House debates

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Statements by Members

Safe Schools Coalition Australia

1:44 pm

Photo of Andrew HastieAndrew Hastie (Canning, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise on behalf of Canning to oppose the controversial Safe Schools program and to call on the government to remove funding for it. Bullying is a terrible thing. Like those opposite, the coalition government condemns all bullying whether it be for sexuality, gender, race, religious belief or disability. Many young people are profoundly damaged by bullying in their childhood and teenage years, and many people carry the scars of bullying into adulthood, well beyond the school yard. But the Safe Schools program is more about advancing ideology than equipping children with techniques to deal with bullying. The highly sexual content of the Safe Schools program has generated much controversy. You only need common sense to work out why parents are outraged by the program, which is aimed at 11-year-old children.

The federal government has imposed this program on the state and territory education systems. It is ideological big government reaching into the lives of ordinary Australians. The program advances an exclusive ideology that does not allow for competing views on sexuality and gender. The program decries bullying yet pushes its own form of bullying by pressuring young children to conform to a particular view of sexuality. Finally, it usurps the role of Australian parents, who are best placed to teach their own children about sexuality and how to navigate the broad challenges of the schoolyard and life. I call on the government to condemn and defund the Safe Schools program.