6 April 2016

The Queensland Department of Education and Training says there is a list but it will cost $1100. But Education Minister Kate Jones has told Parliament the Department does not keep a list of schools running the so-called Safe Schools program.

“Parents are frustrated that they still can’t know which Queensland schools are running this program which tells children their gender is fluid,” Australian Christian Lobby Queensland Director Wendy Francis said today.

The Government is working at cross purposes with the community which is concerned by the content of the controversial program delivered by the Safe Schools Coalition of Australia.

In response to a Freedom of Information request lodged six weeks ago, ACL was told by the Department it could receive the list of Queensland schools making use of the Safe Schools material, but at a cost of $1100.

Yet in mid-March, Education Minister Kate Jones told Parliament that “the Department of Education and Training does not maintain a list of schools that have elected to engage with SSCA”.

ACL QLD Director Wendy Francis said: “Exasperated parents are getting increasingly frustrated by the secrecy and ducking and weaving of the Queensland Government despite the serious concerns with the Safe Schools material.

“To say on the one hand that the information can be provided, while conversely saying it cannot provide the list indicates that the Government is not being upfront in its dealings with regard to the ideologically-driven Safe Schools Coalition,” Ms Francis said.

“This is a matter of public interest. Almost 10,000 parents and concerned Queenslanders have now signed an ACL petition, which among other concerns, calls for the immediate release of the names,” she said.

“Since learning of the ridiculous cost of the FOI request, many parents have generously helped ACL raise the finance through crowd sourcing so that we can now proceed with the FOI request.

“It is clear that the community wants to know which schools are taking part in Safe Schools. This information is already freely available in other states. It is frightening that the QLD Government appears obsessed with defending the dubious sexualised Safe Schools program, when it should be working alongside parents.”

Ms Francis said it was disappointing that Minister Jones labelled those who are seeking transparency as ‘homophobic special interest groups’ in her address to parliament.

“To call those in the community who are concerned about the education of our children ‘homophobes’ shows that the Minister is clearly out of touch with community sentiments on this issue. Labelling concerned members of the community ‘homophobes’ is a form of bullying and that is ironic given Safe Schools is supposed to be about stopping bullying,” Ms Francis said.

“This list should be freely available, particularly in light of the federal government’s review on the program, where federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said it was crucial parents were not kept in the dark about what their children were being taught.

"This is especially concerning in Queensland where the Safe Schools Coalition still list unnamed primary schools as teaching a program that Education Minister Simon Birmingham has recommended to only be taught to high schools.

“All it takes is one phone call to receive this information. The ACL has waited almost six weeks now for information that is supposed to be freely available.

“To charge $1100 so parents can know if their school is running Safe Schools is outrageous.

“It is disappointing that the QLD Government does not seem to want to work with parents by providing transparency but seems to be protecting the ideologically-driven Safe Schools Coalition.”


Previous Media Releases:

$1100 the price for parents to know if their school is running safe schools

Safe Schools’ ‘intemperate’ language banned by Clerk of Queensland Parliament – but it’s ok for school

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