Media Release: Friday, October 30, 2009

Values-based teaching is vital for the healthy development of young people and needs greater support in the ACT rather than suspending it on the basis of an over-reaction by one or two parents, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.

Responding to the ACT Government’s decision to investigate Focus on the Family Australia’s ‘No Apologies Impact’ seminars in ACT schools, ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said it is completely appropriate for high schools students to have access to a values-based program on sex education alongside the other material they are taught on this issue.

“The ACT Education Minister and one parent appear to be trying to paint Focus on the Family Australia as a ‘fringe organisation’ with ‘extreme views’ but this is far from the case,” Mr Wallace said.

“Focus on the Family Australia is a mainstream evangelical Christian organisation with support among a wide range of churches. I understand that their seminars have been approved by the NSW Education Department and are conducted with teachers in the room. They have also been hosting seminars for a couple of years in the ACT without problem.

“It is disappointing to see the ACT Government being so quick to put the boot into a values-based program on the basis of one parent’s vocal complaints, which I understand are mainly to do with that parent taking one example used out of context and solely on the basis of his daughter’s interpretation.

“Why can’t students be informed about things like marriage and abstinence and the benefits of making good decisions? Why can’t discussions be held about the harms and addictive nature of pornography – whether it’s heterosexual pornography, homosexual pornography, or any other type?

“This is yet another example of political correctness gone mad at a time when young people and their parents are often crying out for more values-based educational opportunities. This is why nationwide we are seeing more and more parents fleeing the public education system.”

Mr Wallace urged the ACT Government to carefully consider the merits of Focus on the Families seminars and to do more to promote values-based programs in ACT schools.

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan