NSW Shadow Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli, has written to ACL's NSW Director, David Hutt and confirmed a future Coalition government would support the ongoing teaching of Special Religious Education (SRE) in public schools.
The guarantee comes amid growing concern that the NSW Government's trial ethics classes represent the beginning of a broader push to get religion education out of public schools.
"Adrian Piccoli's guarantee that the coalition will not amend the Education Act's religious education provisions is a welcome first step," Mr Hutt said. "ACL will continue to work with the Church to negotiate with the Government and Opposition on this very important issue." The NSW Opposition is yet to announce whether it will support the state-wide roll out of the ethics classes.
Mr Hutt said it was still important for people to continue writing to local MPs as negotiations on this issue continue.
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A staggering 50,000 people have called on the NSW Government to protect special religious education and reschedule the proposed ethics classes to another time slot. ACL's NSW Director David Hutt today delivered the Save Our Scripture petition to the NSW Parliament and said the response had been overwhelming.
"We have seen people from every denomination, all over NSW making a stand to support SRE," Mr Hutt said. "By working with denominational leaders we have been able to present a coordinated and united front to the NSW politicians as people across the state declare their support for SRE."
Mr Hutt said petitioning parliament was an important way for people to speak directly into the political process and be heard.
"While we don't necessarily oppose an ethics class, we do feel very strongly that if one is to be offered, it should be
available to all students, not just those who opt out of SRE.
"We are also concerned that this could be part of a broader push to get religion out of schools.
"This is why we are so heartened to have received a guarantee from the Coalition that, should they win government, regardless of whether there is an ethics course, Special Religious Education will still be provided in NSW."