Chinese lobby group formed to oppose same-sex marriage and safe-schools

Rachel Baxendale, The Australian, 14 June 2017

The Australian Chinese community has founded a not-for-profit group to mobilise against same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program.

Co-founder and Sydney GP Pansy Lai was behind a petition to the NSW government that last year gathered 17,500 signatures from Australian Chinese community members opposed to Safe Schools.

Dr Lai said she was overwhelmed by the response to her petition and had been inspired to form the Australian Chinese for Families Association, which launches this week. “I didn’t ­realise until I did the petition just how many people there are out there who are really concerned about Safe Schools,” she said.

“After we lodged the NSW petition, parents from other states got into contact with us, wanting to know what they can do to tell the government they don’t want their children being taught this inappropriate program.

“These are normal, everyday Australian Chinese parents and grandparents. There are no politicians among us.”

The group also opposes same-sex marriage.

Dr Lai said as a GP specialising in pediatrics, she opposed Safe Schools, which is designed to prevent the bullying of homosexual and transgender children, because it was “not scientific or evidence-based”.

“It’s really important to take into account that these children are still underage,” she said.

“This would be fine in a university program, but school­children should be a politics-free zone,” she said.

“The other thing that is important is parental consent. If children are going to be taught something that goes against their parents’ values, parents need to be informed and given a choice.”

Dr Lai said she believed her group, which already has several hundred members, represented a large proportion of the Australian Chinese community.

“We’ve got people from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Southeast Asia,” she said. “We definitely represent a large Chinese ­community, not only in NSW but nationwide.”

Dr Lai said although she was Christian, the organisation was “definitely not” a Christian organisation, and was open to members of all religions and none: “ACF is going to be a voice for many concerned Chinese Australians, and a platform for us to share resources and petitions for our community.”

The establishment of ACF comes as the Parliamentary Friendship Group for LGBTIQ Australians holds a morning tea in Canberra today to launch multicultural resources developed in consultation with Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, Greek and ­Korean-speaking communities.

Professional polling commissioned earlier this year by the anti same-sex marriage group Marriage Alliance found key ethnic communities overwhelmingly opposed same-sex marriage. Only 28 per cent of Asians living in Australia said they were strongly supportive of changing the Marriage Act; 75 per cent of Muslims and Hindus “strongly opposed” same-sex marriage.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/chinese-lobby-group-formed-to-oppose-samesex-marriage/news-story/93919effaadf8065afd6793721ecd521

Safe Schools booklet: LGBTI teens could seek gender-changing treatment without parents’ consent

James Dowling, Herald Sun, 16 May 2017

A BOOKLET connected to the controversial Safe Schools program discusses how teenagers may get gender-changing treatment without the knowledge of their parents.

Education Minister James Merlino was peppered with questions from Liberal MPs about the government’s Safe Schools program and gender-based teaching materials at a Budget Estimates hearing.

Liberal MP David Morris said two booklets — housed on the Education Department’s website had suggested students could get some cosmetic surgery or be considered a “mature minor.”

The Mornington MP asked at the Public Accounts and Estimate Committee Inquiry asked if Mr Merlino believed it appropriate teenagers received hormone treatment or gender surgeries without parental consent.

But Education Minister James Merlino said the aged-appropriate resources were just a guide to help teachers combat bullying of LGBTI students.

He said those booklets were not produced by the Education Department and were a guide for teachers signed on to the Safe School programs.

“In regards to medical issues is a matter for doctors and not educators. It is between young people, their doctor and their family.”

He said Safe Schools was not about “chest-binding” or gender-based teaching but just providing a safe environment for all students to learn.

Mr Merlino said the Safe Schools program was often just a pledge by schools to provide a safe place for gay and transgender students.

He said it was not part of the curriculum and that 70 per cent of government high schools had signed onto program.

He said the department provided resources, which were developed with the help of La Trobe University.

The “OMG I’m Trans” booklet says “cosmetic surgeries such as nose or chin reconstructions are not subject to special restrictions”.

The booklet goes on to add that under law “parental consent is critical to any medical treatment.”

The guide to Supporting a Student to Affirm or transition gender identity says students may be considered a mature minor and able to make decisions without parental consent.”

Earlier Mr Merlino also took a swipe at the federal government for the changes to the Gonski funding arrangement.

While Mr Merlino admitted there would be a “slight improvement” in funding he said it fell massively short of the original, but unfunded, first Gonski funding deal.

He said Victoria’s booming population meant that 90,000 school places needed to be found — 56,000 places from government schools.

He said the government needed to build 50 schools by 2021 at a rate of 10 a year.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/safe-schools-booklet-lgbti-teens-could-seek-genderchanging-treatment-without-parents-consent/news-story/46eb304510aaf00f18b4cb666d6af03d

Hotel hosting Christians targeted by ‘Safe Schools’ supporters

Tessa Akerman, The Australian, 10 May 2017

A Melbourne hotel has been caught in the crossfire of debate about the contentious Safe Schools program.

Arrow on Swanston, in Carlton, had agreed to host an Australian Christian Lobby event last night with speakers discussing Safe Schools and gender reassignment.

Before the event, the hotel received harassing phone calls and online threats that called the ACL a hate group and condemned the business for associating with them. The campaign comes after several Christian groups were forced to cancel their reservation at a Sydney hotel last year following threats to their meeting about same-sex marriage. About 30 ­people blocked the entrance to the hotel last night forcing police to escort attendees through their makeshift cordon.

The protest had started silently armed only with signs but turned into a war of words and accusations of assault.

“Jesus might love you but I don’t,” one protester shouted. “These people want us to die, they can get f..ked,” another said.

Australian Christian Lobby Victorian director Dan Flynn said they were hoping for a peaceful event, but had felt compelled to hire security guards and notify police because of the attention it had received. Mr Flynn said the meeting had been planned for about six weeks and the organisation expected more than 150 ­people to attend.

The seminar was due to feature the lobby’s director of research Elisabeth Taylor, and University of Western Sydney pediatrician John Whitehall.

The ACL website promoted the evening as Dr Whitehall and Dr Taylor helping the public “understand the consequences of teaching contested gender ideology to our kids”.

Transgender activist Regan Bleechmore said Dr Whitehall had advocated for the “wait and see” approach where treatment was withheld from children with gender dysphoria. “We will be there to remind the ACL: we are not your political football,” she said.

“We are human beings and we will not tolerate hate speech. The LGBTI political agenda wants people of all genders, sexes and sexualities to be fully accepted.”

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/hotel-hosting-christians-targeted-by-safe-schools-supporters/news-story/deb3db838dd2a77b5e049e92866e8f71

School’s bid to ban Mother’s Day ‘blocked’

Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 9 May 2017

A Melbourne primary school that scrapped its Mother’s Day stall in the name of “diversity” and ­“inclusivity” is understood to have reversed the decision after a phone call from a concerned parent — Bill Shorten.

Moonee Ponds West Primary School was facing a backlash from parents shocked to read in this week’s newsletter that the stall — where children can spend their pocket money on small, token gifts for their mother or ­another “significant loved one” — would not be going ahead.

Instead, principal Jeff Lyon ­revealed, the school would ­celebrate UN International Day of Families. “I believe celebrating International Day of Families is a more inclusive way of celebrating the richness, diversity and complexity of living and loving as a family in the modern world,” Mr Lyon wrote. “The day highlights the importance of all caregivers in families, be it parents, grandparents or siblings and the importance of parental education for the welfare of children.”

The Opposition Leader, whose daughter goes to Moonee Ponds West, rang the school late yesterday. He said the decision had been reversed.

Asked to comment on the decision by the school, which is in Mr Shorten’s electorate, he described it as a “wonderful’’ institution. “I’ve spoken to the principal this evening and I understand there will be a Mother’s Day stall,” he said.

Samantha Hanna, who went to the school as a child and sends her children Isabela, Dante and Didier there, said parents had been surprised by the move.

“I remember as a kid lining up and agonising over whether to get mum the soap on the rope or the scented candle, and now I love getting these little gifts … from my own kids,” Ms Hanna said.

“I know that there are some single parent families at the school, and for those mums this is probably the only gift they will get from their children. I understand that some don’t have mums around but it is a good time to think about the importance of mums and dads and the role they play in our lives. I’m glad to hear it’s been reinstated.”

While some parents were dismayed about the initial decision, other politicians weighed in with concerns about the advent of political correctness in the school playground.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino distanced himself from the move. “While these are local decisions, I would have thought Mother’s Day was a great opportunity to celebrate not just mums but other carers and family members,” he said. “I know I will be spoiling my mother this ­Mother’s Day.”

Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling pointed the finger at the Andrews government for forcing “political correctness” on schools. “Mother’s Day is about celebrating the maternal figures in our lives, whether it is mum, grandma, an aunt or a female mentor, and honouring their contribution as women in society,” he said. “If it’s not banning the signing of traditional Christmas carols or reading classical fairy tales, (Premier) Daniel Andrews’ attack on our cultural traditions continues.”

Mr Lyon was not available for comment last night.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/education/melbourne-primary-schools-bid-to-ban-mothers-day-blocked/news-story/19b290258b933298e648db34de65f2ab

Read the fine print about Safe Schools

Mark Brown, The Examiner, 4 May 2017

Do parents have the primary responsibility for raising their children? Not according to the founders of the so-called ‘Safe Schools’ program. Safe Schools Coalition Program co-author Joel Radcliffe proclaimed, “parents don’t have the power to shut this down”. The truth is parents did have that power – because of it the NSW government has scrapped the program.

Tasmania will also discontinue the program. Concerningly though,  Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff has hand-balled part of the ‘new’ replacement program to Working it Out, the same organisation currently running Safe Schools in Tasmania. What’s all the concern about? Its Marxist foundations.

Roz Ward, one of SSCP’s architects, is an avowed Marxist whose ideological goals within the SSCP have been widely exposed. Friedrich Engels, who co-founded Marxist theory, described a socialist society as one where: “The care and education of the children becomes a public affair.” He believed that, with no ties to family (and social/moral restrictions), girls will be free to “bring about the gradual growth of unconstrained sexual intercourse.”

Roz Ward agrees: “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”.

Part of the ‘strategy’ appears to be usurping parental authority: “Some students’…access to the internet [to view SSCP websites]…is monitored by their family so having access at school is really important”. Advice is also given to students on how to hide their browser history.

Of course LGBTI students need support in dealing with bullying at school – all students do. Yet Roz Ward freely admits on video that the SSCP is “not about stopping bullying” but about entrenching her views on sexuality and gender.

The content of the program is extremely contested. It includes: teaching against heteronormality (that heterosexuality is normal); teaching that gender has nothing to do with biology; encouraging sexual experimentation and for children to ‘come out’ and celebrate their true sexual and gender identity; online content originally offered links to adult-only shops; encouraging schools to allow cross-dressing, participation in homosexual marriage rallies, and for students to be able to use the toilet of choice. The list goes on.

The potential harm to children is real. Since the SSCP arrived in force there has been a huge escalation in children presenting with gender dysphoria (those that feel they were born with the wrong body).

Statistics show that a significant proportion of young people who feel they are LGBT will not be by adulthood. Ironically  ‘safe schools’ is very quick to label and encourage children to lock into an identity – often with dangerous consequences. A 2016 Quadrant article by Paediatrician Dr John Whitehall highlighted the drastic effects hormonal intervention can have on the developing brains of children with gender dysphoria.

As parents we put a huge amount of trust in governments to scrutinise those inputting into the lives of our children through public education.  The safe schools ‘experiment’ is a sad case of lack of due diligence on the part of government. My question is – have we learnt anything from it?  If we don’t acknowledge the mistakes we are very likely to repeat them.

  • Mark Brown is the Australian Christian Lobby Tasmanian director

Source: http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4635476/read-the-fine-print-about-safe-schools/

An epidemic of transgender children is Safe Schools’ legacy

Miranda Devine, The Daily Telegraph, 16 April 2017

THREE years after it was launched by the Abbott government, the insidious Safe Schools program is to be axed in NSW and replaced with a real anti-bullying program.

Kudos to Rob Stokes, the only education minister in the nation honourable enough to tackle the sexual indoctrination program loathed by most parents and defended to the death by fanatical education bureaucrats.
“Bullying is a problem, whether you’re being bullied because you’re struggling with your sexuality or being fat or wearing glasses,” said an education source. “All this nonsense about gender fluidity has nothing to do with bullying.”
Funding has been allocated for a new program, expected to be ready by Term 3.
But incalculable damage already has been done by teaching children that gender and sexuality is fluid, that heterosexuality is not the norm, and that sex is arbitrarily assigned by a doctor at birth.
One consequence has been an epidemic in “transgender” children presenting to medical clinics since the advent of Safe Schools in June 2014.
Referrals for gender services to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, have tripled. Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital had 250 children last year presenting with “gender dysphoria”, distress experienced because you feel you were born the wrong sex.
The NSW Education Department reports a “spike” in transgender students, including a four-year old in kindergarten this year “who has identified as transgender”.
Official statistics are tightly held but, anecdotally: one public school in Sydney’s eastern suburbs has five transgender children, according to the relative of a student; a regional NSW government Safe School had five transgender students at the start of last year, according to a former teacher; a Safe School in outer Sydney had 5 or 6 “transgender” children last year in Year 8, all girls, according to a concerned teacher. “Safe Schools definitely had something to do with all this,” he says. “We are losing this fight… very badly”.
One teacher has spoken to parents who, “suddenly received a note from their 14-year-old daughter claiming that she is trans and wants to be called a new name.” But, after her parents moved her to a non-Safe School, “she is largely over the confusion now”.
Last year a 15-year-old child known as “Lincoln” had both breasts removed at a Sydney hospital with the permission of the Family Court in order to “transition” to the male sex. Born female, Lincoln decided in September, 2014, at age 13, to begin living as a boy and was prescribed puberty-blocking hormones the next year.
One of the few doctors willing to criticise the “fashion in child surgical abuse” is Dr John Whitehall, Professor of Paediatrics at Western Sydney University, who questions the “massive intrusion into the minds and bodies of children… It’s a collective madness.”
Most transgender children will, “grow out of it through puberty if parents do little more than gently watch and wait… The worst thing that can happen is the child is adopted as a poster child for the school.”
With teachers being trained by Safe Schools to think gender is whatever you feel like, “it’s not surprising we’re seeing more kids responding to this propaganda and parents getting on board. It’s very hard for professionals to speak out.”
It’s not just politically correctness silencing doctors. The prudent “watchful waiting” method is now illegal in Victoria. The new Health Complaints Act purports to crack down on dodgy health practitioners, but was driven by a media campaign against so-called “gay conversion therapy”, which, for gender ideologues, includes not encouraging a child’s sex change.
Megan, who works at a clinic in Sydney with young people, aged from 12 to early 20s, who have asked for referrals for sex changes, says: “Often, especially with females, there’s child abuse in their background, a lot of mental health issues and challenges. The system I work in does push that process. You’re not able to say this is a psychological issue. There’s this push to refer them out and get them processed to [send them to] Westmead children’s hospital and into that [sex change] process.”
It is a catastrophe for families.
One father, Gus, tells of “the most terrifying day of my life”, when he picked up his 16-year-old daughter from school, and “she didn’t know where she was, she wasn’t the full quid, she was just really confused… We went to the doctor [and] just out of the blue she said she was a boy in a girl’s body.”
It turned out “she was going through a psychotic episode. She was in hospital for two months… She’s just a normal girl now … It was all purely a mental health issue.”
He is angry “vulnerable people like my daughter are taken advantage of [to] go down a totally different track to where she’s ended up.”
The Turnbull government has promised not to continue Safe Schools once the original funding runs out June 30. But, despite requests from NSW for its removal, the website remains. Last year it was rebadged as the “Student Wellbeing” website in an attempt to disguise its original purpose, and a dozen new resources unrelated to gender or sexuality added.
But disturbing elements remain, including the document: “Supporting a Student to Affirm or Transition Gender Identity at School”, which allows teachers to decide whether parents should be told their child wants to swap genders.
“Consideration should be given to the age and maturity of the student and whether it would be appropriate to involve the students’ parent(s) or guardian(s) in each decision.”
How such a program could be inflicted on unsuspecting families defies belief. But bravo Stokes for turning back the tide.

Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/an-epidemic-of-transgender-children-is-safe-schools-legacy/news-story/085d5681f6bc3dae2357302ab2bee227

Safe Schools’ anti-bully project to lose Tasmania funding

Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 18 April 2017

Tasmania will scrap support for the contentious Safe Schools program, opting to focus on a comprehensive anti-bullying scheme for the schoolyard.

Tasmania’s Education and Training Minister Jeremy Rockliff has confirmed that his government would not fund the program — which has so far been adopted by 22 Tasmanian schools — once federal funding stops mid-year.

“The Tasmanian government is committed to providing a safe and inclusive school environment to support student learning and wellbeing, which is why we have invested $3 million over four years as part of the Combating Bullying budget initiative,” Mr Rockliff said.

“It is up to each Tasmanian school to make their own decisions about the programs used in their school, and government schools are encouraged to use the Department of Education’s own program.

“Given the significant investment in our own anti-bullying ­initiative, the state government has no plans to take over funding for the federal program.”

Tasmania’s defection follows the weekend’s announcement from NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes that his government would introduce a broader anti-bullying scheme to replace Safe Schools, leaving support for the La Trobe University-developed program resting largely with the Labor-governed states.

Financial support for Safe Schools was a key part of West Australian Labor’s successful election campaign last month, while a spokeswoman for Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones said yesterday that there were no plans to ditch the program.

In South Australia, the government is weighing up whether to take over funding the program, in much the same way the Victorian Labor government has done.

“We see value in having a specific program to support schools to tackle bullying against LGBTI ­students,” said a spokeswoman for the SA Department of Education and Child Development. “We expect to make an ­announcement shortly about the future of the safe schools program.”

While Victoria has committed more than $2m to roll out the program to all state schools by the end of 2018, questions are being asked about the level of its commitment following the decision to sever ties with La Trobe and run Safe Schools directly from its own Education Department.

Previously vocal supporters of the program Premier Daniel ­Andrews and Education Minister James Merlino have lately left the job of defending it to departmental staff and media advisers. And following widespread criticism over Safe School’s promotion of contested gender ideology and sexual politics, the department has taken to describing the program as a “pledge” or a “policy” to create a safe and inclusive environment, with schools having discretion over how “this commitment is ­realised”.

Victoria’s opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said it was time for Mr Andrews to “admit he got it wrong on this discredited program”.

He said the Liberal Party would scrap the program if elected and ­replace it with a program “that teaches kids the importance of ­respecting people of all appear­ances, sexuality, gender, religion and ethnicity”.

“Daniel Andrews is very naive if he thinks school bullying is only confined to sexuality and doesn’t include appearance, religion, ­ethnicity or gender,” Mr Wakeling said.

A spokeswoman for Safe Schools Coalition Australia, which is convened by the Foundation for Young Australians, declined to comment on the NSW decision, other than to say the organisation ­remained committed to supporting LGBTI young people.

Additional reporting: Emily Ritchie, Jennine Khalik

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/education/safe-schools-antibully-project-to-lose-tasmania-funding/news-story/edf86542522560f86061f7fa209fe67d

Make schools genuinely safe

The Australian, 17 April 2017

For many children and teenagers, bullying causes intense anxiety. What has long been a serious problem has become more acute in recent years through the relentless, round-the-clock reach of digital technology and social media. It warrants effective tackling, without the gender fluidity ideology that is the hallmark of the so-called Safe Schools program, exposed in all its extremism in the news pages of The Australian over the past year. To the relief of many parents, NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes is replacing Safe Schools — which the Turnbull government will not fund after June 30 — with a proper anti-bullying program from term 3. Other states should do the same. If they won’t, opposition parties should make the issue a priority, especially in Victoria where the Andrews government encourages the indoctrination of students, from the age of four, with Marxist-driven fringe views of gender and sexuality. Guilt-tripping boys for being boys and girls for being girls has no place in schools.
To his credit, Mr Stokes has made it clear the NSW government is committed to making sure schools are supportive of students who are struggling. Bullying, he said yesterday, will never be accepted in NSW public schools, whether it’s because “someone is overweight, gay, based on the colour of their skin or for any other reason”. Or often, for no apparent reason. Bullies pick their quarry out of spite, cruelty, envy, revenge after friendships and teenage romances fall apart and for a myriad other motives, from being “nerdish’’ to having crooked teeth. Those targeted, who can be vulnerable and sensitive, need support in dealing with the problem. Perpetrators need discipline. Sometimes they also need help to resolve the inadequacies driving their bad behaviour. If the new program is well conducted there is no reason lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex students or any other group of students should feel unprotected. Effective discipline, including an emphasis on good manners, courtesy and the acceptance of individual differences, should help all students. They must also be taught to recognise the pitfalls of sharing too much in cyberspace and understand the need for downtime from mobile phones and social media. Some parents also need practical advice on guiding their children in such matters. School cultures in which each individual is valued and encouraged to reach their potential academically, in sport, music or other co-curricular activities, are also important in discouraging bullying. Better efforts must also be made to help deradicalise Muslim students, either through the new program or another.
Bill Shorten showed yesterday how far Labor has strayed from its traditional base when he complained Safe Schools had “ been made a political football by conservative critics’’. Yet again, the Opposition Leader is pandering to inner-city leftists rather than families in working-class suburbs, many of whom recognise the sham inherent in Safe Schools. The program was devised under the Gillard government and launched under the Abbott government in mid -2014 by Senator Scott Ryan, parliamentary secretary to the then education minister, Christopher Pyne. As Tony Abbott says, Safe Schools was “a social engineering program dressed up as anti-bullying’’. It should never have been imposed by any government. Young people will be well rid of it.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/editorials/make-schools-genuinely-safe/news-story/b00dc2959c2f506c68a31bb0f67660db

Andrews ‘on a limb’ as NSW drops Safe Schools

The Australian, 17 April 2017

The Andrews Labor government is “out on a limb” in its support for the embattled Safe Schools anti-bullying project and should replace it with a program for everyone, the former co-chairman of the Coalition’s curriculum review says.

Kevin Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University, said the weight of change was against Victoria as federal funding for the anti-bullying initiative dries up and the NSW government yesterday confirmed it would dump the program.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes yesterday said the state government was devising a broader strategy to take on schoolyard bullies that would be introduced in July after federal funding for Safe Schools was cut.

“It doesn’t surprise me (Vic­toria is) clinging on to it, but they are out on a limb,” Dr Donnelly told The Australian.

Dr Donnelly was one of the first and most strident critics of the program. “It should be replaced with a broader, more general program which targets all the ways students are bullied in schools,” he said.

Safe Schools was designed to help teachers and students deal with homophobia and trans­phobia but has been heavily criticised for promoting sexual diver­sity and gender fluidity.

The initiative was co-founded by La Trobe University employee Roz Ward about seven years ago and adopted by the Brumby government in Victoria.

It was run by the university until Ms Ward, an avowed Marxist, attracted the ire of critics and forced the Victorian government to sack her.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews kept the program, however, and has vowed to maintain it beyond the funding cut. “There are no plans to scrap the Safe Schools program in Victoria,” a government spokesman said yesterday.

Ms Ward last year labelled the Australian flag as “racist” and said she was “shattered” when the Andrews government decided to run the program in-house. She was briefly suspended by La Trobe for her behaviour in defence of the program, but was later reinstated.

While Victoria has become the chief backer of Safe Schools, other states still accommodate the program. Take-up in some of these states, such as Western Australia, has been low.

The federal government reviewed Safe Schools material last year. “Federal funding provided under the previous government’s contract ends in the middle of this year and will not be renewed,” a spokesman for Education Minister Simon Birmingham said ­yesterday.

The NSW government’s replacement program will be available for teachers by term three this year. “Bullying will never be tolerated in NSW public schools — whether it be because someone is overweight, gay, based on the colour of their skin or for any other reason,” Mr Stokes said.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott praised the NSW government’s decision to scrap the Safe Schools program while simultaneously distancing the Coalition from the anti-bullying initiative, which was launched under his leadership in 2014.

“Good that NSW is scrapping so-called Safe Schools, a social ­engineering programme dressed up as anti-bullying”, Mr Abbott tweeted yesterday. “This was a Gillard govt programme, not — ­REPEAT NOT — an Abbott govt one.”

Bill Shorten yesterday said: the program had become a “political football … if the NSW government wants to run anti-bullying programs in one way and not another, we will have a look at what that means.”

Kate Doak, who was the NSW representative of the Safe Schools Coalition board between 2014 and mid-2016, said it was hypocritical of the NSW government to announce its departure from Safe Schools in the same week it rejected an independent recommendation to make special religious education an opt-in for high school students.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/education/andrews-on-a-limb-as-nsw-drops-safe-schools/news-story/68d11ee50a0e7a2e5bc7143118fae815

Safe Schools program ditched in NSW, to be replaced by wider anti-bullying plan

ABC News, 16 April 2017

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has commended the NSW Government’s decision to ditch the controversial Safe Schools program, designed to educate students about sexual and gender diversity.

“Good that NSW is scrapping so called Safe Schools, a social engineering programme dressed up as anti-bullying,” Mr Abbott tweeted on Sunday.

His tweets followed the State Government’s confirmation a new broader anti-bullying strategy will be put into place in public schools, when federal funding for the Safe Schools program runs out in June.

Education Minister Rob Stokes said education officials were developing the new plan which would be made available to teachers from July this year.

“The Australian Government, who fund and oversee the Safe Schools program, have advised that they will no longer be providing funding for the program by mid-year,” Mr Stokes said in a statement.

“The NSW Department of Education is currently developing an updated anti-bullying strategy that will be a new resource available for teachers from the beginning of term three.”

Mr Stokes said NSW public schools would continue to provide support to LGBTQI students.

“Bullying will never be tolerated in NSW public schools — whether it be because someone is overweight, gay, based on the colour of their skin or for any other reason,” he said.

“Students and parents should expect that schools are a place where they feel safe. Schools remain one of the most secure and trusted public institutions in our community.

“Students who are struggling in our schools, for whatever reason, need support and will continue to receive it in NSW public schools.”

The NSW Government is the first state to dump the program, with Labor State Governments in Victoria and the ACT deciding to fund their own versions after June.

Safe Schools a ‘political football’: Shorten

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the program had been made a “political football” for conservatives and Labor would scrutinise any new proposals.

“It is important that children go to school and are not bullied on the basis of their sexuality,” he said.

“Labor won’t take a backwards step from the principle that our teenagers going to school need every help to free from bullying.”

Labor’s education spokesman Jihad Dib said he would be very concerned if students who relied on the Safe Schools program found “there is nothing left for them”.

He said it was the State Government’s responsibility to allocate sufficient funding.

“You can’t do things on the cheap and if we are going to provide support to students, schools and their families we need to make sure there is adequate money put into things like that,” Mr Dib said.

“As the Government talks about its rivers of gold in its budget surpluses this is an opportunity to put money into programs that are going to work.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-16/safe-schools-program-ditched-in-nsw/8446680