program, with the Victorian government confirming yesterday that special schools were not exempt from its directive that the program be mandatory by the end of 2018.
Berendale School in Hampton East is also listed on the Safe Schools register, along with Travancore School, which caters for young people undergoing treatment for mental health issues.
The creeping influence of the controversial program has raised concerns within disability circles, particularly in regard to the ability of students with special needs to comprehend some concepts espoused by the program.
Originally designed to stamp out homophobic bullying, Safe Schools, developed by La Trobe University, has been heavily criticised for pushing radical and contested gender and sexuality theory into classrooms.
The program’s main teaching guide, All Of Us, argues that common definitions of sexuality, gender and sex are “often limited” and suggests classroom handouts that “present more accurate definitions by showing that they exist on a spectrum rather than as absolute binaries”.
It also encourages teachers to avoid using “gendered terms”, such as “manpower” or “policeman” and recommends that “phrases like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ or ‘boys and girls’ should be avoided”.
The federal government has de-funded the program, while the Victorian government has taken over the running of it from La Trobe following controversies involving former manager Roz Ward.
Rachel Carling-Jenkins, the Democratic Labour Party member for the Western Metropolitian region, said: “We’ve got kids with learning disabilities who are having to cope with these complex concepts.
“I have no problem with sex education in schools, but this Safe Schools program goes way beyond that.”
Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling called on Premier Daniel Andrews to “explain why he has allowed his radical gender and sexuality Safe Schools program into the classroom with children with special needs”.
Ballarat Specialist School principal Kim Yearwood said a parent information session was scheduled for next week.
“I believe we need to value diversity by modelling acceptance and respect,” Ms Yearwood said.
MP Damien Tudehope MP demands minister should kill off Safe Schools Government • Safe Schools Coalition
The Daily Telegraph, 16 February 2017
A LIBERAL MP has used the first week of Parliament to throw a curve ball at his own minister, demanding he issue an immediate directive to principals to completely kill the Safe Schools program.
Epping MP Damien Tudehope said that because of concerns raised by some in the community about the program, “it is not good enough to say that this is purely a matter of ‘local schools, local decisions’.”
“So here’s the tip — the new Minister should immediately take steps to give a direction to all principals that from the 16th February 2017, no school in NSW will be registered for, or disseminate any material, being promoted by the Safe Schools Coalition,” he told the Parliament.
“I call upon the Minister to make that direction immediately.”
Advocates for the program argue it is a crucial anti-bullying mechanism.
But Mr Tudehope, a well-known opponent of the program, said he would continue to call for its removal.
“Parents ought to be under no delusion as to the insidious nature with which this program has been introduced into the school system,” he said.
New Education Minister Rob Stokes has only been in the job a few weeks, having been shifted from his previous portfolio of planning by Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 17 February 2017
One of the key players in the Safe Schools program has been appointed to a senior Victorian Education and Training Department position to help to manage the rollout of its similarly contentious Respectful Relationships program.
Joel Radcliffe, a former Safe Schools Coalition Victoria co-ordinator who co-wrote its teaching guide with outspoken Marxist activist Roz Ward, was the subject of controversy himself last year when it emerged that he had boasted publicly that parents did not have the power to shut down the so-called anti-bullying program.
The revelation comes as senior Education Department staff yesterday distanced themselves from the “misunderstood” program, claiming that it was merely a policy and not part of the school curriculum.
Appearing before the Victorian parliament’s public accounts and estimates committee, department secretary Gill Callister described Safe Schools as “mainstream” and revealed that Ms Ward, the program’s founding manager, was free to reapply for her job.
The Andrews government is in the process of integrating Safe Schools into the department, recently advertising for a new manager on an annual salary of $146,622 a year, as well as three program officers.
The recruitment drive will take the cost of the government’s pledge to put the program into all schools to $2.2 million over the next two years.
Education Minister James Merlino announced that the government would sever ties with La Trobe University, which had managed the government-funded program since 2010, after a string of controversies, several involving Ms Ward.
The latest, in which Ms Ward was photographed harassing a bystander at an anti-Trump rally in November, appeared to be the final straw.
Mr Radcliffe, a former teacher, is understood to have joined the Education Department in recent weeks. When The Australian contacted him at his office yesterday, his voicemail message revealed his role to be project leader of Respectful Relationship for the Hume Moreland region of Melbourne’s north.
The department declined to comment on his appointment, with a spokesman saying “employee matters are confidential”. Mr Radcliffe did not return calls.
Despite its aim of reducing family violence, Respectful Relationships has attracted similar controversy to Safe Schools due to its reliance on gender theory and feminist ideology, teaching students about male privilege and that masculinity is responsible for family violence.
Unlike Safe Schools, which was targeted at Year 7 students upwards, Respectful Relationships education will begin at preschool level.
The opposition’s education spokesman, Nick Wakeling, who has called for Safe Schools to be scrapped, expressed concerns about Mr Radcliffe’s move into the department.
The Daily Telegraph, 16 February 2017
THE NSW Education Department has denied a Freedom of Information request to publicly identify those schools enrolled in the Safe Schools gender and sexuality program.
This is bizarre given that Western Australian, South Australian, Tasmanian and Northern Territory governments all make similar details public.
So what has the department got to hide?
Parents have every right to know whether their child’s school is involved and if the new Education Minister Rob Stokes is committed to openness and transparency then the names of schools must be made public.
Deciding where their children go to school is one of the most significant decisions parents make and it’s only fair their decision is based on detailed information.
Especially given the LGBTI program, recently reviewed by the NSW government, still advocates a radical, Marxist view of gender and sexuality that many parents find unacceptable.
One of the booklets is co-authored by La Trobe University’s Roz Ward, who argues “LGBTI oppression and heteronormativity are woven into the fabric of capitalism” and “it will only be through a revitalised class struggle and revolutionary change that we can hope for the liberation of LGBTI people”.
The Safe Schools material argues there’s nothing natural about being a boy or a girl. Students are told that “everyone has their own identity in relation to masculinity and femininity”.
A national survey concludes about 98 per cent of Australians identify as male or female and, according to the University of Sydney’s Patrick Parkinson, only 1 to 3 per cent are gay or lesbian, but Safe Schools material argues “around 10 per cent of people are same-sex attracted”.
Research also proves while a minority of children and adolescents might experience uncertainty about their sexuality, the majority outgrow the condition.
The Safe Schools program ignores the research and tells vulnerable students that the condition is permanent.
The material also tells students that instead of sexual and gender identity being determined by chromosomes that “it’s up to the individual to describe what gender identity suits them best”.
If a boy self-identifies as a girl, schools are told that they should “confirm the toilets, changing rooms, showers and swimming facilities (are) based on the student’s gender identity and the facilities they feel most comfortable with”.
Ignored are the rights of the overwhelming majority of students who are happy being boys and girls and whose parents expect schools to protect their privacy.
Ours is an age of identity politics and victimhood where the curriculum is awash with teaching students about the rights of politically correct minority groups.
Instead of programs such as Safe Schools indoctrinating students it’s time to focus on what schools are meant to do — teach the basics.
Especially as over the past four to eight years NSW students’ literacy and numeracy results, measured by the national literacy and numeracy tests (NAPLAN), have gone backwards. It is also true that teaching about gender and sexuality is best left to parents as they are their children’s primary care givers.
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of Dumbing Down — available as an e-reader
The Australian, 14 February 2017
So safety conscious is the NSW Education Department that it is keeping secret its list of schools running the Safe Schools program, apparently so that the schools and their students are kept safe from any backlash. Never mind parents and transparency. And never mind the argument that this program is such a harmless, beneficial and uncontentious exercise in combating school bullying that all children should be given access. In the long-running and highly politicised debate about Safe Schools this level of secrecy is counterproductive and tends to boost the argument that the program is an underhand example of progressive social engineering.
If Safe Schools is as straightforward as its proponents suggest — just giving kids the chance to understand and resist the mindlessness and horrible ramifications of bullying — then schools should be trumpeting their involvement. This would in turn give all parents the sort of information they deserve, allowing them to make informed decisions concerning the welfare of their children. Instead, the department is effectively telling parents that these schools are so safe, they must be kept under the radar.
As Rebecca Urban reports today, the evidence provided to the privacy watchdog to justify the department’s approach is not compelling. It cites vague concerns that identifying schools will enable transgender, gay or lesbian students to be identified, exposing them to risk of ridicule or harm, including self-harm. It also argues that schools and their staff will be exposed to hate mail and verbal attacks. This is a similar argument to that put in opposition to a gay marriage plebiscite. It is a form of emotional blackmail against dissenting opinion and is discordant with what we know to be the broad tolerance most Australians demonstrate every day.
Safe Schools should be embraced or scrapped; keeping it as a hidden agenda is the worst option. This has a long history but it is time the relatively new department chief, Mark Scott, and new minister Rob Stokes showed some common sense. They could show NSW education is moving on from a union-cowed period under Adrian Piccoli.
Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 14 February 2017
NSW is under mounting pressure to reveal the names of schools signed up to the controversial Safe Schools program after the state’s privacy and information watchdog rejected claims that disclosure would expose students to serious harm, harassment or intimidation.
The department has twice knocked back a disclosure request under the Government Information Public Access Act, arguing that releasing the names of participating schools would also lead to the potential identification of individual students.
New Education Minister Rob Stokes, who has been in the job for less than a month, yesterday endorsed the department’s decision, suggesting that the government’s position on the Safe Schools program, which assists same-sex attracted and transgender youth by promoting sexual diversity and gender fluidity, was unlikely to change.
Documents seen by The Australian suggest that principals campaigned heavily for the department to keep the list a secret, with many expressing concerns over disclosure.
The Safe Schools Coalition had previously listed member schools on its website. However, the NSW government pulled its schools from the website last July. According to the Education Department, of the 31 public schools previously outed as Safe Schools members, more than half had claimed they had been negatively targeted as a result. Consequently, some schools had withdrawn from the program, while several principals reported that parents had removed their children from the school. One principal, who has not been identified, claimed he was slandered and his family attacked after the school’s name appeared on the register.
Safe Schools Coalition Australia claims that 304 schools nationwide are members. Victoria, which is run separately to the national group, has 284 member schools. NSW is not the only state to order schools be hidden from public view, with Queensland doing the same last year.
Labor MP Greg Donnelly, a longstanding Safe Schools critic, requested a list of NSW primary and secondary school members under the GIPA Act last July. The department rejected the application in September.
Mr Donnelly appealed to the Information and Privacy Commission, which ruled in his favour, recommending the department make a new decision, with “regard to the matters raised and guidance in this report”.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Tydd took particular issue with the department’s claim that disclosing the information could “reasonably be expected to expose a person to a risk of harm”.
According to the report, the phrase “reasonably be expected to” meant more than a “mere possibility, risk or chance” and must “not be purely speculative, fanciful, imaginary or contrived”.
Ms Tydd argued that the department was required to “specify the person to which the possibility of harm applies and substantiate the risk and that the risk is serious”, which it had not done. She also questioned how publicly disclosing the name of a school alone would constitute disclosure of personal information about an “unspecified student”. “For these reasons we are not satisfied that … the (department) has justified its decision,” Ms Tydd said.
Following an internal review, the department affirmed its decision this month. It cited an Australian Human Rights Commission report that said schools were “significant sites of homophobic violence and abuse”, with the problem “increasing over time”.
Mr Donnelly, who is considering appealing over the matter to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, expressed concerns that the department continued to withhold the information, despite the criticisms of the Information Commissioner. “It begs the question, what is the NSW government hiding,” he said.
The department stood by its decision. “Disclosing the list of participating schools is reasonably likely to prejudice the effective exercise by those schools of their functions in relation to student safety, welfare and wellbeing and would enable students to be identified and consequently put them at risk of harm, serious harassment or serious intimidation,” a spokesman said.
Mr Stokes said he had been advised that disclosing the list of participating schools was “reasonably likely to risk student safety, welfare and wellbeing”.
“The last thing I want to do is put a child at risk,” he said.
2GB, 9 February 2017
Miranda talks to Dr Kevin Donnelly, senior research fellow from the Australian Catholic University, about Safe Schools and Gender Theory.
No backing down on Safe Schools, Victorian Education Minister James Merlino tells parents Government • Safe Schools Coalition
The Age, 11 February 2017
The Safe Schools program will continue to be offered to primary-aged children despite the prospect of a backlash, with [Victorian] state Education Minister James Merlino telling parents he is personally invested in ensuring all LGBTI students are properly supported.
Two months after the Andrews government announced it would overhaul Safe Schools – and remove its controversial founder Roz Ward – Mr Merlino has held private talks with families and youth groups who feared the restructure could end up compromising the program.
The Youth Affairs Council, Rainbow Families Victoria, and other community representatives met with Mr Merlino on January 18, raising concerns that the Education Department, which has taken over the program, might not have the necessary expertise to ensure that children get the specialised help they need.
Some had also feared the political heat could also result in the “risk-averse” bureaucracy backing away from the more controversial parts of the program, such as the support offered to primary school children who are dealing with gender identity issues.
However, the government insists the overhaul will not result in Safe Schools being watered down, and that it is committed to rolling it out by the end of 2018 to the remaining 40 per cent of public schools yet to sign up.
It has also confirmed that primary schools will still have access to individual support plans for students who are “transitioning” or are gender diverse, in collaboration with their families.
“I personally feel very strongly about this issue and making sure all students feel safe at school, learn about diversity and respect for others.” Mr Merlino told The Sunday Age.
“Work is underway on expanding Safe Schools to all Victorian government secondary schools by the end of 2018. We will continue to work with the LGBTI community – and I will continue to assure community groups of this.”
Mr Merlino did not discuss details of his meeting, but it is understood that during the talks, the minister made it clear that the issue of LGBTI equality had been a deeply personal journey for him.
As The Sunday Age revealed last year, for instance, it wasn’t until recently that Mr Merlino – a strict Catholic linked to Labor’s most conservative union – decided to support same-sex marriage, after watching his own three young children grow up.
“What I’ve concluded is that if one of my kids said to me ‘dad, I’m gay’, there wouldn’t be an ounce of difference in my love for my child. I would want them to be happy and safe at school,” the deputy premier said at the time.
But the government is also bracing itself for lingering tensions surrounding Safe Schools – both from opponents who want the program scrapped, and those who remain unsure about the department running it.
Ms Ward and her supporters are also believed to still be angered by the government takeover, which was announced in December – with barely any consultation – after months of sustained attacks from sections of the community and the Murdoch press.
The Safe Schools founder has kept a low profile since then, but was pictured at last month’s Pride March marching next to a sign, held by an ally, that said: “Sack the Government.”
A new team to run Safe Schools – comprising experienced educators and program managers – will be announced within weeks. However, it is still not clear how they will achieve the government’s pledge to expand the program to all state secondary schools, particularly if some schools do not wish to take part. (So far 284 school have signed up, including 193 government secondary schools).
Youth Affairs Council chief executive Georgie Ferrari said while the government had reassured them that Safe Schools would not be jeopardised, “these next few months are really critical in seeing those words turn into action.”
Anne Lim, Eternity News, 9 February 2017
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed a report that NSW school teachers have been banned from teaching gender theory in NSW public schools.
The Australian today reported that the ban followed an independent review by professor Bill Louden into the state’s sex and health education resources.
It said an update on the review has been provided to teachers, listing which resources were not to be used.
ACL’s NSW State Director Mark Makowiecki said many parents and teachers are grateful that children will no longer be taught harmful theories that gender is a “social construct” or that sexuality is “non-binary”, occurring on a continuum and “constantly changing.
The review was initiated last September after it was discovered the NSW Department of Education and Training had developed a resource called the Teacher Toolbox, which appeared to be material repackaged from the controversial Safe Schools Coalition programme.
The department’s website also revealed that elements in Crossroads – the state’s compulsory sex education programme for Years 11 and 12 – were imbued with gender and queer theory.
After examining the scientific merit of the research underpinning the materials, the review appeared to have made a negative assessment, Makowiecki said.
Makowiecki today joined Labor MP Greg Donnelly in calling for the new state Education Minister Rob Stokes to release the review in full.
“The ACL and many parents and teachers are grateful for this decision. It is necessary, however, to make the final report public because scrutiny is warranted,” Makowiecki said.
“I applaud the decision and welcome the spotlight on the research of La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), which was also behind the so-called Safe Schools programme, which teaches children that their gender is fluid.
“There is more to do, with elements of queer theory remaining, but without doubt the decision to scrutinise the scientific basis for these ideas has been a step in the right direction.”
Makowiecki said parents have a right to know who was responsible for pushing this radical sexual agenda in the department and whether any disciplinary action will be taken.
Eternity has contacted the department and is waiting for comment on the story.
Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 9 February 2017
NSW public school teachers have been banned from teaching gender theory in the classroom after an independent review into the state’s sex and health education resources.
Students will no longer be taught that gender is a “social construct”, or that sexuality is “non-binary”, occurring on a continuum and “constantly changing”.
An edict encouraging teachers to “de-gender” their language will also likely be scrapped, along with sexually explicit case studies and teaching aids such as the “Genderbread Person”, which promotes the idea that there are “infinite possibilities” of gender identity.
Announced in September, the review by professor Bill Louden followed reports in The Australian that a sex education resource, the Teacher Toolbox for delivering content related to diversity of sex, sexuality and gender, was promoting Safe Schools materials, possibly in contravention of federal guidelines.
Further revelations about Crossroads, the state’s compulsory sex education program for Years 11 and 12, also pushing gender theory, prompted the then education minister Adrian Piccoli to order a review into the research base and scientific underpinning of the material. An update on the review has been provided to teachers, detailing a list of resources that should not be used.
The list includes the 17-page Teacher Toolbox resource, the Affirming Diversity unit aimed at Year 10 and three of the sexual and gender diversity activities contained within the Crossroads program.
One of those, called Opposite Ends of the Pole, encourages students to consider various case studies, including “Joseph”, a man married with three children who “masturbates [and] fantasises only about men” as well as “Alex”, who had sex with girls as a teenager but has developed a relationship with a man since moving to a country town.
The department yesterday declined to comment on the specific recommendations of the review and it is not clear whether the ban stems from specific recommendations or is pending the department’s response to the review.
It is also not clear whether new Education Minister Rob Stokes will have a role in endorsing recommendations from the review.
Gender theory, and its creeping influence on government-run education, has been a controversial topic over the past year, having also underpinned the divisive Safe Schools program.
The concept of deconstructing gender derives from 1990s “queer” theory and is understood to be highly contested, even within the social sciences. According to the NSW Education Standards Authority’s statement of equity principles, curriculum and support materials should reflect evidence-based research.
The document also states, however, that teaching materials should provide “opportunities for students to evaluate and deconstruct gender and sexuality”.
Labor MP Greg Donnelly, who has campaigned for the removal of Safe Schools, called on the Education Department to release the latest review.
“It is important that the public gets to see what is in the review report,” he said. “Given the highly controversial statements that were contained in the teaching material, mums and dads are entitled to know what the review report says and recommends.”
Greg Donnelly, On Line Opinion, 7 February 2017
Politicians in one state do not generally take kindly to colleagues in another state giving them advice. There can be exceptions but the unwritten rule is that if you stick your head out and give advice across the border, you are likely to get it knocked-off. With that said, let me now give some advice to my Labor colleagues in Victoria.
The Safe Schools program that the Victorian Government is imposing on public schools in that state is political poison. While it may be just starting to show up in focus groups and other polling activities undertaken by the Labor Party, do not underestimate its malignancy. When it fully manifests, it will be like a fully laden freight train that you will not be able to stop.
The problem for the Premier and the Minister for Education is that the Safe Schools program from the get-go was never about anti-bullying. It was about inculcating into school children hard edged sexuality and gender ideologies. The same ideologies that are examined and debated when undertaking Gender Studies units at university. The same units that such students elect to do by choice; no compulsion or requirement. Not only are these ideologies being presented to school children as a matter of fact i.e. sexuality and gender are not to be understood in any other way, but parents are being kept completely in the dark about what is being presented to their children and by who.
The statement that it was never about anti-bullying but sexuality and gender ideology is not mine. They are the words of one of the original architects of the program, Roz Ward. You can see her boastfully making this claim on a short 2014 YouTube clip that many have seen.
Premier Andrews and Education Minister Merlino have been both doctrinaire and obstinate about the Safe Schools program. As a case in point, in March last year following a review of the resource material located on the Safe Schools Coalition Australia website it was recommended by the reviewer, Professor William Louden, that certain content was not fit for purpose. It was subsequently removed from the Safe Schools Coalition Australia website. In Victoria though the material that was removed from the website was immediately uploaded onto the state’s Department of Education and Training website, presumable under instruction from the Premier and/or Minister for Education. That material still sits on the Department’s website and is being actively promoted. In other words instead of taking into account what were rather modest recommendations by Professor Louden, the Victorian Premier and Education Minister got all hairy chested and gave the whole review exercise the middle finger.
Fast forward to mid-December last year, the Education Minister announces that the Andrews Government is cutting ties with La Trobe University and their now very well known, and controversial employee, Roz Ward. The spin put on the announcement by the Minister was that it was not about throwing the now badly damaged Roz Ward under a bus. The line given was that it ” … was appropriate to bring it [the Safe Schools program] into the Department.” Even Blind Freddy could see through that one.
Why the Victorian Government cosied up to Roz Ward and stuck with her for as long as they did remains a mystery. Anybody without blinkers on could see that she was serious lead in the saddle-bag. If the truth be known, notwithstanding the Minister’s spin to the media, the decision to send her on gardening leave, never to return underscores that in the minds of the punters the Safe Schools program has progressed from being a bit wiffy to becoming seriously on the nose.
Apparently the program is being currently delivered in 60% of public high schools in Victoria. The stated goal of the Premier and Minister for Education is to have it being delivered in every public high school by 2018. They have said time and again that it is a “universal anti-bullying program”. What that is code for is that they want it in every public primary school and once this is achieved, press for its delivery in independent and Catholic schools.
Even from the distant outpost of Sydney, one is hearing of ethnic communities, concerned parent groups, educationalists, mums, dads and grandparents starting to come together and discuss ways and means of challenging this heavy handed action of the Victorian Government. They are not happy and indeed the more they get to see and understand what is being imposed on their kids at school, the more upset they are getting. If what I am saying sounds fanciful, you should have a close look at how the Safe Schools program has gone down with both the Chinese and Greek communities in Sydney. How all this will play out between now and the next Victorian state election will remain to be seen. The hard heads in Spring Street will no doubt say hold the line and don’t cave into those deplorables. Well good luck, that is exactly what all those deplorables were expecting you to say. You can be sure that they will take their opportunity to square-off at the next state election.
For the Premier and the Minister for Education it is not too late to pull back. But they must act now. The dive is steep and the ground is fast approaching. Soon it will be too late.
About the Author
Greg Donnelly is a Labor Party member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. He has been in the Legislative Council since February 2005 and currently serves on three parliamentary committees including Social Issues, Children and Young People and General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5.
Herald Sun, 23 January 2017
A 16-YEAR-OLD twin has been given approval to undergo a non-reversible sex change.
The Family Court approved the parents’ application for their child to undergo phase two treatment for gender dysphoria even though “Dallas” — a court provided pseudonym — has not undergone reversible phase 1 treatment.
Earlier this month Family Court judge Peter Tree called on the Federal Government to change the law to allow children to change their gender without having to go to court.
Delivering judgment on a separate but similar case involving 17-year-old “Lucas”, judge Tree said it was “inhumane” to force young people to get a judge’s permission to treat gender dysphoria.
“The sooner that (transgender) children and their families do not have to endure the ordeal of litigation in order to get on with their lives, the better.”
Others argue the court provides a useful check, particularly with the number of cases growing rapidly as community attitudes change.
At present, children diagnosed with gender dysphoria cannot start hormone treatment without going to court following a 2013 High Court ruling that parents alone do not have the power to make decisions about such serious, irreversible medical treatment.
The Royal Children’s Hospital treated just one child for gender dysphoria in 2003, and now deals with about 100 referrals a year.
In a statement last year, Attorney-General, George Brandis said: “The government is sensitive to the concerns of children and their families who are living with gender dysphoria and is actively considering options for reform.”
Born with the physical characteristics of a female, Dallas has a twin sister and a younger sibling.
The court heard he began identifying as a male at about 13 years but always thought he was a boy.
The year 10 student has dressed and presented as a boy for two years, including at school.
The Secretary of Department of Health and Community Services gave instructions not to intervene in the matter.
The court heard Dallas experiences discomfort and distaste about the present state of his body and looks forward to future surgery to align his physical body with his sense of self.
“He has made mention of his voice which in his own opinion ‘gives him away’ as female,” Judge Margaret Cleary said.
“The evidence strongly supports the fact that he is ready and wishes to proceed with phase 2 treatment.”
Judge Cleary found Dallas had sufficient understanding of the treatment and procedures to give consent to his own medical treatment and so declared him competent to consent to phase 2 testosterone hormone therapy treatment.
The Australian, 24 January 2017
Even before being installed as NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian had her hand out for more education money from the federal government under the Gonski funding model. Some will be tempted to point out that here is a Liberal premier endorsing Labor’s Gonski dollars. But the relevant observation is that another premier is looking to Canberra for easy money. Former NSW Liberal premiers Barry O’Farrell and Mike Baird couldn’t sign up to the Gonski plan quickly enough and, as treasurer, Ms Berejiklian would be fully aware of the dynamic, even though her state’s budget outlook is for ongoing healthy surpluses. State governments are not concerned about whether or not additional school funding is the best use of (borrowed) federal funds; they simply are keen to vacuum up extra money and use it to placate the Australian Education Union. This is part of the problem with this model; it accentuates the situation where states are responsible for school education but not for raising the money to fund it. This lack of direct fiscal responsibility is an ongoing problem when it comes to the accountability and efficiency of our federation.
Evidence mounts that school funding has reached a more than adequate level. Despite record spending in education and ongoing increases in real terms per student, educational outcomes are declining. Never better funded, our schools are set for further increases (only the quantum of the rise is being negotiated) but comparative standards are falling. In other words our schools are not as productive as they used to be.
As Kevin Donnelly details in our opinion pages today, the evidence of declining standards is widespread from a variety of respected and independent surveys. He also cites research that suggests funding is already more than adequate. Too much of the debate in this area — urged on by the AEU — focuses on funding and class sizes when teacher training and methods, as well as the decluttering of curriculums, might deliver higher returns. After all, the outcome we want is not the world’s most expensive education system but the best education for our children.
Kevin Donnelly, The Australian, 24 January 2017
Paul Keating once warned, “never stand between a state premier and a bucket of money”, and incoming NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian provides a striking example when pressuring the commonwealth government to underwrite the Gonski school funding model.
Ignored is that there is no bucket of money — the previous ALP government never funded the final two years of Gonski and, while the NSW budget is in surplus, the commonwealth government is facing years of deficits.
Also ignored is that according to our Constitution the states and territories are responsible for school education and it is their primary responsibility to ensure adequate funding.
There is also the fact, while the Australian Education Union and the NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli argue that investing additional billions will raise standards, no amount of additional spending will improve outcomes.
Despite a record level of investment in education over the past 20 years Australia’s results in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Program in International Student Assessment (PISA) have gone backwards.
The results for NSW students, for example, fell 27 points in the PISA science test, 15 points in the TIMSS Year 4 maths test, 28 points in Year 8 maths, 14 points in Year 4 science and 10 points in Year 8 science.
In a report co-written by the ALP’s member for Fraser when an academic at the ANU, Andrew Leigh, and based on an analysis of literacy and numeracy standards over the period 1975-1998, it’s clear additional investment represents throwing good money after bad.
Such are the disappointing results based on an analysis of the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth that Leigh concludes, “the productivity of Australian schools may have fallen over the past three to four decades”. A sentiment reinforced by the Australian Productivity Commission when it argues that “despite an increase in spending and falling class sizes … student literacy and numeracy have declined in recent years, and Australia (has) fallen behind other high-performing countries”.
It is also clear, as argued in the 2016 OECD publication PISA Low Performing Countries, that once a certain level of investment is reached then additional expenditure is not the solution.
The OECD report states: “Despite conventional wisdom that higher investment leads to greater gains, there is no clear evidence that increasing public spending on education guarantees better student performance once a minimum level of expenditure is reached”.
And at 5.6 per cent of GDP, slightly higher than the average of 5.2 per cent in the OECD, there’s no doubt that Australia has reached the required minimum level with the OECD’s 2016 Country Note describing Australia as achieving “a relatively high expenditure on education”.
The OECD, in a series of reports and papers identifying the characteristics of stronger performing education systems as measured by TIMSS and PISA, also identifies what needs to be done to raise standards and improve educational outcomes.
Unlike NSW, which has one of the most centralised and bureaucratic education systems in Australia, where what is taught, how it is assessed and how teachers are registered and certified is controlled by head office, stronger systems embrace school autonomy.
The 2016 PISA publication states that “evidence suggests that school autonomy is beneficial to student performance, which partly explains why education reforms since the early 1980s have focused on giving schools greater autonomy”.
Overseas researchers Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann in their book The Knowledge Capital of Nations reach the same conclusion when they argue, “increased autonomy over academic content, personnel, and budgets exerts positive effects on achievement”.
Autonomy allows schools to innovate, be flexible and to best meet the needs, aspirations and abilities of their students and explains why Catholic and independent schools outperform government controlled state schools — even after adjusting for students’ home backgrounds.
While the Australian Education Union and like-minded activists like Jane Caro and Trevor Cobbold argue for a Gonski-funded’ one-size-fits-all, centrally controlled public system of education it is also true that competition, diversity and choice are beneficial.
Hanushek and Woessman conclude “students in countries with larger shares of privately managed schools perform better on average, and recent evidence corroborates the conclusion that this is due to a causal effect of private sector competition”.
As noted by the 2014 Review of the Australian National Curriculum that I co-chaired, another characteristic of stronger performing systems is that schools focus on teaching a rigorous, academically based curriculum where there are clear consequences for failure.
No amount of additional funding will raise standards if the curriculum is substandard, overcrowded and based on guesswork or the latest educational fad. Stronger performing overseas education systems ensure students master the basics and the key subjects that are essential to being educated.
This is unlike Australia in general, where the curriculum is overcrowded and based on misplaced theories like constructivism — a situation where teachers are no longer in control as their function is to act “more as a facilitator who coaches, mediates, prompts, and helps students develop and assess their (own) understanding”.
Proven by the Safe Schools LGBTQI program and the Equity Principles and Guiding Statements on the NSW Education Standards Authority website it is also obvious that enforcing a politically correct, cultural-left curriculum is more important than teaching what Matthew Arnold termed the “best which has been thought and said”.
The research consensus is that education policy must be evidence-based if learning is to improve, regardless of how much additional funding is provided. Based on the example of Minister Piccoli mandating a minimum Australian Tertiary Admission Rank score for students wanting to become teachers this is clearly not the case in NSW.
Restricting entry on the mistaken assumption that academic excellence equates with effective teachers, as noted by the ACER’s Geoff Masters, “is a blunt approach to the selection of teachers” that “falls well short of international best practice”.
Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg makes a similar point when he argues that many of those entering the profession in high-performing Finland “are academically average” and only choosing the “best and brightest to become teachers is a myth”.
A second example of misplaced and ineffective educational ideology is NSW’s embrace, since the late 1970s, of the whole-language approach to teaching the early years of reading. A situation where the more structured phonics and phonemic awareness approach is replaced by “look and guess” and the belief that learning to read is as natural as learning to talk.
If the NSW Premier is serious about raising standards, especially for disadvantaged students, then instead of more money, what is needed is a more market-driven model based on autonomy, diversity and choice and evidence-based research reflecting the characteristics of stronger performing systems and schools.
Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of Dumbing Down.
Now BOYS can be Girl Guides [in the U.K.] if they think they’re the wrong gender Safe Schools Coalition
Note: This story refers to Girl Guides in the UK.
The Daily Mail Australia, 22 January 2017
Now BOYS can be Girl Guides [in the U.K.] if they think they’re the wrong gender – and anyone who says they’re a woman can be at girls’ sleepovers, without telling parents
- And adults born male but identify as female will be permitted to become leaders
- Parents of girls as young as five should not be told if transgender person joins
- It would be ‘unlawful’ for leaders to inform parents they are sharing toilet facilities with people born as boys
Boys who believe they are girls are being allowed to join the Guides for the first time, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
And adults born male but who identify their true gender as female will be permitted to become leaders under radical changes to the organisation’s single-sex policy.
Controversially, the new rules state that parents of members as young as five should not be told if a transgender person joins their group.
They add that it is not ‘best practice’ to tell parents their daughters will be sharing facilities such as sleeping areas and toilets with transgender girls, who are born male, during trips away.
And they state that it would be ‘unlawful’ for leaders to inform parents their children are being looked after on overnight excursions by transgender women.
Until now, Girlguiding has been a single-sex organisation, with its chief executive, Julie Bentley, a leading campaigner for abortion rights and greater access to contraception, describing it as ‘the ultimate feminist organisation’.
Last year, girls who responded to a survey run by Girlguiding stressed how important it was to have ‘a safe, girl-only space’.
The transgender approach marks a major departure from the 107-year-old organisation’s origins as a ‘movement for girls’. It states that it will now accept members based on the gender they ‘self-identify’ as, rather than their biological sex.
A document sent to all leaders last week explains: ‘Girlguiding aims to support all girls and young women. This is understood in terms of the way a person self-identifies their gender identity – a person’s inner sense of self.’ This means that if a boy ‘self-identifies’ as a girl, he can join his local guide unit without undergoing any medical treatment to change sex or even having to dress as a girl.
The same applies to adult transgender women – and the updated guidelines will apply to all ages: Rainbows, from five to seven, Brownies, seven- to 10, and Guides, 10 to 14.
Some parents are horrified. One mother from Bristol, Amanda Gracey, whose six-year-old daughter recently joined a Rainbows group for younger children, said: ‘It’s shocking that if there is a man who believes he is a woman leading the group, it is forbidden that parents should be informed, even on residential trips.
‘You might be in a situation with girls having to deal with menstruation going to a leader with no understanding at all. Every piece of safeguarding advice says you should provide separate sleeping and changing facilities for children of opposite sexes under the age of 18.’
The Girl Guides have had many high-profile members during their long history, such as the Queen, who is the organisation’s patron, her sister Princess Margaret, actress Emma Thompson and author J. K. Rowling.
Philip Hollobone, the Conservative MP for Kettering in Northamptonshire, said the new rules would set alarm bells ringing for many parents. He added: ‘Sadly, the result will be fewer girls joining the Girl Guides. There will be parents who won’t let their daughters join because of this change.’
Julie Bentley said: ‘Girlguiding complies with the Equality Act 2010 which makes clear organisations providing single-gender services should treat people according to their acquired gender. In line with our values of inclusion, we welcome any young person who self-identifies as a girl or young woman.’
Safe Schools Victoria head could pocket almost $300k over two years Government • Safe Schools Coalition
Alex White, Herald Sun, 17 January 2017
THE new head of Victoria’s contentious Safe Schools program could pocket almost $300,000 over two years as the state pushes ahead with the curriculum.
The Victorian Government is looking to fill the newly created manager position of the anti-bullying program after it cut ties with Safe Schools founder Roz Ward in December.
There was pressure to dump Ms Ward — who set up the program with La Trobe University — after she was photographed confronting a pro-Trump demonstrator at anti-Trump rally in June last year.
The successful candidate will work under the Department of Education and Training and is being offered between $111,484 and $149,188 a year for a 24-month contract to implement the controversial anti-bullying program aimed at supporting LGBTI students.
Opposition Education spokesman Nick Wakeling said the new position was an added expense for taxpayers and renewed his calls for the program to be dropped.
“Daniel Andrews has wasted over a million dollars forcing his values on families rather than teaching kids to read and write,” he said.
“Our education standards have fallen behind Kazakhstan yet Daniel Andrews doesn’t seem to care.”
Department spokesman Simon Craig said the curriculum was vital to students.
“To ensure the Safe Schools program continues to support safe and inclusive school environments, the Department is now recruiting a manager and three other positions for the Safe Schools team, ‘’ he said.
“The team will lead the vital work of supporting young LGBTIQ children and young people, and keeping them safe from bullying.”
Education Minister James Merlino said in December that Victoria would take over the program after funding was axed by the Federal Government, before Ms Ward was stood down.
The move will cost Victorians an additional $300,000 a year on top of $1.04 million allocated to the anti-bullying program in the 2015-16 budget.
Almost 60 per cent of schools have already signed up to the compulsory curriculum, however some parents have raised concerns about the types of lessons and sexual content being taught.
Kevin Donnelly, The Australian, 19 December 2016
There’s nothing new in NSW’s Helensburgh Public School using Year 3 children as refugee activists and classroom teachers wearing T-shirts with the slogan “Teachers for Refugees — Close the Camps, Bring Them Here”.
The NSW Teachers Federation and the Australian Education Union have a long history of using the education system to indoctrinate students with Marxist-inspired causes.
In 2002, after the Howard government committed troops to Iraq, the AEU directed teachers to “take action in your workplace and community” and to “support students who take an anti-war stance (and to) encourage participation in peaceful protests”.
Instead of education and the curriculum being objective, whereby students are taught to be critical-minded and to weigh alternative points of view, the AEU’s leadership is only concerned with imposing its politically correct views on controversial issues.
While parents are shocked by the Marxist-inspired Safe Schools LGBTQI program, which teaches children gender is fluid and celebrating being a man or a woman is heteronormative, the AEU gives it full support. Its federal president, Correna Haythorpe, describes critics of the Safe Schools program as “extreme conservatives” opposing a “highly effective and positive program”.
At a time when Australia’s international test results are in free fall, the AEU, instead of focusing on the basics, is more interested in campaigning for “global movements for peace, social justice, nuclear disarmament, justice for refugees and the environment”.
In relation to climate change, AEU Victorian branch president Meredith Peace is happy to visit schools as a result of being trained “by Al Gore to give his famous climate change presentation as part of his Climate Project”.
Since its establishment in the early 1990s, the AEU and its state and territory branches have campaigned for a plethora of neo-Marxist, feminist, LGBTQI and postcolonial causes. Such is the success of the AEU in determining what happens in the school curriculum that a past president, Pat Byrne, was able to boast “the conservatives have a lot of work to do to undo the progressive curriculum”.
Instead of celebrating Australia’s economic successes, our high standard of living and the fact that we are a peaceful, democratic nation, the AEU argues the curriculum must critique the “role of the economy, the sexual division of labour, the dominant culture and the education system in reproducing inequality”.
As such, the AEU is a long-time critic of the academic curriculum and meritocracy, where there are winners and losers.
Supposedly, based on a Marxist view of society, the traditional curriculum and competition reinforce capitalist hegemony and the power of the ruling class.
Instead of ranking students in terms of motivation and ability, and holding schools responsible for results, the AEU argues learning must “be premised on co-operation rather than competition and the prospect of success rather than failure”.
Drawing on communist theorists such as Antonio Gramsci, Pierre Bourdieu and Louis Althusser, schools are condemned as essential parts of the ideological state apparatus that, as a result, must by captured and transformed.
As prominent Victorian union activist Bill Hannan argued some years ago, “We don’t have to wait for society to change before education can change. Education is part of society. By changing it, we help to change society.”
Or, as argued by the then left-wing Victorian education minister Joan Kirner, “we have to reshape education so that it is part of the socialist struggle for equality, participation and social change, rather than instrument of the capitalist system”.
Not surprisingly, given it’s old-style statist view of education, where governments, bureaucracies and teacher unions enforce a command-and-control model of public policy, the AEU opposes the existence and funding of Catholic and independent schools.
Even though parents are voting with their feet and about 35 per cent of students attend non-government schools, the AEU argues “there is no pre-existing, predetermined entitlement to public funding: i.e. there is no a priori justification for public funding to private schools”.
By denying funding to non-government schools and arguing that additional billions must be spent on government schools, especially to employ more teachers and prospective union members, the AEU is obviously driven by self-interest.
Self-interest also explains why the AEU is committed to an antiquated and inflexible centralised enterprise bargaining system, one that ensures its seat at the table and that denies individual schools the freedom to shape employment conditions that best suit local needs.
Ignored is the international movement to free schools from provider capture, represented by charter schools in the US and free schools in England, and to give them the autonomy to best meet the needs and aspirations of their local communities.
Instead of educating students in a balanced and impartial way the AEU is committed to indoctrinating children with neo-Marxist, politically correct groupthink.
Kevin Donnelly is senior research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of Dumbing Down.
The Australian, 17 December 2016
The Andrews government has caved in to relentless pressure over its Safe Schools sexual diversity education and anti-bullying program, cancelling its contract with Melbourne’s La Trobe University and cutting loose the policy’s architect, Roz Ward.
The university announced last night that the Safe Schools program would no longer be delivered by it and that the government would take the program in house.
The government, by taking over the program, has still vowed to continue with a version of Safe Schools, albeit one that is controlled by state education officials and not by the university.
Critics have savaged Labor for failing to go far enough, and the government will be accused of trying to play both sides of the political divide by keeping the program going but dumping La Trobe.
The government said last night it would take over responsibility for the program from the start of term one next year.
La Trobe alerted its staff to the government’s decision in a statement.
Vice-chancellor John Dewar vowed to work with university staff affected by the decision.
“While we are disappointed that La Trobe will no longer be delivering the program, we welcome the government’s expansion of the Safe Schools program, as recognition of La Trobe’s highly successful evidence-based initiative to reduce bullying of same-sex-attracted and gender-diverse young people in schools,’’ Professor Dewar said.
“We are working through the full impacts of this decision, but are committed to working with government to ensure a smooth transition to reduce any negative impact on young people in schools.’’
The announcement on the cusp of Christmas comes as the government tries to clear the decks of its mounting political baggage, made worse by Premier Daniel Andrews’s response this week to a cabinet law and order leak.
Safe Schools was devised off the back of La Trobe research into the mental health of LGBTI youths, which found that schools were a prime place for homophobic bullying.
Co-developed by Ms Ward, an outspoken Marxist and LGBTI activist, however, it has become the subject of a backlash because of its origins in queer theory, including the promotion of the concept that gender is non-binary and fluid.
Resources discourage teachers from referring to students as “boys” and “girls”, Year 7 and Year 8 students are asked to role-play as gay teenagers.
The decision comes after a photo of Ms Ward emerged at an anti-Donald Trump rally last month in which she appeared to be interfering with a Trump sympathiser.
Education Minister James Merlino said: “Safe Schools saves lives and helps stop bullying in our schools — bringing it into the department … means LGBTI students in government schools will be better supported.’’
Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling called for the government to go even further with its decision.
“The Safe Schools program is still designed by Roz Ward and the only action the government should have taken is to scrap the program,’’ he said.
Rob Mitchell, a gay health rights campaigner who had previously called for the La Trobe-run program to be scrapped, applauded the decision.
Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 16 December 2016
Victorian government workers are being discouraged from using “heteronormative” terms such as “husband” and “wife” in a new guide to communicating with the LGBTI community.
Instead, the workers are being schooled in adopting gender-neutral pronouns “zie” and “hir”.
The Inclusive Language Guide, which has been designed for use across the public sector, also warns against derogatory terms, such as “dyke” and “fag”, as well as “offensive questions”, including asking a transgender person whether or not they have had surgery.
In his introduction to the guide, Victorian Equality Minister Martin Foley says the government’s responsibility is to keep people safe, including the LGBTI community.
“The guide is one of the ways in which we are addressing and eradicating homophobia, biphobia and transphobia,” he says.
Ro Allen, the state’s first gender and sexuality commissioner, encourages businesses also to use of the guide, saying that equipping people with correct language will “promote safer spaces” for LGBTI Victorians.
While the document aims to counter the prejudice and stereotypes experienced by LGBTI people, it has been ridiculed for pushing contested ideology about gender as a social construct.
Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jeremy Sammut said the language guide appeared to have been dictated by “academics wielding their critical postmodernist theory of the world” who were “determined to force (it) on the rest of us”.
“It’s a totalitarian project dressed up as liberation theory,” he said. “I would think it is possible to treat people with respect and respect people’s privacy without resorting to this.”
Dr Sammut said the state Labor government, which has been increasingly active in LGBTI causes, risked alienating those voters more concerned about economic management, crime and education standards.
The guide, developed with support from Victoria’s LGBTI Taskforce which comprises activists and academics, says “it is important to challenge our thinking beyond the binary constructs of male and female”.
“Some people may identify as agender (having no gender), bigender (both a woman and a man) or non-binary (neither woman nor man). There is a diverse range of non-binary gender identities such as gender queer, gender neutral, genderfluid and third gendered … language in this space is still evolving.”
The guide cautions against “heteronormativity”, described as the assumption everyone is heterosexual. “It is better to use the word “partner” than wife/husband where the gender, sexual orientation, or relationship status of a person is unknown.”
People talking about their children does not necessarily mean they are in heterosexual relationships, the guide cautions.
The Coalition’s parliamentary secretary spokesman Tim Smith described the guide as “minority fundamentalism gone berserk”.
“Heaven help the next generation of Victorians who have been indoctrinated into a sinister postmodernist ideology.”
Psychologist Laura McNally, a critic of the contentious Safe Schools program, which is based on similar ideology, said contested gender theory was being fast-tracked into public institutions.
Ms McNally said the concept of gender as a continuum or identity, was incoherent. While gender was billed as fluid and evolving, “cisgender” was defined as a static match between identity and sex. “This theory makes fodder for navel gazing sociologists, but in terms of its own internal logic, the theory is redundant.”
Miranda Devine, Daily Telegraph, 14 December 2016
Welcome to No Gender December, an annual Christmas campaign championed by the Greens to stop parents from buying their children toys that perpetrate “gender stereotypes”.
This year’s crackpot theme is “Buy a boy a Barbie” — whether he wants it or not. He may want a big yellow Tonka truck but in this brave new world of gender totalitarianism, he has to have a doll.
What would Santa say?
Gender ideology’s encroachment on Christmas coincides with a push by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency to set gender quotas to coerce more men into female-dominated “caring professions” such as nursing and teaching. This Orwellian-sounding agency, funded by the federal government to the tune of $6.3 million a year, now wants men to take jobs from women, under the guise of gender equity.
Director Libby Lyons said last week she wants to smash the “industrial and occupational segregation’’ in teaching and nursing”.
“Set a target,’’ she told The Saturday Telegraph. “That’s how you get cultural change.’’
But why do we need “cultural change”? Why not just let men and women choose the jobs that suit them? While we need more male teachers in our schools, a quota from a government agency is the last way to achieve the goal.
And why not let children play with toys that interest them?
Why must society be reorganised to suit gender theorists and their neo-Marxist view of a genderless world?
The truth is that feminism has been perverted away from being about true equality of opportunity for both sexes into a social engineering experiment that turns biology on its head.
The problem for this ideology is males and females are inherently, biologically different, as shown by every credible study, and by every culture ever to have existed on our planet. Yet, to voice such an obvious observation, known to be true by every parent who hasn’t been brainwashed, is to be guilty of a new thought-crime: “Neurosexism”.
Make no mistake: that which may seem like a benign social trend towards more gender fluidity is actually a feminist revolution towards a world in which any difference between males and females must be eliminated.
Europe is way ahead of us, with No Gender December running all year in one Berlin district, where laws prohibit billboard ads depicting girls in pink “with dolls” or boys in blue playing “with technical toys”. And women “smiling” is an absolute no-no.
In Sweden, where a new gender-neutral pronoun “hen” has formally replaced he and she (han and hon), schools are banned from gender stereotyping. Thus, in Stockholm, a government-funded gender-free preschool named Egalia (George Orwell, eat your heart out) forbids teachers from using terms such as “boys” and “girls”, only “friends”.
Children’s choice of toys is monitored and guided, and Cinderella and Snow White have been replaced by “tales of two male giraffes who parent abandoned crocodile eggs”.
As Christina Hoff Sommers, author of The War Against Boys, puts it: “Swedish parents, teachers and authorities are going to have to police, incessantly, boys’ attraction to large-group rough-and-tumble play and girls’ affinity for intimate theatrical play.”
The end goal is to eliminate gender so that genital and chromosomal differences between the sexes somehow disappear.
Libertarian magazine The Federalist reports feminist theorists use Marxist language to claim “The elimination of sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and seizure of the control of reproduction.”
This theory holds “the heart of women’s oppression is in child-bearing and child-rearing roles.”
The only women who are listened to when it comes to feminist issues are gender theory academics such as Roz Ward and chattering classes types. The problem is they are wildly unrepresentative of the real lives of most women. Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway got a taste of that last week when she explained why she decided not to accept a top White House job. The first woman ever to run a winning US presidential campaign, Conway, 49, said she turned down the role of White House Press Secretary because it would be impossible to do the job and also be a mother to four children under 12.
Describing conversations with male colleagues, Conway told a “Women Rule” event in Washington DC: “I do politely mention to them the question isn’t would you take the job. The question is would you want your wife to? Would you want the mother of children to? I think the lesson is (with) all the opportunities out there for women… that we still have to make choices, there are limits.”
The CEO of her own polling company is hardly a shrinking violet chained to a kitchen sink, but Conway is being attacked for her candour, with one commentator claiming “Kellyanne Conway Suggests Women with Kids Shouldn’t Take Jobs in the White House”. That’s not what she said. She wants to do what she believes is best for her family. That’s her choice. That’s life. That’s reality. You can’t change it any more than you can turn boys into girls by giving them Barbies.
Hobart Mercury, 13 December 2016
ONE of the greatest trusts Australians place on their governments is the running and funding of public education.
The majority of school-aged Australians spend upwards of six hours every school day for 13 years away from their families and in the care of the state.
So far, this system has worked well. Australia has enjoyed a tradition of balanced public education which has focused on reading, writing, maths, science, history, the arts, etc. Governments have focused their political energy on lifting the bar for student outcomes in these areas.
Unfortunately, the age of balance may soon come to an end. Its death knell will be the Safe Schools program, a divisive invention and exercise in destructive public policy.
The Safe Schools program has opened one of the most longstanding problems facing Western society. Namely that public education can be used to inject into a new generation untested and controversial ideas, and can do so without parental consent.
In a policy arena that demands scrupulous prudence, there are few initiatives that have suffered from such recklessness as the Safe Schools program.
The Safe Schools architects revealed their hand when their program was first rolled out.
They denied parents the opportunity to opt out. The online content linked high school-aged students to an online sex-toy store. And they made the dumbfounding decision to partner the Safe Schools Coalition with a Melbourne strip club.
Victoria is the cautionary tale of what the Safe Schools program hopes to become.
The children are younger, the program is more severe, and the administrators are more openly radicalised.
At the head of the Victorian program sits Roz Ward. She is an advocate of Marxist ideology. For Ward the Australian flag is a symbol of racism; our society is almost universally homophobic, transphobic and bigoted; and “Marxism offers both the hope and the strategy needed to create a world where human sexuality, gender and how we relate to our bodies can blossom in extraordinary new and amazing ways that we can only try to imagine today”.
Yes, there is no secret that the Safe Schools program exists in a broader cultural agenda. Values once considered indispensable are being abandoned. Objective truths are being rewritten. Modern trends in ideological gender theory are becoming orthodox, and the relationship between parent and child is being turned on its head.
In Safe Schools lies the idea that gender is an ineffable quality that can only be actualised by the individual, and then only after it has been discovered through happenstance and time.
It is wrong, says the Safe School, for parents, doctors, or teachers to presume a child’s gender is based on something so mundane, bourgeois and unenlightened as biology.
Children, in some cases very young children, are encouraged to assert their gendered identity. Before they hit puberty, sometimes before they can even read, kids are locked into decisions that may affect every single day of the rest of the lives.
The Safe School holds that only the blithe and bigoted and unloving person would ever question this system. The only acceptable course of action is that of affirmation.
This strikes one as an odd way of raising children. Expecting them to be the repository of knowledge while all of society is to sit quietly on the outside, passive observers and nothing more.
This is a bad program.
Many parents are rightly concerned that the debate Safe Schools has ignited might very well have a negative impact on the experience some students have at school. I fully agree.
The public curriculum should not be so controversial. The discussions had in the houses of parliament, seldom nuanced at the best of times, are unlikely to translate into the world of the schoolyard.
Bullying is an important issue for policymakers to tackle. Next year the Tasmanian Government is due to release a new anti-bullying program, which will resource schools with the tools they need to tackle bullying whenever it occurs, and for whatever reason it occurs.
It will be important that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. We cannot see the new program become a Safe Schools 2.0. For the Government, the most important duty will be a return to balance.
Blake Young is vice president of the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation.
Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 10 December 2016
Gender-neutral bathrooms in crisis evacuation centres and tailored support services to address perceived discrimination against gay and transgender communities are being canvassed under a push to develop “LGBTI-inclusive” emergency management policies.
Victorian government funded researchers will investigate the specific experiences and needs of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) communities in the event of an emergency, such as a bushfire or flood, amid broad questioning about the Andrews government’s increasingly radical social agenda.
The initiative follows research commissioned by several women’s health organisations claiming that disaster impacts are “heightened for LGBTI people”.
The decision to investigate these issues in the context of disasters such as the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire catastrophe and the 2010-11 Queensland floods has raised questions about the qualification of some academics to inform emergency services social policy.
The new research project will be managed by La Trobe University’s Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and the Gender and Disaster Pod, an initiative of Women’s Health Goulburn North East and Women’s Health In the North.
Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jeremy Sammut said the concerning issue with such projects was that they were often run by academics with limited frontline experience.
Dr Sammut cited the example of the 2014 Sydney Lindt cafe siege, in which Muslim radical Man Haron Monis took 18 people hostage. Monis and two hostages were killed. A recent inquest heard evidence that the NSW police command was concerned with the social and political ramifications while trying to secure the release of hostages. “The risk is they can end up diverting crucial services from the core mission, which is to protect the safety of everyone in the community,” Dr Sammut warned.
Noel Ashby, a former assistant commissioner for Victoria Police who forged strong links with the LGBTI community during his 35-year career, expressed concern that policies singling out special-interest groups could have a negative impact on the ability of emergency services to respond to a critical incident. “Operational matters should never be coloured by sexual orientation or race or gender,” Mr Ashby said.
“In an emergency scenario, time is often critical and to have further considerations can only prolong decision-making and can hinder the response.
“The key issue must always be the broader issue of safety of all.”
Emergency Management Victoria commissioner Craig Lapsley received a backlash on social media this week after he promoted the study, which is seeking survey participants.
Mr Lapsley said research in NSW and Queensland had indicated that LGBTI community members caught in an emergency had difficulty in accessing emergency and support services and faced marginalisation or exclusion. “Our interest in this Victorian research is in understanding if this is the same here and how we can better understand and improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTI Victorians after emergencies,” he said.
According to the explanatory statement accompanying the study, “understanding LGBTI marginality, vulnerability and resilience helps contribute to inclusive and effective emergency management policies”.
The survey will ask participants about their experiences in an emergency; what assistance they needed and what was offered; whether they felt their sexual orientation or gender identity had an impact on the quality of service; and whether they felt discriminated against. Respondents will also be asked to comment on “an ideal response”.
La Trobe’s Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, which also manages the contentious Safe Schools program on behalf of the Victorian government, has been working with GAD Pod, providing training to help emergency services personnel understand issues specific to LGBTI communities. In a video posted to the group’s website, Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria chief Liam Leonard says that in an emergency there is often a blanket assumption that victims are heterosexual or, if not, they are “out” about their sexuality, and have family support.
“For many LGBTI people, that’s not the case,” he says.
The project comes off the back of research commissioned by GAD Pod that found disaster impacts were heightened for LGTBI people. “The usual procedures to secure residences and rehouse those affected by disaster are accompanied by additional privacy concerns and risk and experience of discrimination,” says the report, Gender and Emergency Management Guidelines: A Literature Review, which was released this year.
“The space of evacuation centres, for example, may be experienced as a space of risk by same-sex couples who fear homophobic responses from personnel or other evacuees. The lack of privacy in these centres, particularly in bathroom facilities divided only into a male/female binary, is often highly problematic for transgender individuals.”
The review pointed to previous research that found LGBTI victims of the Queensland floods reported exacerbated anxiety resulting from having to hide their sexual or gender identity from emergency workers and volunteers, or stay with people who were not accepting of them.
Victorian Emergency Services Minister James Merlino last night defended the initiative. “We need to make sure all members of the community are prepared and supported when a disaster or emergency strikes,” he said. The research project was dismissed by the state opposition as another example of the Andrews’ government “dividing communities”.
Gender-neutral school uniforms could stop bullying and discrimination, education expert says Safe Schools Coalition
ABC Adelaide, 8 December 2016
Creating a more inclusive school environment may be as simple as introducing a unisex uniform, according to proposals being considered by schools across Australia.
A move away from a strictly boys-wear-pants, girls-wear-skirts dress code has been proposed by the Safe Schools Victoria coalition.
Ann-Marie Hayes, the executive director of child development at the SA Education Department, said the suggestions had validity.
“Being inclusive, respectful and making [school] the best environment is critical,” Ms Hayes said on 891 ABC Adelaide‘s Afternoons program.
She said the department had been suggesting ongoing policy changes to help adapt to current demands.
More than just clothing
Ms Hayes said school uniforms and dress codes often became a prickly subject.
“We already have [some] very good neutral uniforms.
“We actually make it very clear to the schools that they need to ensure there is no discrimination.”
She said the schools’ governing councils needed to be encouraged to set dress codes that could not cause discomfort for students of different religious or sexuality backgrounds.
Good for some, but maybe not for others
891 ABC Adelaide listeners had mixed responses to the suggestions.
“Such a stupid idea, setting up the child for bullying,” one texted.
“It’s not gender neutral for boys, it is only the emancipation of girls,” Nigel of Walkerville added.
“If a girl identifies as a boy, then she should wear a boy’s uniform and vice versa,” another messaged.
“So a small minority rule the majority? The stupidity of political correctness,” Mark commented.
Options the key
Ms Hayes said defining clothing ranges as boys’ and girls’ uniforms was also not helpful.
“We should be really saying that children and young people should actually get to choose without having to be overt, and if they choose something that is gender neutral, that’s OK.”
She said many schools already provided a large range of uniform options.
“You don’t have to be really gender specific.”
Ms Hayes said she was aware of gender-diverse and transgender students in the South Australian education system.
She said when options for uniforms were non-gender specific, discrimination on transgender students was limited.
“If they wanted to choose to wear a girl’s uniform, because that is the diversity that they are choosing — they would be subjected to the same rules.
“If we put the wellbeing of our students at the forefront … we are ensuring that you can come to school and feel respected and have a safe place to be yourself.”
Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 5 December 2016
The Salvation Army has backed away from the controversial Safe Schools Coalition after its surprise support of the program sparked a backlash from members.
Just a fortnight after the Salvation Army’s Victorian branch strongly supported the program, the organisation has quietly released a revised national statement.
“Whilst acknowledging such positive outcomes (to address bullying), the Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form,’’ the statement says.
“We believe there needs to be consideration and refinement to the scope and form of implementation.”
The embarrassing backdown late last week is reminiscent of Telstra’s bungled attempt to withdraw from actively supporting the marriage equality campaign earlier this year.
It pulled out only to change its mind within days due to the negative publicity and fear of a customer exodus.
The Australian understands that the Salvation Army, one of the world’s largest Christian welfare organisations, was inundated with complaints from members in the days after it publicly declared support for Safe Schools last month.
Several members of Victoria’s Liberal opposition, including education spokesman Nick Wakeling and colleague Inga Peulich, met senior Salvation Army figures to discuss the program.
The anti-bullying program, which has been adopted by more than 500 schools across the country, has divided the community partly due to its controversial founder, LGBTI activist and Marxist Roz Ward, as well as its promotion of contested gender theory.
The program’s federal funding will not be renewed next year, but the Victorian government has stepped in, dedicating $1 million to its further rollout.
The Salvation Army, which has previously come under fire for its treatment of the LGBTI community, surprised many when it welcomed the Andrews government’s funding commitment.
“The Salvation Army’s Victorian state council has been aware of the negative claim about the Safe Schools program and its related material,” it said at the time.
“It is also aware that there are claims that the program promotes cross-dressing, teaches kids that their gender is ‘fluid’ and provides instruction in chest-binding (so that girls can appear as boys).”
State chairman Geoff Webb said the Salvation Army’s social policy unit had reviewed the official teaching resources and studied the federal government’s independent review of the program.
“None of the negative claims made about the program actively reflect anything in the official materials reviewed,” Dr Webb said at the time.
But Friday’s revised statement, titled Salvation Army Announces National Position on Safe Schools, reiterated that while the organisation was deeply concerned about the wellbeing of LGBTI students, any government-approved anti-bullying program “needs to consider all high-risk student groups”.
“To this end the Salvation Army is open to working with state and federal governments and other agencies to develop a program that more comprehensively addresses the issues associated with bullying within schools,” it said.
Dr Webb did not respond to requests for further comment at the weekend but Salvation Army national media spokesman Bruce Redman told The Australian that while the initial support was delivered with the best intentions, subsequent investigation revealed significant state-by-state variations in the way the program was delivered.
“In Queensland, for example, parents are very much involved, and they can choose to opt in or opt out,” Dr Redman said.
“But to issue a blanket edict and say, ‘everyone’s involved … we’re just going to deliver the program’. That probably needs to be looked at.”
Mr Wakeling, whose party has called on the Andrews government to immediately dump the program, confirmed he had been involved in meetings with senior Salvation Army figures in which the program was discussed.
“I don’t think the issue here is so much about the Salvation Army changing its position,’’ he said.
“What it really demonstrates is that this toxic program has little or no support in the wider community.’’
Mr Wakeling welcomed the Salvation Army’s call for a more comprehensive anti-bullying program for schools.
A representative from Safe Schools Coalition Australia did not respond to a request for comment by late yesterday.
The Australian, 2 December 2016
It is understandable that long-suffering parents opposed to the “gender fluidity” push by pro-LGBTI educators might tell their children to listen politely and keep their opinions to themselves. In conscience, parents who object to the Safe Schools and similar compulsory programs have little choice if their children are to attend their local state schools or others where such ideology is inflicted, often without parental consent.
Quiet acquiescence by children exercising freedom of thought, however, does not sit well with fanatics determined to change the thinking of those who are happy to be “boys” or “girls” and who instinctively find the idea of being a bit of both ridiculous and offensive. As Rebecca Urban writes today, educators are on the lookout for “modern homophobics” — students who appear disinterested or who offer “sham tolerance” — to teachers promoting “sexual diversity” education. Such attempted mind control — a product of fanatical, totalitarian thinking that should have no place in Australian education — would be intolerable at any time or in any society where parental and children’s rights were respected. The fact it has emerged when Australian children have been found to be sliding badly behind their international peers in maths and science underlines the need for an overhaul of classroom teaching.
It is no surprise that La Trobe University academic Roz Ward, founder of the misnamed Safe Schools program, is part of an international alliance that has produced a playbook for LGBTI activists to co-opt educators to their viewpoint. The guide warns activists that “modern homophobes state they are not homophobic … but they prefer their child not to be LGBTI and they prefer not to associate with LGBTI, especially when they do not conform to heteronormative standards”. Under the “gender fluidity” mindset, “heteronormative” terms include “girls” and “boys”. Such intolerable rubbish should be abandoned in all states and more time given to maths, science, English and other subjects that will educate children and prepare them to earn a living.
Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 2 December 2016
Educators are being urged to look out for a new form of “modern homophobia” — characterised by disinterest, disingenuous support or “sham tolerance” — as part of efforts to promote sexual diversity education in schools.
A guide prepared by the GALE Association — a global education alliance that counts several Australian academics, including Safe Schools founder Roz Ward among its membership — warns that in some countries, such as Australia, it is more common to encounter “modern homophobia” than “traditional homophobia” where same-sex-attracted people face open hostility and rejection. The document, which has been circulated in draft form ahead of its official release, presents as a playbook for LGBTI activists seeking to co-opt teachers, education officials and governments to implement policies around sexual diversity education in schools.
A push to broaden what it means to be homophobic is particularly relevant in Australia, where opponents to the Safe Schools program and to same-sex marriage have been tagged with the label. It is also likely to spark concern about the influence of special interest groups on education policies and school curriculums.
According to the GALE Association guide, “modern homophobics state they are not homophobic but they prefer their child not to be LGBTI and they prefer not to associate with LGBTI, especially when they do not conform to heteronormative standards”.
It cites the importance of “peer education” in generally supportive markets, where LGBTI advocacy groups conduct sessions for teachers on issues around supporting LGBTI students in schools.
“In this phase, peer educators will encounter more ‘modern’ homophobia and transphobia,” it says. “Modern homophobia and transphobia are more difficult to deal with than traditional homophobia and transphobia and peer educators need to be trained on this.”
The guide, which coins a new acronym to describe its target group: DESPOGI, or Disadvantaged because of their Expression of Sexual Preference or Gendered Identity, cautions activists to be aware of “laggards”, defined as “conservative actors whose main aim is to protest or block government action” as well as “traditionalists” who try to ensure that schools safeguard conservative values and limit knowledge of liberal values.
When organising conferences and workshops, activist organisations are advised to invite only stakeholders willing to support LGBTI-friendly policies as inviting “uninformed, prejudiced, ambiguous … participants” can prove to be a barrier to constructive discussion.
“It should be made clear that this conference is not a democratic exercise but an expert meeting with the goal to advise government on how to effectively develop or implement its supportive policy,” the guide says.
The guide tackles the issue of how to evaluate the effectiveness of policies, programs or initiatives, noting traditional “effect and impact” research centring around a hypothesis can have negative side-effects, often highlighting elements that did not work. It recommends adopting evaluation methods that focus on “success factors”.
Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jeremy Sammut said policymakers needed to be attuned to the tactics promoted by the GALE Association, which posed a serious risk to “traditional notions of pluralism and tolerance”.
“Pushing the idea of ‘modern homophobia’, creating terms such as ‘laggards’ and ‘conservative actors’ … is designed to beat up on people who don’t think like the activists do,” Professor Sammut said. “They’re basically saying to government … if you don’t sign up to this, you’re homophobic.”
Ms Ward, who manages Safe Schools in Victoria, did not respond to a request for comment.
The Safe Schools Coalition’s former national convener Sally Richardson is listed as a member. A spokeswoman for Safe Schools Coalition Australia, which severed ties from the Victorian group, said no staff were among its membership.
Rob Cover, from the University of Western Australia, is a member but was not involved with development of the guide. “It looks to me that the guide is very much focused on some of the extreme issues facing LGBTI communities in former Soviet countries, Africa and parts of Asia,” he said. “There is much less focus on the concerns relevant to Australian sexual diversity in schools (around bullying for example, or increasing understanding over tolerance).”
Miranda Devine, Daily Telegraph, 27 November 2016
When I was growing up a bookworm, my favourite characters were tomboys.
There was no shortage of them in generations gone by, when it used to be normal for children to be vaguely gender neutral, without any need for hormone therapy or Safe Schools meddling. After all, what is growing up but forging your identity, and what is childhood but exploration.
My favourite tomboys were George, aka Georgina, in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, Jo March in Little Women, and Nancy in Swallows and Amazons, each “as good as a boy”, as George put it.
“I think it’s stupid being a girl,” she would grumble. “I wish I was a boy.” They were athletic and bold, wore their hair short, rowed boats, solved crimes and got into “scrapes” with Julian and Dick, while girlie girls like George’s cousin Anne fussed about like a “poky old woman”, as Jo March would have put it.
“I can’t get over my disappointment in not being a boy,” Jo said. “I’m dying to go and fight with papa, and I can only stay at home and knit, like a poky old woman!”
Until very recently, society serenely accepted that some girls were tomboys who liked to climb trees and some boys were dreamy souls who liked dressing up. It didn’t mean they needed puberty blockers or cross-sex hormone therapy, or to have their genitals “reassigned”.
But these days, tomboys like George and Jo might be diagnosed as suffering from “gender dysphoria”, and encouraged to “transition” to the opposite sex. The numbers of parents seeking gender treatment for their children has grown exponentially in the past decade, especially in Victoria, the birthplace of the Safe Schools movement. The Royal Children’s Hospital gender clinic in Melbourne has gone from treating two children a decade ago to 250 this year.
Few dare question the boom in babies born into the wrong body for fear of being labelled a bigot.
But Dr John Whitehall, Professor of Paediatrics at Western Sydney University, worries that this “intrusion into the minds and bodies of children” is leading to a “fashion in child surgical abuse”.
In an article in next month’s Quadrant Magazine, he says the gender identity crisis in children has become a “utopian religion with committed believers”.
The “watch and wait” policy once favoured by medical professionals, which sorts itself out for most children, has been demonised by activists who claim it is akin to “conversion therapy” and will cause suicides.
With little evidence to back their claims, they are demanding puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and even surgery for younger and younger children, and the courts are obliging.
In July, the Family Court approved a double breast removal for a 15-year-old biological female (with Asperger’s syndrome) transitioning to male.
But, “while proponents argue for massive intervention, scientific studies prove that the vast majority of transgender children will grow out of it through puberty if parents do little more than gently watch and wait,” Dr Whitehall says.
This likelihood of “growing out of it” is declared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5). The international Endocrine Society also advises “against a complete social role change and hormone treatment in prepubertal children … given the high rate of remission (of gender dysphoria) after the onset of puberty.”
Yet now laws are changing to discourage doctors from offering children any alternative to gender transition.
From next February, Victoria will outlaw “fraudulent and negligent” medical practices, such as “conversion therapy”.
In practice, Dr Whitehall says, this means any therapist who doesn’t support gender transition will be accused of trying to “convert” the child to accept its biological sex. The law will have the chilling effect of narrowing the choices available to children.
Whitehall cites the sacking last year of a Canadian expert in childhood gender dysphoria, Dr Kenneth Zucker, whose method was to “minimise stress and maximise comfort” in the child’s biological sex.
Zucker cautioned parents: “Don’t let the school make him a poster child … don’t let them parade him around for pink assemblies. This is his personal journey and we don’t know where it is going to end.”
For such heresy, Zucker was charged with performing “conversion-reparative therapy on children”, and stood down from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.
The madness has reached the point where parents of children as young as two are seeking gender counselling. The NSW education department blithely announced the arrival in kindergarten next year of the state’s youngest transgender pupil, aged four. And how wonderful that Safe Schools awaits, to promote gender transition without parental knowledge, and to make the wildly exaggerated claim that one in 25 children are transgender.
The frightening concern is that children are being “conditioned” by “cheerleader” parents “enmeshed” in the transgender cause, a leading therapist told Dr Whitehall anonymously.
We don’t know which children will go on to be genuinely transgender adults. But we do know most won’t. So the only rational approach is to stop playing God and let nature take its course.
The Australian, 22 November 2016
Safe Schools founder Roz Ward is under mounting pressure to step down from running the anti-bullying program in Victoria after she was photographed harassing a bystander at a protest.
The Victorian government appeared to withdraw its unwavering support for the LGBTI rights campaigner following the latest scandal, insisting the multi-million-dollar taxpayer-funded program was “bigger than any one person”.
“People have a right to peacefully protest; however, violence is never acceptable,” a government spokeswoman said in a statement yesterday, after Education Minister James Merlino refused to be personally drawn on the incident.
“We stand by our commitment to Safe Schools. It saves lives.”
The spokeswoman, however, declined to comment on Ms Ward’s ongoing role managing the program, saying it was “a matter for La Trobe (university)”, which manages the program on behalf of the state.
La Trobe briefly suspended the Marxist academic this year over a Facebook post decrying the Australian flag as racist before legal threats from the union forced the university to back down.
Ms Ward’s conduct at a November 12 anti-Donald Trump rally in Melbourne attracted widespread condemnation yesterday, with many questioning the apparent hypocrisy of an anti-bullying campaigner physically interfering with a person because of their politics.
The images show her trying to remove a cap from a man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Trump 2016”. She is seen smirking while the man tries to shield himself from her.
Ms Ward declined a request to explain her actions.
Victorian shadow parliamentary secretary Tim Smith led calls for Ms Ward’s resignation, describing her position as untenable. “Roz Ward receives taxpayer money to get on her pedestal preaching about tolerance … yet she’s been caught basically being very intolerant and threatening towards someone because she didn’t like his hat,” he said. “She’s got to go.”
South Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, who has criticised the Safe Schools program for pushing a “homosexual agenda” on to young children, described Ms Ward as a “hypocrite”.
Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton called on the government to cease providing taxpayers’ money to “teach children their gender is fluid, under the pretence of anti-bullying programs”.
“(Ms) Ward has always said Safe Schools was more about overturning notions of ‘heteronormativity’, including those protected in the Marriage Act, than about anti-bullying messages,” he said. “Her actions in bullying an innocent bystander prove this.”
The National Tertiary Education Union’s Colin Long defended Ms Ward. “It looked like a bit of fun and games to me,” he said. “I don’t imagine any threat to her employment, but we’d defend her to the hilt if there was.”
La Trobe University declined to comment.
The Australian, 21 November 2016
Victoria’s controversial Safe Schools founder Roz Ward has been photographed harassing a bystander while marching in a Melbourne rally protesting against the election of Donald Trump as US president.
Images obtained by The Australian show the high-profile LGBTI rights and anti-bullying campaigner trying to remove a cap from a man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Trump 2016”.
Ms Ward, who is carrying several copies of the Marxist newspaper Red Flag, is seen smirking while the distressed man tries to pull away and shield himself from her.
The incident, which took part at an otherwise peaceful protest organised by the Monash Student Association on November 12, comes after Ms Ward recently spoke out about “concerted attacks” on the Safe Schools program and her character.
It is also likely to reignite controversy over the program, which has divided parents, community groups and politicians due to its heavy emphasis on gender theory and promotion of the idea that gender and sexuality are “fluid” and “non-binary”.
Billed as a program aiming to stamp out homophobic bullying in schools, it is now fully funded by the Victorian Labor government after Premier Daniel Andrews declined to instigate several changes ordered by the federal government following an independent review.
According to a freelance photographer covering the event, Kenji Wardenclyffe, the incident occurred on the corner of Swanson Street and Flinders Lane while protesters were marching in the city’s centre.
“A lone pro-Trump supporter stood on the side of the road,” Wardenclyffe said. “I took a few photos, walked off, then noticed there was a commotion so I ran towards it and caught this; (Ms Ward)] trying to take his hat.
“I couldn’t see much more since after this there were a whole bunch of photographers in front of me.”
Ms Ward declined to comment on the incident yesterday, as did her employer, La Trobe University, which manages the Safe Schools program in the state.
Ms Ward almost lost her job in June after she describing the Australian flag as racist on Facebook. She was suspended by the university but reinstated 24 hours later amid legal threats from the union.
Ms Ward was recently honoured at the GLOBE Community Awards — billed as Victoria’s “Queer Oscars” — taking out the People’s Choice Award.
She told The Saturday Paper that the award was both respite and recognition at a time when she had felt “under siege”.
“I’m happy to be the kind of shield for Safe Schools Coalition if somebody has to be,” Ms Ward said. “And I don’t think that me resigning would change any of the opposition.”
Casey rejects child friendly charter with councillor calling it ‘predatory’ and an attack on ‘traditional families’ Government • Safe Schools Coalition
Cranbourne Leader, 17 November 2016
A CASEY councillor has labelled a local government child-friendly charter “child-predatory”, saying it sexualises children and diminishes traditional family values.
Casey councillors this week chose not to endorse the three-year old charter created by the Victorian Local Governance Association, which asks councils to commit to “equitable access to supportive environments and services for children regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or ability”.
The charter also asks for “respect and dignity for children to express their individual opinions, participate in and contribute to decisions about their communities and wellbeing.”
Neighbouring Shire of Cardinia signed the charter in 2015.
However, Cr Rosalie Crestani argued information contained in the charter had “holes” in it, including items that claimed children from different family structures did not fare worse than children from “traditional” nuclear families.
“Protecting children now and in to the future is always at the heart of every council decision,” Cr Crestani said.
“Unfortunately this charter, I believe, runs contra to this aim and was, in my individual opinion, yet another attempt at social engineering; this so-called ‘child friendly cities charter’ was nothing more than another undercover ‘un’-Safe Schools Coalition-style agenda that would seek to expose our children to early sexualisation and diminish the importance of the traditional family unit which presents a strong society based on Judaeo-Christian values.
“The accompanying data on the charter was skeletal but it took only a google search to discover what is, in my estimation, the real aim of this effort, which is superfluous at best and deceitfully child-predatory at worst.”
Victorian Local Governance Association acting chief executive officer, Lisa Mahood said, “it’s good to see that the City of Casey is addressing this issue through its own policies” and the VLGA welcomed “robust debate”.
A spokesperson from the Child Friendly Cities and Communities Advisory Group said, “the charter is consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is an important tool to support local government and is not affiliated with the Safe Schools program.”
Herald-Sun, 16 November 2016
ENCOURAGING preschool children as young as three to develop an awareness of skin colour and to recognise racial prejudice is another social education program that intrudes on the role of parents.
The Safe Schools program has caused heated debate and has been driven by activists promoting “sexual fluidity” that can cause doubt in children about their gender.
Respectful Relationships being taught in schools is another program that blurs the role of parents. At least showing respect for each other has a positive message.
But this latest intrusion in children’s development is social engineering and is concerning many parents. Encouraging an awareness of skin colour may have the opposite effect to what is intended by the Australian Human Rights Commission program developed under its president, Gillian Triggs.
Building Belonging materials include an e-book, All My Friends and Me, which has Chinese, African, Persian and Aboriginal characters.
But for many young children colour is never a question. They are blind to colour and form their relationships free of prejudice.
Telling them they are different has its own racial undertones.
The Human Rights Commission and its increasing intrusion into all walks of Australian life has come under increasing criticism from the Coalition. Professor Triggs has become a political figure, accused of holding back her report on children in detention until after the 2013 election, following discussions with Labor figures about its timing.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently attacked Prof Trigg over the case brought against three Queensland University of Technology students by an Aboriginal woman who has since dropped the case. The students were accused of racial hatred under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act in a complaint to the Human Rights Commission that was rejected when it went before the Federal Circuit Court. Former QUT staff member Cindy Prior, who brought the action, claimed $250,000 in damages but must now pay costs.
Another Aboriginal woman, Melissa Dennison, made a similar complaint to the Human Rights Commission under Section 18C over a cartoon by Bill Leak in TheAustralian newspaper.
The cartoon depicted a police officer returning a child to an apparently drunk Aboriginal father who didn’t know the child’s name. This complaint has also been dropped.
Mr Turnbull has criticised what he said was the commission’s involvement in the controversial race hatred complaint against the Queensland students and has supported a parliamentary inquiry into the Racial Discrimination Act.
The majority of Coalition MPs are calling for the words “insult” and “offend’’ to be removed from Section 18C, arguing they impede free speech. In her defence, Prof Triggs also believes the provisions of the Act need to be strengthened.
This is also the position of the Herald Sun, which shares parents’ concern over the Australian Human Rights Commission Building Belonging program emphasising skin colour among preschool and primary school children. Free speech underpins Australian culture just as parents should be left to guide their children’s growth.
Herald-Sun, 15 November 2016
PRESCHOOLERS as young as three are encouraged to identify racial prejudice and celebrate difference in a new Australian Human Rights Commission program.
The Building Belonging program, for use in primary schools and preschool and childcare centres, aims to help educators “handle challenging or confronting questions about racial differences” while also “tackling racial prejudice”.
Teachers are given answers to questions children may pose, including: “Why are there black people?” and “Why did Ned call me an Abo?”
Other recent social education programs, such as Safe Schools and Respectful Relationships, have generated heated public debate.
Building Belonging materials include an e-book, All My Friends and Me, which has characters who have names of Chinese, African, Persian and Aboriginal origin.
It also includes:
LAMINATED mats of different skin tone colours, to be decorated with play dough;
A SONG celebrating the “colours of Australia”, including skin colours “white and tan and brown”;
PAINTS in different skin tones and items from other cultures such as chopsticks.
Teachers are also encouraged to use everyday items, such as tomatoes and rainbows to prompt discussion of racial and cultural issues.
Children are also advised to make friends with someone from another racial background.
The program is linked to the Early Years Learning Framework, which requires preschools to “encourage cultural competency”.
Megan Mitchell, the National Children’s Commissioner, said the program was prompted by a survey of early childhood educators, who said children were raising cultural matters with them.
“(Of educators) 77 per cent said they had been asked by a child about their own race or another child’s racial background, and just under half were asked something negative,” Ms Mitchell said.
She said the program had been downloaded more than 11,000 times in the last month alone and had received “overwhelmingly positive feedback”.
But state Opposition Leader Matthew Guy questioned the utility of the program.
“As a father, I know that parents are the best people to teach children about respect and values, not government,” he said.
“My youngest son is at preschool. He is not bothered by other kids’ racial background, and I doubt any kid his age notices such things, so it’s wrong for authorities to force a discussion about people’s race on three-year-olds kids.”
Lessons on racial prejudice from Human Rights Commission ask too much of preschoolers Building Belonging • Human Rights Commission • Safe Schools Coalition
Herald-Sun, 14 November 2016
PRESCHOOL children should not be pressured to become cultural warriors on the lookout for racial prejudice in the sandpit or home corner. As I see it, kindergarten kids don’t see difference in the same way as older children or adults. In their eyes there is no value or judgment that comes from having lighter hair or darker skin. So why should we ram it down their throats?
They should be too busy singing songs or playing dress-ups to spend time focusing on racial difference. But that is exactly what a new program from the Australian Human Rights Commission does.
The Building Belonging national toolkit, designed for preschools, childcare centres and primary schools, helps educators “tackle racial prejudice in early childhood settings”. Materials include an e-book called All My Friends and Me, which contains characters such as Pax, Ling, Kojo, Merindah and Parimah. It includes lines such as: “Eyes brown like chocolate, Eyes blue like the sky, But we both like to tuck into yummy stir-fry”.
Other activities include using play dough and laminated mats to explore skin and hair colour difference, a song about skin colours and providing items from other cultures such as chopsticks in home corner. Teachers are also encouraged to use everyday items such as tomatoes and rainbows to prompt discussion of racial and cultural issues.
Educators are also given answers to possible questions posed by children, which include: “Why are there black people?”, “I don’t want to play with the new boy because he is smelly and his skin looks dirty” and “Why did Ned call me an Abo?”
I would argue there’s a problem when children too young to understand racial issues are taught to actively identify and focus on the differences between them and their friends. They should be left alone to just get on with being kids.
It seems ridiculous that the materials for the program talk of the need to ensure any teaching avoids “cultural tokenism” which “oversimplifies cultural differences”. Surely this sort of white-skin-and-black-skin, chopstick and stir-fry approach to racial difference does just that. It reduces kids to little more than their individual differences: their skin colour, hair type and what they eat for dinner.
Children don’t need to be spending their preschool time pondering issues such as: “What would happen if you woke up with a different skin colour? Would it change you?” And: “What do you think about your own skin and hair colour? What makes it beautiful and special?”
I have three kids who have been through preschool and two kids in primary school right now and can’t see there’s a crippling cultural crisis affecting children this age.
I can appreciate the Human Rights Commission’s aim on this one, but I think they miss the mark. By the time kids turn seven or eight, they might be ready for a more considered approach. Unlike some other commentators, I don’t have a problem with most of the material in the Safe Schools and Respectful Relationships programs, primarily because they’re designed for older children.
But three or four is too young to be dealing with such issues.
The commission did some research with early childhood educators and found children were saying things like: “I don’t play with black kids cos my dad told me so” and “I don’t want my colour skin because no one likes it and it’s yucky”.
According to the National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell, educators said they “commonly encountered prejudicial attitudes or behaviours from parents and other educators, as well as from children”.
That may be the case, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the role of preschool teachers to address such issues. Surely it’s the prerogative of parents, not educators. And I can’t see that singing a song about the “Colours of Australia” or drawing a rainbow in only one colour is going to get anyone anywhere.
A better approach, surely, is to address such issues as they arise.
The commission’s research notes educators say three-quarters of children had asked a question about their own or another child’s racial or ethnic background.
They note that, if left unchecked, early negative attitudes can turn into prejudice.
I am sure that is the case, and I’m not suggesting racism or negativity should be ignored. But we must be wary of setting them up to identify difference before they fully comprehend it.
For example, parents are told to encourage their child to “explore friendships with children from different racial, cultural and religious backgrounds”. Why not let kids be friends with whomever they want?
Ms Mitchell says children “are never too young to start learning about their rights and responsibilities”. Well, I think three is too young. Let our young kids relax, play and enjoy what they have in common rather than being continually challenged to search for what divides them.
The Australian, 14 November 2016
Student teachers are being schooled in gender studies, including the contentious idea that gender and sexuality are socially constructed and changeable, sparking concerns about the topic’s rising influence in classrooms.
Universities, including Sydney, the Queensland University of Technology, Wollongong and Melbourne’s La Trobe, all offer units of study focusing on gender and sexual diversity, gender and social justice or sexuality education for teachers.
The subjects are available to those studying early childhood education as well as primary and secondary teaching courses.
The revelation comes in the wake of ongoing controversy around the Safe Schools anti-bullying program, which critics argue is steeped in gender theory, as well as the emergence of a respectful relationships curriculum in schools, which promotes a feminist view that inequality in opposite-sex relationships is at the core of family violence.
The University of Sydney’s elective unit, called Young People, Sex and Sexual Health, is offered to teaching students and promises to foster a “new view of the ways in which the sexual identities of young people are often constructed from outside influences”.
“Still not quite sure what all the letters in LGBTPPQQIIAA stand for or why it’s really important to know them?”, says a brochure promoting the unit. “Wonder no more — in this unit you will learn why issues of sex, sexuality and sexual health for young people are considered ‘difficult and contested knowledge’ and how institutions go about dealing with this.”
The semester-long unit cites the work of US comedian turned social justice activist Sam Killerman and provocative sex educator Janet Hardy, who identifies as a “girl fag” (a gay man in a woman’s body) and promotes gender fluidity. Among the list of suggested readings is a TedX lecture given by Killerman, who claims “gender is something we all learn about as kids, but we learn a very limited concept about a concept that’s truly unlimited”.
“The biological characteristics of sex you’re born with don’t really have any mandate on who you’ll grow up to be,” he says.
“People who are born with penises are taught to be boys; people who are born with vaginas are taught to be girls.”
The course also relies on the work of La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, which spawned the Safe Schools initiative.
Bachelor of Teaching students at the Melbourne college are required to undertake a compulsory subject called Diversity: Relationships, Gender and Sexuality in their fourth year. Topics include psychosocial development, influences on construction of gender and sexual identity, and violence in relationships.
A spokesman for La Trobe said the unit had been designed to help pre-service teachers develop a better understanding of their students, including their social and emotional development.
A University of Sydney spokesman said the Young People, Sex and Sexual Health unit was available this year to students enrolled in more than 30 degrees, including education. It will continue to run next year. Jennifer Buckingham, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, agreed that teachers should be educated on issues around diversity, preferably “in ways that have been informed by good research”.
However, she queried the prominence given to the subject lately and urged “perspective”.
“To have a whole course devoted to gender and sexuality issues, or a whole subject, seems to me to be a bit unnecessary,” Dr Buckingham said.
“Delving into gender theory is really beyond what a high school … teacher needs to know.”
Daily Telegraph, 9 November 2016
SAFE schools operatives have admitted they are working in primary schools and even preschools, in direct contravention of federal government funding requirements.
And in the last desperate months before federal funding runs out next June, Safe Schools project officers are indoctrinating final year student teachers at Sydney University in their radical sexual and gender fluidity studies.
A lecture and Q & A session was held at the university last month with 170 people, mainly pre-service teachers, to “raise awareness” of a training unit Safe Schools Coalition Australia NSW has helped design for the Bachelor of Education.
“We got a lot of requests from primary schools to get some training in particular around supporting gender diverse and transgender young people, which are increasing, so we’ve been working in primary schools and occasionally we’re working with the preschools as well,” project officer Mary Flaskas told the group on October 10.
Fellow project office Darby Cass also told the meeting that Safe Schools works in primary schools to recommend the use of gender neutral language in classrooms rather than “binary” terms such as male and female.
“We’re getting a lot of work with primary schools and high schools, so they’ll go into a panic because they’re so binary.
“So in that case we would be recommending that you don’t use he and she pronouns which will make the child upset all the time, go for neutrality, let them drive it, call them by their name.”
The controversial Safe Schools program, introduced into 500 NSW schools under the guise of “anti-bullying”, was exposed earlier this year as a Marxist-inspired sex education program, involving everything from sexually-charged role play for 12-year-olds to advice on penis-tucking and breast-binding. Conceived by the Gillard government, funded by the Abbott government, it was modified by the Turnbull government this year to remove extreme content, require parental consent and only be taught in high school.
Funding runs out next year, which Flaskas bemoaned. “The funding runs out in June next year so we’re going to cram as much in as we can during that time.”
She said that the NSW Education department had removed the names of participating schools from the Safe Schools website after an outcry.
“Unfortunately, because of all the horrible stuff that happened, the NSW Department of Education decided to get all the names taken off the website so they’re no longer publicly available.”
A member of the audience asked the pair what to do: “If a student asks you to call them, like if a young boy asks you to call them a girl, but the parents have called up and expressed very strong opinions that shouldn’t happen.”
Cass said: “It depends on the age, okay?”
Flaskas interjected, saying: “I think it depends, there was a thing about whether you consider them to be mature enough, that they can make that decision on their own … If there is someone who’s uncomfortable with it or doesn’t want to do it, it can be quite difficult. But I guess you work with the school.”
Cass described a case he was involved in where, “we’ve had some horrific resistance from teachers and the child has been over 16 and at risk if their parents know, and we are like ‘you are not to call the parents, you are to support that child in the best way’.”
Cass said the teacher objected to not informing the parents, saying “But if it was my child I’d want to know!’
Cass said: “It doesn’t matter …. I think the most important thing if you are teachers and educators and you knew the child wasn’t supported [at home] would be to reach out to services that that child would go to where they could actually get some support outside of the school and have a place.”
Flaksas also spoke about changes in biology teaching: “because now it is no longer really technically correct to say that this is what a male body looks like and this is what a female body looks like.”
But the saddest moment in the lecture came when Cass described the consequences of Safe Schools meddling in children’s private lives. He described “one young gentleman” Safe Schools was working with, who was inspired to get up and announce his sexuality at school assembly, and “found himself at the brunt of many sort of things….
“So he got a bit upset with Safe Schools. So … we got a meeting that the welfare team asked us to come in and he wrote this really big letter, he really had regretted what he did and he actually just resented the marketing of Safe Schools I think … I don’t know what it was … It was actually very sad because he was a very confident sort of person and it crushed him.
“ He felt also pressure and excited so everyone’s ‘oh that’s fantastic, share, share! … That may be not the best outcome for that person … “So we don’t actually walk in and go ‘hey everybody, come out, do what you like’ it’s not that, it about.”
Here we see that, far from preventing bullying, as suspected, Safe Schools has created a victim.
Even when the evidence is staring them in the face, does it not occur to activists what parents instinctively know? That children’s emerging sexuality is private and precious and ought not be hijacked for social engineering purposes.
The Australian, 7 November 2016
If graduate teachers are to help lift the indifferent results of many Australian schools, their university training needs to prepare them in the most effective methods of classroom management and teaching the “basics’’ — literacy and numeracy — as well as more advanced subjects such as science, history, geography and languages. Parents, employers and taxpayers who have long been frustrated with the mediocre standards that prevail in too many classrooms have good reason to be annoyed that Sydney University, among other institutions, has been offering students a program in sexual and gender diversity. The fact it was conducted by the so-called Safe Schools Coalition — the group that outlaws the use of “heteronormative’’ terms such as “boys’’ and “girls’’ — is a serious concern. Similar material was used at the University of Western Sydney.
More insidiously, the Australian Education Union recently teamed with Safe Schools in Melbourne to run a workshop to help teachers incorporate themes of sexual and gender diversity across the curriculum.
After years of efforts to improve the national curriculum, Professor Ken Wiltshire and Dr Kevin Donnelly, in their report two years ago, pointed out the need to “declutter” what’s taught, especially in primary school. Wisely, they advised that previous “cross-curriculum priorities” of Asia, indigenous histories and culture, and “sustainability” that permeated all subjects, even maths and pure sciences, be dropped. “Gender fluidity’’ should not be sneaked in instead.
The Safe Schools Coalition wants to shore up supporters before its federal funding winds up next year. But its ideology has no place in taxpayer-funded schools or universities. Better training in behaviour management would do more to help teachers prevent and deal with bullying.
Tasmanian Liberals vote to ditch ‘disgusting, belligerent’ Safe Schools program Government • Safe Schools Coalition
ABC, 5 November 2016
A former MP has labelled Safe Schools “disgusting” as Tasmanian Liberal Party members pass a motion at the party’s annual state conference calling for the education program to be abolished.
The federally funded program, which aims to promote the acceptance for sexual diversity, is already planned to finish next year and will be replaced with a state-based anti-bullying program.
Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff voted against the motion but said the Government’s program would have a broader focus and an emphasis on cyber bullying.
He said the Safe Schools program, which has been rolled out in 20 Tasmanian schools, was going well.
During the debate, former Braddon MP Brett Whiteley spoke strongly against the program.
“This program has nothing, in my view, to do with bullying,” he said.
“This is a disgusting, belligerent, activist tool with a radical left-wing agenda that is unapologetic by those who designed it.”
Labor and the Greens have described the move as “shameful”.
Labor’s Michelle O’Byrne said the party should “hang its head in shame”.
“The fact that this motion to abolish Safe Schools even came up at the Liberal’s conference should give every Tasmanian a very clear picture of where this party and where this Government’s priorities are,” Ms O’Byrne said.
Greens MP Andrea Dawkins said it sent a frightening message to the LGBTI community.
“Safe Schools is a program that helps to create safe and supportive environments for young LGBTI people,” she said.
“It is a critical resource for teachers to help end discrimination and bullying in schools.”
Liberals plan to build female representation
Also at the conference, Premier Will Hodgman said he wanted more women in the Liberal Party and wanted a 50-50 gender balance in Parliament by 2022.
“Until such time as we have 50 per cent or equal representation, we’re not properly reflecting our community,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things that we could do differently that are contemporary, and ways that we can attract women to join the party and take leadership positions and ultimately seek election.
“We need to do things differently — what we’ve done to date hasn’t worked.”
Mr Hodgman said the party had a good track record on putting women in leadership roles, such as making Sue Napier the first female Cabinet minister in 1996 and appointing the first female Speaker, Elise Archer.
But he said more needed to be done to increase numbers.
In order to achieve the target, Mr Hodgman said Parliament needed to be more “family friendly”.
“And ensure that women who want to be involved, particularly who might enter Parliament, are able to do so knowing that if they are parents as well they’re able to balance those challenges,” he said.
The Premier said he would look at other jurisdictions and hold forums to take the first steps in achieving the target.
The Mercury, 5 November 2016
FORMER Braddon MP Brett Whiteley has labelled the Safe Schools program a “disgusting program, a political activist tool with a radical left wing agenda”.
Mr Whiteley was speaking at the Liberals state council today in favour of a motion that the Federal and State Governments abolish the Safe School program.
He said that when a group of politicians reviewed the program witnesses had to be in the room to ensure that allegations of paedophilia did not result from examination of the websites linked to the program.
“Within two hyperlinks our children would be in adult sex websites,” he said.
However, Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff told members that the program had been rolled out in 20 schools in Tasmania and it was going very well.
“I have every confidence that the 20 schools that have signed up to the program are doing it in a responsible way,” he said
The State president of the Young Liberals Chris Edwards said that Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham had reviewed the program and removed links to inappropriate websites.
A Sandy Bay member said that some people had their sexual preferences determined by environmental factors.
A Devonport member said he found it remarkable that of all the motions on the agenda it had been this one that had become an urgency motion.
The motion was passed.
Shadow Education Minister Michelle O’Byrne said the motion makes a mockery of Premier Will Hodgman’s gender pledge.
“Mr Hodgman is out today saying he wants fairer representation of women in the Parliament but how can he possibly expect anyone to take him seriously when he is prepared to support the abolition of a program which specifically teaches kids about gender and diversity.
Greens Education spokesperson Andrea Dawkins said: “Passing this motion sends a frightening message to LGBTI Tasmanians, their friends, families and school communities. It’s clear the Tasmanian Liberal Party does not, and will not, support them.”
Earlier today Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed the state council.
The Australian, 5 November 2016
Teaching students at Sydney University have taken part in sexual and gender diversity training run by the Safe Schools Coalition, as the group looks to shore up supporters before its funding winds up next year.
A testimonial from the university’s faculty of education, seen by The Weekend Australian, reveals that Safe Schools has been involved in developing curriculum for the bachelor of education degree, incorporating sexual and gender diversity content into a nine-week unit aimed at final-year students.
The revelation comes as Safe Schools has ramped up its promotional work in the wake of community concern about the anti-bullying initiative straying from its original purpose by pushing contested gender theory and a politically correct approach to sexual education into classrooms.
Safe Schools NSW project officer Mary Flaskas last month conducted an in-service at the university, with the specific aim of raising awareness of the “important initiative”.
It is understood that more than 100 people attended, mostly teaching students. A similar session was held at the University of Western Sydney earlier this year. In Melbourne, the Australian Education Union recently teamed with Safe Schools to run a workshop to help teachers incorporate themes of sexual diversity and gender diversity across the curriculum.
Kevin Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and co-author of the Review of the Australian Curriculum, said an apparent push to attract new and innovative funding sources was not surprising, given the federal government, which has contributed $8 million towards the program since 2013, recently confirmed funding would not continue beyond next year.
“University and graduate teachers are an obvious strategic play, but I’d argue that it’s unacceptable,” Dr Donnelly said.
“It’s really more about indoctrination of gender theory; the program is hardly balanced and it has limited educational value.”
He said graduate teachers should concentrate on more pressing matters, such as mastering their specialties and learning how to manage a classroom, rather than “pushing the latest political agenda”.
The Liberal member for Epping in NSW, Damien Tudehope, described Safe Schools’ encroachment on universities as consistent with its “Marxist approach” to social engineering, through targeting the next generation of teachers.
A Sydney University spokeswoman confirmed the Safe Schools material was delivered last year and again this year, but stressed it was an elective unit.
Melbourne high school teacher says she would refuse to teach ‘lewd’ safe schools and respectful relationships program Respectful Relationships • Safe Schools Coalition
Herald-Sun, 30 October 2016
A MELBOURNE high school teacher says she would refuse to teach “lewd” material in the Victorian government’s mandatory respectful relationships program to be introduced in all state schools next year.
Moira Deeming, a teacher and mother-of-three, said she was shocked by the content and would rather be fired from her job than teach such “sleazy, unnecessary drivel” to her students.
Ms Deeming, 33, said educating children as young as 12 about porn and getting them to have classroom discussions about masturbation and sex was not appropriate and would not help to stop gender-based violence and discrimination as the program intended.
Under the program, children as young as prep are also being introduced to same-sex relationships through children’s books, including Tango Makes Three, a tale about two male penguins who adopt a baby penguin.
The book has been banned in Singapore and after parent outrage was scrapped from some school libraries in the UK and the US. It also featured in the most complained about books in America over five consecutive years for “promoting a homosexual agenda”.
“I feel that this program is bullying male students and stigmatising and stereotyping them — the absolute opposite to what it is supposed to do,” she told the Sunday Herald Sun.
“It really does build up stereotypes. It doesn’t tear them down.
“If I was asked to teach it, I couldn’t let it out of my mouth. I’d have to be fired.”
Debate has raged about the content, particularly how students are taught about “male privilege” and that masculinity is associated with higher rates of violence against women, since the government made public the classroom resources of its Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program earlier this month.
The $21.8 million program, a recommendation from the royal commission into family violence, also offers explicit videos to students entering secondary school giving sexual advice in an upbeat way, including that “you don’t have to have an ‘inney’ and an ‘outey’. You can have two inneys or two outeys” to have sex.
Also in the teaching tools for prep students, teachers are recommended to get further information and activities from the learning resource All of Us from the controversial Safe Schools program, which is aimed at much older students in secondary school to teach and increase students’ understanding and awareness of gender diversity, sexual diversity and intersex topics.
In this, one classroom activity suggests dividing the students in half and asking one side to imagine they are 16 and in a same-sex relationship; and the other half in a heterosexual relationship, before asking a series of questions, including would they feel comfortable telling their parents about their relationship.
Ms Deeming, who is a member of the Liberal party, has joined concerned parents and politicians to call on the Andrews Government to review the age appropriateness of the program’s content.
In the upper house this week, Democratic Labor Party MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins said the program focused on a “misguided feminist and gender ideology”, alienating and shaming boys by portraying masculinity as bad and women as always being victims.
Metropolitan Region Upper House MP Inga Peulich told parliament it was a “light version” of Safe Schools that targeted younger children.
Safe Schools is only mandatory in high school, while respectful relationships will be rolled out to all year levels from prep to Year 12.
“Victorian parents are concerned about the age appropriateness of the content being presented,” Ms Peulich said.
Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling called the program “radical” and said the biggest concern is that parents had not been consulted or given consent.
“Parents want their kids to fundamentally learn how to read, write and count. Parents wouldn’t have expected content on transgender as part of a family violence program,” he said.
But Education Minister James Merlino stood by the program in its entirety and called on those opposing it to “stop playing politics” so violence against women could be stopped.
What kids will learn and when
Diversity programs are indoctrination, not education Respectful Relationships • Safe Schools Coalition
Herald Sun, 27 October 2016
WHEN Joan Kirner was premier, Victoria was known as the Albania of the south. She was a member of the ALP’s Socialist-Left faction and implemented radical policies like abolishing technical schools and the competitive, academically based year 12 Higher School Certificate.
Premier Daniel Andrews is also of the Socialist-Left and Marxist-inspired programs like the Safe Schools LGBTI and Respectful Relationships programs addressing domestic violence prove that Victoria, once again, is embracing radical, cultural-Left policies.
Costing $21.8 million and launched by Education Minister James Merlino, the Respectful Relationships program, as of next year, will be compulsory for all government schools from kindergarten to year 12.
The program involves “all school students and all school staff members, teaching and non-teaching” and “parents, community educators, school council representatives and others”. Respectful Relationships must be taught in every subject, including “gender equality statistics in maths classes, or analysing changing gender relationships in history or literature studies”.
So much for reducing the crowded curriculum and freeing teachers to focus on the essential knowledge, understanding and skills in subjects such as English, mathematics, history, science, music and art.
After watching my alcoholic father beat my mother when I was a child, there’s no doubt that domestic violence is a significant issue — but the reality, like with the Safe Schools program, is that Respectful Relationships is more about indoctrination than education. Children as young as seven and eight are taught that women are the only victims of domestic violence and the reason is because boys and men are violent and misogynist.
Australian society, so the program argues, suffers from “masculine organisational cultures and masculine sense of entitlement” and that leads to “social norms and practices that are violence supportive”.
The program also teaches that girls and women are weak and defenceless because of gender inequality under which they are forced to be submissive.
Even though women have all the same rights as men and they outperform boys at year 12 and completing university studies, the Respectful Relationships material argues that “women and girls continue to experience inequality and discrimination in many important parts of their lives”.
The program says females suffer because males are guilty of “hegemonic masculinity” and, as a result, are “heterosexual, tough, athletic and emotionless”. Prevailing views about gender also lead to “the control and dominance of men over women”.
As argued by psychologist Bettina Arndt, ignored is the research evidence that concludes “domestic violence is not a gender issue (as) both men and women are actively involved in most violence in the home, women often initiate violence and it isn’t simply self-defence”.
Also ignored, according to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, is that 25 per cent of domestic violence victims are men. There are many other factors, apart from gender, contributing to domestic violence, including poverty, alcoholism, anxiety and depression.
Similar to the radical Marxist-inspired Safe Schools program that the Andrews Government is also making compulsory for all schools, Respectful Relationships adopts a radical view of sexuality and gender. According to both programs, being male or female is a social construct and primary-age children are told that because gender is fluid and limitless, they can be whatever gender they want.
Schools are also told that if boys self-identify as girls, they should be allowed to use the girls’ toilets and girls’ changing room.
EVEN though 98 per cent of Australian men and women identify as male or female, children are warned against believing it’s normal for males and females to like one another (described as “heteronormativity”).
Even worse, Safe Schools and Respectful Relationships give the impression that significant numbers of children suffer gender uncertainty and confusion. Ignored is the research that shows that with very few exceptions, gender is binary and one’s birth sex is the dominant factor.
As noted by Sydney University’s Professor Patrick Parkinson, to argue otherwise is “odd and unscientific” as it is wrong to argue individuals can decide their gender “without reference to your physical and reproductive attributes”.
Professor Parkinson, as does research associated with the US-based John Hopkins Hospital, also concludes that while children and adolescents might experience gender uncertainty after they reach adulthood, the vast majority accept the gender listed on their birth certificate.
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University and co-chaired the Review of the Australian National Curriculum
The Australian, 25 October 2016
A group running a respectful relationships education program in some of Western Australia’s top schools has been inundated with hate mail after students were urged to consider the proposition that “men are the greatest threat to women’’.
Frame Initiatives, a privately run education provider working in about 30 schools across the state, has been accused of teaching biased material to young people that potentially alienates young men.
The controversial statement, presented on a slide in the group’s Men of Respect workshop at a Perth secondary school last week, was photographed by a student and later posted online, sparking a backlash across social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
Frame Initiatives director Dan McGrechan told The Australian the statement had been taken out of context, adding it was a quote adapted from US comedian Louie C.K. that was designed to “stimulate discussion” and encourage “critical thinking” around the issue.
The furore has reignited concerns that the battle to combat community violence by rolling out respectful relationships programs in schools has been hijacked by gender politics.
The Victorian government faced criticism last week over its latest respectful relationships resources, which teaches students about “male privilege” and that masculinity is associated with higher rates of violence against women.
Founded a decade ago, Frame says its teachings are based on the work of New Zealand policeman-turned-self-defence expert Brent Sanders, author of the 2001 book How Dangerous Men Think.
Students are typically segregated for the sessions, with presentations targeted at girls including: Please Like Me, which deals with peer pressure and self-respect; and Back Off: Sexual Harassment, which discusses the nature of harassment, its impact on victims and strategies to help girls look out for each other. Sessions for boys are designed to help them redefine manhood around “character rather than sexuality”, rethink how pornography shapes their attitudes towards women and understand their legal and social responsibilities in regards to consent in sexual encounters.
Prominent men’s coach and author Jasmin Newman said she had serious concerns about the Frame Initiatives program after visiting its website. She said the starkly differing focuses of the sessions sent a message to girls that was about empowerment and self-respect, but also victimhood, while boys seemed to be told that they were “privileged predators’’.
“It’s a very one-eyed view of gender relations,” she said. “There’s some really damaging messages in there.”
The West Australian Education Department, which does not endorse third-party education resources, distanced itself from the program yesterday. A spokeswoman said it was up to schools to decide on the providers or resources they adopted.
Mr McGrechan, a social worker and church pastor, confirmed he had no teaching qualifications. However, he said extensive research had gone into the program and its sessions. He denied the program was biased, or presented men in a superficially negative light. “The aim of the program is really to promote safe and respectful relationships,” he said.
“We talk about issues predominantly around dating and safety, what respect looks like, the laws around consent and sexual harassment as well as safe drinking and use of alcohol. We certainly aim to address the complexities of male-female relationships. We don’t believe men are always the perpetrators and women are always the victims, as we’ve been made out to have done.”
Schools that have adopted Frame’s programs include Perth’s Wesley College and Rossmoyne Senior High. Rossmoyne head of student services, Nina Nash, said the school had been working with Frame for several years.
Ms Nash said feedback from other teachers, parents and students had been overwhelmingly positive. “It’s hard-hitting but completely factual and the content is backed up with research.”
The Australian, 24 October 2016
A federal government-funded website set up as a one-stop shop for student health and wellbeing has potentially exposed young people to explicit information about anal sex, gay saunas and searching for sex online.
The recently relaunched Student Wellbeing Hub has been promoting links to ACON, a NSW organisation specialising in HIV prevention and support that runs regular sexual health workshops aimed at gay and bisexual men.
ACON’s website also provides a list of “sex-on-premises venues”, which are clubs, backrooms and saunas where people pay to enter to have sex with other customers.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has demanded an urgent review of resources on the hub website after The Australian alerted him that users were being diverted to the ACON site.
Links to ACON were removed yesterday after questions from this newspaper.
Originally named the Safe Schools Hub in 2012, the Student Wellbeing Hub was relaunched this month, largely to clear confusion over its association with the unrelated Safe Schools Coalition. Although the site contains Safe Schools program materials, the information is among up to 400 other resources aimed at promoting student wellbeing.
Under Labor, the federal government committed $4 million to developing the Safe Schools Hub.
“The Student Wellbeing Hub is meant to offer age-appropriate materials for students and their parents and educators to ensure children feel safe and supported at school,” Senator Birmingham said.
“I have directed my department to review all third-party links to ensure only websites and materials that are age-appropriate are linked from the Student Wellbeing Hub.”
The inclusion of sexually explicit content within an Education Department resource will embarrass the federal government, which this year ordered an overhaul of the Safe Schools program following concerns the anti-bullying program exposed students to contested gender ideology and sexually explicit material.
The government ordered the Safe Schools Coalition to remove third-party links from its resources, including references to Minus18, the LGBTI youth group that co-created the curriculum, due to its promotion of gay nightclubs and sex shops.
Safe Schools’ resources do not promote links to ACON, but ACON claims to be a key partner of the program.
Originally established as the AIDS Council of NSW, ACON’s main remit is to stop HIV transmission among gay men. It is running a six-week Arse Class on anal sex and sexual health. Previous workshops have included Getting It Online, which covered the use of mobile apps to search for “mates, dates and sex”, and Cruising 101, a crash-course on gay saunas and sex clubs.
ACON’s website also lists up to a dozen sex clubs around Sydney that comply with its “PlayZone Sex on Premises Venue Code of Practice”, which aims to encourage safe sex.
Although the Student Wellbeing Hub classified the ACON site as targeted at parents of students in Years 10 to 12, there was nothing preventing or discouraging students from also accessing the link.
Coalition MP George Christensen said yesterday he was amazed that, following the review of the Safe Schools program, an official government resource for students could be found to provide links to “questionable materials”.
“It’s just bizarre,” he said. “I have no doubt that the majority of parents would not want their children being exposed to this.”
Nationals senator John Williams, who last week told Senate estimates in Canberra that the Safe Schools video resources appeared to continue to reference Minus18, echoed Mr Christensen’s concerns. He described the ACON material as “outrageous” and “not at all appropriate” for students.
A Department of Education and Training spokesman defended the hub: “This resource is widely referenced within the school community … Many of the resources on the hub are links to websites operated by other organisations. Every effort is made as far as is practicable to ensure resources intended for students are age-appropriate.”
The spokesman confirmed the department had suspended the hub’s link to the ACON site pending a review. A spokesman for ACON did not respond to requests to comment.
Herald-Sun, 23 October 2016
REMEMBER when schools focused on the traditional foundations of education: reading, writing and arithmetic?
Parents can look forward to a few additional Rs being added to the curriculum when the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program is rolled out at Victorian schools next year.
Instead of worrying about literacy and numeracy, the State Government appears preoccupied with filling young minds with ideological drivel based on activist research that paints boys as predators and girls as perpetual victims.
The Safe Schools program has understandably received greater attention and criticism than the respectful relationships program.
But rest assured, both are sides of the same irrational coin, using highly contentious theories and easily discredited studies on gender and sexuality to indoctrinate young minds.
Much of the program is unfit for any educational institution, particularly primary and secondary schools where students are expected to uncritically accept what they are told.
It does not stand up to any level of scrutiny. Cherry-picked “facts”, flawed reasoning and the deliberate omission of pertinent details combine to create conclusions that are neither correct nor helpful.
The program is supposed to combat the scourge of domestic violence and smash sexist stereotypes, but ignores a wealth of non-activist, international peer-reviewed research, and instead relies on radical feminist dogma.
It’s the type of ideologically driven sloppy thinking that belongs in a socialist alliance get-together, not in schools.
At best, it’s simplistic; at worst, it’s sinister social engineering that could do significant damage.
Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling has been a strong critic of the program, which will cost at least $20 million.
“The respectful relationships curriculum has moved so far from its original purpose, it may as well be a radical gender studies course more at home in university halls rather than Victorian classrooms,” he said. “Schools should never be used to brainwash our children with propaganda about white male privilege, how ‘masculinity’ encourages ‘control and dominance’ over women, or how men are ‘socially engineered’ to express their pain and stress in anger and violence. (Premier) Daniel Andrews should stop implementing ideological programs and forcing his values on other people’s children.”
Humorously, the course material refers repeatedly to students engaging in “critical thinking exercises” that do nothing more than reinforce the program’s questionable suppositions.
Children are taught about “male privilege” and that “gender norms” are purely a social construct that can lead to discrimination and “acceptance of gender-based violence”.
The program pushes the notion that Australian males are conditioned to be “heterosexual” and “emotionless” and encouraged to exert dominance over women.
Though the program demonises boys, it is girls who stand to lose the most by being groomed to believe that they are victims.
And yet Education Minister James Merlino is astounded anyone would dare question the program’s objectivity, claiming it’s written by experts and will be integral to reducing the incidence of violence against women. But many behavioural and education experts don’t subscribe to this.’
Dr Kevin Donnelly, former co-chair of the National Curriculum Review, is among those aghast.
“Much of the program reads like Feminism 101 where a cultural-Left ideology, otherwise known as gender theory, prevails. Beginning in primary schools and continuing to year 12, children are taught the principal cause of domestic violence is ‘lack of gender equality’,” he wrote. “Ignored is that poverty, alcohol and depression also contribute … and that rates of domestic violence are a significant problem for particular groups … such as indigenous Australians and the LGBTI community.”
Professor of clinical psychology Kim Halford, from the University of Queensland, casts doubt on the wisdom of adopting simplistic “boys are bad, girls are good” gender theories: “Programs that only focus upon alleged male power and misogyny as the sources of violence grossly oversimplify a complex problem.”
Sadly, the State Government has allowed itself to be captured by the most toxic elements of the grievance industry. Rather than instilling in children the notion that we are all equal, regardless of gender, sexuality, colour or creed, we will introduce them to the unhealthy culture of identity politics before they can write their own names.
Schools can teach children to be decent and respectful without brainwashing them with activist research that pits the sexes against each other and paints every boy as a potential rapist and every girl as a downtrodden victim.
Respectful Relationships: Victorian children to be taught boys conditioned to dominate women Safe Schools Coalition
Herald Sun, 19 October 2016
VICTORIAN children will be taught that men and boys are conditioned by society to be “heterosexual”, “emotionless” and encouraged to exert dominance over women.
Under the Respectful Relationships curriculum, seen by the Herald Sun, students will be taught about “identifying the relationship between gender-based violence and gender inequality” and will explore the concepts of “privilege, equality and equity” and ways of overcoming gender stereotypes.
In the learning material for “gender policy” for children in grade 1 the concepts of “gender-based violence” and “gender norms” are introduced.
The glossary of definitions for grades 1 and 2 pupils includes terms such as transphobia, homophobic bullying, hegemonic masculinity, gender nonconforming, cisgender and heteronormativity.
Grade 3 and 4 children will be taught “gender based violence scenarios” such as a group of girls excluding another girl for not being “pretty” enough.
More than $20 million will be spent by the Victorian Government on the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program, covering children from kindergarten to year 12.
The coursework includes a session justifying the topic being taught at schools: “Some people assume that there is no need for schools to teach about equity and gender, believing that women are no longer disadvantaged in countries like Australia. However, the data shows that women and girls continue to experience inequality and discrimination in many parts of their lives.”
The contentious program, to be rolled out in 2017, has been labelled simplistic, ideological indoctrination and “brainwashing” by critics.
“The Respectful Relationships curriculum has moved so far from its original purpose it may as well be a radical gender studies course more at home in university halls rather than Victorian classrooms,” Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said.
“Schools should never be used to brainwash our children with propaganda about white male privilege, how ‘masculinity’ encourages ‘control and dominance’ over women, or how men are ‘socially engineered’ to express their pain and stress in anger and violence.”
Education Minister James Merlino was unavailable for comment.
The Australian, 20 October 2016
A government-run website promoting student wellbeing, which includes some Safe Schools material, may still contain a link to a video that references gay and transsexual youth group Minus 18 despite Coalition changes earlier this year.
Nationals Senator John “Wacca’’ Williams today raised concerns in Senate Estimates in Canberra about the rebadged Student Wellbeing website which replaced the Safe Schools Hub website.
In March Malcolm Turnbull quelled a backbench revolt by conservative MPs by ordering the Safe Schools Coalition to curb its classroom program, giving parents the right to block their children accessing the material and banning the group from referring students to third-party websites such as Minus 18.
But in Senate estimates today, Senator Williams said: “Why then do we find on the commonwealth site studentwellbeinghub.edu.au links to videos that contain branding and reference to one such third party organisation, namely Minus 18.’’
Minus 18 describes itself as “Australia’s largest youth-led network for gay, bi, lesbian and trans teens” and promotes links to sex shops and gay nightclubs.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham immediately asked for more details. “I would be interested to know what the information is and what it relates to, but the student wellbeing hub contains a bunch of resources that are not necessarily Safe School resources.’’
Education Department associate secretary for schools and youth Tony Cook said he had been assured in relation to Safe School all external links had been removed.
He said the wellbeing hub had about 400 resources on it, and about six related to Safe Schools.
“So if there is a particular instance we would be very interested in knowing that because we are not aware of that from a commonwealth perspective,’’ Mr Cook said.
Estimates also heard Senator Birmingham say that extreme comments on both sides of the heated Safe Schools debate – including those by the program’s creator Marxist advocate Roz Ward – have been unhelpful.
Senator Williams said Ms Ward, who founded the program, had previously acknowledged that Safe Schools “is not about anti-bullying, it’s about promoting sexual and gender diversity’’.
Senator Birmingham said he would “reflect, as I’ve done publicly previously, that some of the comments at both extremes of this debate have been most unhelpful including comments, the nature of which you just referenced that ascribe other motives to what should be a program and resources that are focused on ensuring inclusion in schools and support for all students that need it’’.
Greens Senator Janet Rice also asked Senator Birmingham if he agreed with Coalition Senator George Christensen “who likened the Safe Schools program to pedophile grooming’’.
Senator Birmingham said no.
He told estimates all the recommendations from the Louden Review into Safe Schools earlier this year had been implemented, aside from developing an extra resource for parents who were grappling with sexual or gender identity issues.
“All other changes as I understand it have been made, obviously some jurisdictions have taken objection to that and chosen to chart their own course,’’ Senator Birmingham said.
He confirmed Victoria was no longer receiving federal funding for the state’s Safe Schools program after it refused to adopt the changes to the program and decided to go it alone. The same will also happen in the ACT which is refusing to alter the program.
The annual $2 million funding for Safe Schools, struck under Labor in 2013, will not be renewed by the Coalition and runs out next year.
Senator Rice argued it was unfair to cut federal funding from next year for the Safe Schools program, saying she had heard from a mother of a transgender student in Melbourne that it had “turned her depressed son into a happy daughter’’.
“This was in Melbourne, so luckily for her the program is going to be continued,’’ she said.
Daily Telegraph, 5 October 2016
A CARLINGFORD woman who lead a 17,500 signature petition against the Safe Schools program will not give up calling for it to be scrapped, saying it discriminates against Chinese culture.
General practitioner Dr Pansy Lai started the petition, which gained more support than she expected, after noticing community concern about Safe Schools during the federal election campaign.
The federally-funded program is designed to prevent the bullying of homosexual and transgender children.
However, critics say its practical activities override parents’ right to educate their child on gender identity and sexuality.
Dr Lai first distributed the petition among her Chinese-Australian peers.
“I felt like all these voices needed to be heard,” she said.
“Safe Schools is promoting views on gender and sexuality that Chinese parents find extreme.
“Chinese people really value family relationships, and we expect to pass on our family values to the next generation. It’s a parent’s right to teach sexual education to our children.”
Dr Lai stressed the signatories were not affiliated to a political or religious group.
“The petition started from parents, and I need to make that clear,” she said.
“Parents are busy people. They’re not going to take time out of their day to oppose this unless they’re really concerned.”
More than 200 people from the group attended State Parliament last month to hear politicians debate the petition.
While Epping state Liberal MP Damien Tudehope tabled the petition, former principal and State Labor Lakemba MP Jihab Dib said banning the program would not help but a review may do.
Some MPs believed the petition was misguided as Safe Schools is not mandatory and parental consent is required.
Dr Lai said the petition did not claim the program was mandatory, but said it did not allow sufficient parental consent.
She said requiring consent for children to participate in Safe Schools activities was inadequate when the program changed the school culture.
“When you look at the Safe Schools material, it’s not talking about lessons it’s talking about the whole school environment.
“It’s changing school language, changing bathrooms — it’s changing the whole school environment.”
The petitioners say they want an anti-bullying program respectful of cultural and religious diversity.
Education Minister Adrian Piccoli is due to provide a written response to the petition.
However, he told the Times there was no change to the Government’s position.
The revised Federal Government guidelines stipulate that parental consent is required for any student participation in Safe Schools program lessons or activities, Mr Piccoli said.
“NSW will continue to operate within the Australian Government guidelines,” he said.
Herald-Sun, 29 September 2016
A RADICAL proposal for Victorian schools to provide an equal number of unisex or non-gendered toilets to male and female toilets has been put forward by controversial Safe Schools co-founder Roz Ward.
The plan has been presented to the Education Department along with an alternate proposal for all toilets to be self-contained unisex cubicles which open into an “outside space” where teachers can monitor behaviour and prevent “gender identity” bullying.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information reveal Ms Ward provided the Education Department with what she called “inclusive toilet design” plans.
The proposal has also been discussed with Victorian Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen and Anna Brown from the Human Rights Law Centre.
In an email to the pair, Ms Ward refers to the advice given to the Education Department.
“Our advice if a school is planning on building toilet ‘blocks’ would be to have an equal number of unisex/non-gendered, male and female options,” Ms Ward wrote.
“The availability of a female-only space may be necessary for particular cultural needs, but anybody who is female-identified would be able to use that space.
“However, another design option which seems to be effective on a number of levels is to have all unisex cubicles with full doors that open straight onto an outside space where all the sinks and dryers are. That way there are no enclosed spaces where bullying can occur out of sight of teachers, and no space where somebody is questioned about their gender identity.”
The academic, who was briefly suspended this year for labelling the Australian flag racist, is the co-architect of the Safe Schools program being taught across Victoria to reduce homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
The Department of Education and Training denies that there’ll be widescale changes adopted anytime soon.
“The Government is not considering the mandatory introduction of non-gender toilets in government schools,” Department spokesman Simon Craig said.
Schools can currently install gender neutral facilities and are encouraged to cater for the needs of transgender students in their school management plans.
Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said the Safe Schools program should be focused on preventing bullying and not pushing radical ideology.
“Daniel Andrews seems more interested in playing politics and forcing his values on other people’s children than making sure Victorian schools teach kids to read and write,” he said.
Ms Ward was unavailable for comment.
Daily Telegraph Rendezview, 26 September 2016
As the government tries to find a compromise between critics and supporters of the controversial Safe Schools program, there are reports that the NSW government is considering giving parents an “opt-in”, instead of an “opt-out” with respect to the participation of their children in the program.
Such a proposal demonstrates how many politicians, and other people for that matter, fundamentally misunderstand the program. Were the “opt-in” to be implemented, it is important to realise that it would only apply, practically speaking, to one aspect of the program, namely, the lessons in the Safe Schools Coalition resource All of Us.
Safe Schools adopts a “whole-of-school” approach, meaning that LGBT themes are not primarily taught in dedicated lessons, but are woven into the curriculum and propagated through policies, posters and school assemblies. This misapprehension was evident in some of the speeches given last Thursday in the NSW Parliament, as a 17,000 signature-petition calling for the abolition of the Safe Schools program was being debated.
That the Government needs to do something is clear. It cannot continue to ignore the growing concerns of parents or the comprehensive report from Sydney University law professor Patrick Parkinson. The report reinforces parental concern and highlighted that teaching gender theory in schools is a scientifically questionable concept and constitutes a massive breach of trust.
The “whole-of-school” approach is made clear, particularly in an early edition of the Safe Schools Coalition Guide to Kickstarting Your Safe School. Aimed at teachers, it recommends that “whatever the subject, try to work out ways to integrate gender diversity and sexual diversity across your curriculum”. It also suggests that teachers display “Safe Schools Coalition posters in corridors and classrooms”.
Melanie Gaylard, who works for the Safe Schools Coalition in Victoria, has suggested ways in which even mathematics might take on a rainbow flavour.
“A maths problem that poses David and his boyfriend Tuan ordering three pizzas that need to be evenly sliced to feed them and their six friends for example, demonstrates the way some less heteronormative thinking can result in some inclusive examples,” she says.
“Even if a problem like this raises questions from the class about sexuality, students can be told that some boys have boyfriends and that’s okay and then redirected to answer the question in a casual way that normalises the inclusive content.”
In reality, therefore, if a school is a member of the Safe Schools Coalition, there is no-opt in for parents. On the contrary, there is only an opt-out: parents must move their child to another school.
Six months have elapsed since the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, ordered changes to the Safe Schools program, and yet parents report very little has changed in NSW “Safe” Schools their children attend.
Among the changes which Birmingham ordered and yet remain virtually unrealised in NSW include “requiring agreement of relevant parent bodies for schools to participate in the … program, including the extent of participation and any associated changes to school policies” as well as the provision of an official fact sheet about the program to parents so they have “access to full and consistent information of its content and the resources that may be used in schools.”
Mark Makowiecki is NSW Director of the Australian Christian Lobby
The Australian, 23 September 2016
Safe Schools is under siege from Sydney’s Chinese community that argues the anti-bullying program excludes students from conservative ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Liberal MP Damien Tudehope yesterday submitted to NSW parliament a petition against the program signed by more than 17,000 members of Sydney’s Chinese-Australian community, calling for the program to be scrapped because it discriminates against parents and children who consider heterosexual relationships to be the norm.
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said there were no immediate plans to change Safe Schools.
“It’s a commonwealth government initiative … They can change it if they want and we’ll abide by them,’’ he said.
Mr Piccoli said NSW was not “at this stage” considering a model for schools to opt in to the program, rather than opting out.
After Mr Tudehope’s speech, several Liberal MPs attacked the petition as incorrect and denied Safe Schools discriminated against other cultures.
The Australian, 23 September 2016
Students in Victoria will be the first in the nation to be able to blame bullying or discrimination as a result of homophobia or transphobia for poor secondary school results, qualifying them for special consideration when applying for university.
The Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre, which processes applications on behalf of universities, trade schools and private colleges, has updated the eligibility criteria for its special entry access scheme for disadvantaged students to recognise the experiences of same-sex-attracted and transgender students.
It has released an expanded list of “difficult circumstances” that might prevent a student reaching their academic potential, which includes “discrimination on the basis of one’s own sexualities, sexual orientations, gender identities, sex characteristics, and/or romantic identities” as well as “bullying, harassment or negative treatment” due to “race, religion, sexual characteristics, gender identity or sexual orientation”.
Special-entry access schemes — known as educational access schemes in NSW and Queensland, and special-provisions applications in South Australia — allow students disadvantaged by circumstances outside their control to request special consideration when applying for university.
Circumstances typically include illness, injury, natural disaster, severe family disruption, abuse and bereavement, among other things, and students are required to submit an application in October — two months before they receive their Year 12 results.
According to the VTAC website, applications must be accompanied by a personal impact statement, a supporting statement from an unrelated third party and, in some cases, a medical certificate. While an application will not alter a student’s Year 12 results, it enables course selectors to take circumstances into account when considering a tertiary application.
Victoria, which had almost 35,000 SEAS applications last financial year, is the first state to single out sexuality as part of the process. More than a dozen institutions recognise the difficult circumstances category under the scheme, including Monash University, RMIT, La Trobe, Swinburne and Deakin.
While the move has been welcomed by LGBTI advocacy groups, including the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria and TransGender Victoria, which claimed it would “help create more equal access to university and TAFE”, critics have voiced concerns about the unintended consequences of identity politics encroaching on the system.
Jeremy Sammut, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, said while well-intentioned, singling out people for special treatment or assistance, encouraged a “labelling and victimhood” culture.
“Nobody wants to criticise anyone who’s been subjected to discrimination … but people are far more that their race, religion or sexual characteristics,” Dr Sammut said. “When people don’t fit these categories and then see other people using them to their advantage, it can ultimately create division and problems. We should be worried by moves in this direction.”
Well-known transgender figure Catherine McGregor said the program risked encouraging “more victim behaviour”, which would further “marginalise the community”. She called for strict controls over the application process to ensure only those students who were substantially disadvantaged benefited.
While LGBTI students who felt they had been victims of discrimination or bullying had previously been able to apply for special consideration citing “physical, psychological or emotional abuse”, a VCAT spokeswoman said the decision to spell out sexuality and gender identity was driven by school career counsellors. She declined to comment on whether any special interest groups or politicians had lobbied for the change.
Andrew Clennell, State Political Editor, The Daily Telegraph, 22 September 2016
PREMIER Mike Baird is considering a fundamental change to the “Safe Schools” program where parents would have to “opt in” to the program rather than the current situation where all students take part unless their parents choose to “opt out”.
The proposed change, which the Premier is understood to support, would help the government deal with controversy over the program, which educates primary and high school public students about people who are transgender.
It might also appease the Christian Democrats, who hold the balance of power in the state’s upper house.
Christian Democrat Fred Nile has come out stridently against the program.
In June, he threatened to withdraw his support for the government if it wasn’t stopped. “Everyone in the government acts as if the course is no good … but won’t take any action,” he said at the time.
“We have raised it with the Premier and I thought he would have by now issued some sort of order over the (Education) Minister (Adrian Piccoli) but he seems reluctant to have a head-on fight with him. “It must be suspended and then removed so it is no longer an approved program in NSW schools.
“I call it ‘Unsafe Schools’.”
The government is still awaiting a review from the Education department on the program, but it is understood the Premier wants change. Today, Epping Liberal MP Damien Tudehope will present a petition with 17,500 signatures to the parliament urging the NSW government to scrap the Safe Schools Curriculum entirely.
“The NSW government should abandon this program,” Mr Tudehope said.
“The state doesn’t own our children, parents are primarily responsible for the education of our children.
“We have got to be very careful about schools delivering a program which only delivers potentially one side of the story.”
A spokeswoman for Mr Piccoli yesterday would only say: “The revised Federal Government guidelines stipulate that parental consent is required for any student participation in Safe Schools program lessons or activities.
“NSW will continue to operate within the Australian Government guidelines.”
Critics of the Safe Schools program have stepped up calls for it to be axed after revelations NSW students as young as four have been receiving gender transitioning support.
The case of the four-year-old emerged during an exchange at a state government budget estimates hearing that delved into the Safe Schools program.
The Education Department’s deputy secretary of school operations Gregory Prior said the school had used Safe Schools resources to help teachers assist the child.
“We have a number of students who are going through gender transition in our schools, with the youngest being a four-year-old at the moment,” he said.
“Without breaching privacy, we have a four-year-old who is transitioning to kindergarten next year who has identified as transgender.
“The Safe Schools is only one resource that can be used from a variety of resources in how we would support that family, student and school to accommodate a child going through transition.”
Miranda Devine, The Daily Telegraph, 21 September 2016
EDUCATION Minister Adrian Piccoli continues to defend the “Safe Schools” sex education program, despite evidence it is not the anti-bullying program it purports to be. Despite the distress of parents who don’t want their children taught eccentric fantasies about gender and sexual fluidity, Piccoli continues to keep them in the dark.
For that alone he should have been removed from the education portfolio.
Now we discover his Education Department is inserting the same gender nonsense into the curriculum.
After Piccoli repeatedly denied that Cheltenham Girls High teachers had been asked to use gender-neutral language as part of their Safe Schools preparation, we find the Department of Education has launched an official 17-page teaching resource that says exactly that.
The “Teacher toolbox for delivering content relating to diversity of s*x, s*xuality and gender” says, on page five: “Use simple strategies within classroom teaching and learning activities, such as: de-gender language.”
It’s actually one of the most benign aspects of the newly sexualised curriculum in which both gender and sexuality are absurdly taught to be as changeable as the weather.
Another resource that forms part of the department’s 2015 “Crossroads” sex education program, titled “Do opposites really attract” says that: “It is important for students to move beyond binary thinking or thinking in terms of opposites.
“They need to understand that gender is not fixed.”
It presents character scenarios for Year 10 students which include Joseph who is married with three children: “When he masturbates, he fantasises only about men [and] is attracted to several of his male friends.”
Paddydeh “has only ever had sexual relationships with men. In her last year of high school she was sexually attracted to one of her girlfriends and for a few months fantasised about having sex with her”.
Piccoli has now sent off the Crossroads program to be reviewed by his new department head Mark Scott, a poisoned chalice if ever there was one.
But Sydney University Law professor Patrick Parkinson has reviewed the evidence which underpins these programs and found that the statistics cited are “just not true”. He’s called for a suspension of the Safe Schools material.
In his paper “The controversy over the Safe Schools program — finding the sensible centre”, released this week, Professor Parkinson writes: “The materials present statistics on same-sex attraction and transgender prevalence that have no valid scientific basis.”
Take the claim in the Safe Schools’ All of Us document that 4 per cent of all people are transgender or “gender diverse”.
“If that were so, then every high school class with 25 or more students would have at least one transgender child. Even if the broader definition of ‘gender diversity’ were used to include the gender confused or questioning, then every high school of 1500 students would have 60 transgender or gender diverse young people.”
He points to recent large-scale research studies on transgender identity which put the figure at closer to 0.35 per cent to 0.52 per cent. But Safe Schools materials “present gender as fluid when for about 99.5 per cent of the population, there is complete congruence between sexual characteristics and gender identity”.
He describes the concept of “gender fluidity” as a “belief system” unmoored in reality.
The Safe Schools material also claims 10 per cent of people are same-sex attracted.
“This is simply not the case,” says Parkinson, who says recent large-scale surveys here and in the US and UK find same-sex orientation among adults as between 1 and 3 per cent.
Most disturbingly, the materials “promote gender transitioning without the need for any medical and psychological guidance and even without parental knowledge or consent”.
We are funding this social engineering in our public schools, in some cases without parents’ knowledge, based on false sexual propaganda.
Plucky Revered Fred Nile is about the only NSW MP game to stand up to Piccoli over Safe Schools.
Just turned 82, at Budget Estimates on August 29, he forced Piccoli to state his continuing support for the discredited program and elicited the disturbing revelation, that a four-year-old about to enter kindergarten has identified as transgender.
Rev Nile pointed out to Piccoli that his children go to Catholic schools so aren’t exposed to Safe Schools material.
“It says how much confidence you have in the programs when your children attend schools that do not have it,” he said.
Exactly. Like Mike Baird, Bill Shorten and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, these great defenders of Safe Schools have ensured that their own children are safe from it.
Australia’s Safe Schools program is so bizarre and fact-free that you can describe it as a cult, says an academic
Michael Cook, MercatorNet, 19 September 2016
Around the world, at least the English-speaking world, parents and politicians are under pressure to accept the scientific and moral validity of same-sex relationships and the transgender lifestyle. Fortunately, there has been a pushback from academics dismayed by the lack of academic rigour in many claims. Today we feature the main ideas of a report by University of Sydney law professor Patrick Parkinson. Tomorrow we will summarise the ideas of a landmark article by Kansas State University sociologist Walter Schumm.
One of the biggest setbacks for same-sex marriage in Australia has been the uproar around curriculum materials produced by the national Safe Schools Coalition (SSCA) for children in years 7 and 8.
These are supposed to stop bullying of homosexual and transgender students, but they also involve educating all students about sensitive topics, including sexual morality. Hundreds of schools, mostly government-run, have signed up. After noisy protests from parents, religious groups and politicians, the Federal Government stepped in and forced the SSCA to make significant changes.
However, the state of Victoria decided to forgo Federal funding and maintain the original program. Its Safe Schools group, based at La Trobe University, seceded from the national coalition and the state government plans to roll out its curriculum in all of its schools.
Perhaps because opponents are being painted as homophobes and knuckle-dragging right-wingers, there has been no comprehensive evaluation of the program (although MercatorNet did publish our own analysis last December.) The Federal Government commissioned a critique by a professor at the University of Western Australia, Bill Louden – but he had a mere two weeks to cobble his whitewash together.
Academically, he says, the Safe Schools program is so bad that it presents “a reputational problem for La Trobe University”. Medically, its guidelines are reckless. Legally, it offers misleading advice.
“There is certainly a place for an anti-bullying program that addresses the issues with which the Safe Schools program is concerned,” he writes, “but this program needs to be rescued from its progenitors.”
Professor Parkinson has several serious reservations.
Dodgy statistics. As MercatorNet pointed out last December, the Safe Schools program invents statistics about the prevalence of homosexuality and transgenderism. It claims that 10 percent of people are same-sex attracted, although only a few years before the La Trobe team reported that this figure was only 1 percent. The statistic, he says, “cannot be validated by any reliable research”.
The volatility of same-sex attraction. Parkinson says that the Safe Schools program is stuck in the psychology of the 1980s, when it was believed that a stable and fixed sexual orientation emerged in adolescence. But all the evidence suggests that most teenagers with same-sex attraction grow out of it. “It is not the case that someone who identifies as being same-sex attracted at 13-14 years of age has a fixed and stable orientation,” he points out. “Teenage same-sex attraction may or may not say anything about their adult sexuality.”
Insisting on a fixed identity could be dangerous. Most same-sex attracted children do not aspire to live as homosexuals. So insisting that they are doomed to live in the LGBTI lifestyle, never to have children of their own, could lead them to despair. Instead, they should be “assured that it is a very common, and normal, aspect of teenage psycho-sexual development which may or may not say anything about what they will grow up to be as adults.”
This may well be a message that is likely to prevent depression and suicidal ideation. Conversely, educational materials which are premised on the idea that sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence and remains fixed, so that it is sensible for young adolescents to identify as “gay” or “lesbian” as if this were a stable identity, should now be regarded as unscientific and irresponsible.
Transgender statistics are wildly exaggerated. The curriculum claims that 4 percent of the population is transgender or “gender diverse”. But this figure is based largely on surveys of high school students. “A gender identity disorder cannot be diagnosed by survey,” Parkinson writes. “It is a medical diagnosis requiring careful medical assessment.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5, the bible of the American Psychiatric Association, estimates that a maximum of 0.014 percent of the population have a gender identity disorder. This implies that the Safe Schools estimate is wrong by about 30,000 percent. “It is really not clear why it is thought that year 7 or 8 children need to learn anything about such rare conditions,” Parkinson comments acerbically.
Medical hazards. What if a student is thinking about transitioning to another gender? “Remarkably, nowhere in this document is there any reference to the need for any advice from a psychologist, doctor or psychiatrist, let alone anyone expert in the field,” he points out. “There is no requirement even to involve parents.” But international guidelines insist on the need for great caution and “careful and expert clinical management”. The Safe Schools program is throwing caution to the winds.
What’s behind the lack of common sense?
A number of critics have detected a Marxist plot to capture the hearts of school children. The manager and co-founder of Safe Schools Victoria, Roz Ward, is a La Trobe University academic and an unreconstructed Marxist (a species of intellectual which still flourishes in some Victorian universities). She told a conference last year, for instance, that “Marxism offers both the hope and the strategy needed to create a world where human sexuality, gender and how we relate to our bodies can blossom in extraordinarily new and amazing ways that we can only try to imagine today,”
So the Red label is tempting, but Parkinson prefers to describe the ideology of the Safe Schools movement as a religion, a bit like Scientology, with its own language and rituals.
The differentiation made between sex and gender, and the notion that gender is fluid and may be socially constructed, lie at the heart of the Safe Schools program … This is now quite a widespread belief system, especially in parts of the western world. This belief system is deeply held by some, and has many characteristics of being a religious belief …[It] is not the more rational because it is a belief that is sincerely held. Sincere people hold all sorts of strange beliefs.
Perhaps religious fervour explains the dodgy statistics. Convictions which are not based upon empirical observation do not need to be validated by facts. Parkinson continues:
Should such odd and unscientific beliefs, emanating from philosophy and gender studies departments rather than medical faculties, be taught as fact to primary and secondary school age children? There would be uproar if the beliefs of Scientologists that the personality or essence of oneself is distinct and separate from the physical body or the brain were being taught in state schools through state-funded programs. Yet the belief system that what gender you are is a matter for you to determine without reference to your physical and reproductive attributes may not be dissimilar in kind.
It will take more than one report to uproot an ideology which is defended so ardently by its supporters. But Patrick Parkinson’s attack on its academic credibility is a good beginning. A lot is at stake. Not only are young children being indoctrinated with ideas which would horrify their parents, but troubled young people may be shunted into a lifestyle which will make them bitter and unhappy adults.
Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.
Talking point: It’s only natural to think boys will be boys … just as girls will be girls Safe Schools Coalition
KEVIN DONNELLY, Mercury, 20 September 2016
IN Tasmania and across the rest of Australia the issue of gender diversity and sexuality and how it is taught in schools is cause of public controversy.
In Melbourne two weeks ago, the fact Marxist LGBTI advocate Roz Ward, from La Trobe University, was invited to a primary school to advise to a Year 4 pupil about gender transition sparked debate.
At the time, NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli ordered a review of the Years 11 and 12 Crossroads gender sexuality program on the basis it lacked objectivity and balance, and Labor MP Scott Bacon criticised the State Government for accepting Commonwealth changes to the LGBTI Safe Schools program after complaints it promoted a radical-Left agenda.
A tenet of the LGBTI agenda is that gender is fluid and primary school children can decide whether they are boys or girls. The Minus 18 material linked to Victoria’s Safe Schools website argues the sex on a birth certificate is irrelevant as “there is no predefined way for someone to act based on their gender”.
Material associated with the Safe Schools program applauds the fact girls can become boys and boys can change into girls. Schools are told boys self-identifying as girls should be allowed to use girls’ toilets and change rooms.
The Safe Schools program argues 4 per cent of students are gender diverse or trans and the Minus 18 booklet OMG I’m Trans offers advice about medical transitioning on the basis it’s important to “feel more comfortable in your own skin”.
LGBTI advocates are wrong on both accounts.
Gender is not limitless and fluid and medically changing one’s gender is fraught with problems.
The reality is being male or female is not a matter of choice or whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
As argued by the American College of Pediatricians, “human sexuality is an objective biological trait” and “human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species”.
While transgender activists like Roz Ward argue gender transition or reassignment are safe, the reality is no one can truly change their birth sex and reassignment is fraught with danger.
The pediatricians’ college urges educators and legislators to “reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex”.
Dr Paul McHugh, a former psychiatrist at John Hopkins Hospital in the US, which has stopped doing gender reassignment surgery, argues against gender transition and gender reassignment on the basis that having a sex change is “biologically impossible”.
No matter how much transgender people might want to identify as being different to their birth sex, the reality is you cannot deny nature. Swedish research shows rates of suicide and self-harm are 20 times higher with those who use cross-sex hormones or have reassignment surgery.
McHugh suggests the dramatic increase in children and teens suffering from gender dysphoria is a result of programs like Safe Schools that tell young people they can be whatever gender they like.
LGBTI advocates ignore that while young children might experience a period of gender uncertainty up to 80 per cent lose those feelings over time.
Lesbian feminist author Camille Paglia opposes allowing children to have gender reassignment. Paglia describes it as a form of abuse.
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University.
The Australian, September 20, 2016
The 32-page paper by legal academic Patrick Parkinson, reported in this newspaper yesterday, is a devastating critique of the misnamed Safe Schools program. He exposes its use of dodgy statistics to talk up the incidence of the much-vaunted “gender fluidity”. Yet this fluidity is tellingly selective: the program assumes same-sex attraction is fixed, such that an adolescent episode necessarily goes on to a confirmed adult preference. But an opposite-sex episode? Hardly permanent, they’d say.
Professor Parkinson does not dispute that some schoolchildren — albeit far fewer than the activists wish — may experience doubt or confusion about gender or attraction. But he faults Safe Schools as a partisan intervention, one that lacks any expert medical or psychiatric involvement, and as potentially confusing or harmful for the students it supposedly champions.
He describes gender fluidity as an “odd and unscientific belief” emanating from the humanities, not the sciences. A key influence has been the US-based Judith Butler, a high priestess of gender theory whose impenetrable prose once won her an academic bad writing award. La Trobe University’s very public association with this tradition must make its serious scholars cringe.
For Professor Parkinson, there is a quasi-religious faith at the core of Safe Schools, not the kind of thing any government should endorse. The program also can be held up as an example of the regressive Left tendency anatomised in Saturday’s Inquirer section by former Labor minister Peter Baldwin. Progressives once looked to the universal values of reason and the scientific method to serve a common humanity. Now, Mr Baldwin says, the regressive Left busies itself with the cultural relativism of identity-victim politics. It doesn’t engage opponents in debate but seeks to vilify and silence them.
Last week, for example, threats by same-sex marriage activists forced Christian groups to abandon a meeting at a Sydney hotel to plan the defence of traditional marriage. In similar fashion, the Parkinson paper notes that advocates for Safe Schools in effect bully schoolchildren and parents who do not subscribe to the fluidity faith, branding them as homophobic or transphobic. Safe Schools never was an innocuous anti-bullying program.
Note: Just as the Safe Schools lobby wants SOGI taught to children, George Williams (Dean of Law at the University of NSW) says the SSM lobby wants SOGI recognised in Marriage.
Sydney Morning Herald, September 19 2016
Malcolm Turnbull has introduced the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 into the federal Parliament. The bill has been overshadowed by the debate over whether a plebiscite is desirable in the first place. Unfortunately for the Prime Minister, his bill strengthens the case of those who reject the national vote. It is flawed in key respects, and could be challenged in the High Court.
The plebiscite bill proposes that Australians be asked a simple question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” This is the wrong question. It fails to capture the full extent of how the marriage act would be changed.
Many bills have been introduced into the federal Parliament to bring about same-sex marriage. These typically extend marriage rights not only to same-sex couples, but also to intersex people. The wider change is needed because same-sex marriage does not necessarily encompass people unable to identify as being either male or female.
An example is the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, sponsored by a cross-party group of MPs including Coalition member Warren Entsch. It sought “to allow couples to marry, and to have their marriages recognised, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status”. It went beyond the proposed plebiscite question in defining marriage not in terms of heterosexual or same-sex relationships, but as “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.
The poor fit between the plebiscite question and the legal change could be a significant problem. Even an overwhelming yes vote could give rise to suggestions that Australians have not provided a mandate for altering the marriage act beyond recognising same-sex marriage. If the plebiscite question were implemented faithfully, intersex people would remain subject to discrimination.
This exposes an even larger issue. The government says that its plebiscite bill is sound because it adopts the same, well-travelled path as referendums to change the constitution. This is not true in several respects, including in ways that undermine the viability of the plebiscite.
When people vote in a referendum, they do so in full knowledge of how the law will be changed. Every referendum is accompanied by the specific, word by word, changes to the constitution. As a result, there can be no doubt about what Australians are voting for.
By contrast, the plebiscite bill fails to set out how the marriage act might be changed in the event of a yes vote. People would vote on the general concept of same-sex marriage without being provided with the full details, including as to several divisive issues. This uncertainty could be exploited by the No campaign.
These unresolved questions extend beyond the position of intersex people to whether the law should clarify that religious ministers would not be bound to solemnise a marriage. Another point of contention is whether the marriage act should permit commercial operators to refuse to supply goods and services in respect of same-sex marriages due to a religious objection.
A further departure from referendum procedure is the proposal that $15 million be provided to taxpayer-funded Yes and No campaigns. The government has made much of the fact that the 1999 referendum on the republic allocated funding to the Yes and No cases. This is correct, but it is the exception. Instead, the normal rule as clearly stated in the federal law that governs referendums is that: “The Commonwealth shall not expend money in respect of the presentation of the argument in favour of, or the argument against, a referendum proposal.”
The final difference relates to the consequences of a Yes vote. A Yes vote in a referendum produces a change to the constitution without further parliamentary debate. On the other hand, it is not proposed that the plebiscite produce any outcome. Instead, Parliament would be left to interpret the result. This undermines the value of holding the vote, and could prove fraught in light of uncertainties with what Australians have voted to support.
Each of these problems can be fixed by amending the government’s plebiscite bill. However, even if this does occur, further obstacles remain. These include the possibility of a High Court challenge. The constitution authorises the holding of a referendum, but makes no mention of a plebiscite. This means that the legal basis for the poll is uncertain.
It is likely that the High Court would uphold the plebiscite on the basis that it falls under the federal Parliament’s marriage power. On the other hand, specific provisions of the bill, such as those for compulsory voting, and the funding of the Yes and No cases, may prove vulnerable. Even if the Prime Minister somehow convinces Parliament to pass his bill, he might yet find his plebiscite derailed.
The Australian, September 19, 2016
A leading family law and child-protection expert has criticised the teaching of radical gender theory in classrooms across the country, likening the “odd and unscientific” beliefs promoted by groups such as the Safe Schools Coalition to those espoused by Scientology.
Sydney University law professor Patrick Parkinson has called for an extensive overhaul of the Safe Schools program, having taken issue with its promotion of “exaggerated statistics” on the prevalence of transgender and intersex conditions in the community to support its creators’ “belief that gender is fluid and can even be chosen”.
In a research paper to be published today, Professor Parkinson notes that gender ideology, which lies at the heart of Safe Schools, has become a widespread belief system, particularly in Western countries.
With its origins in university philosophy departments rather than science, it has no place in the primary or secondary school curriculum, which is required to be evidence-based, he argues.
“There would be an uproar if the beliefs of Scientologists … were being taught in state schools through state-funded programs,” he says, referring to the controversial religion.
“Yet the belief system that what gender you are is a matter for you to determine without reference to your physical and reproductive attributes might not be dissimilar.”
Professor Parkinson’s damning review comes as the NSW Education Department investigates the inclusion of gender theory in its own official curriculum, including its mandatory sex education program for Years 11 and 12.
Last week state Education Minister Adrian Piccoli asked his departmental secretary, former ABC boss Mark Scott, to look into whether there was a scientific basis for claims made throughout the Crossroads program that gender was “a social construct”, neither fixed nor binary.
A spokesman for the Education Department said Mr Scott would report back to the minister’s office “as soon as possible”.
Professor Parkinson’s report, The Controversy over the Safe Schools Program — Finding the Sensible Centre, which is available via the Social Science Research Network, has added further weight to concerns about the program.
While originally touted as a program designed to stamp out homophobia in the schoolyard, it has divided parents, politicians, religious groups and even the LGBTI community.
Prominent transgender advocate Catherine McGregor faced a backlash when she recently spoke out against Safe Schools, claiming that it would not have helped her as a young person grappling with gender issues. Professor Parkinson is also concerned that its teachings may harm some young people.
The former member of the NSW Child Protection Council, who has advised government and other organisations on matters related to child safety, says a school-wide program that normalises transitioning from one gender to another creates a risk that some children will become confused unnecessarily.
“Gender dysphoria in childhood and adolescence is far too complex to be addressed by pop psychology or internet-based self-help materials,” he says.
“While a program of this kind may offer benefits for some young people, there is reason to be concerned that it may cause harm to other young people who experience same-sex attraction or gender confusion.
“This is not good enough for an educational resource.”
Professor Parkinson believes it is unlikely that concerns raised by the community will go away.
He says politicians who have supported it based on its origins as an anti-bullying program would likely face a backlash from their constituencies unless the program was reviewed and significantly reformed.
More than 500 schools across the country have signed up to be Safe Schools members, and the program has attracted federal and state funds.
The Australian, September 15, 2016
Critics of the Safe Schools Coalition want schools that signed up for the anti-bullying initiative before the federal government’s changes this year to go back and ask parents if they should remain in the controversial program.
NSW state Liberal MP Damien Tudehope said that if a “school has already signed up then they don’t have to consult the parent body about continuing in the program but only asking whether they want their children to participate’’.
Mr Tudehope told The Australian: “It’s a significant difference. All schools that signed up should be going back to parents and asking: ‘Do you want us to remain in the program?’ ’’
The MP, a vocal opponent of Safe Schools, has presented a petition on behalf of the Australian-Chinese community to shut down the program, highlighting concerns over whether there is “sufficient parental consent’’. It will be debated in the NSW parliament next week.
The voluntary program gets $2 million annual federal funding and teaches high school students about sexual orientation and transgender issues.
In March, Malcolm Turnbull quelled a backbench revolt by conservative federal MPs by ordering that the Safe Schools Coalition curb its classroom program, giving parents the right to remove their children from lessons or activities. The overhaul included developing an official fact sheet for parents, which will be distributed soon.
The booklet, obtained by The Australian, says: “Safe Schools Coalition Australia is a national initiative that helps schools to be safe and more inclusive for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families.
“It provides a range of free support for school staff, including professional learning, advice and resources.’’
In line with the government’s recommendations, it says schools “must communicate with parents and carers about any plans to use the All of Us resource, including participation options’’. The All of Us resource is designed to be used by teachers in Years 7 and 8.
The guidelines also state: “Schools must seek agreement from the representative parent body (or equivalent) prior to signing up as a member of Safe Schools Coalition Australia.’’ It is understood that where schools signed up to the coalition before the March changes, they do not need to go back and obtain the retrospective approval of parent bodies unless they plan to use the All of Us teaching resources.
NSW originally had 120 schools registered on the Safe Schools Coalition website but a parliamentary estimates committee heard last month that when the department was implementing the federal changes, “we determined that there were 89 of those schools that had never accessed resources — they had registered but they had no intention in the immediate future to do that’’.
But the Australian Christian Lobby and the anti-Safe Schools parents’ group You’re Teaching Our Children What? argue that more needs to be done on parental consent.
A Queensland Education Department spokeswoman said “students will not participate in any class lessons conducted by their teachers involving Safe Schools Coalition materials without the prior consent of their parents’’. NSW, South Australia and Western Australia echoed the comment.
A Safe Schools Coalition Australia spokeswoman said “under the revised Safe Schools platform, schools who are looking to become formal members of the program must seek endorsement from the principal and representative parent body’’. The coalition says it has 545 member schools.
The Australian, September 12, 2016
NSW’s newly appointed education chief, Mark Scott, will oversee a review of the state’s flagship sex education resource, following revelations many of its lessons are based on highly contested theories around gender and sexuality.
The state’s Education Department has been ordered to investigate if there is any scientific basis for repeated claims made about gender throughout the Crossroads program, a compulsory 25-hour course for all public school students in Years 11 and 12.
The program presents gender as “a social construct” that is neither fixed nor binary and that sexuality is “dynamic” and “constantly changing”, according to one lesson. To stress the point, students are given a handout titled The Genderbread Person, an infographic developed by US comedian and social justice advocate Sam Kellerman that says gender is “not either/or. In many cases it’s both/and “ or “a bit of this, a dash of that”.
Students are told they can identify as a “woman, man, two-spirit, genderqueer or genderless” among the “infinite possibilities” of gender identity.
Crossroads material cites several scientific studies on which the program is based, but none of the references appear to relate to its teachings on gender.
Education Minister Adrian Piccoli told The Australian he had referred the program to Mr Scott, the former ABC boss who recently took over as Education Department secretary, for further investigation.
A department spokeswoman said Crossroads, which was last reviewed last year, was designed to help students in Years 11 and 12 address issues of health, safety and wellbeing “at a time when they face significant changes and challenges in their lives”.
“The department is reviewing the research base and scientific underpinning of the gender diversity material.”
Mr Piccoli was blindsided last week by the revelation his department had released another sex education resource that promoted the controversial Safe Schools program, potentially in contravention of federal government guidelines.
Mr Piccoli ordered the withdrawal of the resource, which offered teachers tools to help deliver “content relating to diversity of sex, sexuality and gender”, and called for his department to review its content.
The Crossroads program has much in common with Safe Schools, which is laden with gender ideology. The concept of deconstructing gender is understood to derive from 1990s queer theory, which is highly contested within the social sciences.
Psychologist Laura McNally, who has previously raised concerns about the lack of scientific rigour behind the claims of Safe Schools’ supporters, believes gender stereotyping can be challenged in a classroom setting without resorting to queer theory.
“These programs call themselves ‘evidence-based’ but research in this area is fraught with obscurity,” she said. “Much of it comes from sociology, so the studies are qualitative and not particularly representative in terms of population health.”
Greg Donnelly, Labor MLC for Hornsby, in Sydney’s north, said gender ideology was being imposed on public-school students unbeknown to many parents. “Education Minister Piccoli … is treating mums and dads of kids in public schools with utter contempt. There are growing numbers of MPs in Macquarie Street openly calling on him to go,” Mr Donnelly said.
The Australian, September 9, 2016
A Year 4 pupil at a primary school west of Melbourne is undergoing a gender transition, with the Safe Schools Coalition helping with the process at the school.
Roz Ward, co-founder and head of the program in Victoria, is expected to visit the school today to hold a workshop for the pupil’s class, after which the pupil plans to socially change to their chosen new gender.
Parents of the Year 4 class were advised of the workshop only days ago when the school sent home a letter. “Safe Schools are visiting … to assist us with the gender choice of a student who is currently transitioning,” the letter stated.
“The session will include learning that considers how students can be a good friend and ally to people (of) all genders.”
The Australian has chosen not to name the school because of privacy concerns.
Several parents have expressed concerns about the way the school has handled the matter, including the lack of notice and detailed information about what pupils will be taught in the workshop.
The Victorian arm of the Safe Schools Coalition, which has courted controversy for promoting contested theories around gender and sexuality, severed ties with the nationally convened body after an independent review in March.
Among the changes ordered by federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham was a requirement that distribution of Safe Schools materials be restricted to secondary schools only.
The Victorian government has refused to abide by the changes, however, and has taken over sole funding for the program in the state. It has also declared the program mandatory for secondary schools.
“I guess we just have lots of questions and we’re not really getting answers,” one parent of a Year 4 student told The Australian. “I’d like to know what my child will actually be taught in this workshop. This is a big deal and affects the whole school community.”
The acting principal has confirmed the school has been working with the Safe Schools Coalition in accordance with the state government’s gender identity policy.
She declined to answer questions about whether the child had parental support and whether the transition was being supported by medical professionals.
Social transition typically refers to a person “coming out” and making others aware of their gender identity. It is understood the child wants to be known by a new name fitting their new identity and will be permitted to use the toilets and change rooms appropriate for their new identity.
The issue of young people coming out as transgender has received publicity in recent months, coinciding with a big rise in the numbers of young people seeking to access treatment for gender dysphoria.
The Daily Telegraph reported last week that a four-year old preschooler in NSW had begun “transitioning” before attending their first day of kindergarten.
In Victoria, the Education Department’s policy states that “schools must support and respect a student’s choice to identify as their desired gender when this does not align with their designated sex at birth”.
Victorian Education Minister James Merlino did not respond in time for publication, nor did Ms Ward respond to a request for comment.
The Australian, September 7, 2016
The NSW government has ordered an investigation into the Education Department’s launch of an official teaching resource that urges teachers to “de-gender” their classroom language and promotes activities that encourage students to think about sexuality as “non-binary”, or existing on a continuum “like temperature or the weather”.
Education Minister Adrian Piccoli yesterday ordered his department to withdraw the sexual and gender diversity resource for teachers, which appears to have been heavily based on the Safe Schools program. Alerted to its existence by The Australian, he said he was “very angry” the resource had “got out”. “I have directed the department to take it down immediately and review the material and all links,” he said.
“Safe Schools materials are only to be used strictly in accordance with the revised guidelines established by the federal government. I am furious this policy has not been adhered to and have demanded a full explanation from the (departmental) secretary.”
Launched quietly this year, the 17-page teacher toolbox for delivering content relating to diversity of sex, sexuality and gender contains a list of resources the educators can refer to in their teachings. One recommended activity invites Year 10 students to consider a range of characters, such as “Joseph”, who is married with three children but “when he masturbates, fantasises only about men” and “is attracted to several of his male friends” and “Alex”, who had sex with girls as a teenager but developed a relationship with a man after moving to a country town.
Students are asked to determine each character’s sexuality and whether they fit into “traditional binary thinking” regarding sexuality.
Another promoted resource is a teaching program developed around the film Gayby Baby, which the Baird government banned last year. The teacher toolbox has many similarities with the Safe Schools Coalition, which has divided politicians, school communities and parents because of its promotion of the contested idea that gender and sexuality is fluid. It sparked a federal government review.
The toolbox sources the same research that helped to inform Safe Schools and refers to several Safe Schools resources and programs, including a guide to help teachers support a student to transition their gender identity at school.
NSW Family Planning, which helped develop the teacher toolbox, administers the Safe Schools program in that state.
The push for gender-neutral language in classrooms sparked an outcry this year when it emerged staff at Cheltenham Girls High School in Sydney had been asked to stop referring to students as “girls”, “ladies” and “women”. The concept is explained within another promoted resource, titled Affirming Diversity, which is another official departmental resource.
Teachers are advised to explain to the class that “sometimes people think in terms of opposites”. “This is called binary thinking,” the resource says. “In most cases where the concept is simple, like the temperature or the weather, this is not a problem because it doesn’t affect anyone else.
“For more complex concepts, like sexuality, binary thinking is not useful.”
Australian Christian Lobby head Lyle Shelton said if political leaders could not protect children from “rainbow activists”, there would be no stopping the marginalisation of parents if the Marriage Act was changed.
“Such is the fear of politicians of being branded a homophobe, the Safe Schools activists are now well and truly beyond the scrutiny and control of representative government,” Mr Shelton said.
NSW Premier Mike Baird last year faced a backlash, including from within his party, after he backed a decision by Mr Piccoli to intervene to prevent a planned screening of Gayby Baby, across state schools during school hours. A spokesman for Mr Baird yesterday denied there had been a ban and the Premier’s concerns had been that the film should not be aired in schools “in lieu of classes”.
The Australian, September 6, 2016
Prominent transgender advocate Catherine McGregor has been sacked from a high-profile role with human rights group Kaleidoscope Australia for speaking out against the controversial Safe Schools program.
Ms McGregor has revealed that she was removed as a patron of Kaleidoscope, a not-for-profit group that promotes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, because of her views on the program.
Kaleidoscope, whose inaugural patron was former High Court judge Michael Kirby, is a staunch supporter of Safe Schools. Although designed to prevent homophobic bullying in schools, the program has proved divisive because of the sexualised nature of some resources and its promotion of the contested idea that gender and sexuality are fluid.
While Ms McGregor is not the only member of the LGBTI community to speak out against Safe Schools — federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson has also aired concerns, as has Victorian health advocate Rob Mitchell — she has faced a significant backlash.
Writing for Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph in May, Ms McGregor argued the program had been compromised by radical left-wing politics and was not the most effective way of supporting transgender children. She claimed the program might lead transgender youth down a “blind alley”.
The article prompted Margot Fink, a spokeswoman for the youth network Minus18 and a contributor to the Safe School’s curriculum, to accuse her of throwing Safe Schools “under the bus” to appear “more acceptable or appealing to hard-line conservatives”.
Ms McGregor, who was the world’s highest-ranking transgender military official and an Australian of the Year nominee, told The Australian she was disappointed by the reaction to her comments. It had cost her at least one speaking engagement. A Melbourne charity advised that it no longer wanted her to appear at an LGBTI event because it feared a hostile reaction.
Ms McGregor said she made no apologies for her views but she had decided to step aside from her remaining roles with LGBTI organisations, including The Pinnacle Foundation and Canberra’s SpringOUT Pride Festival.
She also has withdrawn from next year’s prestigious Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration, previously delivered by Waleed Aly and former prime minister Julia Gillard.
“I’ve always been very happy to support various causes within the LGBTI community because I truly believe that, as a transgender woman who has been able to achieve a lot in my career in the military and as a writer and broadcaster, that I can contribute a lot,” Ms McGregor said.
“But it’s quite obvious that my views are more conservative than sections of the LGBTI community are happy to accept. I’ve really just had enough.”
Kaleidoscope president Paula Gerber said Ms McGregor was invited to become a patron late last year, but the board had reconsidered the appointment after becoming aware of her comments on Safe Schools. “While she was free to hold those views, there was an incompatibility with Kaleidoscope’s own public support of the Safe Schools program, which we happen to believe is among the world’s best,” Professor Gerber said. “Cate was surprised by our decision … but she seemed to accept it with good grace.”
Denis Moriarty, organiser of the Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration, said he was saddened by Ms McGregor’s withdrawal. “As a gay person myself and a massive supporter of Safe Schools, I still think we should be proud to debate and listen to all sides,” he said. “Catherine is entitled to her views and sadly the politics of personalities has got in the way.”
The Australian, September 2, 2016
Critics of the polarising Safe Schools program have stepped up demands for it to be axed after revelations several NSW students including a four-year-old preschool child have been receiving support with gender transitioning.
Australian Christian Lobby spokeswoman Wendy Francis claimed a reported spike in cases of gender dysphoria, where someone’s biological sex doesn’t align with their gender identity, had followed the rollout of Safe Schools.
“Safe Schools didn’t come in to address the problem, this is happening after the Safe Schools program has been introduced,’’ she said. “The thought that four-year-olds would be seeking to change their gender is madness. We are sacrificing our children to a rainbow ideology.’’
NSW Education Department deputy secretary of school operations Greg Prior revealed in parliamentary estimates this week a number of students were “going through gender transition in our schools, with the youngest being a four-year-old’’.
He said Safe Schools was only one resource used to support students, families and schools.
The four-year-old will go to kindergarten next year and has identified as transgender. The school initially registered on the Safe Schools anti-bullying site to access materials to help teachers prepare to assist the child.
Leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, who told The Daily Telegraph 250 children as young as three were being assisted by the gender dysphoria unit at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, yesterday said there was some confusion over what transitioning meant.
“If they are a little boy and they want to be a little girl they dress as little girls, they grow their hair long, they are called by another name. It doesn’t actually mean that they get any medical intervention, that’s something that they may or may not do as they grow older as puberty approaches,’’ he told the Seven Network’s Sunrise.
Lindsay Hale, the executive director of statewide services for Western Australia’s Education Department, said “if a family has had expert medical advice related to their child’s gender identity and the experts recommend the school puts arrangements in place at school, school staff will incorporate the advice into their planning’’.
In South Australia, confidential advice is provided to “individual schools requesting assistance to support a student to affirm or transition gender”.
In Victoria, guidelines are provided to schools to ensure they are safe and inclusive for all students who are same-sex attracted, gender diverse and intersex and help can come from school nurses, welfare officers and counsellors.
Last month, The Australian revealed the case of a 15-year-old child given permission by the Family Court to have both breasts removed so she could feel more like a boy.
The normal process for children diagnosed with gender dysphoria in Australia is for the child to start hormonal treatment to suppress puberty from age 14 or 15; and for parents to then seek the court’s permission for stage two treatment, where a child is given hormones of the opposite gender, from about the age of 16.
Preschooler begins transition aged four: Children as young as three claiming gender dysphoria Safe Schools Coalition
Daily Telegraph, September 1, 2016
A FOUR-YEAR-OLD preschooler in NSW has begun “transitioning” their gender before attending their first day of kindergarten, amid a wave of young children across Australia who are seeking to change sex.
The Baird government has revealed “a number of students” are transitioning their gender in primary schools.
The revelation comes as referrals to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for gender services have tripled, with one doctor saying they had “escalated rapidly” across every state.
In another major children’s hospital, 250 children — some as young as three — are being assisted by the gender dysphoria unit.
Psychologists yesterday questioned whether it was too young for a four-year-old to be transitioning gender.
The case emerged during an exchange at a state government budget estimates hearing that delved into the Safe Schools program.
The Education Department’s deputy secretary of school operations Gregory Prior said the school had used Safe Schools resources to help teachers assist the child.
“We have a number of students who are going through gender transition in our schools, with the youngest being a four-year-old at the moment,” he said.
“Without breaching privacy, we have a four-year-old who is transitioning to kindergarten next year who has identified as transgender.
“The Safe Schools is only one resource that can be used from a variety of resources in how we would support that family, student and school to accommodate a child going through transition.”
The Education Department yesterday would not reveal further details, including the birth sex of the child.
Susan Palmer, Pastor of Open Door Community of Christ in Cranebrook — which is comprised of people from the LGBTI community — said she held concerns about children being pushed one way or the other when they were too young.
Ms Palmer, who is a lesbian, said it was important kids were allowed the freedom to explore who they were.
“It seems to be true and seems to be the case from those I’ve met who have transitioned, they’ve known very early in life that something is not right and it’s like their mind and body don’t match,” Ms Palmer said.
“But it is really important for children to have that freedom to explore that freedom to explore for themselves, rather than have people around them closet them or push them.
“A child is heavily influenced by their caregivers, their parents and I know parents can be overly concerned and overly supportive either way and can actually coerce or influence children when what they are doing is just exploring something which is not somewhere they actually want to be heading.” (more…)
The Australian, August 30, 2016
Bureaucrats at the Department of Education and Training in Canberra were instructed to dress in appropriate hues for “Wear It Purple Day” last week to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, inclusion and empowerment.
Oh that they had chosen instead to demonstrate their commitment to prudence and common sense by tearing up the contract with the Safe Schools Coalition. Either that or explain why the notion that gender is a multidimensional social structure merits support from the public purse.
The Safe Schools website offers a flavour of the stuff they are peddling. Teachers are instructed to avoid gender-stereotypical comments like: “I need a couple of strong boys to move some tables for me.” They are told not to address the class as “girls and boys” because it alienates gender nonconforming students and to instead use inclusive words such as class, crew or people. They must resist “unnecessary gendering” such as asking boys and girls to form separate queues because of the distress it would cause students “who don’t experience their gender as either male or female”.
In a relatively short space of time the theory of gender fluidity has changed from a fringe academic obsession into semi-official government policy, thus demonstrating that today’s uncontested nonsense becomes tomorrow’s accepted wisdom. Under the guise of “diversity and inclusiveness” — the weasel words of contemporary morality — the notion that gender is decided by providence has been assigned to the sin bin of political incorrectness.
Chromosomes, prevailing hormones and external and internal anatomy count for nothing; gender is a social performance. A woman or man is not something that one is but something that one does.
Hence Facebook gives you 56 gender options so that you may “feel comfortable being your true, authentic self”. It offers a smorgasbord of post-structural curiosities unimagined a generation ago. Is one gender fluid, gender questioning, pangender, two-spirited or just uncertain? Worry not, you can always update your profile tomorrow.
The idea of gender as a social construct has been lurking around the feminist movement like a bad smell since Simone de Beauvoir declared in The Second Sex that “one is not born, but one becomes a woman”.
It is only within the past 20 years, however, that it has gripped the pseudo-discipline of gender studies, largely thanks to the work of American philosopher Judith Butler. Her 1990 book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, describing gender as “a free floating artifice”, became the founding text for genderism, much as Rachel Carson’s 1962 work Silent Spring set deep-green ecology on a mainstream path.
Butler’s prestige in the cultural studies departments of lesser universities was enhanced by her turgid writing style; anything so abstruse, her acolytes concluded, must surely be profound.
Old-school feminists such as Germaine Greer who refuse to accept the new orthodoxy have found themselves out in the cold. “Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a f..king woman,” she said last year. Reaction was extreme; the next time Greer ventured on to a university campus she was flanked by uniformed police.
The flimsiness of genderism’s intellectual underpinnings explain why it has been so easily captured by activists from the lunatic fringe who craftily disguised their agenda in the rhetoric of anti-bullying.
The New Left warriors found the road empty ahead as the conservative forces retreated into the shadows. Few on the mainstream Centre-Right were prepared to risk being tarnished as reactionary, pro-bullying homophobes or transphobes. The reputational risk in the era of social media was simply too high.
It was an even more shameful story on the mainstream Left. The politically androgynous Labor Party, free of the working-class connections that once kept the organisation grounded, was more than happy to supply oxygen to genderism’s hocus-pocus arguments, not to mention government cash.
The Gillard government found $8 million in its final budget for a program to prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, money quickly appropriated by the ideologues in the Safe Schools Coalition.
The cast assembled for the announcement of funding should have rung alarm bells; on the platform with then education minister Bill Shorten was the ALP’s candidate for the seat of Melbourne, Cath Bowtell.
It should come as no surprise that a policy announced by Labor as a gesture of political correctness to win a Greens-held electorate turned out to be a disaster.
Yet the incoming Abbott government’s failure to shut the lid on it shows how easily bad ideas can gain momentum. Opposing them takes intellectual courage, particularly when the bad ideas become cloaked in moral vanity and win the support of the sophisticates.
The ABC swallowed it hook, line and sinker as it always does; transgenderism became another new stick with which to poke the reactionaries on the Right.
The medical profession came on board adding apparent scientific credibility to the cause. In March a group of health professionals came out in support of Safe Schools, claiming there was a need to “mitigate against victimisation, violence, isolation, which can have a significant and enduring impact upon the health and wellbeing of young people”.
That gender-diverse individuals are likelier to suffer psychological stress than others is hardly in doubt. Reputable studies show depression and suicidal thoughts are significantly more prevalent in same-sex attracted and transgender groups than in other cohorts.
Yet there is no justification for turning personal distress into a rallying cry for radical social change, as the activists are inclined to do.
Nor is the fashion for turning sub-minorities into victims of societal oppression likely to soothe their anxieties. If anything, it is likely to exacerbate them, instilling a sense of powerlessness and distrust for their fellow citizens and tearing up the social fabric to create atomised identity groups.
It takes political and intellectual courage for politicians to resist this morally arrogant nonsense, but for the sake of their own reputations they must.
As constitutional theorist Jean-Louis de Lolme rightly observed two centuries ago: “Parliament can do everything but make a woman a man, and a man a woman.”
Nick Cater is executive director of the Menzies Research Centre.
The Australian, August 29, 2016
The youth organisation behind the Safe Schools Coalition was warned more than a year ago that its outspoken co-founder Roz Ward risked alienating schools to the detriment of the many vulnerable young people it was trying to help.
Tim Wilson, a former Australian human rights commissioner and one-time member of the Safe Schools steering committee, contacted the program’s national convener, the Foundation for Young Australians, in June last year after Ms Ward publicly criticised the Catholic Church.
Ms Ward, the program’s Victorian director, had described moves by Melbourne archbishop Dennis Hart to have Catholic schools lobby parents to vote against same-sex marriage as a “direct attack” on gay people.
Mr Wilson, now Liberal MP for Goldstein, put his concerns in writing to the foundation, arguing that the comments were “wholly beyond the remit (of) Safe Schools Coalition, whose job is to focus on bullying and harassment in schools.
“While I disagree with the views expressed in the documents circulated by the Catholic Church, they merely reflect the current law and it is absurd to attack their freedom to advocate for the status quo,” Mr Wilson wrote in an email dated June 5, 2015. “The objective of this program is to work with religious schools and co-operate to tackle any bullying or harassment of LGBTI youth that may exist.
“These comments have seriously harmed the prospects of working with those schools. The losers from such behaviour are the significant number of LGBTI youth in religious schools.”
Mr Wilson also noted he was not convinced that Ms Ward’s comments would be a “one-off” and he considered them “indulgent and belligerent”.
The outspoken Marxist has since been at the centre of several controversies that have politicised the program, which was already under fire for promoting contested ideas about gender and sexual fluidity. Speaking at a Socialist Alternative conference earlier this month, Ms Ward hit out at the program’s opponents, describing them as homophobic.
In June she was temporarily suspended from La Trobe University over a Facebook posting in which she decried the Australian flag as racist.
And while the Victorian and ACT governments have pledged to take over funding of the program, its future in other states remains in doubt with federal backing to cease from next year. The foundation, which gets one-third of its funds from government, has pledged to continue its support.
Mr Wilson has backed the Victorian opposition’s plan for a broader anti-bullying program that promoted tolerance and empathy for gay and gender diverse people.
Neither the foundation nor Ms Ward responded to requests for comment.
The Australian, August 25, 2016
A push by Sydney’s Chinese community to dump the Safe Schools program from NSW schools is gaining broader support with Victorian ethnic leaders also hearing concerns about the controversial program.
The NSW parliament will debate the program’s future next month after a petition with more than 17,000 signatures was tabled by Liberal MP Damien Tudehope this week on behalf of the Australian-Chinese community.
Confederation of Indian Australian Associations chair Vasan Srinivasan said many within Melbourne’s large Indian population were similarly troubled by the program’s presence in Victoria, where Premier Daniel Andrews has taken steps to protect it and branded critics as “bigots”.
“We do believe that should be stopped,” Mr Srinivasan said. “That’s the majority of community feeling.
“It should not be given that platform in the school lessons, the majority of Indians feel … school is not an appropriate place to bring this subject up.”
Chinese Association of Victoria president Ka Sing Chua said some in his community were also worried about it, particularly newer migrants.
“Sometimes they are a bit more conservative,” he said.
The Andrews government has been a vocal supporter of Safe Schools, making Victoria the only state planning to continue with the unamended version of the program — which includes homosexual role-play and asking students to consider gender as a fluid concept — following a review that prompted changes to the federally funded course.
The state Opposition has committed to axing it for a more general anti-bullying program, with education spokesman Nick Wakeling saying disquiet among ethnic communities was a contributing factor.
“Labor MPs will ignore this issue at their own peril,” he said.
“Ultimately they will need to explain to parents in their community why they as a Labor government know better what’s in the interest of the child when it comes to this issue.”
The Andrews government has pledged funding to expand the program to all state secondary schools.
SBS, Source: AAP. 23 Aug 2016
Premier Mike Baird is under pressure to axe the Safe Schools program across NSW as conservative MPs ramp up their fight.
More than 17,000 people have signed a petition urging the NSW government to scrap the controversial Safe Schools program that targets bullying.
Liberal MP Damien Tudehope will on Tuesday lodge the petition in parliament on behalf of the Australian-Chinese community, paving the way for MPs to debate whether the taxpayer-funded program should be dumped.
The conservative member for Epping, who has previously dubbed the program a “Trojan horse”, said the petition was signed by people from across Sydney, and not just in his electorate.
“You could definitely say this is the beginning of the end for Safe Schools,” he said.
“Any program which divides and polarises the community in such a way cannot possibly deliver the anti-bullying outcomes it proposes”.
Mr Tudehope said he had also received objections from the Korean, Lebanese and Indian communities, and would not be surprised if similar petitions arose.
“One thing that our migrant communities have in common is that they won’t allow anyone interfering with their parental rights and programs like Safe Schools represent an attack on the rights of all parents,” he said.
The petition comes after Christian Democrat MLC Reverend Fred Nile, who holds the balance of power, reportedly met with Premier Mike Baird to urge him to axe the program.
Mr Tudehope told AAP he would keep pressing the issue in NSW.
“This is a national issue and governments would be irresponsible to continue to ignore these very legitimate and reasonable concerns,” he said. (more…)
The Australian, August 20, 2016
Letters to the Editor
Rebecca Urban’s article revealed the fact that there are far too many neo-Marxist academics who have concluded that schools and malleable minds are the best avenue for a militant exercise in state-sanctioned social engineering (“Explicit sex acts guide in classes”, 19/8). There is indeed a place for such frank discussions regarding sexual behaviour. It is called the family home.
The central problem with such a Safe Schools program is that it is a loaded Trojan horse, whereby LGBTI lifestyle choices are being presented to children as inevitable genetic occurrences, and variant sexual behaviour is deemed to be mainstream.
Are those schools that plan to buy into this new syllabus also able to assure the protection of the consciences of those students from conservative ethnic and religious backgrounds, who would not be able to subscribe to this new forced sexual world order? Many of us would recall the image of John Cleese in The Meaning of Life, giving an enactment of intercourse on a desk in front of a class of school boys. Will it soon be a similar case of life imitating art if the gay, inner-city elite have their unbridled way?
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn Vic
As a teacher and mother of sons, I am disgusted that such a Safe Schools program could be contemplated, let alone funded and endorsed. The leftist twaddle embedded in the syllabus is frustrating enough, the poor literacy skills of many students entering high school is disturbing, but this latest rubbish defies belief.
Marney Meredith, Singleton, NSW
The Australian, August 19, 2016
A new sex education guide being promoted by the research institute behind the Safe Schools program provides students with explicit descriptions of more than a dozen sexual activities.
La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society this month launched Transmission, a film with related educational activities that introduces its Year 10 audience to a range of highly sexualised terms that have not previously been canvassed in sex education curriculums.
The resource is written by the centre’s Pamela Blackman, a former Department of Education and Training employee who has written or consulted on a range of sex education resources endorsed by the Victorian government.
While the resource is centred on a film about HIV and sexually transmitted infections which was partly funded with a $15,200 grant from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, one of the accompanying activities focuses on sexual pleasure.
In one classroom activity, students are asked to consider a list of 20 ways of “engaging in sexual pleasure” to determine which activities they “think might be okay”. They are then asked to sort each sex act by their level of comfort.
Ms Blackman acknowledges in the explanatory notes that the exercise might prove confronting for teachers and students.
“Sexual activity, for those ready to engage in it, should be a good experience, not an experience full of fear and guilt,” she writes. “I think it’s important to recognise that sexual activity is pleasurable as well as normal.”
A focus on pleasure in addition to risk appears to be an emerging development in sex education.
As is the widespread acceptance that not all students identify as heterosexual.
Research released by the University of South Australia earlier this year revealed that students wanted less repetition of the biological aspects of human sexuality in their sex education classes and more “explicit and accurate” information about intimacy, sexual pleasure and love.
The report, “It is not all About Sex: Young people’s views about sexuality and relationship education’’, claimed that boys in particular wanted more information about how to have sex, different types of sexual acts and pornography.
Those findings contrast heavily with research done by the La Trobe centre that surveyed secondary school teachers on the same topic. The accompanying report, co-written by Ms Blackman and released in 2011, found that the pleasure of sexual behaviour was taught by less than half the teachers surveyed.
It pointed out that most sex education classes focused on fact-based topics around reproduction, birth control, HIV/STIs, safe sex as well as managing peer pressure, forming healthy relationships and decision-making around sexual activity. Abstinence remains a key theme.
The explicit nature of the centre’s latest resource has been questioned by Australian Catholic University’s senior research fellow Kevin Donnelly.
Among the handouts provided to students is a list of sexual terms including “analingus”, also known as “rimming” and “scissoring”.
“Penetrative sex” is described as “when a penis or object is inserted into the vagina or anus”.
“Most parents and teachers would feel they’ve really gone overboard with this,” Dr Donnelly said.
“The reality is the pressure is on young people to be sexually explicit and adventurous already but that doesn’t mean we have to endorse that by what we teach.”
Family Voice Australia national policy officer Damian Wyld said that many 15 and 16-year-olds had not engaged in sexual activity and classroom activities like this could be distressing.
“The Andrews government should place parents’ minds at ease by immediately ruling out any use of this program,’’ he said.
A spokeswoman for Victorian Education Minister James Merlino would not comment on whether there were plans to endorse the resource, saying only that it was not part of the department’s resources.
The La Trobe centre and Ms Blackman declined to comment.
The Australian, August 18, 2016
Letters to the Editor
Your editorial (“Bullying through picture books”, 17/8) has shown the extent to which the gay and lesbian community and its academic sympathisers will go in order to introduce infants to its propaganda.
However, the fact that parental approval for the project was first obtained amounts to nothing. Your editorial correctly observes that the project is akin to “an insidious form of child abuse”, but it is actually worse than that. Had it taken place in an internet chat room, it would have constituted grooming.
What is worrying is the ease with which an education system, from tertiary to infant schools, was enlisted in the battle by a Marxist ideology to brainwash children. Education is supposed to replace the darkness of the cave in every human soul with the light of knowledge, not the reverse.
David Long, St Lucia, Qld
Teaching, or rather confusing, Years 7 and 8 pupils via stories about cross-dressing, gender reassignment surgery and such, when the present mode of imparting basic knowledge to young students leaves an unacceptable proportion unable to read or write, suggests that the education system has been hijacked by a coterie hellbent on promoting its own loopy agenda.
When students eventually reach working age, employers will be more concerned about their having mastered literacy and numeracy, not whether they can recall all the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex permutations.
Peter Crammond, Kadina, SA
I am appalled to think of five-year-olds having to sort out who is mum and who is dad and how they themselves can become either. This so-called Safe Schools program is social engineering at its worst.
Now we hear of gender neutral toilets in schools. This conjures up all sorts of dangers. I have noticed one in our local hospital and would avoid using it if I could.
For heaven’s sake, let children concentrate on a proper education so that our rating in the world can reflect a nation of educated people. Do parents have any say in this ridiculous program, or are they too afraid of being called names if they object?
The federal government should not wait until the middle of next year to do something about it. Now is the proper time before too much damage has been done.
Patricia M. Smith, Mt Martha, Vic
Michael Sexton’s warning that debate on social issues has been stifled significantly by the politically correct brigade is emphasised by the Flinders University study that advocates the Safe Schools program in primary schools (“Telling argument against dissenting perspectives”, 16/8).
When the sexuality of children as young as five is being hijacked across the board in our public school system by left-wing LGBTI forces, it is a sure sign that control of the lives of our children has been taken out of the hands of the great majority of our renamed “heteronormative” parents and families.
The PC zealots have successfully manipulated and shut down dissent by pursuing their goals deceitfully under the guise of anti-bullying government programs and propaganda that was publicly funded by Labor and its left-wing cronies.
We, the average punters, should recognise and rise up in response to this frontal assault on our commonly held basic values, before we become prisoners of political correctness.
John Bell, Heidelberg Heights, Vic
There must be no better reason to withdraw your child from school than the dangerous gender-diversity program being taught to young children in South Australian schools. The fact that a number of parents signed up to it is even more worrying.
Paul Holbourne, West Melbourne, Vic
Teaching children at primary school that it’s OK to be LGBTI is one thing; encouraging it is another. And if this is not bad enough, the LGBTI lobby now wants gender-neutral toilets in schools. This debate is out of hand and it’s time the federal government stepped in. The way we are going it won’t be long before those who do not fit the LGBTI model will be outcasts.
The Left is driving our social agenda. Once they acted covertly, now it appears they are engaging overtly and seem unchecked in their endeavours. What does it take to get people to wake up and put a stop to this divisive conduct?
John George, Terrigal, NSW
The Australian, August 17, 2016
Researchers who read stories about gender transitioning to children as young as five are calling for all state schools to introduce gender-neutral toilets.
Work by Flinders University academics, revealed in The Australian yesterday, has drawn criticism for introducing Year 1 students to books with transgender characters, such as mothers transitioning to fathers, and concluding that the Safe Schools program should be rolled into primary schools despite the transgender books confusing some of the students involved in an Adelaide trial.
Authors Clare Bartholomaeus, Damien Riggs and Yarrow Andrew have also called for resources about gender diversity, such as picture books, to be made available to preschool, primary and secondary students, as well as other measures to help schools “create inclusive whole school cultures”.
They recommend South Australia’s Education Department, which approved and organised their study, redesign toilets on all education sites as they are upgraded or newly built to better support gender diversity.
The issue of gender neutral toilets has sparked controversy in the US, where North Carolina has enacted a law mandating that people use only bathrooms which correspond to the sex on their birth certificate in government buildings, including schools.
The move prompted celebrities and corporations to boycott the state, while similar moves in other states have been so far stymied.
Gender-neutral toilets are not common in Australian schools, but are being introduced in universities. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill yesterday voiced support for a primary school expansion of the Safe Schools program, while deflecting questions on whether five was too young for children to understand gender transitioning.
“What I support is the right of children to go to school free of bullying,” he said. “I support schools using their own professional judgment to utilise the materials that may be available to them to actually deal with that issue in the schools.”
His Education Minister, Susan Close, reiterated that Safe Schools material was meant for high school students, “with primary schools only receiving support from the service provider for individual matters’’.
“While I support teaching children of all ages that difference doesn’t justify bullying in any circumstance, having not funded or commissioned this research, the Department for Education in South Australia is under no obligation to enact any of the recommendations from the report,” she said. A review of the Safe Schools program — initiated by the Turnbull government — found some of its content and resources were not appropriate for young students, prompting the government to revise its material and direct it towards only secondary schools.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday said he had no quarrel with the Flinders study since parental permission had been obtained from the students involved.
A university spokeswoman declined to provide a copy of the consent form but said Flinders was “satisfied that parents were comprehensively informed about the detail of the research’’.
“The form clearly states that an aim of the project is to explore how primary school students understand picture books that include trans or gender diverse characters,’’ she said. “Information was provided about support for children should any be discomforted.’’
The Australian, August 17, 2016
At best, reading picture books about cross-dressers and transgender characters to five and six-year-olds — who hopefully won’t understand them — is a ridiculous waste of time. Prep and grade one children who are beginning to learn the basics of reading, writing and numbers should not be distracted by such peripheral rubbish. “Decluttering” the national curriculum was a central tenet of the Donnelly-Wiltshire national curriculum review, which is one reason The Australian strongly opposes any rollout of the Flinders University gender diversity trial program, exposed exclusively on yesterday’s front page.
That’s the kind interpretation.
At worst, such programs, under the guise of diversity and anti-bullying, are about bullying innocent children, and their parents who dare to dissent from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex ideology of gender fluidity. The tactic is not new. As early as 1918, the Bolsheviks recognised the “force of children’s books”, editorialising in Pravda that “we must seize these weapons (children’s literature) from enemy (bourgeois) hands”. In the mid-1930s, German children were plied with anti-Semitic picture books in the early years of school and in kindergartens.
In our pluralist democracy, parents are free to read their own children books such as When Kathy is Keith and My New Daddy, in which the child narrator’s “mommy is my new daddy” who “needed to have an operation to make him become a boy like me”. Other parents prefer Paddington Bear, Cinderella or The Magic Pudding to instil a love of stories.
The class of 21 students who took part in the Flinders University project did so with parental consent. But there is no justification for imposing it across schools, especially when most children would need adult guidance to grasp the issues at stake. Proponents of this and the so-called Safe Schools program — which was heavily modified after a review by emeritus professor Bill Louden in March — argue such an approach is necessary to protect LGBTI students from bullying and abuse. An insistence on discipline and good manners are what’s needed on that score. Parents also could ask whether the premature introduction of gender fluidity ideology is even akin to an insidious form of child abuse.
The Australian, August 16, 2016
Children as young as five have been used for storytime sessions featuring books with transgender characters, introducing concepts ranging from cross-dressing to gender reassignment surgery, as part of a university study being used to advocate for the expansion of the Safe Schools program into primary schools.
A Flinders University research team has recommended the gender-diversity program, the curriculum of which is designed for Years 7 and 8, be rolled out to South Australian primary schools, despite a report acknowledging many of the students who participated in the study had struggled to understand some of the narratives.
The push comes as the future of the Safe Schools Coalition remains in doubt, with the federal government due to cease its four-year $8 million support from the middle of next year.
Originally pitched as an anti-bullying program, Safe Schools has become a politically divisive issue during the past year as details of the curriculum, which teaches students that gender and sexuality are fluid concepts, have emerged. An independent review of the program led to an overhaul.
As part of the research project, funded by Flinders University and the Australian Research Council, six picture books featuring transgender characters were read to prep and grade one students over five sessions. One of the books, My New Daddy, written by transgender author and LGBTI rights advocate Lilly Mossiano, follows the tale of a young boy who is told by his mother that “nature made a mistake” and “she should’ve been born a boy like him”.
“Mommy begins transitioning, and Charles calls her daddy,” says the blurb for the book.
“Daddy goes to see a doctor and has an operation. Charles now has a new daddy who loves him and he loves his daddy.”
The US author has published a similar book, My New Mommy, which was also read to the students, along with When Kathy is Keith and the autobiographical I Am Jazz, which also includes medical themes and language.
Christian lobby group Family Voice Australia described the project as “utterly inappropriate”.
“It goes without saying that most five and six-year-olds haven’t even worked out the birds and the bees yet,” said Family Voice national policy officer Damian Wyld. “Extreme ideological agendas have no place in classrooms.”
Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby, said parents should be concerned “that these academics think primary school children should to be taught that surgery for their mum or dad to change sex is normal”.
“After years of public advocacy for the gender requirement to be dropped from marriage, we should not be surprised that some academics want to induct even primary school children into a LGBTI worldview.”
The experiment was part of a broader research project that culminated in a recent report: Exploring trans and gender diverse issues in primary education in South Australia, by Clare Bartholomaeus, Damien Riggs and Yarrow Andrew. The project was supported by the South Australian division of the Safe Schools Coalition, which helped to distribute surveys to teachers and teaching students.
Dr Bartholomaeus and Professor Riggs have conducted extensive research on LGBTI issues, while Professor Riggs is national convener of the Australian Psychological Society’s interest group on gay and lesbian issues and the editor of its journal, the Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review.
A single class of 21 students took part in the project, which had ethics approval from the Adelaide-based university as well as parental consent. The report details some of the children’s reactions to the stories, which ranged from “he wants to wear a dress like girls so he said ‘I wanna be a girl’” to “I liked the story because the mum turned into a boy”.
Some seemed to be confused, however, saying “I didn’t understand, is it a boy or a girl?”
“For students who were not familiar with the topic, some of the narratives made little sense, although understanding appeared to increase across the sessions,” the report says. “Informed teaching would allow a space to provide explanations and explore students’ questions in order to increase knowledge and contribute to more inclusive school cultures.”
The report laments a lack of opportunities for educators’ professional development in the area of transgender issues as well as a broader climate of “misunderstanding and fear, evidenced in recent debates about the Safe Schools Coalition”.
The push goes against the findings of the independent review into the program, conducted by emeritus professor Bill Louden in March, which found some of its content and resources were not appropriate for young students. Program materials were audited and censored as a result.
More than 500 schools nationwide have so far signed up to the program.
In South Australia, where 48 schools were registered at the end of 2015, the program is facilitated by SHine SA, with funding from Foundation for Young Australians. SHine SA, which received $119,836 last year to run the program, referred inquiries to the FYA. “There is widespread community support for Safe Schools Coalition Australia and the Foundation for Young Australians will continue to work collaboratively with all states and territories to deliver support and advice for teachers now and in the future,” an FYA spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman did not respond to questions about how the program would be funded.
The Australian, August 1, 2016.
A leading education scholarship provider backed by some of Australia’s biggest businesses has begun quizzing high school students on their sexuality as part of its application process, sparking fresh concerns about the creeping influence of LGBTI rights activism on schools.
The Australian Business and Community Network Scholarship Foundation is inviting applications for its 2016 grants program and, for the first time, is offering a grant targeted at Year 10 students who “identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex”.
As a result, the application form inquires as to whether the candidate is male, female or transgender and whether they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. In past years, candidates were simply asked whether they were male or female.
The move means the program, chaired by prominent businessman Michael Hawker and financially backed by corporate heavyweights Microsoft, Optus and PricewaterhouseCoopers, strays from its original purpose of helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds with education-related costs.
The scholarships, each valued at $7000 over three years, are open to Year 10 students, who are typically 15 or 16.
The shift comes as the LGBTI lobby has become increasingly influential, including within schools, where programs such as the government-funded Safe Schools Coalition has sparked fears about young people being exposed to politically motivated ideologies around gender and sexuality.
Many of the ABCN’s board and council members head up organisations that have publicly backed the marriage equality push, such as Paul O’Sullivan of Optus, Microsoft boss Pip Marlow and Luke Sayers, who runs PwC in Australia. (more…)
Girls who are girls but not girls — It’s time to stop the Safe Schools subterfuge Safe Schools Coalition
Miranda Divine, The Daily telegraph, July 24, 2016.
THE story of Cheltenham Girls High School is a textbook example of the subterfuge involved in the controversial Safe Schools Coalition and how far education authorities and governments will go to preserve and conceal a program that subverts parents rights and values.
It is worth forensically examining how a school and a minister attempted to discredit a true story last week, how some media outlets gullibly accepted official denials, and how a group of courageous parents and teachers defied the cover-up anonymously to voice their concerns.
The fear felt by the whistleblowers, and the secrecy and euphemisms employed to disguise the true nature of the Safe Schools agenda really is of Orwellian proportions.
And the ultimate irony is that the principal of CGHS, Susan Bridge stood up at an assembly on Thursday to declare the school was being “bullied” by the media.
It all began last week with our story of how teachers at the all-girls school in northwest Sydney were asked in a staff meeting to stop referring to students as “girls”, ladies” and “women”, but to use “gender-neutral” language instead.
The story was based on detailed accounts from insiders who attended the meeting, but asked not to be identified.
More than half the meeting, which was held at the end of last term, after school hours, was spent specifically addressing the planned implementation of the Safe Schools program.
A video clip from the Safe Schools resources toolkit was shown at the meeting, depicting a transgender child who had changed from male to female.
“The ‘anti-discrimination act’, was projected across the board and it was stated that any teacher who did not comply with this act was considered a homophobe and law-breaker who would be receiving penalties as [is the case for] any other discrimination offences, and was not welcome by the school,” said someone who attended the meeting.
The tone of the two teachers running the meeting was described as “very authoritarian” and the presentation “included the request that all staff members within the school refrain from using terms such as ‘girls’, ‘ladies’ and ‘women’, and to replace those terms with ‘students’ and other non-gender specific terminology.
“This did not come from the principal, but from the two teachers running the meetings. They stated that teachers were to limit their usage of these terms to accommodate LGBTI students within the school… There was no way it wasn’t demanding,” an insider said yesterday.
All week, the NSW Minister for education Adrian Piccoli and school principal Bridge have denied our story and denied that CGHS is a member of the Safe Schools Coalition. This is despite the fact the CGHS was listed on the public register of NSW member schools on the Safe Schools Coalition’s website, but parents were never informed.
Mysteriously, that list of 135 NSW schools vanished from the website on July 8, so parents can no longer see if their children’s school has signed up. Thus far, member schools in Victoria and WA remain on the website.
Online media outlets, including the Guardian Australia and Crikey have gullibly accepted the official denials at face value.
Principal Bridge refused to answer our calls or respond to six detailed questions emailed on Tuesday in preparing our story and repeated on Friday. She released a public statement late Wednesday denying the story.
Minister Piccoli was provided with the same detailed questions on Tuesday, plus three additional questions.
He responded on Tuesday at 6.03pm with a generic single paragraph statement which did not deny the story or address the questions, and said the Department was investigating.
However early the next morning, he told radio 2UE and 2GB the story was untrue.
Piccoli cited “advice” from the Principal, who has gone into hiding, and he used the old “straw man” trick of denying things that were not in our story.
He even told 2GB’s Ben Fordham a fanciful story about that controversial staff meeting. He denied staff were asked to refrain from using gender-specific language, and said they were simply asked to use “appropriate language when referring to people with disabilities.
“There used to be words used to describe people with disabilities, we don’t use those any more… According to what I’ve been told it was a meeting about using appropriate language that doesn’t breach the anti discrimination act.”
Yeah sure, minister. Pull the other one.
Someone who actually attended the meeting said yesterday there was no mention of people with disabilities: “It was all about LGBTI and supporting students who are gender-confused.”
Safe Schools is a federally funded resource is presented as an “anti-bullying” measure, but it has been developed by self-described Marxist academics at Melbourne’s La Trobe University’s Sex, Health and Society Research Centre as a way of re-engineering children’s attitudes on sexual orientation and gender fluidity, without parental consent. (more…)
The Australian, July 21, 2016.
A fresh bout of acrimony has erupted among conservative federal and state politicians after revelations that teachers at a Sydney all-girls school considered switching to gender-neutral language, and not calling students “ladies” and “women”.
Several Turnbull government MPs are concerned about the rollout of changes to the Safe Schools program following a review commissioned by Education Minister Simon Birmingham, The Australian has been told.
The latest uproar came as a Sydney primary school banned students clapping, allowing them instead to conduct “silent cheers”, “pull excited faces” and “punch the air” to respect those who were “sensitive to noise”.
Elanora Heights Public School, on Sydney’s northern beaches, announced its new “silent cheer” policy in its latest newsletter.
Nationals MP George Christensen, who has led efforts to change the Safe Schools program rolled out to more than 500 schools nationally, said he regretted “claiming victory in that fight too early”.
“I have concerns, and I will be going to Senator Birmingham … I appreciate that we can’t control what state governments are doing, but where the program is being implemented in breach of federal changes, I believe we need to say we are no longer funding it,” he said. “No matter what the social justice warriors do, they’re never going to get rid of biological facts.”
The request for gender-neutral language at Cheltenham Girls’ High School in Sydney’s northwest came during a staff meeting last term to discuss the implementation of the Safe Schools anti-bullying program.
The school did not deny the topic was discussed, but said it “will not change the way students’ gender is referred to”.
A NSW Department of Education spokesman confirmed the school would continue to use gender-specific terms, and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has asked for a report to be prepared.
Nevertheless, several parents with children at the school have continued to raise concerns. (more…)
The Daily Telegraph, July 21, 2016
WHAT parents have to realise is there is nothing new or unusual about the controversy surrounding the allegation that Cheltenham Girls’ High has banned gender specific terms such as girls and boys in favour of gender-neutral language. A second example of adopting a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) agenda is Newtown High School of the Performing Arts allowing students to wear either girls or boys uniforms regardless of gender. Add the furore surrounding the lesbian-inspired Gayby Baby film being shown in schools and the Safe Schools Coalition program and it’s clear that there is a concerted campaign by LGBTI advocates to force their radical agenda on schools.
And those enforcing a cultural left agenda on students, like La Trobe University’s Roz Ward, responsible for the Safe Schools program, make no secret of the ideology underpinning their long march through the education system. In a speech at the 2015 Marxism Conference, Ward argues, “LGBTI oppression and heteronormativity are woven into the fabric of capitalism” and “it will only be through a revitalised class struggle and revolutionary change that we can hope for the liberation of LGBTI people”.
In the same speech, titled The Role Of The Left For LGBTI Rights, Ward goes on to argue “Marxism offers both the hope and the strategy needed to create a world where human sexuality, gender and how we relate to our bodies can blossom in extraordinary new and amazing ways that we can only try to imagine today”.
Welcome to the world of gender theory. A world, as argued by the Gender Fairy story, where primary-school children can choose the gender they want to be as “only you know whether you are a boy or a girl. No one can tell you”.
A world where students are asked to sing: “You don’t have to be a certain way just because you have a penis, you don’t have to be a certain way just because you have a vagina”.
And it’s been happening for years. As detailed in my 2004 book Why Our Schools Are Failing, cultural-left academics, the Australian Education Union and the Australian Association for the Teachers of English are long-term advocates of the LGBTI agenda.
The 1995 AATE journal is dedicated to promoting a cultural-left view of gender and sexuality.
One paper calls on English teachers to explore “alternative versions of masculinity”, while another warns against “the various ways in which gender categories are tied to an oppressive binary structure for organising the social and cultural practices of adolescent boys and girls.”
The AEU’s 2001 policy argues that either/or categories like male and female are not natural or normal and that “all curriculum must be written in non-heterosexist language”.
The AEU’s policy goes on to argue that any discussion about LGBTI issues must “be positive in its approach” and “homosexuality and bisexuality need to normalised”.
Ignored is that according to one of the largest national surveys of Australians, about 98 per cent self-identify as heterosexual and babies, with the odd exception, are born with either male or female chromosomes.
Fast forward to the NSW’s Teachers Federation’s LGBTI policies and it’s clear little has changed. The Federation supports the Safe Schools program and anyone arguing for the primacy of male/female relationships is guilty of “heterosexism”.
Anyone committed to the belief there are two genders is guilty of promoting “fear and hatred of lesbians and gay men” and the belief “other types of sexualities or gender identities are unhealthy, unnatural and a threat to society”.
Ignored, compared to many other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, India (where gay sex illegal) and African nations such as Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe, is that Australia is a tolerant and open society. Football clubs have gay pride matches, many of our elite sports men and women have no problem ‘‘outing’’ themselves and the Gay/Lesbian mardi gras is widely accepted.
What LGBTI advocates have to accept is parents are their children’s primary teachers and caregivers and imposing a politically correct, radical LGBTI agenda on schools is more about indoctrination than education.
Dr Kevin Donnelly was co-chair of the National Curriculum Review and is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University.
The Daily Telegraph, July 20, 2016
BOYS should dress up as girls as part of “non-gender-specific free play” and teachers should avoid terms like mum or dad when discussing parents — according to guidelines created by the NSW teachers’ union on how to deal with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex issues in the classroom.
It comes as a Sydney all-girls school where teachers were asked to not refer to students as “girls” ruled out enforcing the ban in the face of public outcry over political correctness gone mad.
Another strategy in the union guidelines includes displaying LGBTI posters, photographs and drawings in early childhood and primary school classrooms.
The Daily Telegraph yesterday attempted to get comment from the NSW Teachers Federation but was referred back to the document.
Cheltenham Girls High School yesterday posted a Facebook statement saying it would not ban the term “girls”.
“The school has not, and will not, change the way students’ gender is referred to,” it said. Yet parents remain dismayed the school has signed up to the controversial Safe Schools program without telling parents. Dr Wendy Moran has three daughters who have attended CGHS, including her youngest in Year 12. She has joined a group of 20 concerned parents who have written letters to principal Susan Bridge, complaining about the program and the secretive way it was being introduced.
They point out the recent federal government review of Safe Schools requires “agreement of relevant parent bodies for schools to participate”.
Dr Moran said the school had not consulted parents.
The Daily Telegraph yesterday did not claim CGHS was a Safe Schools member, only that it was in the process of implementing the program.
However it has since been discovered it was listed as a member of the Safe Schools Coalition on its website in a public register of member schools. Cheltenham Girls was listed as one of 135 schools in NSW that had signed up. But two weeks ago the names of NSW schools were removed from the Safe Schools website, so parents can no longer see if their child’s school is a member.
Cheltenham Girls High: Teachers at exclusive girls school told to preach gender neutral Safe Schools Coalition
Miranda Devine, The Daily Telegraph, July 19, 2016
TEACHERS at an all-girls school in northwest Sydney have been asked to stop referring to their students as “girls”, ladies” and “women”and to instead use “gender-neutral” language.
The request to teachers at Cheltenham Girls High School came in a staff meeting last term to discuss implementation of the controversial Safe Schools anti-bullying program for lesbian, gay and transgender (LGBTI) students.
Also at the meeting, a copy of the NSW anti-discrimination act was displayed, according to an insider, and staff were informed by the teacher chairing the meeting that if they did not support decisions of LGBTI students they would be breaking the law, would be considered homophobic and were not welcome by the school.
Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has asked his department to investigate the allegations.
Some concerned parents have started a petition and complained to teachers and to their local Liberal MP Damien Tudehope, saying their children feel marginalised and excluded if they don’t participate in LGBTI activities at the elite, ethnically diverse public high school.
Teachers have helped a group of students at the school form an LGBTI “Queer-straight alliance” club to promote LGBTI issues, such as Wear it Purple Day.
Other events included the temporary removal of an Aboriginal flag from a flagpole inside school grounds last month, which was replaced with a rainbow flag at half- mast for a week to commemorate a US terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.
“(Some of) the parents are saying that at (LGBTI) events like Rainbow Day and Purple Day that if their daughter doesn’t comply with what they perceive as the school directions their daughter is ostracised,” Mr Tudehope said.
He said parents from another school in his electorate had also approached him with similar concerns.
One mother who met principal Susan Bridge to express her concerns about the Safe Schools program was dissatisfied with the meeting, which resulted in the principal sending her a copy of the NSW Department of Education’s policy on homophobia.
Ms Bridge did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.
Mr Piccoli said: “I have asked the department to investigate these complaints promptly, in accordance with departmental policy.
“All schools are required to conform with federal government guidelines. I am advised all schools are following these guidelines. I have asked the secretary to confirm this is the case at all schools, including Cheltenham Girls High School.”
Dr Kevin Donnelly, senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and co-author of the Review of the Australian Curriculum, said the use of gender-neutral language such as “students” in place of “girls” and “boys” was part of the Safe Schools agenda to erase gender differences.
“They say it’s hetero-normative to talk about men and women, boys and girls, because it’s reinforcing a binary stereotype,” he said. “I disagree with all of that, but I can understand why the school would be doing it. Gender ideology is undermining any traditional sense of what it is to be a man or a woman.”
The Daily Telegraph, July 19, 2016
HOW can Premier Mike Baird continue to allow the warped anti-bullying Safe Schools program to be rolled out in NSW schools?
How much more proof do we need that the pretext of supporting lesbian, gay and transsexual students is a pretence, and that Safe Schools is really about enforcing a radical sexual and gender ideology on innocent children without parental consent.
We have reached the absurd position where teachers at an all-girls school in northwest Sydney, Cheltenham Girls High, have been asked to stop referring to their students as “girls”, ladies” and “women” and instead use “gender-neutral” language.
This is presented as a way to make a small minority of LGBTI students feel comfortable, but its insidious effect is to impose a transformation of the traditional view of male and female. We are told that it is bigotry to have a “heteronomative” view of gender as binary — male or female — or to believe that heterosexual attraction is the norm.
This is the attitude which Safe Schools is designed to stamp out.
But children who don’t go along with the illogical sexual and gender fluidity agenda are finding themselves excluded.
Joe Carolan, a former maths teacher at Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts, which is one of more than 400 “Safe Schools” in NSW, said last night that the banning of “heteronormative” language such as “mum and dad” is just the start.
He quit his job in protest at the program, which he said confused students and caused some of them distress. “The whole program is marketed as being about creating safe schools but it’s creating the opposite. It’s promoting extreme gender ideology that’s harmful to students in adolescence who are already going through issues and this is complicating things a lot more.”
At Cheltenham Girls High, in preparation for the Safe Schools rollout, a group of students have formed a “Queer-straight alliance” club which promotes LGBTI issues at the school such as Wear it Purple Day. Last month the school took down an Aboriginal flag from a flagpole inside school grounds and replaced it with a rainbow flag at half-mast for a week to commemorate the US terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Cheltenham Girls High School WSW Cup side.
But some students at the elite public school, with its large Asian population, feel marginalised and excluded if they do not embrace the ideology. Concerned parents have started a petition and complained to teachers as well as various politicians.
They have said their daughters felt pressured to wear LGBTI ribbons which were being handed out at the front and back entrance of the school one morning. And they have claimed students not wearing the ribbons were being called intolerant and labelled homophobes.
“A significant number of parents are concerned about this program being implemented in the school,” says their local Liberal MP Damien Tudehope.
“The parents are saying that at (LGBTI) events like Rainbow Day and Purple Day that if their daughter doesn’t comply with what they perceive as the school directions, their daughter is ostracised.
“My view overall is the Safe Schools program and this material should not be used without proper consultation with the parents and letting them know what the material is and how it is proposed to be taught.”
The Australian, July 20, 2016
A leading girls high school in northwest Sydney is being investigated by the state Education Department after several parents complained about its LGBTI programming, which includes teachers being asked to replace terms such as “girls”, “ladies” and “women” with gender-neutral language.
At a staff meeting at Cheltenham Girls High School last term, called to discuss the implementation of the Safe Schools anti-bullying program, it is understood teachers were shown a copy of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act and were told they could be breaking the law if they did not support the decisions of LGBTI students.
Cheltenham Girls is one of more than 150 schools across the country that has signed up as a member of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia.
Several parents have begun a petition calling for action from local Liberal MP Damien Tudehope. Mr Tudehope said some parents believed the program marginalised children who did not participate in LGBTI activities at the school.
“(Some of) the parents are saying that at (LGBTI) events like Rainbow Day and Purple Day that if their daughter doesn’t comply with what they perceive as the school directions their daughter is ostracised,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“My view overall is the Safe Schools program and this material should not be used without proper consultation with the parents, and letting them know what the material is and how it is proposed to be taught.”
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has asked his department to investigate. “All schools are required to conform with federal government guidelines,” he was reported as saying. “I am advised all schools are following these guidelines.
The Australian, July 16, 2016.
NSW has become the second state to pull its schools from the public register of members of the contentious Safe Schools anti-bullying program.
The Weekend Australian can reveal that the names of the NSW schools that are members of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia, convened by the Foundation for Young Australians, were removed from the program’s official website last Friday.
A spokeswoman for the NSW Education Department said the list had been pulled because inaccuracies had been identified. But Foundation for Young Australians development and external relations director Bronwyn Lee said it was due to harassment.
“The decision was made for NSW schools to no longer be publicly listed on the SSCA website due to harassment experienced by some schools in NSW,” Ms Lee said. “This was put into effect on Friday 8th July 2016.”
A department spokeswoman said: “In March 2016 the NSW Department of Education adopted the Australian government’s recommendations for Safe Schools. Principals have been supported to transition to the changed requirements.”
“The department recently became aware of a number of inaccuracies in the list published on the Safe Schools website. As a result, the list is now not publicly available.”
Informed of Ms Lee’s statement regarding harassment, the Education Department spokeswoman said: “As per the department’s previous response, the list was removed as it was inaccurate.”
Queensland member schools have not been publicly identified for months after some institutions received hate calls.
In Queensland, the Safe Schools program is not part of the curriculum, but the resources are available to principals on an ad-hoc basis if necessary.
There are currently 545 member schools across Australia in all jurisdictions, apart from the Northern Territory. On the Safe Schools website, it says the program is coming to the NT “soon”.
Of NSW and Queensland, the website says: “School principals decide how they promote their work with external service providers. If you would like to find out if your school is working with the Safe Schools Coalition please contact your school administration office.”
Early yesterday afternoon, the website said there were 411 member schools, a drop of more than 100 since last month. The number was changed back to 545 after The Weekend Australian asked the Foundation for Young Australians to explain the discrepancy.
The foundation’s Ms Lee said the number changed because of an administrative error. “It is not a reflection of a decrease in membership of Safe Schools,” she said.
The Safe Schools Coalition Australia offers resources and support to help schools “create safer and more inclusive school environments for same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families.”
In March, the Turnbull government ordered changes to the Safe School anti-bullying program after a revolt by conservative backbench MPs.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the program would only be used in high schools and some lesson plans would change.
The Daily Telegraph, June 28, 2016
Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party, which has the balance of power in the NSW Upper House, has vowed to withdraw support for the Baird government unless the Safe Schools program is suspended.
“I’m withdrawing support [for the government] unless they immediately take action to issue an instruction that the Safe Schools program is to be suspended in all government schools,” Mr Nile said yesterday from Tasmania, where he is campaigning for the CDP’s bid for a Senate spot in Saturday’s federal election.
“It must be suspended and then removed so it is no longer an approved program in NSW schools.
“I call it ‘Unsafe Schools’”.
Mr Nile says he is fed up with complaining about Safe Schools every time he meets with Premier Mike Baird, and yet the program remains.
“Everyone in the government acts as if the course is no good … but won’t take any action,” he said.
“We have raised it with the premier and I thought he would have by now issued some sort of order over the [education] minister [Adrian Piccoli] but he seems reluctant to have a head-on fight with him.”
Safe Schools is funded by the federal government and is used as a resource in as many as 131 NSW schools, including 23 primary schools.
It teaches children to question their sexual orientation and gender identity, telling them gender is determined by how you feel, not the genitalia with which you were born.
Critics say it sexualises children and is akin to paedophile grooming.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has announced changes to the program, but Mr Nile says it is not enough.
The CDP is running Senate candidates in every state, including Tasmania, where Mr Nile’s wife Silvano Nero is the candidate, and is directing preferences to the Coalition.
“We are the conservative alternative you can trust,” he said.
The Australian, June 28, 2016
Bill Shorten has confirmed Labor’s commitment to financing the Safe Schools Coalition, assigning an additional $6 million to the sexual and gender diversity program.
The grant, contained within the ALP’s just-released policy costings, represents a $2m-a year allocation, restoring funding for the program to the previous level initiated under Labor in 2013.
Although the Opposition Leader had previously pledged support for the program if he were elected, he had previously not detailed specific funding.
While the commitment is in stark contrast to the Liberal Party’s decision to scrap funding from next year, Labor looks set to retain at least some of the changes introduced by the federal Coalition government following a damning review that deemed some of the Safe Schools’ materials and lessons to be inappropriate for some children.
In a policy statement posted to its website, Labor said it would work with schools and experts to ensure that the program was based on “the most effective strategies to reduce bullying” and incorporated “best-practice parental engagement”.
“Labor will implement the program in line with the findings of the independent review,” it said.
The statement highlights the widening political chasm between federal Labor and its Victorian state branch on the issue, with Premier Daniel Andrews recently shunning the federal government’s overhaul of the program, stepping in to fund its compulsory rollout to all state secondary schools over the next two years at a cost of more than $1m.
The Victorian government last year announced an extra $1.04m to Safe Schools Coalition Victoria to ensure every Victorian government secondary school was a member by the end of 2018. That is in addition to the $215,000 a year it gives to La Trobe University to run the program in Victoria.
Australian Christian Lobby spokesman Lyle Shelton yesterday criticised Labor’s support for the program, questioning its priorities. “It’s appalling that the taxpayer should be funding a program that teaches children … that their gender is fluid and gives out information about gender reassignment surgery,” Mr Shelton said. “School just isn’t the place for it. If you are going to promote gender theory in schools, it needs to be debated as part of the election campaign. But there’s been no scrutiny — apart from in The Australian — of the decision to fund this policy.”
Founded in Victoria but rolled out nationally with federal government support in 2013, the Safe Schools Coalition was initially designed to help counter homophobic bullying in schools, attracting support from organisations such as beyondblue and The Black Dog Institute. While the program has long been opposed by conservative politicians and Christian groups, concerns spread to the wider community as aspects of the program’s curriculum, as well as the overtly radical politics of several personnel and supporters, came to light.
Safe Schools co-founder and Victorian manager Roz Ward was recently suspended by La Trobe University over comments made on Facebook, before being reinstated under legal pressure.
Numerous websites and Facebook groups have sprung up over the past few months to lobby against the Safe Schools program.
One such site, You’re Teaching Our Children What?, last week posted a video highlighting a Melbourne mother’s experience with the program at her children’s school.
Labor, however, has defended the Safe Schools policy, arguing that every student deserved to be treated with respect and dignity.
“Unfortunately, school is still a very difficult place for too many LGBTI Australians, “ Labor said.
“Every time bullying occurs in our schools, it distracts students from their learning and saps them of their potential.”
The program is run nationally by the Foundation for Young Australians, which receives one-third of its funding from government sources. Labor funding has been committed for three years from 2017-18.
The Australian, June 23, 2016
The research doyenne behind the controversial Safe Schools curriculum has spoken of “shaping an agenda” in order to attract support for the purported anti-bullying program — a bold admission likely to fuel concerns about a hidden ideological bent.
Emeritus professor Anne Mitchell, whose work with LGBTI communities helped spawn the program, has also revealed how early research into young people attracted to those of the same sex was purposely tied to a disease or public health issue to attract funding; initially HIV and later suicide.
“The early work I did in schools was all funded by youth suicide money,” Professor Mitchell told a Safe Schools Coalition event last month.
“People loved that — not gay people, but other people loved it. This was a great reason to spend money.”
According to audio leaked from the event, Professor Mitchell also said one of her team’s biggest successes was shifting the issue from the moral arena — given some religious schools would have been unlikely to sign on to a program that gave the appearance of supporting homosexuality — to a safety one.
“And schools were grateful of that; it made them feel safe,” she said. “It was a very successful way of shaping an agenda that could go forward at that time.”
Her comments, however, are likely to inflame debate about the Safe Schools program. (more…)
Transgenderism of Children is Child Abuse, American College of Pediatricians Rules Safe Schools Coalition
The Blaze, March 26, 2016
The American College of Pediatricians released a statement this week declaring that gender reclassification of children, also known as transgenderism, constitutes child abuse.
“The American College of Pediatricians urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex,” the statement, entitled “Gender Ideology Harms Children,” began. “Facts – not ideology – determine reality.”
The temporary statement, published Monday, March 21, with a full statement to follow in summer 2016, listed what the association ruled to be eight objective facts supporting their argument for why gender reclassification will now officially be classified as abuse:
1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder.
2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one.
3. A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such.
4. Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous. Reversible or not, puberty-blocking hormones induce a state of disease – the absence of puberty – and inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child.
5. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.
6. Children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. Cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and cancer.
7. Rates of suicide are twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBQT – affirming countries.
8. Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful as child abuse.
The policy statement was authored by President of the American College of Pediatricians, Dr. Michelle A. Cretella, Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians, Dr. Quentin Van Meter and Johns Hopkins Medical School Psychology Professor Dr. Paul McHugh.
McHugh, who once served as Johns Hopkins’ head psychiatrist, penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal in 2014, proclaiming that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” and calling sex change a “medical impossibility.”
Critics on the left were quick to offer vehement objections to the policy statement.
Brynn Tannehill of the Huffington Post claimed that “every single talking point in this position statement is a distortion or outright falsehood.” Tannehill accused McHugh of using “the ever more tarnished name of Johns Hopkins to distort science and spread transphobic misinformation.”
Writing for Patheos, Melinda Selmys dismissed the statement as one issued by a “Christian lobby group” posing as medical professionals.
Read the full policy statement here.
PS News, June 16, 2016
The ACT and Victoria are to work together on a range of education and health initiatives following a meeting between ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr (pictured) and the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews.
Mr Barr said the leaders agreed to collaborate in several areas, including the Safe Schools program, the prevention of family violence and access to medicinal cannabis.
He said also under consideration was the possibility of low-cost flights between Canberra and Melbourne.
Mr Barr said the Safe Schools program existed to do something about the bullying and discrimination faced by too many young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) Australians.
“Following our meeting, we will share curriculum resources and the findings of research into ways the effectiveness of the program can be enhanced,” Mr Barr said.
He said 80 per cent of homophobic and transphobic bullying of young LGBTIQ people occurred at school, distracting students from learning and sapping them of their potential.
“The training, resources and advice provided to schools, staff and students have been of high quality and are already highly valued by staff, students and families in the ACT,” Mr Barr said.
The Chief Minister said the ACT and Victoria would also undertake collaborative projects so both jurisdictions benefited from each other’s successes and resources.
“We will work together to encourage a low-cost carrier to introduce cheaper flights between these two dynamic capital cities,” Mr Barr said.
He said adding a low-cost carrier had the potential to provide a significant boost to tourism in both directions, supporting jobs in Melbourne and Canberra.
“We will also work together on access to medicinal cannabis in our respective jurisdictions and collaborate on trials and research,” Mr Barr said.
The Australian, June 13, 2016
Victoria’s peak Catholic schools body will branch out on its own to protect gay and transgender children from bullying, recognising the need for an “appropriate” program that does not veer into Safe Schools territory.
Catholic Education Melbourne has set up a “safe and supportive learning communities reference group” that will review anti-bullying procedures in Victorian Catholic schools, with a particular focus on students with gender-identity issues.
The move has the support of the principal of Geelong’s St Joseph’s College, Paul Tobias, who has been requesting CEM review procedures for dealing with homophobic related bullying in schools for 12 years.
St Joseph’s is one of two Catholic schools in Australia taking part in the Safe Schools program, which has been labelled inappropriate by the CEM and the National Catholic Education Commission.
Mr Tobias, who is part of the reference group, said he would consider leaving Safe Schools if the CEM put satisfactory anti-bullying programs in place.
The Safe Schools Coalition will be mandatory in Victorian state schools by 2018, but Catholic and other independent schools are not required to join.
“It is really encouraging that it looks like something is going to happen, although that group has been slow to meet,” Mr Tobias said. “I’m quietly hopeful that we are starting to move in a more positive direction.”
CEM executive director Stephen Elder said the body wanted to reduce bullying and discrimination in Catholic schools: “Underpinned by a Catholic understanding of the human person, the reference group will review current anti-bullying, respectful relationships curriculum resources, to ensure a consistent and best-practice approach (is) identified to support the ongoing work of schools in this area.” (more…)
The Australian, June 10, 2016
An architect of the school curriculum has demanded a stop to the “outsourcing’’ of religious instruction and sex education to “ideological interest groups’’.
Ken Wiltshire, who reviewed the national curriculum for the Coalition government last year, said controversial subjects should be taught only with parental consent.
He said the Safe Schools furore showed the danger of letting “ideological groups’’ devise lesson plans without Education Department input.
“Governments should never outsource the development of curriculum content to interest groups, particularly those with an ideological purpose or agenda,’’ he told The Australian.
“There is no quality assurance. No controversial material should be taught in schools without the agreement of parents, acting in concert with the school.’’
Emeritus Professor Wiltshire — a professor of public administration at the University of Queensland — said the furore over Safe Schools showed why education authorities should vet any lessons involving sex, religious, alcohol or drug education.
“We need to learn the lesson of the Safe Schools agenda,’’ he said.
“We don’t want material creeping into the curriculum without it being quality assured. You should never outsource the development of a curriculum to any group with a particular agenda, or blindly accept any curriculum material they have provided to be used in schools.
“Everyone should have the right to say what they think should go into a curriculum — but at the end of the day the education ministers are responsible for the curriculum.’’
Professor Wiltshire said governments often left the teaching of religion and sex education to outside groups because the issues were political “hot potatoes’’.
He warned it was unfair for education departments to expect principals to assess the suitability of religious instruction or sex education materials taught during school time.
The Safe Schools Coalition — an anti-bullying program for gay and intersex children — has been broadly criticised over its ideological agenda, which tells children they are “gender fluid’’ and teaches them it is “heteronormative’’ to refer to boys and girls, or use the pronouns “he” or “she”.
Its classroom materials included links to a gay youth website, Minus 18, which included instructions on penis tucking and chest binding, and promoted online links to sex shops and gay nightclubs.
The federally funded program — which was not developed by education or health experts — was co-written by Marxist activist Roz Ward, who was briefly suspended this month from La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society.
The Andrews Labor government in Victoria is defying a federal government directive that schools seek parental permission to teach the Safe Schools program.
Queensland — the only state that refuses to reveal which schools take part in Safe Schools — this week announced a review of Anglican Church teaching materials for religious instruction. The Connect curriculum, published by Christian Education Publications and available nationally, includes a lesson plan that tells children they “will die’’ if they are selfish.
The Queensland review follows a decision by the Anglican Church in NSW last year to remove religious instruction materials that taught Year 9 students they should “die for their faith if necessary”.
Professor Wiltshire’s co-reviewer of the national curriculum, Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Kevin Donnelly, said parents should have to give consent for religious or sex education in schools, but he disagreed with Professor Wiltshire’s call for official vetting of religious or sex education.
“Frankly I would not trust them (the national and state curriculum boards) to design a curriculum for potentially very controversial, sensitive areas,’’ he said. “They are very culturally Left. The difficulty would be getting an objective, impartial and balanced curriculum.’’
The Australian, June 9, 2016
A sexual-health academic whose research helped inform Safe Schools has dismissed parental concerns over its content, blaming a “hate campaign” by The Australian for controversy around the program.
As La Trobe University grapples with restoring the reputation of the program, emeritus professor Anne Mitchell has defended Safe Schools Coalition Victoria co-founder Roz Ward, who returned to work on Monday following a brief suspension, claiming her Marxist links were “an absolute gift” to detractors.
At a Safe Schools event at Melbourne’s RMIT university a fortnight ago, the retired academic was billed to speak on her research, but spent significant time attacking those who criticised the program for its promotion of gender ideology and sexualised content.
“These are the strategies that are effective all the time,” Professor Mitchell said, discussing a slide titled “The anatomy of an Oz Hate Campaign” attributed to a 2014 report by journalism academics Andrew Dodd and Matthew Ricketson, both former journalists at The Australian.
“It gets to the anti-communist rhetoric; Roz Ward was a gift to that, an absolute gift. They played that mercilessly,” she said. According to a leaked recording from the event, Professor Mitchell criticised the “depravity narrative” of the purported hate campaign, pointing to articles that revealed resources about penis tucking and breast binding — practices adopted by some transgender people — were being made available to students.
“You know what’s going to happen to the world if that goes on, especially in primary schools,” she said, prompting laughter from the audience. “Distortion is just so common in those articles; children as young as five may be taught that gender is not fixed or may be taught about homosexual sex.
“Deliberate distortion that frightens people.”
Professor Mitchell declined to comment yesterday, but an RMIT spokesman said she had been awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2014 for her sexual-health research and policy development in support of marginalised communities. Some of that research has come under scrutiny recently. (more…)
Queensland Labor acts against Christian schools program but not Safe Schools Government • Safe Schools Coalition
The Australian, June 8, 2016
The Queensland government, which refuses to identify schools that have joined the controversial Safe Schools Coalition, has targeted a Christian program after a complaint from a single Brisbane principal.
Education Minister Kate Jones yesterday ordered a review of the syllabus after a complaint was made by Windsor State School principal Matthew Keong.
The Connect religious program, developed by the Anglican Church, is offered to children of parents who have “self-identified” as Christians. (more…)
The Australian, June 8, 2016
Sweeping changes to the Safe Schools anti-bullying program demanded by the federal government three months ago have yet to be fully adopted by NSW education authorities despite orders to overhaul the initiative immediately.
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, who welcomed the findings in March as “sensible”, yesterday said the department was still “in the process of ensuring compliance with the federal government’s updated requirements”.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham decreed in March the program be restricted to high schools after a review, following an outcry about teaching recommended for Kindergarten to Year 6 students.
Yesterday, three NSW primary schools and up to 11 more in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania are listed as “members” of the Safe Schools Coalition on its website. The Queensland page lacked details of any primary or secondary-school members.
The Safe Schools Coalition, which is funded for $8 million for 2013-2017, yesterday insisted primary schools could remain members, despite the review.
A spokeswoman said: “The Federal Minister’s statement does not direct that primary schools cannot be members and we continue to work with schools at their request. Federal government requirements following their review stated SSCA limit the distribution of certain materials by … requiring local program managers to ensure the distribution and promotion of Safe Schools Coalition Australia program materials is restricted to secondary-school settings only.”
Schools are signed up at the discretion of principals. (more…)
The Australian, June 4, 2016
Sometimes one wonders about the priorities of politicians. There have been calls for Roz Ward — a principal architect and Victorian manager of the Safe Schools program who was briefly suspended this week from her job at La Trobe University — to resign, not because she has admitted to being responsible for implementing a compulsory gender-bending sex education program thinly disguised as an anti-bullying program, or because parents are appalled at the content, or because her response to parents who objected was “tough”. No, Ward is on the nose because she is a Marxist whose greatest crime seems to be that she dissed the Australian flag as racist and hoped to see the scarlet banner on Parliament House.
As someone who grew up in a family where the great-grandmother periodically would treat us to a spirited rendition of The Red Flag, I was discomforted. But whether the preferred banner was red, green or rainbow, jumping on Ward’s idiotic comment about the “racist” flag was not the issue uppermost in the minds of worried parents and critics of Safe Schools.
The issue was the damage that could be done by an extreme philosophy of gender fluidity and sexual libertarianism now embedded in the school curriculum. However, that Ward is a self-confessed Marxist is no great surprise. After all, where did all those Trotskyist activists at university in the 1970s go? They went into the environmental movement, the extreme feminist movement, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex lobby groups. They undermined the old Labor movement with its roots in the working-class family and formed a new set of green-left alliances to push their barrows. Within that alliance they can keep on deconstructing, breaking down social pillars.
And the strongest social pillar is, ironically, the family, the same conservative family from which the Labor movement originally sprang. The natural family is the No 1 enemy of every extreme ideology. Even today in Marxist societies the family plays second fiddle to the state. The state instructs and controls the family, not the other way around.
One way it does that, aside from hideous laws, is through an all-encompassing education system. Interestingly, this is what has happened in Victoria with the Safe Schools program. It began under the aegis of anti-bullying, in itself a fundamentally good thing, as a voluntary program. However, despite many parents and schools wanting to opt out when the content became public, the Andrews government mandated it. (more…)
The Australian, June 7, 2016
Legal experts have questioned whether La Trobe University could be penalised through the courts for its two-day suspension of Safe Schools founder Roz Ward, as the outspoken academic returned to work yesterday.
Ms Ward defiantly vowed to keep “fighting back” to push the program through schools after she received cheers, high-fives and a guard of honour from National Tertiary Education Union supporters at her Melbourne campus.
Ms Ward — an NTEU delegate — had instructed Maurice Blackburn to launch a case in the Federal Court if La Trobe failed to withdraw her suspension, and is still considering whether to make a claim for adverse action.
Legal opinions are split on whether such a case would succeed, with University of Sydney law school dean Joellen Riley predicting Ms Ward would struggle to show she had suffered adverse action from the two-day suspension that occurred after the self-declared Marxist described the Australian flag as “racist” on Facebook and called for it to be replaced with “a red one”.
“If she was coming to me in my capacity as someone offering legal advice … I would talk her off her high horse and say ‘just live with it’ because I myself couldn’t see a happy result for her in pursuing the matter,” Professor Riley said.
“It would be difficult for her to establish that she has actually lost anything.” (more…)
The Australian, June 4, 2016
La Trobe University has buckled to legal pressure over its decision to suspend Safe Schools co-founder Roz Ward for controversial comments about the Australian flag by reinstating her.
The extraordinary backflip came just hours after law firm Maurice Blackburn, backed by the National Tertiary Education Union, threatened to take the matter to court, claiming that Ms Ward’s suspension for alleged misconduct contravened the Fair Work Act, Victoria’s equal opportunity laws and the university’s own enterprise agreement.
In a statement last night, vice- chancellor John Dewar said the university did not accept it had acted unlawfully but it was “not in the university’s interests to be engaged in a high-profile and protracted legal dispute”.
Ms Ward, a prominent figure in Victoria’s Marxism movement, was suspended pending the outcome of an investigation on Wednesday following revelations in The Australian she had criticised the flag as racist, calling for a “red one” favoured by socialists.
The comments were condemned by the Victorian government and the opposition and Ms Ward, who has been overseeing the rollout of the Safe Schools program to all Victorian schools, was forced to resign from her role on a government education advisory committee. In a letter to La Trobe vice-chancellor John Dewar, employment lawyer Josh Bornstein gave the university until Monday to withdraw allegations of misconduct or face legal action. “Constraining Ms Ward’s right to express a political opinion because of the unreasonable and unfounded reaction of particular sections of the media, and the public to that opinion, stifles public debate [and] gives in to fear and ignorance,” the letter says.
However, Professor Dewar said the university had acted as it did, not because Ms Ward’s comments were political, but because they were made at a time, and in a context, when there was intense scrutiny of Safe Schools.
Our schools should have a zero tolerance approach to bullying of anyone over things like race, gender, religion, sexuality or appearance.
It is important that our schools foster respect and tolerance in our children.
Despite its name, Daniel Andrews and Roz Ward’s Safe Schools program is not at all about making schools safer for students. Safe Schools is not a broad anti-bullying program that encourages our children to respect others no matter what their circumstances.
Daniel Andrews and Roz Ward’s program is all about pushing one person’s radical-Marxist ideology onto other people’s children.
Victorian schools should provide genuine anti-bullying programs for students, which promote respect for all others irrespective of their circumstances. These programs should not be a Trojan horse for politicising the Victorian education system.
This is why a Liberal Nationals Government will remove Daniel Andrews and Roz Ward’s politicised program and replace it with an initiative that sends a strong message of mutual respect and anti-bullying.
We are dedicated to ensuring that our children are educated in a safe, inclusive and age-appropriate environment for learning.
A Liberal Nationals Government will put the safety of all Victorian children first with genuine anti-bullying procedures that provide healthy learning environments for our kids.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Education, Nick Wakeling:
‘The Safe Schools name is so damaged in the Victorian community that parents no longer have any faith in the program and that’s why it needs to be scrapped. ‘
‘We need to start all over again but this time without a fringe ideological agenda and a focus on a broader anti-bullying program that teaches kids to respect everyone and where parents are engaged.’
Victoria’s controversial Safe Schools program will be axed if the Coalition wins the 2018 state election, with Opposition Leader Matthew Guy promising to replace it with a “genuine” anti-bullying program.
A Liberal policy document provided to Fairfax Media claims the program is “all about pushing one person’s radical-Marxist ideology onto other people’s children”.
“Victorian schools should provide genuine anti-bullying programs for students, which promote respect for all others irrespective of their circumstances,” the documents says. “These programs should not be a Trojan horse for politicising the Victorian education system.”
The Safe Schools program aims to promote acceptance of LGBTI students and was introduced six years ago by the Brumby Labor government. It continued to receive funding and support under the Baillieu-Napthine governments.
But the program has recently come under attack, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announcing a review amid claims it aims to indoctrinates children with a “gay agenda”.
The Coalition has promised to replace the “politicised” program with an initiative that sends “a strong message of mutual respect and anti-bullying”.
Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said the initiative needed to be scrapped because its brand was too damaged.
“We need to start all over again but this time without a fringe ideological agenda and a focus on a broader anti-bullying program that teaches kids to respect everyone and where parents are engaged,” Mr Wakeling said.
The unambiguous pledge to scrap the program presents a clear policy divide ahead of the 2018 state election. Premier Daniel Andrews has promised to expand the program to every government secondary school by 2018, and said he received his policy advice from experts “not from bigots”.
It follows a decision by La Trobe University this week to suspend Safe Schools Coalition co-founder Roz Ward after she called the Australian flag “racist” on her private Facebook page.
And last week, Ms Ward was forced to resign from her advisory role on the government’s LGBTI education committee due to the same Facebook post.
Committee chair and Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen confirmed on Friday that she asked Ms Roz to stand down from the advisory role.
“The constant attacks on Safe Schools are unjustified and my decision was in the hope that the community would go back to focusing on the important work of Safe Schools and the program is about more than just one person.”
An Andrews government spokeswoman said they spoke to Ms Allen about the Facebook post ahead of Ms Ward’s resignation.
“Given the conservative campaign against Safe Schools, the government spoke to Ms Allen about the impact the post would have on young people and the program,” she said.
Meanwhile, La Trobe University could face legal action over its treatment of Ms Ward.
Maurice Blackburn wrote to La Trobe University vice-chancellor John Dewar on Friday and demanded that he reinstate Ms Ward and withdraw his allegations of misconduct.
It will commence legal proceedings in the federal court if the university fails to meet these demands by 10am on Monday.
The law firm and the National Tertiary Education Union believe that Ms Ward’s suspension contravenes the university’s enterprise agreement, the Fair Work Act and Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act.
“Constraining Ms Ward’s right to express a political opinion because of the unreasonable and unfounded reaction of particular sections of the media, and the public to that opinion stifles public debate, gives in to fear and ignorance,” employment law expert Josh Bornstein wrote in the letter to La Trobe.
Professor Dewar said the university was following its disciplinary processes and no determination had been made about Ms Ward’s future at the university.
Liberty Victoria joined the chorus of condemnation against La Trobe University on Friday, saying Ms Ward’s comments were “open political dialogue in a free and democratic society”.
Liberty Victoria president George Georgiou SC said La Trobe University “will deserve the consequences” of legal action.
A petition calling for La Trobe to reinstate Ms Ward has received more than 10,400 signatures. A rally will be held at the university’s Bundoora campus on Thursday.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/opposition-vows-to-dump-safe-schools-program-20160603-gpb7le.html
THE AUSTRALIAN, JUNE 3, 2016
The Victorian government is under mounting pressure to make sweeping changes to the Safe Schools program, despite the suspension of co-founder Roz Ward, amid the promotion of teaching resources based on radical and contested queer theory.
Critics have warned that sidelining Ms Ward from the program failed to address their broader concerns, given its main resource continued to teach students that gender, sex and sexuality exist on a spectrum, rather than being “absolute binaries”.
Growing calls for an overhaul of what started out as an anti-bullying program have come as Ms Ward, backed by the National Tertiary Education Union, prepares to head to court to challenge her suspension from La Trobe University.
Her suspension, announced on Wednesday, followed a revelation in The Australianlast week of a Facebook post by Ms Ward in which she criticised the Australian flag as racist.
The outspoken Marxist, who co-founded and managed Safe Schools in Victoria, called for the flag sitting atop parliament to be replaced by “a red one” — referring to the preferred socialist ensign — adding, “then my work here is done”.
A letter from the university to Ms Ward, which has been leaked to the media, accused her of breaching her employment conditions by undermining public confidence in the Safe Schools program and damaging the reputation of the program by aligning it with views that have nothing to do with its message and content.
Her name was deleted yesterday from the website listing Safe Schools facilitators.
While Ms Ward has courted controversy for some time, her plight attracted substantial support yesterday. The NTEU condemned La Trobe’s decision, claiming Ms Ward had been the target of a “media attack”. The union’s secretary Colin Long was meeting with lawyers last night.
“We are very concerned that La Trobe University management seem to think that political views should be a criterion for employment, as was the case in the Soviet Union,” Mr Long said.
The National Alliance for Public Universities echoed the union’s sentiments, calling on La Trobe vice-chancellor John Dewar to reinstate and apologise Ms Ward immediately.
Mr Dewar yesterday defended taking action against Ms Ward, saying while the university valued “independent thought and academic freedom”, staff must also adhere to a code of conduct.
SBS, June 2, 2016
Dylan Lloyd was bullied at school.
Now the self-identified queer person wants other gay, bisexual and transgender kids to get the help he missed.
When Opposition Leader Bill Shorten campaigned on the University of NSW campus, Mr Lloyd got a one-on-one chance to ask for a commitment to continue funding the Safe Schools program.
Mr Shorten gave it to him. (more…)
Herald Sun, June 2, 2016
SOCIALIST activist Roz Ward has been suspended from the controversial Safe Schools program over her comments slandering the Australian flag.
The founder of the anti-bullying program that promotes gender equality had faced increasing pressure to stand down from her position after last week posting on Facebook the Australian flag was “racist” and that she wanted to replace it with the red ensign favoured by socialists.
La Trobe University, where Ms Ward was based and runs the Safe Schools Coalition through its Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, has suspended her while it conducts an internal investigation into “serious misconduct”.
She had already resigned from a role advising a state government taskforce on LBGTI policies.
Ms Ward’s controversial post came after Premier Daniel Andrews made a public apology to the gay community and had a rainbow flag flying over parliament.
She wrote alongside a photo of the flag: “Now we just need to get rid of the racist Australian flag on top of state parliament and get a red one up there and my work is done.”
Her comments were met with disgust and she was forced to issue an apology.
The British academic’s suspension has been condemned as discrimination by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). (more…)
THE AUSTRALIAN, JUNE 2, 2016
La Trobe University yesterday suspended Safe Schools co-founder Roz Ward, as a former member of Victoria’s gay and transgender advisory committee warned the program was untenable because it had been hijacked by radical gender theory.
The Australian revealed last week that Ms Ward had called for the “racist Australian flag” at state parliament to be replaced with a “red one”, prompting her to quit her advisory role with the Victorian government and sparking a university investigation.
That investigation resulted in the Marxist Ms Ward’s suspension yesterday for “undermining” public confidence in the program because she continued to push ideologies that were “unrelated”.
A spokesman for La Trobe University said: “We are following our normal HR procures and we will not make any further comment.”
The National Tertiary Education Union said La Trobe had charged Ms Ward with “serious misconduct over media commentary on her private Facebook post”.
NTEU Victorian secretary Colin Long accused the university of giving in to a “media campaign”, invoking the spectre of the Soviet Union that once incubated the world view Ms Ward has since adopted.
“That La Trobe University has apparently allowed itself to be cowed into participating in this anti-intellectual, anti-democratic attack reflects the dismal state of intellectual capacity at the senior management level in some Australian universities,” Dr Long said. “We are very concerned that La Trobe University management seem to think that political views should be a criterion for employment, as was the case in the Soviet Union.”
The NTEU said it “considers that this is discrimination on the basis of political opinion and will be considering all legal avenues of redress”.
Gay rights activist Rob Mitchell — who was sacked from his Victorian government advisory role in 2014, arguing that he lost his job because he was too publicly critical of the former Napthine government for its inaction on tackling homophobia in schools — now believes Safe Schools has gone too far. (more…)
The Australian, May 31, 2016
One of the most influential backers of the Safe Schools program has threatened to withdraw future financial support, unless the founder of the program, hard-line Marxist Roz Ward, steps down over her comments denigrating the Australian flag.
Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett yesterday called for Ms Ward to resign from the role, saying her “extreme political views” rendered her “ineligible to be involved in any program …. in schools”. Mr Kennett, whose charity has provided almost $600,000 over the past two years to La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, which administers the Safe Schools program in Victoria, added: “You don’t want extremists in there. Her behaviour and her statement clearly indicate a belief which goes well beyond the conditions of which I am prepared to have this subject taught in schools.”
While Ms Ward’s Marxist leanings have been a matter of public record for some time, last week’s post to Facebook, in which she called for the “racist Australian flag” to be replaced with the red ensign favoured by socialists, appears to have been a step too far for her supporters within Victoria’s Labor government.
Ms Ward was forced to resign from a state government education advisory role as a result, while La Trobe University announced an investigation into her role as manager of Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, which is funded by the state government.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday called for Ms Ward to step down from the national steering committee for Safe Schools Coalition Australia, which has recently severed ties with the Victorian branch.
“Given Ms Ward saw it fit to resign from her appointment with the Victorian government, I would expect that she do likewise for any remaining role associated with the National Safe Schools program,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Her extreme views have done a grave disservice to this program and are anathema to the vast majority of Australians.”
The Australian understands that Ms Ward’s role on the steering committee has come under scrutiny in recent months, with several members approaching chairman Anne Mitchell to discuss her “ongoing involvement in the program”. (more…)
By Karalee Katsambanis, a mother-of-three and a journalist for more than 20 years.
The Age, May 30, 2016
New York City now officially recognizes 31 genders. Facebook has gone even better and upped the ante on New York by managing to recognize 58 genders.
NYC’s Commission on Human Rights has released a list of different genders that businesses must accommodate or risk a six-figure fine.
Using the wrong pronoun when referring to someone who may get offended by what someone else has said, could also result in a fine.
Talk about treading on eggshells. This whole gender identity issue is beginning to exemplify political correctness gone mad.
Sex and gender are defined as being different things. However, people really are beginning to tune out with the level of political correctness currently being rammed down our throats by a small minority intent on redefining well-known and understood societal norms.
It has nothing to do with recognising gender diversity as a genuine issue. But 58 genders? This is ridiculous!
It is high time we stopped tip-toeing around a tiny, radical minority and brought some plain old-fashioned common sense back into fashion.
This is also NOT about being homophobic, so let me knock that one on the head too. Gay friends were happy to be enlightened by me regarding the 58 choices we apparently all have, and even they rolled their eyes!
Number 1 on the New York list is bi-gendered, followed by cross-dresser, drag-king, drag-queen, femme queen, female-to-male, FTM, gender bender, genderqueer, male-to-female, MTF, Non-Op, Hijra, Pangender, Transexual/Transsexual, Trans person, woman, man, butch, two-spirit, trans, agender, third sex, gender fluid, non-binary transgender, androgyne, gender-gifted, gender-bender, femme, person of transgender experience, androgynous.
‘Woman’ and ‘Man’ come in at number 16 and 17 on the list and if most people are not a little surprised at that, then they are not being honest.
It defies logic that anyone outside a small, ideologically-driven cabal would even know all 31 supposed genders.
Facebook has introduced 58 “custom” gender options. Added to the 31 above, are the terms beginning with “Cis”. Cisgender, cis female, cis man, cis woman, cis gender female, cis gender woman, cis gender male, cis gender man and so the list goes on. (more…)
Safe Schools co-founder Roz Ward quits Vic government role over post Government • Safe Schools Coalition
The Australian, May 28, 2016
Safe Schools Coalition co-ordinator Roz Ward was forced yesterday to quit her advisory role with the Victorian government and faces a university investigation over a Facebook post where she labelled the Australian flag “racist” and called for it to be replaced with a socialist red ensign.
Ms Ward, who was advising the government on LGBTI issues, posted the incendiary statement after Premier Daniel Andrews apologised in the parliament on Monday for past gay discrimination.
The government hoisted a gay-pride rainbow flag on Victoria’s Parliament House as part of the historic event.
Ms Ward posted a photo of the rainbow flag on top of Parliament House on Facebook with the comment: “Now we just need to get rid of the racist Australian flag on top of state parliament and get a red one up there and my work is done.”
The Weekend Australian discovered the message during the week and on Thursday night asked the government and Ms Ward for comment.
In response, Ms Ward’s resignation and an apology was distributed to the media yesterday and the post removed yesterday morning from her Facebook page.
Ms Ward’s biggest allies, La Trobe University and the Victorian government, yesterday strongly criticised her post.
The government’s Gender and Equality Commissioner, Rowena Allen, said it was inappropriate.
“Ms Ward has acknowledged that the post was inappropriate and may have caused offence, even if meant in jest, and posted in private,” Ms Allen said.
“The Safe Schools program is not about any one person, it’s about providing safe and inclusive environments for all LGBTI kids at school. The Victorian government remains proud in its support of the Safe Schools program, and this will in no way affect the running of the program.”
Ms Ward remains employed as the Victorian co-ordinator of Safe Schools through La Trobe University, but a university spokesman said her post was being investigated.
“While the university respects academic freedom and the importance of free speech, we are concerned about the impact these comments could have on the good standing of our researchers in this field and the university takes this very seriously,’’ the spokesman said. “We will commence an investigation and consider all our available options.”
Ms Ward yesterday expressed regret. “I apologise for any offence that comments, posted on my private Facebook page, may have caused the government and members of the LGBTI community,’’ she said.
“These were private comments that were never intended for the public domain.’’
A government spokeswoman said: “Ms Ward’s view on the Australian flag is inappropriate and does not in any way represent the Victorian government’s view.”
The move may cause a headache for Mr Andrews, who has decided to fund Safe Schools in its current form, despite the federal government deciding its curriculum should change.
The program, which was ostensibly designed to prevent bullying of gay and transgender students, will be compulsory in Victorian state secondary schools by 2018.
The federal government pulled its funding from Safe Schools in March and gutted the curriculum after concerns from conservatives that it promoted a leftist ideological agenda.
Ms Ward has come under fire previously for linking the program with political causes. Railing against a “push to fit people into gender constructs that promote heterosexuality’’ at a Marxist conference last year, she alluded that Safe Schools was part of a broader strategy to change society.
9 News, May 25, 2016
Malcolm Turnbull has broken his two-year boycott of Alan Jones’ 2GB breakfast program, with the influential conservative broadcaster pressing the prime minister to “wipe out” the Safe Schools program.
Alan Jones started the interview saying those who were expecting another “brawl” would be disappointed.
Jones allowed Mr Turnbull to spruik his election campaign rhetoric mostly uninterrupted, and did not bring up Tony Abbott or last year’s leadership spill.
At one point Mr Turnbull praised Jones for making a point about superannuation “very eloquently, as always.”
“Thank you,” Jones replied, with a chuckle.
As the interview drew to a close, Jones asked the prime minister how he would feel about one of his daughters participating in the “role plays” as set out in the Safe Schools anti-bullying program.
Citing an example of a roleplay involving 15-year-old bisexual girl who already had “15 sexual partners”, Jones asked why it was not “wiped out of the curriculum”.
“What we have done is make some changes, based on independent, professional advice, and what they are is involving parental involvement and consent,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Speaking for the Coalition, parents should be (involved), and these are the changes we’ve made.
“There is no substitute for active, involved, and engaged parental consent.” (more…)
Mark Latham, The Courier Mail, May 24, 2016
In part, Mr Latham wrote:
Shorten has also moved Labor to the left with his embrace of the philosophical underpinnings of identity politics.
Post-structuralist Marxism argues capitalist social messaging and power structures are so debilitating for people that they can’t understand their true racial, sexual and gender roles in society.
Thus women are permanently oppressed by patriarchy. Ethnic minorities are the victims of embedded racism. All gender and sexual expression in society is fluid, meaning men can be women (and vice versa) whenever they choose.
Post-structuralism was the brainchild of Michel Foucault (1926-84), a radical, socially deviant French philosopher.
Foucault was opposed to the Age of Enlightenment, arguing that Western traditions of knowledge-based reason locked people into the “historical construct” of their identity “essence”.
He aimed to liberate the individual from these oppressive, bourgeois influences.
This philosophy has inspired the Safe Schools and Building Respectful Relationships programs introduced by the Victorian Labor government and supported by Shorten.
The programs’ authors have openly declared their commitment to post-structuralist Marxism.
One of them, Roz Ward from La Trobe University, told Melbourne’s Marxism 2015 Conference that: “The Safe Schools Coalition is making some difference but we’re still a long way from liberation; Marxism offers the hope and strategy needed to create a world where human sexuality, gender and how we relate to our bodies can blossom in extraordinarily new and amazing ways.”
The Sunday Telegraph, May 22, 2016
AT least we know that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews are sensible parents.
Both Labor politicians have chosen to send their children to schools where they will be protected from the sexual propaganda of the Safe Schools program.
Andrews has made Safe Schools mandatory in Victorian schools and derides as “bigots” anyone who criticises its extreme teachings on “gender fluidity” and “heterosexism”.
But, while he’s happy to inflict such nonsense on other people’s offspring, he sends his own children to Catholic schools where Safe Schools will never be part of the curriculum.
Shorten sends his daughter to a local public school in Melbourne but she is too young to be exposed to Safe Schools until she hits high school.
But if she follows her older siblings into independent schools, she, too, is likely to remain blissfully safe from Safe Schools.
Do what we say, not what we do, is alive and well among Labor’s elite.
ON THE VERGE OF SILLINESS
THE dominant media narrative about this election seems oddly misaligned with observable facts.
For instance, Fairfax media yesterday trumpeted the latest IPSOS poll as evidence that Malcolm Turnbull is in dire straits.
In fact, it shows Labor’s primary vote still stuck at an unwinnable 34 per cent.
Then there was the unfortunate mishap with Bill Shorten’s convoy near Cessnock on Thursday. Footage on Channel 9 showed what happened. About 12.45pm, the Shorten convoy is crawling along the 80km/h road and then begins slowly pulling off the road one by one onto the narrow verge.
A white Mitsubishi Magna behind them pulls out to overtake the convoy and collides with a blue Nissan Pulsar driven by a 21-year-old woman who is later taken to hospital with minor head injuries.
Shorten invites the driver of the Mitsubishi and her small son to take refuge in his car while emergency services personnel free the trapped driver from her Nissan.
Fair enough. But every story then became about wonderful Mr Empathy.
It was ‘Shorten comforts mother’ and not ‘Shorten’s convoy creates traffic hazard that results in head-on collision’.
We know from local resident Norm Aboud that “it’s a dreadful little bit of road so your life is in your hands every time you’re on it”.
Yet the wisdom of calling an impromptu press conference on the narrow verge of a notorious stretch of a country road went unquestioned.
David Penberthy: The innocence of youth has been swallowed up by a cesspit of porn Safe Schools Coalition
Sunday Mail (SA), May 21, 2016
In part, David Penberthy, says:
As a parent, my main gripe with the Safe Schools issue had little to do with questions of sexual preference but more that it was predicated on the apparent primacy of sexual conduct in determining one’s identity, with its target audience including many very young people who do not engage in sexual conduct at all.
I could not care whether people are straight, gay, bi or devoted to a life of abstinence. No child should be made to feel isolated or vulnerable on the basis of their sexuality or identity. Kids will, hopefully, learn that at home, and their schools should remind them of the fact.
But the thing which annoyed me most about the Safe Schools agenda – specifically, the external resources it relied upon courtesy of radical outside organisations such as Minus 18 – was that some of the teaching modules went way beyond urging respect, tolerance and awareness.
They seem to be demanding sexual activity, or at least working on the presumption that everyone in class is sexually active, creating an environment where young people risk feeling like losers if they’re not.
At a time when so many kids are struggling to read and write, or develop a deep knowledge of history or geography, it seems bizarre that we will set aside much-needed taxpayer dollars for so-called “learning” modules on the Minus 18 website which canvass a range of sexual practices and which even make light of the prospect of catching STDs.
Every parent of teens and soon-to-be teens will tell you that the toughest gig in parenting these days is limiting the time the kids spend social networking. It is difficult to limit their use because computers are now so intertwined with the curriculum that there’s always an ostensibly valid reason to have the damn things in front of them.
The amount of time they spend online is a less-troubling issue than the prospect of what they will find – by accident or design – when they get there.
For girls, it means self-doubt, anxiety over their appearance, and a warped sense of how they should behave; for boys, it means a tawdry set of expectations for their interactions with women. And it has all been created by an adult world where even some of our nuttier educators are wholly defined by the question of what they choose to do with their private parts.
Read Full article.
The Australian, May 23, 2016
Roz Ward, the hardline Marxist behind the contentious Safe Schools program, has been appointed to a high-level committee advising the Victorian government on education issues.
With the taxpayer-funded sexual and gender diversity program having become a hot election issue, after the Greens and Labor pledged to boost funding, the Andrews Labor government appears increasingly committed to pushing an LGBTI agenda in the schoolyard.
Ms Ward, already a director of the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, has joined the education reference group set up to provide advice on the government’s LGBTI education priorities and identify new ways to improve equality for gay and transgender youth in schools.
The group comes under the mantle of the government’s LGBTI Taskforce, co-chaired by leading transgender activist Brenda Appleton, which provides direct advice to Equality Minister Martin Foley.
While the taskforce membership was announced in September, the make-up of its education reference group has not been publicly disclosed. But Ms Ward’s role is detailed on the website of La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, where she works.
Ms Ward, an academic with a degree in gender studies, has become the controversial face of the Safe Schools movement, largely due to her extreme Left political views; including publicly linking the program to a broader Marxist push to liberate society from “gender constructs”. (more…)
Anthony Fisher, The Australian, May 21, 2016.
“Bishop jailed for excluding gender ideology from classroom”; “Muslim parents required to enrol children in gay-friendly program”; “Hindu teacher who said marriage between man and woman fined for hate speech” — such might be the headlines if the new Greens policy on religious liberty and “heteronormative bigotry” were ever to become law.
Some Greens policies are very attractive to many religious believers and other idealists; for example, with respect to the environment or refugees. So they are all the more confused by recent moves to push our new groups of religious believers to the margins.
Religious liberty is set to become a major issue in the forthcoming election. Parents send their children off to school each day expecting their minds to be nourished and their safety guaranteed. But the Greens want $32 million spent on a so-called Safe Schools program that is neither nourishing nor safe, and want churches, schools and parents charged with discrimination if they fail to conform. They’ve challenged other parties to make similar announcements.
The Safe Schools program as originally published was controversial; it was somewhat amended after a review and may be defunded after the election. But some favour continuing to fund the revised version and the Greens want the unreformed version imposed on all. This proposes that children be taught that sex is about the outside body but gender about how you feel inside; that it’s up to you to choose your gender and how you express it; that children should play-act as if they were LGBTI adults; that they should feel free to dress in the school uniform of the opposite sex and use their bathrooms; and so on.
It also denounces examples of “heteronormativity”, such as people asking if a baby is a boy or a girl. And it’s all being badged as an anti-bullying program, needed to protect kids from the hateful bigots that occupy our schools.
Ironically, some of the loudest advocates of this “anti-bullying program” are set to engage in some big-time bullying themselves. They would rather force church schools to close than allow them to teach politically incorrect things. Name-calling and belief-shaming of those who disagree with us are textbook bullying — yet these advocates call anyone who disagrees with them a “bigot” or a “homophobe”. (more…)
The Australian, May 19, 2016.
Labor will review the carve-outs in Australia’s anti-discrimination laws, with Bill Shorten leaving open the door to removing further exemptions for religious institutions.
The Opposition Leader also committed to extending funding for the contentious Safe Schools program beyond 2017 while providing no solid defence of religious freedoms amid a fresh push to tighten anti-discrimination measures.
While the Greens this week tied themselves to a termination of the religious exemptions in the national anti-discrimination framework, Labor’s own policy platform commits the party to a re-examination of the appropriateness of the existing carve-outs. The review leaves open the prospect of a Shorten-led Labor government winding back or even removing religious exemptions from Australia’s anti-discrimination laws.
Opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus suggested a strong approach would be taken on this issue. “Labor believes that no faith, no religion, no set of beliefs should ever be used as an instrument of division or exclusion,” Mr Dreyfus told The Australian.
“Condemning anyone, discriminating against anyone, vilifying anyone is a violation of the values we all share, a violation which can never be justified by anyone’s faith or belief.”
Asked last night if Labor supported or opposed removing the religious exemptions as per the Greens proposal, The Australian was referred by Bill Shorten’s office to the ALP platform, which argues the carve-outs must not prevent people from accessing “essential social services”.
No clear answer was given by Mr Shorten on whether he supported the removal of religious exemptions. When pressed on this issue on the campaign trail in Sydney, he said: “We do believe that people shouldn’t be discriminated against in their employment on the basis of the criteria which currently exist. So we are not as keen to just simply start changing everything, denying people their employment rights.”
The Safe Schools program triggered a conservative backlash for introducing students to the concept of gender fluidity and encouraging school kids as young as 11 to role-play being in same sex relationships.
Malcolm Turnbull ordered a review of the scheme this year following a revolt by a majority of the Coalition backbench, with Education Minister Simon Birmingham then limiting the program to secondary schools, removing inappropriate content and involving parents.
Yesterday the Prime Minister said the program had been modified to the extent there was more parental involvement and consent in it “which I think most parents would find reassuring’’.
“Labor and the Greens are heading in a trajectory of their own,’’ Mr Turnbull said.
Asked about the Safe Schools program yesterday, Mr Shorten confirmed Labor would continue to fund the scheme but did not say whether he would keep the heavy curtailments introduced by Senator Birmingham.
The Australian, Cut and Paste, May 19, 2016.
Anti-bullying, or else! Bill Shorten is all in with the Safe Schools agenda, yesterday:
I don’t want politicians trying to dictate books kids read in school or their curriculum. That’s what we’ve got teachers and experts for.
Leave it to the “experts” to dictate, then. Safe Schools co-ordinator Roz Ward, quoted in The Australian, March 22:
When people do complain then school leadership can very calmly and graciously say, ‘You know what? We’re doing it anyway, tough luck’! (It’s) not about celebrating diversity; not about stopping bullying. (It’s) about gender and sexual diversity.
And definitely don’t let parents have a say. Safe Schools manager Joel Radcliffe, from the same article:
Parents … seem to have a lot of power (in) schools. Parents don’t have the power to shut this down.
The Australian, May 18, 2016.
Labor is considering restoring the controversial Safe Schools program after the Greens promised to roll it out fully and strip churches of exemptions in discrimination laws.
As the opposition continues to be forced to defend its left flank from the Greens, Labor may reverse changes the Coalition made to the program this year amid an outcry over 11-year-olds being asked to role play as gay teenagers.
Labor’s education spokeswoman, Kate Ellis, told The Australian: “We established the Safe Schools program and we think it does incredibly important work.
“In contrast, the Liberals are cutting the program entirely next year. Given Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals are intent on pursuing their divisive plebiscite on marriage equality, it’s more important than ever before that LGBTI young people, and kids growing up in diverse families, are safe from bullying at school.” (more…)
Federal election 2016: churches put ALP on notice over Safe Schools Government • Safe Schools Coalition
The Australian, May 18, 2016.
Labor risks putting religious groups offside in the lead-up to the election if it decides to fund the controversial Safe Schools Coalition gay and transgender anti-bullying program.
The Greens yesterday pledged $32 million to the program in the next four years but Labor’s education spokeswoman Kate Ellis is yet to reveal its policy.
The Coalition gutted the program in March and said it would not continue federal funding after 2017, in response to concern from conservatives that it was promoting a leftist ideological agenda.
Anglican Bishop of North Sydney Chris Edwards said the Sydney diocese would oppose federal funding for Safe Schools.
“But especially concerning were the comments by the Green’s spokesman that they opposed the requirement for students to obtain parental permission to take part,” he said.
Victorian Catholic Education Office executive director Stephen Elder said the Greens’ pledge was not an appropriate use of public funds. “When 1728 Catholic schools in Australia were given a choice, only two chose to include Safe Schools material in their curriculum. This is because wellbeing programs within our system already teach the benefits of family values, respect for self and others to promote an anti-bullying message,” Mr Elder said.
He said a cynic would see the Greens announcement as merely political grandstanding. (more…)
Federal election 2016: Greens turn up heat on Safe Schools agenda Government • Safe Schools Coalition
Paul Kelly, Editor-At-Large, The Australian, May 18, 2016
The Greens pledge for a $32 million four-year rollout of the gender fluidity Safe Schools program — combined with a frontal assault on religious liberty by toughening anti-discrimination law — lights up sexual and cultural values in this election and poses serious questions for Labor.
The revolt is now gathering pace — led by the ALP Andrews government in Victoria and the Greens — against the Turnbull government’s hefty curtailment of the Safe Schools agenda and its intention to stick by the original plan and terminate federal funding in 2017. Bill Shorten and Labor have been fierce champions of the Safe Schools program. They attacked the March 18 announcement by Education Minister Simon Birmingham that imposed major revisions in the teeth of hostility from the program’s advocates. Shadow minister Kate Ellis slammed the decision as an “absolute disgrace” and branded the critics as divisive and extremists.
Yet Bill Shorten during a full week of campaigning on education and schools last week failed to spell out Labor’s position.
That cannot last long since the Greens have now tried to wedge Labor yet again — this time on the Safe Schools program, seen as iconic by political progressives. So, where does Labor stand? The ideological anger over this program, on both sides, is intense and growing. It was bound to happen. Many observers were slow to fathom that the Safe Schools program — with its pervasive philosophy of gender fluidity and rejection of the male/female gender paradigm — was destined to become a values and culture war battleground between traditionalists and progressives backed by the LGBTI community.
The performance of political leaders on this issue has been astonishing. Premier Daniel Andrews regularly brands critics of the program as “bigots” and Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, regularly brands them as “homophobes”. Such inflammatory language from party leaders and premiers about their critics is almost unprecedented in politics these days. It is completely unacceptable coming from leaders, but reveals the depth of feelings around this issue.
Andrews and the Greens are turning up the political heat. Malcolm Turnbull has been extremely reluctant to get involved in this public debate despite Birmingham’s significant changes to the program last March after a revolt by a majority of the Coalition backbench.
The risk for the Coalition is that its conservative heartland — for example, think Senator Cory Bernardi — will re-engage and compound past errors with more counterproductive remarks. But since protesters defaced Bernardi’s office and intimidated his staff, his ongoing involvement is pretty much inevitable.
The Greens in their statement yesterday have escalated the stakes by tying changes to anti-discrimination law to the expanded Safe Schools program to deliver “a full suite of policy positions on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia”.
The Greens sexuality spokesperson, Senator Robert Simms said: “Under current anti-discrimination laws, a gay man can be fired from working at a private school and a transgender person can be turned away from a religious homeless shelter.”
The exemption from anti-discrimination law for religious institutions and schools allows them to retain their religious character. It is a cornerstone for religious freedom in this country. Eliminating the exemption has long been a priority target of the Greens, many progressives and human rights lawyers.
The prospect is that legal changes would allow the state to impose agendas such as the Safe Schools program on faith-based institutions against their will. The Andrews government has long said it wants the Safe Schools program mandatory in all schools. The Greens are fully aware of the electoral clout of the LGBTI community and its supporters. (more…)
The Australian, May 18, 2016.
In the unfortunate event Australians found the Greens in a power-sharing alliance with Labor after July 2, nobody, including party leader Richard Di Natale, could surely expect their absurd proposal to back away from the US alliance, the bedrock of Australia’s strategic policy for 75 years, would ever see the light of day.
The views set out by Senator Di Natale to the Lowy Institute yesterday would better suit a fringe protest group than a professional party. Their pacifist approach would also scuttle the $50 billion submarine project in South Australia. With a quasi-religious fervour, the Greens’ real agenda for the coming parliament also emerged, however, in the form of their “plan for inclusive communities’’, released to mark the “International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia’’.
In supporting “our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities’’, the plan brushed aside the rights of families who would prefer their children to attend school — including religious schools — without being guilt-tripped over the use of “heteronormative’’ words such as ‘‘he’’ and “she’’, wasting time role playing same-sex relationships and repainting zebra crossings in rainbow colours.
Such arrant nonsense has no place in an education system falling behind Asian and other nations in literacy and numeracy. The Coalition modified the Gillard government’s “Safe Schools’’ program after The Australian revealed its content in February. It will not fund it after next year. But the Greens would quadruple its four-year funding to $32 million.
More alarmingly for parents whose children attend religious schools — a third of enrolments — the Greens want the elimination of exemptions to anti-discrimination legislation on religious grounds. All schools should outlaw bullying and instil respect for individuals, regardless of race, faith, gender, or sexual orientation. But the extremes of the so-called queer agenda are anathema to most Australians, who find them ridiculous at best. That includes state school parents, who are entitled to a say in whether the Safe Schools program is taught to their children. The Greens’ eagerness to impose such an agenda amounts to support for rigid social engineering. (more…)
The Guardian, May 17, 2016.
The Greens have promised to remove religious exemptions to federal anti-discrimination law and increase funding to the Safe Schools anti-bullying program.
The promises are contained in broad-ranging Greens policy for LGBTI rights to be released on Tuesday by their LGBTI equality spokesman, Robert Simms, and gender identity spokeswoman, Janet Rice.
The Sex Discrimination Act contains a number of exemptions for religious organisations providing accommodation and religious educational institutions
The Greens are concerned that these allow gay teachers at religious private schools to be fired for their sexuality or faith-based homelessness shelters to refuse to accept transgender residents.
The Australian Law Reform Commission’s traditional rights and freedoms inquiry said these were designed to protect religious freedom. In submissions to the inquiry, some religious organisations such as the Australian Christian Lobby said they did not go far enough in protecting their freedom. (more…)
The Australian, May 17, 2016.
Labor education spokeswoman Kate Ellis is yet to declare whether the party will fund the Safe Schools program, but yesterday noted that it “does incredibly important work”.
The anti-bullying program, which was supported by the Labor Party, was gutted by the Coalition in March in response to concerns that it promotes a leftist ideological agenda.
The Coalition declared that Safe Schools would receive no federal funding after next year, when the Gillard government’s $8 million contribution to the program runs out. It also banned links to third-party materials on the Safe Schools website, such as the promotion of gay and transgender youth network Minus 18.
Ms Ellis yesterday would not reveal Labor’s policy on Safe Schools and whether it would fund the program after 2017.
“We established the Safe Schools program and we think it does incredibly important work,’’ she said. “The government will cut this program entirely next year. Labor will have more to say on our education policies in the lead up to the election.”
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: “If the Labor Party choose not to support our responsible and measured changes then they will need to explain to Australian parents why they believe the removed web links and classroom activities should be retained.”
The Australian, May 17, 2016.
A vocal critic of the controversial Safe Schools Coalition has accused Facebook of censoring its conservative viewpoint after a newspaper article that it shared at the weekend mysteriously disappeared.
The article, published in The Weekend Australian, had highlighted cases of the gender and sexual diversity program being taught in primary schools, despite it being intended for secondary schools only.
Christian lobby group Family Voice Australia uploaded the article, titled “Kids of 7 learn ‘gender diversity’ from Safe Schools Coalition”, at 11am on Saturday and by mid afternoon it had generated hundreds of “likes”, shares and comments.
When a site administrator checked the page again at about 7pm, the article was gone, leaving in its place a message advising the account had been “sending out spam”.
Family Voice also claimed this was not the first time its posts had been deleted, with several articles it shared last year about its traditional view of marriage also disappearing.
Last month, John Dickson, who runs the Centre for Public Christianity, revealed that an opinion piece he had penned and uploaded to Facebook was removed for failing to adhere to “community standards”. The article had called for a more respectful debate on same-sex marriage. (more…)
Wagga councillor Paul Funnell slams Safe Schools program as ‘debauchery’ of policy Government • Safe Schools Coalition
The Daily Advertiser, May 16, 2016.
City councillor Paul Funnell has spoken out against the increasingly contentious program that has reignited hostile debate ahead of the federal election.
Mr Funnell said rather than being an anti-bullying policy, the Safe Schools initiative would lead to a radical sexualisation of young Australian students.
“This programme has nothing to do with abolishing bullying,” Mr Funnell said. “It’s disgraceful, X-rated social engineering and will see the sexualisation of our children.”
The program, intended to be rolled out in primary schools across the country, is aimed at developing a safe and inclusive environment for same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families.
Mr Funnell described some of the program’s suggested content as completely “ludicrous” and even, in some cases, “criminal”.
“The material is completely inappropriate and does not belong in schools,” he said.
“Much of this would be considered grooming if it was not wrapped up in this programme and people would be rightly arrested.
“It’s ludicrous that this program teaches children that your genitals don’t determine your gender and it completely warps their concept of sexuality.” (more…)
The Age, May 14, 2016.
Hostilities over the Safe Schools program have reignited ahead of the election, with Victoria walking away from federal funds to openly defy Malcolm Turnbull’s attempts to amend the controversial curriculum.
After declaring Victoria would go it alone to make the program mandatory in every secondary school, the Andrews government will launch a new web page on Sunday providing access to the original material used to teach students about sexual diversity – rather than any watered down versions produced by the Commonwealth.
The move comes after Safe Schools resources were taken down from the program’s national website in recent weeks, redesigned to remove any lessons or links the federal Coalition deemed inappropriate for students, and placed on a federal government-controlled online portal.
But the latest developments have enraged Victoria, with state Education Minister James Merlino claiming he wasn’t properly consulted before the material was removed, and accusing the Prime Minister of standing “with the bigots and bullies instead of standing up for vulnerable students”.
“We will continue to support SSCV (Safe Schools Coalition Victoria) and will make the existing resources available on the department’s website because Safe Schools saves lives,” Mr Merlino said.
Defying the Commonwealth means Victoria will be required to spend about $1 million of its own funds to roll out the program, and the Safe Schools Coalition of Victoria will not receive any additional financial support from Canberra (worth around $300,000), unlike other states that adhere to the Coalition’s changes.
But it also will mean that teachers and students will be able to use every lesson plan in its original form – including the All of Us teaching manual that conservative Liberal MPs such as Cory Bernardi claimed was “indoctrinating children”. The state will also make available a new resource for students in grade five to year 10, which focuses on same-sex families. (more…)
The Australian, May 16, 2016
Students and teachers across the country will still be able to access resources of the original Safe Schools program that were axed by the federal government, after the Andrews government vowed to fight “bigots” by making the course material available online.
Victoria is the only state planning to continue with the unamended version of the program — which includes homosexual role-play and asks students to consider gender as a fluid concept — following a review that prompted changes to the federally funded course.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he would encourage students in other states to search for the material on the Victorian education department’s website. (more…)
The Australian, May 14, 2016.
Children as young as seven have been exposed to lessons about “transgender experiences”, with the Victorian head of the controversial Safe Schools Coalition admitting having taught the secondary school program in primary schools.
In a lecture given by Safe Schools co-founder Roz Ward, which was captured via audio recording, she discusses an activity from the program’s main teaching guide, All of Us, claiming, “I did this with a Grade 3 class”. “It’s a great activity if you ever want to do it,” she tells the group of teachers.
In a separate recording, Ms Ward refers to visiting a primary school in regional Victoria to discuss gender ideology.
Last week, Ms Ward, who has a masters degree in gender studies but no teaching qualification, was photographed at RMIT in Melbourne lecturing a group of student primary school teachers about the program.
Neither audio recording, posted on the Stop Safe Schools Coalition Facebook page last month, indicates when the lectures were given.
A Safe Schools spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Ms Ward had undertaken primary school visits since March, when the federal government ordered an overhaul of the program.
However, the All of Us resource was created only with Year 7 and 8 students in mind. (more…)
The Australian, May 4, 2016.
A Victorian father has pulled his daughter out of a state school after the Andrews government’s decision to make the Safe Schools anti-bullying program a mandatory part of the curriculum.
Steve Burgen, whose daughter was until last week in Year 10 at Frankston High School in Melbourne’s southeast, said Safe Schools was incompatible with his conservative Christian beliefs.
He says his family is being strong-armed out of the state system by the ideologically charged program, which is based on aspects of socially radical queer theory. Mr Burgen said he was being forced to enrol his daughter in a private Catholic school, despite it being beyond his financial means.
He would also move his other children, aged 13 and 10, to Catholic schools. “We’ve got three children and, frankly, we can’t really afford to put three children into private school, but we don’t have much choice,” he said.
Victoria is the only state where the controversial Safe Schools Coalition program will be compulsory for state schools by 2018. (more…)
The Australian, April 30, 2016
Preschoolers should be introduced to the concept of same-sex marriage, according to a leading early education academic who is advocating against the notion of “compulsory heterosexuality” in the classroom.
Melbourne University research fellow Kylie Smith, a contributor to the education curriculum in Victoria, has published a paper about the importance of political activism in the early childhood sector, focusing on the marriage equality debate and ideas around gender.
Echoing proponents of the controversial Safe Schools program, Dr Smith, who works in the university’s Youth Research Centre, laments the degree to which early education resources represent gender and sexuality as “fixed” rather than “fluid and changing”.
She refers to her experience teaching “Lydia”, who had said she wanted to grow up to be a boy. She had told the young girl that “it might not be easy but she can and people like doctors can help”. The paper, titled “And the princesses married and lived happily ever after: challenging compulsory heterosexuality in the early childhood classroom”, was published as part of a broader occasional paper released by the university in December.
Last month the federal government ordered an overhaul of the Safe Schools Coalition following a review that found elements to be inappropriate for younger students. Advocacy group Early Childhood Australia has courted controversy with its “start early” program, a resource for teaching about respectful relationships that touches on issues about sex, sexuality and crossdressing. (more…)
The Australian, April 25, 2016
A new sex education course funded by taxpayers is quizzing 12-year-old children about sex and masturbation and teaching them to search online for sexual information.
The Practical Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships — produced by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University — also directs students to study a gay website criticised by federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham.
The teaching guide contains a quiz for Year 7 students, including the question: “Will masturbation make your palms go hairy?’’
Students as young as 12 are tested on whether they know what proportion of teenagers “have not had vaginal sex” before the age of 16. The quiz also asks: “How does a person know if they are gay?’’
A 40-minute lesson instructs children to safely search the internet for information about sex and sexuality, using filters to screen explicit results. (more…)
Neo-Marxist feminists send a neutered Trojan Horse into schools to re-engineer our children’s sexuality and social values Government
Mark Latham, The Daily Telegraph, April 26, 2016
IN monitoring the political correctness of the Left, a clear pattern has emerged. Inner-city “progressives” have adopted the clever, time-honoured tactic of the Trojan Horse.
Having lost the big debates about economic and foreign policy, they have invented a new range of “oppression” issues — pretending that Australia is a bigoted nation that persistently mistreats women, gay people and anyone from a non-European racial background.
The Trojan Horse strategy is used to take otherwise well-intentioned issues, such as anti-bullying and domestic violence prevention, as a way of achieving Leftist outcomes. (more…)
The Australian, April 21, 2016
An education researcher has queried the stereotype of the “bullied” or “at-risk” homosexual youth, suggesting it is a construction of scientific literature that may be counter-productive.
University of New England academic Tiffany Jones appears to have broken ranks from many colleagues in the field b highlighting the deficiencies of some advocacy-driven research studies, particularly those presenting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) youth as victims of homophobic bullying.
It is an extraordinary admission given Professor Jones’s role as a collaborator on a high-profile research project, the 2010 Writing Themselves In 3 study, which has propagated this view and formed the basis for education policy across the country, including the Safe Schools gender and sexual diversity program.
In a paper published in the Journal of Sex Education, Professor Jones argues that the “bullied GLBTIQ student” is a recent emergence constructed by researchers, many of whom are backed by GLBTIQ networks. (more…)
US Federal Court: Schools May Not Provide Separate Bathrooms Based on Biology Safe Schools Coalition
The Daily Signal, April 19, 2016
On Tuesday, the Fourth Circuit Court ruled against a Virginia school district that sought to accommodate a transgender student while also protecting the privacy rights of other students.
The court concluded that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972—which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex—should be interpreted as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity, as a Department of Education letter suggested in 2015. The ruling allows a lawsuit brought by a transgender student to proceed.
The case involves a biological girl who identifies as a boy. The court’s majority explains it this way: “G.G.’s birth-assigned sex, or so-called ‘biological sex,’” is female, but G.G.’s gender identity is male.” Note the scare quotes around what the court calls “so-called ‘biological sex.” Biological sex, in fact, is precisely what Congress protected in 1972.
In a stinging dissent, Judge Paul Niemeyer points out that “the majority’s opinion, for the first time ever, holds that a public high school may not provide separate restrooms and locker rooms on the basis of biological sex.” It’s hard to imagine that that’s what Congress was prohibiting when it enacted Title IX in 1972. (more…)
The Australian, April 20, 2016
Target is making a stand on the debate around what type of bathrooms transgender people can use.
In a statement posted on its company website, the discounter, based in Minneapolis, said transgender employees and customers can use the restroom or fitting room facility that “corresponds with their gender identity.”
“Inclusivity is a core belief at Target,” said the retailer in a statement. “It’s something we celebrate.”
The statement comes as a national debate is exploding over whether to restrict transgender people to using public bathrooms that only match their sex at birth.
North Carolina is facing backlash for its recent ban on local anti-discrimination ordinances.
Several musicians including Bruce Springsteen have cancelled planned tour stops in North Carolina, and PayPal pulled back on plans to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte in response to the new law.
Other states are considering legislation similar to that adopted by North Carolina.
Target Corp says it regularly assesses issues and considers many factors that would impact business, customers and workers.
THE AUSTRALIAN, APRIL 18, 2016
There are few forms of predation that offend our common morality more than child sexual abuse. During the 1970s, pedophile groups capitalising on the sexual liberation movement sought to redefine their exploitation of youth as an expression of children’s sexual rights, self-determination and autonomy. Groups such as the North American Man/Boy Love Association claimed children were sexual beings and sought to repeal age of consent laws to liberate their sexuality. They were welcomed by fringe elements of the neo-Marxist minorities movement that advocated sexual libertarian ideology under Queer and “sex positive” politics. (more…)
The Australian, April 15, 2016
The sexualisation of children is not a method of domestic violence prevention. At worst it is an insidious form of abuse, often used by pedophiles to groom their victims. Yet Daniel Andrews’s government has funded another program in schools that encourages adults to sexualise children and expose them to sexually explicit materials. Such behaviour violates common standards that protect children from premature sexualisation but the program is presented as an exercise in diversity and inclusion.
As education editor Natasha Bita revealed on yesterday’s front page, the Andrews government has dedicated $21.8 million to extending the Building Respectful Relationships program, funded on the basis of domestic violence prevention. Its objectives are to educate students about “gender, violence and respectful relationships” as part of “state and federal initiatives to prevent violence against women”. Like the Safe Schools Coalition program, which celebrates a neo-Marxist queer political agenda, Building Respectful Relationships promotes sexual content of an extreme nature.
Despite a stated aim to work against premature sexualisation, BRR encourages explicit discussion of sexuality, including writing personal advertisements and anal sex. Lessons also cover transgenderism and deconstructing gender. Students are coached to use the gender-neutral term partner instead of boyfriend and girlfriend to be “inclusive of gay and lesbian partnerships”. (more…)
The Australian April 14, 2016
Students as young as 12 will study sexualised personal ads and write their own advertisements seeking the “perfect partner’’ as part of a new school curriculum supposed to combat family violence.
The classroom material includes an example ad from a “lustful, sexually generous’’ person seeking “sexy freak out with similarly intentioned woman’’.
Another ad — to be analysed by Year 8 students aged 12 and 13 — is from a “30-year-old blonde bombshell, wild and sexy, living in the fast lane’’.
“Can you keep up?’’ it asks.
A third example cites a “hot gay gal 19yo’’ who is seeking an “outgoing fem 18-25 into nature, sport and night-life for friendship and relationship’’.
Children are instructed to “write your own personal ad for the perfect partner’’.
The Building Respectful Relationships material, which is meant to prevent family violence, is replacing religious education lessons during class time in Victorian state schools this year. (more…)
Geelong Advertiser, April 15, 2016
HIGH school students will soon be studying sexualised advertisements as part of a new curriculum aimed at combating family violence.
In a resource written in response to the State Government’s report on respectful relationships education, students in years 8, 9 and 10 will be studying “looking for partner” advertisements from newspapers and online dating websites. South Barwon MP Andrew Katos.
Some of these include advertisements that cite “Lustful, sexually generous, funny and (sometimes shy) … seeking sexy freak out with similarly intentioned woman”.
Another reads: “Slim dark-skinned older guy (looks young and fit) seeks guy 25 to 40 who likes love and affection, kissing etc.” South Barwon MP Andrew Katos said the Victorian coalition thought this kind of content in a school curriculum crossed the line. (more…)
13 April 2016 Report: Australian Family Association
The Australian Family Association (AFA) appeared before a hearing of the NSW Committee of Inquiry into the Sexualisation of Children and Young People in Sydney on 7 April. To access the AFA Submission click here .
The AFA submitted that the Safe Schools Coalition program (SSCA) is embedding the sexualisation of children and young people in the very education system – in the schools. (more…)
WATCH: Aussie ‘safe schools’ leader admits program is about gay activism, not bullying Safe Schools Coalition
MELBOURNE, March 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Undercover video recorded at the 2014 Safe Schools Coalition National Symposium has exposed as a lie the claim that the program is about helping students stand up to bullying in schools.
The Australian, March 26, 2016
An academic paid with government money to independently evaluate the controversial Safe Schools Coalition anti-bullying program is the co-chair of a gay and transgender organisation that was promoted in the school material.
University of Sydney academic Cristyn Davies is one of the researchers undertaking a $270,000 evaluation of the program.
She is also the co-chair of Twenty10, a counselling service for young gay and transgender people.
Access to the Twenty10 service was promoted on the Safe Schools materials through the All of Us resource.
Liberal MP George Christensen, who is hostile towards Safe Schools, this month said in parliament that one of the biggest concerns he had with the program was the links to outside resources such as Twenty10.
“The safe Schools All of Us teaching resource directs students to the LGBT organisation Twenty10. On the 19th of January this year, Twenty10 held a hands- on workshop for youth on sex toys and sadomasochistic practices,” Mr Christensen said.
South Burnett Times, 20th Mar 2016.
TASMANIA will follow the Federal Government’s lead and adopt changes to the controversial Safe Schools anti-bullying program while Victoria has vowed to go it alone and stick with the original plan.
The Federal Government announced a shake-up of the program after concerns raised by conservative Coalition MPs and senators that some of the content in the program was not appropriate for children.
The program, which focuses on gender diversity and same-sex issues, will lose Commonwealth funding if states do not comply with the new Federal Government guidelines.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said some lesson plans would change and the program would be restricted to high schools.
The decision was criticised by Labor MP Scott Bacon, who said the government should have stood up for young Tasmanians and join Victoria in leaving the program unchanged.
The Australian, March 22, 2016.
A Safe Schools national symposium was told by the program’s Victorian co-ordinator, Roz Ward, that schools could ignore concerns raised about the agenda. “When people do complain then school leadership can very calmly and graciously say, ‘You know what? We’re doing it anyway, tough luck’!” she told more than 300 attendees. Leaked video footage from the event, which emerged at the weekend, also appears to confirm what critics of the program have long suspected: that it was more about promoting radical political ideas around sexuality and gender than preventing schoolyard bullying. “(It’s) not about celebrating diversity; not about stopping bullying,” Ms Ward said. (more…)
Sydney Morning Herald, March 22, 2016.
NSW Premier Mike Baird has defended the federal government’s changes to Safe Schools by revealing his own concerns over the material within the controversial anti-bullying program.
Mr Baird weighed into the debate for the first time. He said he found some of the material linked to the Safe Schools program to be inappropriate.
“How on earth can our children be looking at this?,” he told ABC radio. “I think that the changes that the federal government announced are sensible and reasonable.” (more…)
The Australian, March 19, 2016
Sex education in schools is being dictated by activist-driven research projects aligned to gay and lesbian groups, resulting in the significant overstatement of the rates of same-sex attraction among young people and questionable claims about the degree of homophobia in the schoolyard.
The latest National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health, conducted by La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, claims that 16.8 per cent of 16-19-year-olds reported being attracted to the same sex.
The ARCSHS figure is more than double that cited in earlier incarnations of the report and more than four times higher than the number of same-sex-attracted people identified in the 2013 Australian Study of Health Relationships, the nation’s most comprehensive study of sex and relationships. (more…)
The Australian, March 17, 2016.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham has promised a “strong” response to a review of the taxpayer-funded Safe Schools Program, urging critics including Tony Abbott to “hold fire” until the government can lay out its plans.
Tony Abbott has signed a petition demanding the de-funding of the controversialanti-bullying program, as Liberal moderates suggested a similar program be rolled out to educate their conservative colleagues about gay and transgender issues…
Disgruntled backbenchers were last night devising a partyroom powerplay by circulating a petition to suspend the program’s $2 million annual subsidy pending a “full-blown” parliamentary inquiry. It has been signed by at least 30 MPs, which is half the backbench, including Mr Abbott.
MEDIA RELEASE: For immediate release
Wednesday, 16 March 2016
George Christensen MP has revealed more in parliament about the Safe Schools following Senator Birmingham’s review of the program.
He said that the Deputy Director of the Australian Research Centre for Sex Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University, Professor Gary Dowsett, has publicly supported paedophilia. Mr Christensen quoted a Dowsett article, “Boiled Lollies and Band-aids” from Gay Information, where Dowsett says:
“How different then is that gentle, tentative sexuality between parent and child from the love of a paedophile and his/her lover? … that kind of love, warmth, support and nurture is an important part of the paedophilic relationship.”
Senator Birmingham’s Review of the SSCA had limited time and was not able to examine the extreme Marxist sexual revolutionary strategy of the program’s architect, Roz Ward from the ARCSHS, nor the SSCA resource links to outside adult sex sites, the questionable research behind the program or the unscientific queer gender theories embedded in the program.
Clearly all these issues mean the government cannot continue to fund the program and needs to hold a full and open inquiry not only into the Safe Schools program but the ideologies behind the program and the research surveys used to justify it.
For more information on SSCA go to www.kidsrights.org.au