Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — I too rise to support Safe Schools Coalition Australia, a national coalition of organisations and schools working together with staff, students and families to create safe and inclusive school environments for same-sex attracted, intersex and gender-diverse students. I fully support the work of the coalition and am incredibly proud that many of the schools in the north metro region have adopted this important and in some cases life-saving curriculum.
I was disgusted to see a campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby calling for its members to write to local MPs calling for an end to this vital program. The small but offensive range of emails said things like ‘My son does not need to learn disgusting anal sex techniques!’ — completely wrong — to just plain deluded ‘encourages children as young as 11 to become advocates for the homosexual cause’. Well, that was actually from Cory Bernardi, spreading his usual message of intolerance.
This is just another example of the Australian Christian Lobby spearheading hateful campaigns against young, already at-risk members of our community. For the federal government to entertain this vitriol in the form of an investigation is nothing short of a joke. Given the government committed almost $250 million to the chaplaincy program and this one has only $8 million allotted, perhaps the religious bigots could sit this one out. Any education that increases tolerance, support and acceptance in schools should be entirely encouraged and welcomed.