You're Teaching Our Children What?

Victoria defies Malcolm Turnbull’s Safe Schools fix


Victoria plans to sabotage the Turnbull government’s new ban on homosexual role-playing classes in schools by promising to pay for the Safe Schools program if it loses federal funding.

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday quelled a backbench ­revolt by conservative MPs by ­ordering the Safe Schools ­Coalition to curb its classroom campaign or lose its remaining $2 million in taxpayer funding.

The changes give parents the right to veto the controversial gender and sexuality lessons, and will ban the independent Safe Schools Coalition from referring students to third-party websites such as Minus 18, a gay and transsexual youth group that had promoted links to sex shops and gay nightclubs.

But Victorian Education Minister James Merlino declared that Victoria would pay for the anti-bullying program in full if the Turnbull government cut federal funding. “No changes to Vic safe schools program in wake of Turnbull Govt recommendations,’’ he said in a tweet last night. “Total cave-in to bigots. We know Safe Schools saves lives.’’

If Victoria steps in to fund Safe Schools, the independent group will be under no obligation to change its curriculum, which instructs students as young as 11 to pretend they are 16-year-olds going out with someone of the same sex.

Earlier, Mr Merlino said he was “confident with how the program is being implemented in Victoria’’, where it will become mandatory in all state schools by 2019. “If Malcolm Turnbull pulls the funding, the Victorian Labor government will step in and ­ensure this vital program remains because Safe Schools saves lives,’’ he said in a statement to The Weekend Australian.

The Safe Schools Coalition said yesterday it would “work through the proposed changes’’ with the federal Education ­Department and federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham. “We welcome the government’s support for the continued delivery of the program,’’ it said in a statement. It refused to say whether it supported the government changes.

Senator Birmingham said students had “every right’’ to be safe from bullying and homophobia at school. “They also have every right to be safe from inappropriate material … because of their age or from material that could expose them to things that parents and community rightly think young children should not be exposed to,’’ he said.

Senator Birmingham and ­opposition education spokeswoman Kate Ellis condemned a violent attack yesterday on the Adelaide electorate office of vocal Safe Schools critic Cory Bernardi.

Protesters defaced the office with graffiti, overturned furniture and tipped papers and documents on to the floor, forcing Senator Bernardi’s wife and staff to retreat into other rooms.

Ms Ellis said the protest by Safe Schools supporters was “wrong and dumb and entirely undermined any sort of argument they were trying to make’’.

But she said watering down the program was “a victory for the fringe elements of the Liberal Party’’.

Read the full article here.

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