Senate debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022


Australian Education Legislation Amendment (Prohibiting the Indoctrination of Children) Bill 2020; Second Reading

9:17 am

Photo of Mehreen FaruqiMehreen Faruqi (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Through you, Chair. Senator Hanson first introduced this legislation back in 2020. The Senate inquired into it then, and its conclusion didn't leave room for any interpretation. The committee said it was poorly drafted, vague and inconsistent. In short, it is bad legislation. But, in addition to being bad legislation, in a technical sense, this bill is just vile. It is transphobic. It is anti-science. It is an attempt to force a rewrite of the curriculum to require teaching of climate denialism and harmful, outdated ideas of gender and sexuality.

In the dying days of the Scott Morrison government, the then education minister, shamefully, also took a leaf out of Pauline Hanson's One Nation's playbook and started waging offensive, pathetic and toxic history and culture wars.

Do you know what one of my favourite things about the 2022 election has been? There are many, but one of my favourite things about the 2022 election has been that, along with the coalition, the 2022 election has rendered Senator Hanson and One Nation irrelevant. Like the coalition, Senator Hanson has failed to self-reflect on why One Nation has become irrelevant. I'll save her the time: they are irrelevant because their racist, divisive politics are there for everyone to see. If you need evidence, just look around this chamber or the other chamber. Both places are more progressive and more diverse than ever before.

Senator Hanson is irrelevant because the Australian public realises that it's not immigrants who are making their lives hard. The Australian public realises it's not trans people who are making their lives hard. It's not climate science that's making their lives hard. It's not First Nations people who are making their lives hard. It is unscrupulous big corporations, fossil fuel giants, billionaires and far-right politicians like One Nation's who are sitting here that are making their lives hard.

The bill amends the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority Act 2008 to require ACARA to ensure that school education provides what Senator Hanson considers a 'balanced presentation of opposing views on political, historical and scientific issues'. It also amends the Australian Education Act 2013 to make financial assistance to states and territories conditional on them prohibiting what Senator Hanson calls 'indoctrination in schools'—such complete rubbish! Students should be encouraged to think critically, and they should be exposed to diverse viewpoints and perspectives. But that's not what this bill seeks to do.

This bill is a vile, unsubtle, blatant attempt to force schools to spread ridiculous and cooked One Nation beliefs which would harm trans and gender-diverse students and introduce antiscience concepts into classrooms around the country. Schools would not be able to tell people in this country the history of how violent settlement took place and how we need to reconcile with that history. All that trans adults and children want is the right to live their lives with respect and dignity and to be who they are, like other people are able to do in this country.

The restoring of this bill is a sad reflection that, after all this time, Senator Hanson remains a peddler of sad and hateful politics, spreading ignorant prejudices inside and outside this chamber. This bill and Senator Hanson's outdated hateful views should be comprehensively rejected by the parliament. They should both go in the bin. It's vital that every child learns the realities of the climate crisis, the truth of Australia's settler colonial past and how to have respectful relationships in the context of comprehensive sex education.


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