1 April 2016
The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed dismay that the Queensland Government wants to charge $1,100 so parents can know if their school is running the controversial “Safe Schools” program.
ACL has been told by the QLD Government that it may be liable to pay $1,100 for a Freedom of Information request to receive the list of 32 QLD schools which have signed up to the Safe Schools Coalition which promotes the idea that children’s gender is fluid.
ACL QLD Director Wendy Francis said the decision by QLD Education Minister, Kate Jones, to deny parents access to the list runs contrary to Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s undertaking that parents had to be made fully aware if their school is teaching “Safe Schools” gender theory.
The Department of Education and Training is claiming it will take 39.5 hours to retrieve the short list of 32 schools.
ACL QLD Director Wendy Francis said the ACL had been waiting five weeks for the list since it lodged a FOI request on February 25.
“All that is required is one phone call to the Safe Schools Coalition, that could have been done five weeks ago, to get the names of the schools. There is simply no justification for the charges or for the estimated time the Department of Education and Training has said it could take to get hold of the information,” Ms Francis said.
“To receive this estimated cost notice five weeks after the request indicates that the Government has taken no action to date on the FOI request. This is simply not good enough and very disappointing, in light of the damning evidence that has emerged about the Safe Schools material.
“The list of schools signed up to the so-called Safe Schools is available everywhere else in the country and yet in QLD we have the ridiculous situation where the Government is imposing onerous costs on anyone who wants to receive this information and appears to be taking every measure to keep the information secret.
“The QLD Government has an obligation to work with, rather than against, parents and the community and make this list freely available.”
Ms Francis said there was deep concern in the community about the way the QLD Government is blindly defending the program. More than 9,200 people have signed an ACL-sponsored petition that, among other requests, calls on the QLD Government to release the names of the schools.
“We ask Minister Jones to explain to ACL and the wider community why she and her Department are stalling in providing this information,” she said.
Ms Francis said the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, had a responsibility to ensure that each State cooperated with the Federal Government in ensuring schools are safe from contested gender theory.
“We call on the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, to impress on the QLD Government their duty to be open and transparent,” Ms Francis said.
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