Media Release

June 25, 2010

A staggering 50,000 people have called on the NSW Government to protect the place of special religious education (SRE) in schools and reschedule the proposed ethics classes to another time slot.

Christians from all major Christian denominations across NSW have signed a petition organised by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) which was tabled in NSW Parliament yesterday.

ACL’s NSW Director David Hutt said today that the overwhelming support for the Save Our Scripture petition should send a clear message to NSW parliamentarians about the need to safeguard the special place of SRE in NSW schools.

”The NSW Government is to be commended for its renewed focus on teaching ethics,” Mr Hutt said. “The Government should not be discriminating against children of faith who will not be able to attend both SRE and ethics.

“The classes should be run at separate times.”

Mr Hutt said that while SRE classes do have an ethical component, their main focus is on teaching a religious narrative.

“SRE students would greatly benefit from being able to attend ethics classes if they were held at another time.”

Mr Hutt said that SRE classes have made an important contribution to NSW schools for more than 100 years and the NSW Government needs to take this fact and the strong support for them into the community into account.

The wording of the petition is as follows:

“That the New South Wales Government’s plans to introduce ethics classes at the same time as Special Religious Education (SRE) places the new curriculum in direct competition with SRE. Under the current plan, students will not be able to attend both SRE and ethics classes. They will be forced to choose between the two.

“New South Wales has a proud tradition of recognizing the valuable contribution religious education makes to society. Additional material on ethics is a welcome addition to the New South Wales education curriculum.

“It should be available to students who participate in SRE. Your petitioners request that the new ethics syllabus be offered at a time separate from SRE.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979