Thursday, 13 May 2021
I, and also on behalf of Senator Waters, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) Australian school students are crying out for clear and direct education on sex and consent,
(ii) the Federal Government's 'Respect matters' resources for schools were announced in 2015, re-announced twice and launched six years later to the condemnation of experts and survivors for promoting harmful ideas about consent and relationships,
(iii) two of the videos were so bad they were removed and the entire set of materials is being reviewed,
(iv) women's safety experts say the remaining materials include some which will confuse students and perpetuate harmful myths, and
(v) Our Watch's pilot programs in Queensland and Victoria, delivering age appropriate, whole-of-school and evidence-based respectful relationships, have been evaluated as successful; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) fund the roll out of whole-of-school respectful relationships programs around the country, and
(ii) support including the teaching of affirmative consent in the Australian Curriculum.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment are reviewing the Good Society website in consultation with a panel of experts, including Our Watch and Chanel Contos and a number of agencies that focus on preventing violence against women. The Good Society website was always designed to be a live and dynamic resource that responds to community expectations.
Australian schools students are Australian children, and parents are the first educators of our children. It should not be left up to school programs, which are so often based on ideology of the day, to be educating our children in sex education. While we support schools complementing the work of parents in this area, primary aged children cannot, by default, be taught about consent when they are not in a position to either give or deny consent. They are children. Our parents have the first responsibility to ensure their children are equipped to engage in respectful relationships. We will be opposing this.