Ms Patten (Northern Metropolitan) — My question is to the Minister for Education, represented by Minister Herbert. Safe schools is an extremely worthwhile program that aims to stamp out homophobia and related bullying in schools but has recently been the subject of some outrageous and bigoted comments from members of this house. Clearly some members have a complete lack of understanding about the issues that some young people face when it comes to gender identity and sexuality.
The Andrews government allocated an extra million dollars to the Safe Schools program in the recent budget, claiming that it would help expand Safe Schools into every Victorian secondary school. Yesterday the government issued a statement saying that the program is compulsory but that, and I quote:
… it’s up to [schools] to decide with their communities what resources they use.
This seems like a very confused message, so I ask: will the Safe Schools program be compulsorily rolled out to all Victorian government schools?
Ms Patten (Northern Metropolitan) — Will the minister outline for the house what steps the government is taking to ensure that all schools are safe places for children to be themselves and give an ironclad guarantee that the future of the Safe Schools program is itself safe under his government?