­­MEDIA RELEASE



23 March 2016



The Australian Christian Lobby has written to the Victorian Government calling on it to implement the Federal Education Minister Birmingham’s proposed changes and be open-minded about further reforms to the controversial Safe Schools Coalition Program.



ACL Victorian Director Dan Flynn said Premier Daniel Andrews and Education Minister and Deputy Premier James Merlino were ignoring the concerns of parents and potentially setting kids off on harmful pathways by forcing all high school children to be taught radical gender theory.



"Telling concerned parents they are bigots and homophobes if they have concerns about Safe Schools is arrogant in the extreme and completely disrespects parents' prime responsibility for the education and well-being of their children."



Mr Flynn said Mr Andrews should heed the advice of more moderate voices in the ALP such as Federal Labor Shadow Minister, Anthony Albanese, who on ABC’s Lateline said it was acceptable to implement ‘sensible changes’.



“The Safe Schools content is so extreme one has to wonder if Messrs. Andrews and Merlino have actually read it and understand it.



“The Premier and the Education Minister repeatedly assert that this program is an anti-bullying program when even the program’s creator, Roz Ward, says its not about bullying.



“Ms Ward has openly stated at a Safe Schools Symposium in 2014 that ‘the Safe Schools Coalition is about supporting gender and sexual diversity. Not about celebrating diversity. Not about stopping bullying’,”



“The proposed Federal Government changes give parents some say about whether schools can take part and provide for parental consent as part of the program,” Mr Flynn said.



“However, Andrews and Merlino are listening to radical LGBTI ideologues who by their own admission wish to deconstruct social norms and deny parental involvement.



“The so-called Safe Schools program will be improved by amending the lesson plans to ensure that 11-year-olds are not asked in class to imagine that they are in a relationship with a person of the same sex and by removing OMG I’m Queer, OMG My Friend’s Queer and Stand Out from classroom use.” he said.



“It is disappointing that the Andrews Government is so out of step with community concerns and wants the controversial Stand Out materials to continue to be used in the classroom.



“This resource advises students to insist on access, at school, to the Minus 18 website, which contains instructions on potentially lethal chest binding for girls and penis tucking for boys.”



Mr Flynn said it was concerning that Ms Ward was telling educators to ignore parent concerns.



“At the June 2014 SSCA symposium, Ms Ward said ‘when people do complain, then school leadership can very calmly and graciously say “You know what? We’re doing it anyway! Tough luck’,” Mr Flynn said.



“If the Andrews Government reject the Federal Government changes, parents should insist that the program be scrapped. Prevention of bullying on the basis of sexual orientation is already addressed in the Victorian Education Department, Bully Stoppers.”



Ends



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