Anti-bullying advocate Roz Ward harasses bystander
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.”