Parents of school-age children in Victoria will be rightly concerned with the Andrews Government’s recent appointment of Safe Schools author, Joel Radcliffe, to oversee the roll-out of the Respectful Relationships program across the state.
Mr Radcliffe was caught on video in 2014 dismissing the concerns of parents about Safe Schools, reassuring a conference of educators that, even if they wished to, parents ‘don’t have the power to shut this down’.
Like Safe Schools, Respectful Relationships promotes highly sexualised content to school children and advocates for the deeply concerning and contested gender theory that boys can become girls.
Whereas the Federal Government Safe Schools was supposed to be available only to secondary school students, Respectful Relationships is now compulsory from Kindergarten to Year 12.
ACL Victorian Director Dan Flynn said many parents and teachers were relieved when the Victorian Government announced in December that it was severing ties with Roz Ward and Joel Radcliff from the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society at La Trobe University, the University responsible for developing and implementing the misnamed ‘Safe Schools’ on behalf of the Victorian Government.
“Having broken ties with La Trobe University and moved the program within the Education Department it would be difficult for parents to comprehend why the Government was now appointing a Safe Schools operative to work within the Education Department,” Mr Flynn said.
“Comments yesterday by Department Secretary, Gill Callister, to a Victorian Parliamentary committee that Ms Ward was also free to reapply for her job, would alarm many parents who are seeking assurances that their children would not be part of mandatory gender ideology.
“It seems the impression of a break was deceptive,” Mr Flynn said.
“The same people will be doing the same job and only the letterhead on their salary slip will have changed.”
The decision to appoint someone who holds the views of parents in contempt to an important role in the Department of Education clearly demonstrates that the Andrews Government has not moved from its support of the deeply troubling ideology that underpins Safe Schools.
Mr Flynn said gender theory was hotly contested by leading feminists and research showed that 80 per cent of children suffering from gender confusion resolved this by puberty, if left alone.
A Swedish study published in 2011 found that 10 years after sex change surgery, transgender people had a 20 times higher rate of suicide mortality than the non-transgendered population.
“Why would we be encouraging children to explore a pathway which clearly doesn’t resolve deep emotional and psychological issues, even after gender reassignment surgery?
“Children suffering confusion about their gender need all the love, empathy and professional help possible but teaching controversial and contested gender theory to the remainder of the class is not the answer,” Mr Flynn said.
Despite Mr Radcliffe's assertions, parents do have the power to shut Safe Schools by joining the 11,000 Victorians who have signed the ACL petition addressed to Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews.