The Australian Christian Lobby has cautiously welcomed a call by a group of celebrities for a non-ideological national anti-bullying program for schools but said parents should be the primary stakeholders consulted in the development of any new program.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said any new program should also take into account the myriad of existing anti-bullying programs (including ones that tackle homophobia) and all of the reasons why students are bullied, body image being the leading cause.

“Right from the emergence of the so-called ‘Safe Schools’ program, opponents like ACL always said there is no excuse for bullying, full stop.

“It was the founder of the program Roz Ward that said Safe Schools actually had nothing to do with bullying and was all about promoting gender diversity.

“Concerns with ‘Safe Schools’ has always centred on the gender fluid ideology it teaches children and it is great to see it being recognised that this is a problem,” Mr Shelton said.

“If the Federal Government is to be involved again in a national anti-bullying program, it should ensure that parents are consulted this time and are treated as the primary stakeholders,” Mr Shelton said.

“The Premiers of Victoria and Western Australia and the Chief Minister of the ACT should take note of the calls for a non-ideological anti-bullying program and drop their plans to persist with ‘Safe Schools’.”