Roz Ward suspended from controversial Safe Schools program
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).
In a statement, NTEU Victorian secretary Dr Colin Long said the response to Ms Ward’s post was “hysterical” and “in reality, part of a concerted political and ideological campaign by Australia’s Right-wing ideologues on views that do not accord with their own”.
“We are very concerned that La Trobe University management seem to think that political views should be a criterion for employment,” Dr Long said.
“The NTEU considers that this is discrimination on the basis of political opinion and will be considering all legal avenues of redress.”
Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett called her an “extremist” who should have no involvement with the school-based anti-bullying program and led calls for her to step down as manager of the Safe Schools program.
She had refused to bow to pressure but on arriving at work at the university’s Franklin St campus in the city yesterday she was called into a meeting and told she was suspended from the state government-funded role.
Ms Ward did not respond to Herald Sun requests for comment. La Trobe University also would not comment.