The Australian Christian Lobby welcomed the long awaited report on the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 which was released on 6 September 2021.
As part of the report’s opening, Mark Latham MLC writes, ‘The Parental Rights Bill seeks to reassert the rights and role of parents in the moral, ethical, political and social developments of their children…’
A cross-party Legislative Council committee received submissions from 82 different organisations and listened to witnesses from all sides of the debate, including ACL, HRLA, Family Voice Australia, Equality Australia and Rainbow Families.
A summary of key recommendations include:
- The NSW Government support all parental primacy provisions and protections in the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 including; the requirement for teaching to be non-ideological and the rights for parents to withdraw their children from teaching that is inconsistent with their core values and convictions.
- That the NSW Government make it mandatory for all government schools to display on their website, and update regularly, a clear outline of what they are teaching, with an associated list of text books and other learning material used in their classrooms, including instructions and material provided by external consultants.
- That the NSW Government establish mandatory state-wide protocols and standards for maximising school communications with parents.
- No school or school staff can withhold information from parents about the gender or gender transition of a student at the school, other than by a court order or acting with the advice of a government child protection agency.
- Other than in circumstances of full medical gender transition, students born biologically male shall not be allowed in female toilets, change rooms, dormitories and excursion accommodation; and vice versa for students born biologically female.
- For students under 18 years, school counsellors should not involve themselves in questions of gender fluidity and transition without prior reference to parents and any medical professionals advising the student and parents on this matter. Parents have the right to know if gender fluidity and transition are being discussed at school. School counsellors must liaise with parents and relevant medical professionals as much as possible.
The committee received 62,687 responses and 55% of respondents supported the bill (with and without amendments), 41% opposed it, and 4% were undecided.
Other findings of this report that are worth noting include:
- 61% of the responses said that schools should be teaching gender as biological science.
- 75% of parents said they do not have enough say in the classroom.
- 79% of responses said parents have the right to take their children out of the classroom if what is being taught does not agree with their social and moral values.
The Australian Christian Lobby supports the results of this report. It is a significant step forward to ensure that parents have the primacy in raising their children. We will continue to communicate with you any updates about this very important bill.
The teaching of moral and ethical values has always started at home and should be primarily carried out by parents or in consultation with parents. Quoting the Hon. Sarah Mitchel, Minister of Education, ‘The reality is that instilling values set, and encouraging positions on social and political issues, is not the jobs of schools. It is the jobs of parents.’
As Christians, let's be reminded of Deuteronomy 11:18-19...
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul...”
As we continue to engage in this battle for parental rights, let's remember that the privilege of teaching children about God's truth is primarily entrusted to parents. May we always be faithful in this task.