Coalition MPs, Tony Abbott attack Safe Schools program

School program aimed at tackling homophobia labelled a “disgrace”.

In late February, following pressure from Senator Cory Bernardi and a number of Coalition MPs, Prime Minister Turnbull launched an investigation into the Safe Schools program, which was seen as being used to indoctrinate children.

Spearheaded by the Safe Schools Coalition Australia, the national taxpayer-funded program provides an opt-in service to Australian schools, to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) children. As well as helping LGBTI children gain confidence, the program also offers “skills, practical ideas and greater confidence” to teachers and parents to create inclusive environments and prevent bullying of vulnerable students.

Until recently, the scheme, which receives $8 million per annum of federal funding and is being run at almost 500 schools across Australia, had the Coalition’s backing. Now, a number of Coalition backbenchers, including Cory Bernardi, George Christensen and former prime minister Tony Abbott, have criticised its work. 

Mr Bernardi, who put the initial pressure on Prime Minister Turnbull to investigate the competency of the program, called it a “disgrace”. He made the bold statement that it “bullies heterosexual children into submission to the gay agenda”.

The Safe Schools program was launched in 2010 under Tony Abbott’s government. However, Mr Abbott has become the latest politician to criticise its work, saying, “It's not an anti-bullying program, it's a social engineering program…Its funding should be terminated.”

Despite a number of children and parents reporting positive outcomes from the program, the Australian Christian Lobby has expressed concerns that the program is more damaging than helpful, claiming that it “imposes a sexual agenda on children” by raising inappropriate issues for teenagers and young children.

On Q&A on Monday night, director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Shelton called into dispute the “sexualised content” of the program, and its message to children that gender was not “uniform”.

“A lot of parents would be rightly concerned about this, that this goes way beyond an anti-bullying program,” he said. Mr Shelton was also against the program giving children information about performing “chest binding” and “penis tucking”, labelling it “radical action which they [the children] would later regret”.

Read more at:
theaustralian.com.au
theage.com.au
abc.net.au

Opinion: Giving kids the support they need

With data revealing that the majority of LGBTI young people experience some form of abuse from their peers, the need for a program like Safe Schools is undeniable – not just to support LGBTI kids, but to teach straight and cisgender (those who identify with their biological sex) children how to be tolerant.

Research into homophobia from the Bully Zero Australia Foundation found that:

  • 61 per cent of same sex attracted or gender diverse young people in Australia have experienced verbal abuse.
  • 18 per cent of same sex attracted or gender diverse young people in Australia have experienced physical abuse.
  • 80 per cent of these homophobic and transphobic incidents take place in schools. 

Despite Australia seeing itself as a tolerant nation, many race, gender and sexual prejudices persist. The Safe Schools program should not be seen as a threat to our society or our children, but a means by which we can become more inclusive and progressive. 

Considering that schools can choose whether to opt-in to the program and choose which services to include, I see no reason why it should be cut. Additionally, parents who take umbrage to particular content can always have their child omitted from the program (to the child’s educational detriment, in my opinion). Why should some children, who could gain so much benefit from the program, be denied such a great experience?

While conservative individuals and organisations may see the education provided by the Safe Schools Coalition as some kind of threat to children’s innocence, I see their reds-under-the-bed style of fearmongering over the program as a threat to our ongoing progress to create a more empathetic society.

What’s your stance on this issue? Do you think the program is a good thing to have in our schools or is it teaching inappropriate content? Do you think it’s possible to eliminate bullying from our schools via a program such as Safe Schools?

Why not find out more about what the Safe Schools program does?





    COMMENTS

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    Idontforget
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:13am
    Enough of this social engineering. There is no need to be spending millions of dollars when there is a no cost alternative of just letting nature take its course.
    buby
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:20am
    i'm enclined to see that point of view also-idontforget- all that wasted money could have been put to improving health system, and education, but obviously the wrong education has been started.
    Respect of ppl in general should be taught....
    Much of this should be taught at home, but trouble is - it is NOT, there lies the problems
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:40pm
    But it's NOT social engineering. It's an anti-bullying programme.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:12pm
    It's not social engineering. The program provides resources to help those who are ALREADY BEING BULLIED because of their sexuality (or perceived sexuality).
    Observer
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:22am
    Please dont tell me that kids in their pubescent years wont be affected by this overt material bringing to the forefront of their minds material that will cause them to upset any equilibrium they might be forming and further question their own gender status!
    The safe schools program is not about bullying (if it was it would be about all issues related to bullying!). It is a social engineering action prepared by clearly biassed homosexuals with an agenda to recruit our uncertain kids in their formative years. Take your hands off our kids and let parents be their guide. And print stuff about bullying, not a guide to accepting that they are aberrant.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:32am
    It is impossible to "recruit" someone to homosexuality.

    Describing homosexuality as aberrant is either bigotry or ignorance.

    Your ignorance is sad, but can be cured if you choose to improve your knowledge.
    margie
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:40am
    Observer, you are100% correct, parents are quite capable of assisting children if they have questions regarding gender issues. Most primary school children would not be thinking about these issues, they are children for pity's sake, let them run, climb, giggle and just play. It's called being a child, something that doesn't last very long. Schools already have anti bullying on the agenda and there is no reason to put into young minds, issues they have no knowledge of and really do not need to have.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:12am
    margie - sadly, a lot of parents are quite incapable of doing what you say.

    And have you spent time n a schoolyard lately? Are you aware that "You're gay" is a very popular insult?
    margie
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:29am
    Barak, you may be right with saying a lot of parents are incapable or don't want to be bothered, but there are many that do want to have these talks with their children and do not need schools and Government to poke their nose into what should be a parents right to decide whether their children are at the level to understand. I'm aware of the insults but really do you need a safe school program to inform children that this may be hurtful? Most children call everyone 'gay' not just the ones who are, and what about all the other name calling from making fun of your features, name, body, hair colour to what you eat for lunch, these are matters that with maturity and respectful parents will cease. But no matter what anyone does, name calling will exist in some form or other and it is impossible to legislate against every possibility. Maybe better education for parents is the key and we wouldn't need this discussion.
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:42pm
    Actually margie - Observer is far from 100% correct.

    This is especially wrong: The safe schools program is not about bullying (if it was it would be about all issues related to bullying!). It is a social engineering action prepared by clearly biassed homosexuals with an agenda to recruit our uncertain kids in their formative years.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:13pm
    Overt?

    Can I suggest you do a bit of reading?

    Go to Safe Schools website and read the resources.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:23pm
    Observer - you've obviously not read the resources from Safe Schools.

    Nor would you have done ANY research into bullying.

    This program is totally focused on bullying, and indeed, apart from encouraging kids not to use homophobic language does nothing to encourage kids to seek out a different sexuality. ALL the material is about minimising bullying of kids who are different.

    It appears you're also under the mistaken belief that kids can be recruited to gaydom.

    Your statement 'leave our kids alone' shines a bright light on where your thoughts are. In an earlier time, I suggest you would have been happy to see minorities forced to pin triangles on their jackets or be sent to ghettos because they aren't like us.
    FrankC
    2nd Mar 2016
    4:49pm
    I was thinking the same thing as I read that , Barak. And as for parents to instruct their children, I wonder how high the percentage is of parents who don't give rats arse about what their children think or say;the parents say what they want and allow the children to copy them. The bullying child is due to he/she not getting the love and encouragement in their studies from their home life,therefore getting low marks, so to offset that they like to throw their weight around to show they can achieve something within their mind to offset their lack of educational achievement. As for homosexuality, you either are or aren't. You cannot drawn in to the state. The whole thing boils down
    to tolerance towards these pupils, remembering that they may not have a mother or a father like you, so how would you feel about that.Unfortunately , religion and the government are of no use here.
    Troubadour
    2nd Mar 2016
    5:12pm
    I have already had discussions with our MP on this, which we see
    as more inclined towards UNSAFE than SAFE.We agree with OBSERVER, but not just parents but also grand-parents too have a
    responsibility in guiding their grand-kids.
    Really look into this fully and is definitely leaning more to Social Engineering with the bullying issue as a side bar.
    Richied
    3rd Mar 2016
    4:03pm
    Troubadour: I suggest that rather than talking with your MP, who will have an opinion that may be swayed by their party preferences, you have a look at Safe Schools (http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org.au).

    Click on Resources - there is a wealth of information there.

    Yes, some of these can be misinterpreted or taken out of context. For example, there is a guide to supporting a student to affirm or transition gender identity, which includes advice to let a student use the toilet or changing room that they feel most comfortable in. Just this sentence has scared a lot of people, but put into context, the document makes VERY CLEAR at the start that consideration be given to a child's age and maturity before discussing anything with them, all discussions should be led by the student (ie. the school's role in individual situations is reactive not proactive) and the family/parents role must be taken into account, balanced with the school's duty of care.
    Gwen46
    3rd Mar 2016
    6:34pm
    Well said Observer. More to this "Anti Bullying" campaign than meets the eye. (Telling pre school children that they don't have to be a boy or a girl ? Asking new parents if their baby is a boy or a girl is somehow wrong ? ) Yes Social Engineering at it's most dangerous.
    Anonymous
    3rd Mar 2016
    7:45pm
    Gwen - Is this program really telling pre school children that they don't have to be a boy or a girl ?
    Abby
    4th Mar 2016
    1:01pm
    Spot on Observe
    Darkling
    4th Mar 2016
    6:08pm
    Oh please. Homophobia lives, doesn't it?

    Kids can't be turned gay. They can be informed, they can be helped to understand who they already are.

    And recruit? FFS. Are you that ignorant?

    You would rather kids were beaten up, scared every moment of their lives? That they hide because you are so narrow minded and stuck in your heteronormativity you can't see this is the 21st century?

    You are out of touch, there is no place for your ignorance anymore.

    From a gay, queer, lesbian ;)
    Anonymous
    4th Mar 2016
    6:22pm
    Abby - Your beliefs are contradicted by facts.
    Tom Tank
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:25am
    We are in the midst of a battle between the "Religious Right" and the rest of us. The religious fundamentalists, who are well represented in the LNP (at least very vocally represented), are narrow minded bigots who cannot accept the fact that the majority of people do not share their views on life and human nature.
    A lack of tolerance is their stock in trade and they, despite their professed Christian beliefs, use misinformation and downright lies as weapons to get their own way.
    The school programme is not social engineering but purely an educational method of enlightening children to understand we are not all the same but do all deserve respect.
    Keep in mind this bunch of "Christians" are the same mob who forced their social engineering into schools via their school chaplan program to replace councellors.
    Idontforget
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:35am
    And herein lies the real problem. If you can't put forward a logical and well thought out opinion on the matter, whatever your beliefs may be, just resort to name calling and denigration of those that may have a different opinion than what you have.
    Cautious
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:01am
    Now there lies the real problem.
    If they don't agree with your narrow minded bigoted idea call them a narrow minded bigot.
    Or maybe a racist or sexist or maybe a bully, whatever raises the sentiment and clouds any argument.
    Cautious
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:27am
    Sorry idontforget. I didn't mean to agree with you.
    ghoti
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:30am
    Spot on, Tom.

    Idontforget: Tom put forward a very well-thought-out opinion on the matter. He also pointed out that religious fundamentalists like Bernardi are narrow-minded bigots, which seems to me to be a pretty accurate description. Why shouldn't they be called out for what they are? If you don't agree that they are narrow-minded bigots then don't just slag off Tom: give your reasons.

    On the face of it, there's no reason why the Safe Schools program, like any other program, shouldn't be periodically reviewed. But there's no more reason to choose this program over Chaplains in Schools, say. Less, in fact. Will it be a fair and open review? Unlikely. Governments usually don't review anything unless they've engineered the result they want. Turnbull has shown no inclination to stand up to the Religious Right so far; I have no confidence he will do so now.
    MICK
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:03pm
    Tom: and for decades schools turned out people who had respect and who had a moral code. In your attempts to tear down anything good to pacify those who seek to impose their sicknesses onto the country you avoid true debate and throw out the one liners.
    If you think that teachers are bad and homosexuals are wonderful then please educate your own in the ways of stupidity and perverse behaviour. Will save taxpayers money.
    Eve
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:47pm
    Mick - which bit of "you can opt out" of the Safe Schools Program didn't you get? Did we get that choice when school counsellors were sacked in favour of chaplains?

    And Idontforget - in the "name calling' department, doesn't that rule apply to you? Do you know anything about the appalling suicide and bullying rate among homosexual and transgender kids? And did you really want to be associated with Corey Bernardi and his relentless lack of christian charity towards those he disapproved of? I know it's frustrating being told how to behave - but sometimes, it's because we behave really badly!
    Saalbach
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:52pm
    Mick, I think you misread Tom's comments - in fact he agrees with you, and wants to get rid of those (the religious zealots) who want to impose their sickness (homophobia) on society. Like most of us, he wants to return to a situation where schools are turning out well educated, balanced, socially adept people, and Safe Schools is one link in that chain. As you probably know as well as anyone, both teachers and homosexuals can be good or they can be bad - their professions or sexual inclinations don't have any determination on which category they fall into. I think you owe him an apology.
    Tom Tank
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:28pm
    I would like to point out that the term "narrow minded bigot" is a statement describing the people concerned it is not name calling.
    I am certainly NOT homosexual although I do know quite a few who are, including a couple of relatives. They are just like everyone else, go to the footy, enjoy a drink in fact the only giveaway is that they are usually better mannered and better dressed.
    Being homosexual is not a "sickness" but since God created all life on earth he must have created them as well. If your religious beliefs are such that you abhor homosexuals you are therefore abhorring some of Gods creations.
    I should say I was brought up in a church going family and have travelled quite widely trying to keep an open mind with a tolerance for other beliefs and customs. That attitude appears to be a little foreign to some contributors to this discussion.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:56pm
    Mick,
    Your quote: "and for decades schools turned out people who had respect and who had a moral code. In your attempts to tear down anything good to pacify those who seek to impose their sicknesses onto the country....."

    Where did you learn that homosexuality is a sickness? This is a genuine question, I really want to know. Who on earth taught you that?

    2nd Mar 2016
    10:34am
    Would the homophobes here prefer that kids learnt all about sexuality issues entirely in the schoolyard and from random websites they find themselves, or from a structured educational program?
    Idontforget
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:06am
    And Barak, if you tried to bully me by calling me a homophobe to my face, which I am not, I think you would benefit from a quick little 'attitude adjustment' program.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:11am
    Idontforget - that your response to my comment is effectively a threat definitely shows the maturity of your position.

    It's the response of a bully.
    Cautious
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:24am
    Telling someone they need attitude adjustment is bullying?
    I guess "excuse me" is bullying too.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:29am
    No Cautious, "excuse me" is not bullying.

    Mick, I am not the topic here.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:30am
    Either the moderator got in quick, or Mick saw the wisdom of not writing what his post said before it disappeared.
    Saalbach
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:04pm
    Not sure how describing someone as a homophobe is bullying if they are, but threatening them with a quick "attitude adjustment" certainly is. I gather from Idontforget's response that he supports the rights of gay people - he supports gay marriage, and supports their right to the same legal benefits as heterosexuals. Why couldn't he say that without the threat?
    Rae
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:34pm
    The sexualisation of children borders on child abuse and grooming.

    It is a pity adults can't keep sex out of children's lives for at least the first few years.
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    5:08pm
    Correct, Rae - but that is not happening with this programme.
    Stretch
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:39am
    If letting 'nature take its course' means letting the bullying of LGBTI children happen, then I'm not for that type of nature. When children are told/taught not to bully, it means telling them not to pick on the disabled kid, the dyslexic kid, the black kid or the kid wearing the yamulka etc. Kids are told why they should not pick on them, assault them or gang up on them. Part of that includes telling kids that it is wrong to bully others because they have a different religion, have a different skin colour, have a disability. They are also told that being different is not a bad thing or a wrong thing or a thing justifying bullying. How many of you felt different at school? Or that your family was not the right type of family for the neighbourhood? It may not have been visible and you may have flown under the radar of the school bullies if you were lucky.
    This program does not promote lesbian, gays, trans-sexuality etc. It is teaching kids that it is OK to be LGBTI and that it is not OK to bully kids who are different in this. You can no more persuade a straight person that they should be gay than you can tell a pig to grow wings and fly. A kids equilibrium is far, far more upset - shredded in fact - by those whose peers and whose parents fear and loath gays etc. They never stop questioning, a good thing I thought. Fear and loathing by society has never persuaded a person to 'change' who they are attracted to. It has persuaded many to attempt or commit suicide though. Is this really worth it?
    Idontforget
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:47am
    And here is a respectfully put opinion. Nothing wrong with that.
    Kopernicus
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:34am
    Hey Stretch, well put. The program is about anti bullying, to describe it as social engineering is a farcical twisting of the truth. No wonder it provokes some to respond with indignation to such prejudicial views masquerading as harmless 'opinion'.

    Let 'nature take it's course' Idontforget and cop it if it's dished out as quid pro quo. There was nothing respectful in your comment. Why not withdraw the 20 time$ amount that is splurged on clergy at schools. Why should non religious people be paying for this?
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:45pm
    Very well said.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:17pm
    Well said Stretch.
    TassiePete
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:19am
    The Labor polly who opposed the SS program did so because it's primary focus was purely on homosexual or transexual bullying. A lot of other types of bullying goes on in schools, but these I am told are not given the same emphasis. So why the big emphasis on LGBTI issues? To me it sounds like the program was deliberately hijacked by the gaystapo as part of their plan to push homosexuality and encourage sexual experimentation in our young people during their formative years. Our school children are being given explicit detail on homosexual activities, and at an early age as well. But I doubt they are given the same detailed information about HIV, STDs and unwanted pregnancies caused by gay sex or experimentation. I am against bullying but this program will not stamp it out. It has always been there in one form or another and, unfortunately, will always be there. Bullying will not disappear from our schools with the SS program. So get rid of it and save our children from this insidious LGBTI propaganda. I suppose the gaystapo and the PC police will brand me a bigot or homophobe because of my views, but who cares, I don't. I, like many other Australians, are taking a stand against this evil rot.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:26am
    I'm a high school teacher. I sat in a class on Tuesday where students were given "detailed information about HIV, STDs and unwanted pregnancies caused by gay sex or experimentation".

    Next?

    Also, abolishing a program because it only addresses a subset of bullying strikes me as weird. Surely, if you actually want bullying to reduce, you would expand the program, not abolish it. The latter approach suggests you actually have no interest in stopping bullying, but a lot of dislike of people whose sexuality is different from yours.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:38am
    Well that answers our questions Barak all school teachers are left wingers and support all sorts of fringe programs like this it should be completely abolished as an absolute waste of money.

    Better to home school your kids and you don"t have to put up with this crap.
    ghoti
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:43am
    Er, unwanted pregnancies don't result from gay sex …

    TassiePete: sounds to me like you don't know anything about the program you're criticising. It's not "insidious LGBTI propaganda" at all but an attempt to encourage tolerance and understanding of people whose sexuality in not that of the mainstream. And as others have pointed out, you can't make a straight person gay just as you can't make a gay person straight. Clearly you ARE a bigot. AND a homophobe.
    TassiePete
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:50am
    Mx Barak, it is all very nice that you sat in on a class that gave info on HIV, etc, but what would you personally teach? What emphasis would you make? You don't say. Let the students make up their own minds, perhaps? Would you give the pro and con cases equal weight? or are you on the side of the LGBTIs as it seems to me?

    Expanding the program so it gives a good all-round approach to bullying may help, provided it does not place emphasis on only one type of bullying. But kids are kids and bullies will always be there. There may be better ways to combat this problem in schools. Ever heard of student "bully patrols", for instance, to police the problem?
    MICK
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:00pm
    The normal right wing post from you robbo. Readers would be sick of your BS which rarely have any facts. Just demonising of anything which is not owned by right wing governments. That is what trolls do!
    KSS
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:32pm
    Barak says he sat in a class where students were given "detailed information about HIV, STDs and unwanted pregnancies caused by gay sex or experimentation".

    As I did not attend the same class, perhaps Barak could enlighten me as to how HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancy is caused by gay sex (i.e. man to man or woman to woman).

    If that is the quality of the education those kids are getting, it is way beyond time for a review.
    Polly Esther
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:32pm
    not at all a nice comment mick, I give you credit for being better than that.
    TassiePete
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:54pm
    Mx Ghoti, labeling people as a bigot or homophobe is a scare tactic used by the PC police, gaystapo and others to silence their critics. Society NEEDS debate on all these issues and not have one side frantically working to SILENCE the other by whatever means they can. This seems to happen all too often as we see many of these small interest groups making hostile allegations about those who criticise them or their agendas. Because of the PC police our politicians and community leaders and press are "persuaded" to accept beliefs or policies that are not in the interest of the public and not of any benefit of society in general. By the way I am not a bigot or homophobe. Thanks for the insult.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:01pm
    KSS - when I wrote of "how HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancy is caused by gay sex", I was quoting someone else, just as I quoted you there.

    It's a shame I have to explain that.
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:48pm
    " Our school children are being given explicit detail on homosexual activities, and at an early age as well." - that is rubbish, TassiePete.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:16pm
    Two points.

    This program is but one of the many anti-bullying programs in place. And it is not as well funded as others.

    Secondly, the program is aimed at helping a minority that is vastly over-represented in bullying cases. That is, emphasis is given to those that are most at risk.
    KSS
    2nd Mar 2016
    5:27pm
    Barak "I was quoting someone else, just as I quoted you there." and that is the point, if that's what the kids are being taught it desperately needs review.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:41pm
    If you were quoting someone else, he or she was an idiot and you should have ignored them, because as several have pointed out, the words made no sense.
    Happy cyclist
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:26am
    It hard enough to be a kid without being made to feel bad about not conforming to stereotypes. Anything which informs kids that difference is normal and all people are of value and no-one should be bullied has to be worthwhile. Its never too early to teach kids that every person is of value. Also when these topics are out in the open they don't seem so interesting to the kids and so also not so much a vehicle for bad behaviour. With appropriate education I hope that younger generations will not carry all the prejudices and intolerances that many of my generation hang on to even today.
    Stretch
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:36am
    Spot on. There is nothing more boring than your teacher 'lecturing' you when you're a teenager or kid.

    A lot of these comments are actually very nasty towards kids who are LGBTI - I don't know if those who are opposed to this program are aware that their opinion does spill in to the public sphere and the hostility these adults show towards LGBTI actually does seriously hurt and damage these kids?
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:31pm
    Great comments Happy cyclist and Stretch.
    Saltbush
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:28am
    Like it or not we live in a society that has changed and continues to grow with acceptance of a variety of lifestyle choices. There may be a need to look at the content and method of delivery of courses but we shouldn't deny our children the opportunity to get unbiased information about issues that impact on their lives.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:30pm
    I agree.

    All programs that present information to kids need to be reviewed every now and again to ensure the information is contemporary (and accurate based on up to date research).

    Education departments have clear guidelines on when and how all programs are reviewed and updated.

    This program has been treated differently, in that a review has been forced by members of a political party, and by a tiny fringe religious lobby group (ACL), and not in line with the review guidelines.
    Mike
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:32am
    Our son grew up in a small country town and was very shy and didn't feel confident wih girls. He went to the ANU in Canberra and on the opening day we were inundated by Gay and lesbian groups to join their friendship groups. Also free offers to join Gay clubs in Canberra. They preyed on single lonely people far from home and with no friends or support. I wonder how many of those poor lonely youth were coerced to become gay. We went to the Canberra City Uniting church and told them what was happening and that there was an ideal opportunity and urgent need for a church youth group at the ANU, and were dismayed that they were not interested at all. Our son did not like the Gay and Lesbian coercion at the ANU and soon left and went to Sydney where I am happy to say he is now happily married. But I am utterly disgusted at the way the Gay and Lesbian lobby is preying on single lonely and very vulnerable youth, I am disgusted with the ANU and the Uniting City Church.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:34am
    Mike, people cannot be coerced to become gay.

    Were you coerced to become heterosexual?
    Happy cyclist
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:51am
    Oh, pleeeeeeeeeeeease! Sexual orientation is not a choice -- its who you are. Get a grip Mike.
    Happy cyclist
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:09pm
    Mike, did it even occur to your son that maybe he was not being "coerced" but rather that that particular group was extending true friendship, seeing he was "shy" maybe they felt sorry for him. You don't need to be gay to have gay friends you know. Gay people have had such a tough time in so many ways that they tend to be much more empathetic than us straight people. Maybe they were just trying to be nice to your sad son when no-one else seemed to care.
    TassiePete
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:40pm
    Happy cyclist, sexual orientation may not be choice, but living the gay lifestyle is.
    Stretch
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:44pm
    Mike, there is a well organised gay and lesbian lobby for things such as marriage equality and there are their many supporters. I've lived a long time and I've yet to see this lobby try to persuade someone to their 'side'. Maybe it has happened, but it must surely be the exception. I sympathise with your son and can see how such an intro to Uni could be distressing and confronting. Coupled with the brashness, lack of subtlety and black&white view of the world that many young uni students have plus the 24/7 obsession with sex teenagers have (ok, before I get howled down that was a bit of a generalisation) it must've been pretty full on for your boy. My guess is he would've married etc regardless.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:21pm
    I think your comments are off-topic.

    Safe Schools is aimed at high schools, not universities.

    Also, clubs in universities are managed and supported by the student body. ANU, like all other universities, has a very diverse group of clubs and societies, including religious and bible study groups.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:49pm
    Mike it is possible your son would have felt less threatened by the presence of a 'gay friendly' group welcoming gays to the university if he had been brought up to be accepting of the fact that gays and lesbians exist and have needs to feel a sense of inclusion, albeit from fellow homosexuals. The fact that he felt threatened suggests he was not comfortable with the existence of homosexuality.

    When my gay son first went to university age 18 he felt as alienated as he had always felt in society at large. I would have been delighted if a welcoming gay and lesbian group had been there to greet him on orientation day.

    You are showing your extreme ignorance when you suggest that anyone can change the sexual orientation of another person.
    jam
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:36am
    We need to know the percentage of kids who honestly express this type of concern. In my view the same sex lobby would have such a program even if there was only 1 in a whole school......and ignore other forms of bullying.
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:55pm
    It's not the "same sex lobby" - which is running this programme. It's concerned teachers.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:29pm
    That's a pretty misinformed comment.

    Firstly, the initiative is a coalition of schools and organisations, not the 'gay lobby''.

    Secondly, every study has shown that kids who are 'different' are more likely to be bullied (http://nobullying.com/bullying-statistics-2014/)

    Thirdly, there are many anti-bullying programs underway - this is just one of them. Most are general but a few (like this one) are aimed at minority groups.

    Your argument implies that 1 kid being bullied is okay. I find that abhorrent.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:54pm
    Even more reason for the program if there is only one kid in the school (which is very unlikely). That kid is at even greater risk of bullying and suicide than if there are several who can identify with each other and hopefully support each other.
    PlanB
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:54am
    I havent seen much on this so can't really comment
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:32pm
    Good response.

    Unfortunately so many (from both sides of the argument) weigh in based on their opinion or the opinions of their chosen political/religious/cultural allies, instead of spending some time researching the topic.
    Old Man
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:56am
    What seems to be missing from all of the discussion is the number of students who maybe need this type of gender equality support. The rhetoric seems to indicate that non heterosexual students form the majority which is obviously incorrect. As we live in a democracy, shouldn't any government programs be aimed at the majority?
    Saalbach
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:10pm
    Probably not - the homeless are in a minority, retired people are in the minority, as are unemployed, the disabled, the infirm, etc. Surely it is the role of government to specifically help the minorities, as they can't always help themselves.
    Old Man
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:17pm
    Thank you Saalbach, I generalised which I should never do. Please read my comment as applying to the Safe Schools Program. Apologies.
    Happy cyclist
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:00pm
    Thanks Saalbach, you saved me from stating the obvious.
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:58pm
    If you agree that we should look after minorities in general, Old Man, then why not those being bullied because of their sexuality.

    But, importantly, you are overlooking the fact that Safe Schools IS aimed at the majority - ie heterosexual kids. They are the ones doing the bullying - the programme is for them, to try to modify that behaviour!
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:37pm
    So, what you're saying is that all government funding should go only to majority groups. I wonder who exactly they are.

    White anglo-saxon protestant males aren't in the majority, so they're off the list.

    Nothing for pensioners then.

    Oh, if you have cancer, the government won't provide any support, because the majority of people don't get cancer.

    If you live outside of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, then nothing for you either (sorry farmers).

    I know the above is flippant, so here's some facts.

    The Safe Schools Initiative is only one of many anti-bullying programs in schools. Most are generic, but a few are aimed at providing support and resources for specific minority groups.

    Every study has shown that kids that are seen as 'different', whether that be cultural, religious, ethnic or based on sexual orientation (or perceived sexual orientation), are far more likely to be bullied than other kids, even though 'different' kids make up the minority. Here's one such reference - http://nobullying.com/bullying-statistics-2014/
    Observer
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:57am
    Barak, regrettably you have accepted a viewpoint that is not scientifically established. Whilst the proposal that there is a "gay gene" is accepted by some, it is still a matter of controversy and we have no firm data whatsoever that there is more than a genetic predisposition at the most. I speak as a scientist. Of course we all realise that those with an agenda will claim otherwise. The fact that people can choose, on the other hand is well authenticated in many cases.

    So Barak, please cease your strident advocacy for homosexuality. It has enough problems, sadly, without this lack of objective reality. And no I am not homophobic. I do hope your high school students are not subject your bias or worse.
    Saalbach
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:20pm
    Well, Observer, methinks you shot yourself in the foot. You admit that the strongest accepted evidence is that there may be a genetic predisposition, which rather supports Barak's viewpoint (and the vast majority of other people including scientists) that being gay is not so much a choice as a state of being.
    Having read Barak's posts, I can't see where you get the idea that he/she is a strident advocate of homosexuality - certainly he/she is a strong supporter of a program that is intended to help children understand and cope with life. Don't you support that?
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:02pm
    Observer - I don't think Barak, or anyone else, is an "advocate for homosexuality".
    Similarly, there aren't advocates for heterosexuality. What there is, is people who support other people to be themselves, whatever sexuality they happen to be.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:04pm
    And there are those of us, like Barak, who want to see an end to bullying in schools for whatever reason, and especially for the reason that a child's sexual or gender orientation might differ from the mainstream.
    MICK
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:57am
    I rarely agree with comments from the current big business government but I have to admit that I find any program which is reinforcing homosexuality wrong. Whilst homosexuality is always there I do not agree with cultivating this abnormal behaviour....no matter how much the homosexual community want more of the same. It is wrong.
    I would however like to hear from teachers about this as this may be another witch hunt from this discredited government. Let's get the facts before we jump. In the end it may be just another program that this government wants to close down to find more money.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:10pm
    Well done Mick. You have described homosexuality as abnormal and wrong.

    Pure ignorance and bigotry.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:42pm
    Can I suggest you do some research?

    The Safe Schools program is NOT cultivating abnormal behaviour - it is aimed at providing resources and support to schools to address bullying of kids who are or are perceived to be gay.

    The idea that the government is simply looking at programs to close down to save money is a bit hollow, given that the School Chaplaincy program costs thirty times more, but is not subject to the same scrutiny.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:19pm
    Where did you learn homosexuality is abnormal behaviour mick? Did you just make it up or did someone teach you this? Homosexuals have always existed, didn't you know? Homosexuals are born and did not choose to have that sexual orientation. They discovered their orientation around puberty. Would you choose to be homosexual with people like you in the world to call you abnormal?
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:25pm
    Neither the ancient Greeks nor the Romans had a concept of homosexuality or heterosexuality.

    Men were assumed to be attracted to both males and females. To express a preference for just one sex was considered eccentric.
    bartpcb
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:14pm
    Pathetic attempt at social engineering by intellectually up themselves academics. In order to be seen to be 'doing something' to counter the bullying of a minority group, they are quite happy to bully the majority. I'm pretty sure the girls don't want boys in their toilets, regardless of the boys gender identification issues. So why not build a separate toilet for the minority group?? Oh that's right, the up themselves intellectuals wouldn't make a name for themselves and the school would miss out on extra funding.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:06pm
    Define "a boy".
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:04pm
    It's an anti-bullying programme - not social engineering.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:54pm
    It appears you are not getting your facts from any reputable non-partisan source.

    All studies show that kids that are 'different' are vastly more likely to be bullied than those who aren't. That is, minorities are the primary targets for bullies. So it makes sense to provide targeted programs that try to minimise bullying of minorities.

    This is just one of many anti-bullying programs, most are generic but a few are targeted to specific minorities, including kids of faith, and aboriginal kids.

    The program doesn't encourage schools to let kids go to toilets of a different gender - reading the resources and you'll see it is about minimising bullying by putting in place appropriate policies, and discouraging kids from using insulting and homophobic language.
    Kopernicus
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:22pm
    Imagine yourself to be an adolescent. You may live in a family environment hostile to people who are homosexual and your wider social milieu is of similar ilk. As your sexuality awareness grows, you start to recognise, to your absolute horror, an undeniable sexual attraction to members of your own gender. You reasonably fear rejection by your family and friends. Further, if you are male, this threatens rejection by your gender. Poofters are not real men, are they? Imagine the angst. Imagine the added effect of bullying if others know of or suspect your developing sex orientation.

    Most of us can recall our vulnerability when transitioning to adulthood. Discrimination, prejudice and exclusion are key causal factors in LGBT mental ill-health and suicidality. Throw in adolescence and the risk rises.

    So, if you want to talk about social engineering, you can't go past the effect of rejection, disgust, prejudice and exclusion that a significant portion of our society display toward gays. Any attempt to describe this program is attempting to 'reinforce' homosexuality is perverse, prejudicial bullshit. It attempts to engender acceptance of others, be they gay or straight.

    All bullying hurts and effects it's target and should be abhorred and adressed. This group has been identified as target for program for adolescents who are more highly at risk.
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:06pm
    Wonderfully said Kopernicus. Congratulations. I hope all posters here read this.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:26pm
    Top post kopernicus.
    Conserned
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:25pm
    Whatever happens at school, it is the responsibility of parents to teach appropriate social norms. To investigate how this can be done today, please visit this site to find sensible guidance , JW.org
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:05pm
    Extending that thought, the chaplaincy program should be disbanded. Schools should not be allowed to punish children at all (ie. simply tell the parents what the child did and leave it to the parents). Schools should not have school uniforms (it should be up to the parents to decide what kids wear). School or classes should be voluntary (parents should decide if a child should attend). Only parents should be able to decide what is bullying and what is not.

    All of these are social norms, with the schools providing guidance and rules.

    Although this sounds noble in a fully libertarian society, it is unworkable, given people's propensity to protect their own and (given the chance) to apply their own morals, regardless of what society feels.
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:08pm
    If all parents were doing their job properly, Conserned, then there wouldn't be the need for such programmes as Safe Schools.
    Unfortunately, schools have to pick up the parents' role in many areas for the sake of kids whose parents are incapable.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:33pm
    Well said Rod63. It is parents ultimately who teach kids to be accepting of difference or non accepting, bigoted and hostile.
    geomac
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:52pm
    A lot of rubbish ( misinformation ) has been said by the usual suspects about the program. The schools decide if they want to participate and to what extent. Compared to the chaplain program its very cheap, small change. The chaplain program if put under the same scrutiny would look very shabby indeed and is restricted to faith based amateurs in the main with trained people excluded. Now that is social engineering.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:42pm
    I'm sure the Chaplain programme costing $250 million per year is very shabby indeed. Do any of us really know what that is all about?
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:49pm
    The chaplaincy program is worse than a waste of money. It's Christian indoctrination, done by well meaning but untrained religious enthusiasts.

    The good ones do provide some useful counselling, but keep talking about their god. The bad ones just talk about that god.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:06pm
    Thanks Barak. I suspected as much.
    Richied
    3rd Mar 2016
    4:26pm
    Robinconda: Don't take this as tacit support of the chaplaincy program, but just a clarification - it's $243million over four years (compare that to $8million over four years for Safe Schools).

    There was some merit in the chaplaincy program, when it allowed trained welfare workers and counselors. The changes last year to restrict it to only chaplains from faiths (ie. churches), meant that the focus moved to being based on theology rather than welfare. This from the National School Chaplaincy website:
    - They provide a listening ear and a caring presence for kids in crisis
    - School chaplains have an educative role in the areas of beliefs, values, morals, ethics and religion.

    I found with quick research that any lay person can become a chaplain (and indeed get a school chaplain certificate 'upgrade') in three months, and must be ordained or have other religious qualifications from a recognised - or accepted - religious institution.

    The only restriction I can see is that they must not proselytise. So they are allowed to spruik the Bible (or Koran) but can't ask a kid to join the religion.

    THIS is social engineering.

    A side note: the high court in 2014 said that the funding from commonwealth was unconstitutional, so funding was transferred to the states. What the high court didn't look at was the whether it was constitutional to restrict the program to only those from a religious faith, as the commonwealth is not permitted to make any law based on religion. I suspect this would lose, but it would be an interesting case.
    KSS
    2nd Mar 2016
    12:54pm
    Given that this program has been delivered in some schools for five years it is not unreasonable to review the curriculum and teaching/learning materials associated with it. Just as is done with every other subject on the curriculum.

    Those opposing any review are denying the possibility that the outcome may be favourable for the program whilst at the same time they are giving those opposed to the program more cause for concern.

    What is of real concern to me is that any questioning at all of anything to do with minority groups, regardless of what that minority group is, results in bullying of those who dare to question by those who purportedly are against the very bullying they engage in.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:08pm
    KSS - I condemn ignorance. Far too much of that has been displayed here by the homophobes.

    Surely you too despise ignorance.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:00pm
    I agree that all programs should be continually reviewed.

    And I do not disagree with this review. I'm all for it, as part of standard education review policy.

    What frustrates me is that the call for a review was not through standard education policy that mandates reviews on a regular basis, but was pushed through from a political (and indeed, religious) viewpoint. The key proponents for the review are the religious right of the Liberal Party, and the Australian Christian Lobby, neither of which have referred to the need for this review as part of standard education policy.

    To put this in context, there are many other anti-bullying programs in schools that have been going for longer than this program (this program started initially in 2003), but have not been attacked politically or religiously, and have not had out-of-cycle reviews enforced by the government.
    Eve
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:04pm
    Having read these comments, I am genuinely stunned by the level of antagonism toward the homosexual (and transgender) community. You know its just a matter of luck - specifically, how much testosterone is in a mother's womb during pregnancy (and this tends to reduce with more children - so your later born child is more likely to be gay) - whether you are gay or not. All you who express outrage at homosexuality - may well find that a beloved member of your own family is gay. What will you do? And what will you do if someone else attacks them, and relentlessly bullies and abuses them to the point of suicide?
    Stretch
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:18pm
    A reminder of Ricky Muir, who said he'd disown his son if he found out he was gay, when asked. His wife asked him really? Muir thought it through and with his logic and his willingness to reconsider his view that he says he was brought up with, he reversed his view totally, supports same sex marriage and gay rights. I think it was that kitchen cabinet series on the ABC there he talked about this. I really, really admire him for this, not just what he now supports but the personally difficult path he had to take - that he took it and learned.
    Kopernicus
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:25pm
    Exactly Eve, the acid test. Things have changed in the last 20 years when many people rejected their children (frequently on religious grounds). Nowadays it may be less frequent but still occurs. It's beyond me how one could do that, place dogma above your child.

    These people refuse to understand that this is not choosing, it's a response to visceral same sex attraction. Just as they invent notions like gay recruitment by the program. Love the mention of reinforcement as well. What, you don't believe that to reinforce the notion that to be gay is to be as human as anyone else is OK? If you say no - that's your homophobic opinion, nothing else.
    Red Robin
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:20pm
    Of all the people who commented above - how many of you have actually read the material in its entirety????
    You all prattle on without the full knowledge of what this document contains and the implications therein.
    I believe that children should be children and that introducing them - before they are ready to comprehend - certain types of information, should not happen. Therefore it is the parents who should be aware of their child's needs and the school to monitor and work with the parents to identify when a child needs help and work with the parents accordingly.
    If there is bullying that is a different matter altogether and once again the school should identify and call in all the parents and children concerned in these incidents.
    tj
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:27pm
    LGBTI kids?? Just yet another perk thought up by someone pushing another ''out there agenda'' at the taxpayers expense .Never mind this will blow over soon and another snout will push it's way into the trough
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:59pm
    Spot on tj probably set up by a school teacher or an academic with no idea of real life.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:10pm
    That's fairly ignorant.

    I suggest reading some research on bullying in schools, and then come back with a considered response as to why targeted anti-bullying programs are 'just another perk'.

    I also contend that a better target for 'snouts in the trough' would be the chaplaincy program that costs 30 times as much and EXCLUDES trained school welfare workers from providing support to kids, leaving it to chaplains from Chaplaincy Australia - a department of Australian Christian Churches). One can become a chaplain with 2 x 3day training sessions, and then get a school chaplaincy upgrade with two certificate units. This compares to three years training of a welfare workers.
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:39pm
    There has been so much misinformation about this programme. It is a fantastic resource and should be being used in all schools.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    1:43pm
    A few points.
    1. This program is not 'social engineering'- it is aimed at providing tools and support for kids who are bullied because they are from (or perceived to be) from a minority group ( (I contend that the Chaplaincy program has become closer to social engineering than any other school social program, given the removal of school welfare workers from it).

    2. This program costs $8million per annum (and reaches 10 percent of all school kids), as opposed to $243million for the School Chaplaincy program. Simple arithmetic shows that Safe Schools is far cheaper per capita than the Chaplaincy program, and does not restrict who can provide the support.

    3. This is by no means the only anti-bullying program. Other programs include Bullying No Way, Bully Busters. Friendly Schools, Brainstorm etc, and of course the Childrens eSafety Commissioner. Although mostly generalist, each program also has resources to address bullying of members of minority groups (whether they be cultural, religious, racial or based on sexuality).

    4. There is absolutely nothing in the material provided through Safe Schools that could be interpreted as encouraging someone to follow a particular sexuality. It is solely aimed at providing tools and support to those who are ALREADY BEING BULLIED for being (or perceived to being) sexually diverse. The program does point kids to other resources, including Minus18. Minus18 is aimed at providing general support for teenagers who identify as GLBT - it does not encourage people into being (or experimenting with being) gay.

    5. The material provided by Safe Schools is not overtly (or covertly) gay. Anyone who suggests otherwise HAS NOT DONE THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF RESEARCH - it's very easy you know, just type Safe Schools into your search engine and up pops their website, which includes all the material/resources provided to schools.

    6. One reason why there is a specific program to reduce anti-gay bullying is because a gay (or perceived to be gay) kid is far more likely to be bullied than a straight kid. More gay kids are bullied than straight kids - how is this possible when they make up such a small percentage of the population?

    7. And now a subjective opinion - those who say 'think of the children' are doing exactly the opposite. You are not displaying 'Christian values', but are being hypocritical. Programs that reduce bullying or reduce the impact of bullying are aimed directly at supporting the children. We should be supporting ALL anti-bullying programs, regardless of who the recipient of those programs are.
    Reeper
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:08pm
    The promoters of this program have openly admitted to be affiliated with a Marxist group with a professed intent of changing society. Based on this alone, the program needs to be withdrawn until it is de-politicised.
    The material when used on young impressionable minds is quite coercive toward a homosexual or Transgender lifestyle, to say otherwise is trickery.
    Gay, Lesbian and Transgender people have been around since Day One, what hasn't is Gay, Lesbian and Transgender politically motivated Marxists...it has nothing to do with bullying.
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:13pm
    You haven't read it then, Reeper.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:16pm
    Wow Reeper. I'd love to see the evidence for that claim.

    Which Marxist group?

    Who were the promoters of this program? The Australian Government? The Victorian Government (that started the program)?

    Withdrawing the program 'until it is de-politicised' doesn't make a lot of sense. That's like saying all funding to all schools should be withdrawn until those funding programs are de-politicised.

    I'm also wondering what material is being used on young impressionable minds. I doubt you've looked at the resources - most of the material is aimed at the teachers and school policy makers to remove homophobia and homophobic language from schools.
    Eve
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:50pm
    Thank you Richied. That was a nice rational outline of the program - quitye at odds with some of the comments on these pages.

    Reeper, why do you think you can make such outrageous allegations and not be challenged? Just saying this rubbish doesn't make it true.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    4:27pm
    CORRECTION:
    The government funds Safe Schools Initiative at $8million over four years, not $8million per annum.
    Reeper
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:01pm
    I would certainly not have my child be educated on a program which contrary to intentions is not an anti-bullying program. It is a program designed to introduce children to Gay, Lesbian and Transgender people by placing them in the shoes of those people.
    This is a subject which is a parental responsibility, not a program written not by bullying victims, but a Marxist group who have admitted it is their goal to change society. This isn't my concoction, but a reported fact.

    I am not bothered whether you think you are Arthur or Martha, you may dress as you please. But, if you are Arthur and look like Arthur but dress like Martha do not expect me not to smile....
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:49pm
    As I mentioned before, I suggest you DO SOME RESEARCH.

    The program is focused purely at addressing the causes of bullying of GLBT kids.

    It encourages kids to NOT use homophobic language.

    It encourages teachers to address homophobic behaviour as soon as it happens.

    The program does NOT encourage kids to dress differently, or experiment, or go to the toilet of their choice, or try any other 'abnormal' behaviour.

    You also keep stating that some Marxist group is driving this initiative - WHICH MARXIST GROUP? I'm very happy for you to cite references.

    Saying it doesn't make it true.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:51pm
    Ugly and ignorant comment Reeper.
    Tom Tank
    3rd Mar 2016
    9:31am
    The penny has just dropped, Reeper as actually Corey Bernardi, or at least his clone.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    2:09pm
    Oh, and please correct the article. It states that The Safe Schools program was launched in 2010 under Tony Abbott’s government." Mr Abbott's government didn't commence till 2013.
    Mike
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:15pm
    To Happy Cyclist. They wernt being friendly and supportive, they were recruiting, trying to get their numbers up, and promoting free memberships to Eros, a Gay and Lesbian club. I was disgusted there were no other youth groups to offer friendship and support to young vulnerable people starting out for the first time at the ANU Canberra.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:56pm
    Please read my response to your earlier statement.
    Mike
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:25pm
    To those that want to disband the Chaplaincy programme, and replace it with Ethics. Since we are becoming a multicultural nation, Which Nations Ethics would you incorporate? The Muslim Ethic where women are treated like garbage and have no right? Or what about female mutilation and honour killing? These are quite acceptable in other cultures and are even promoted. The Chaplaincy programme teaches our kids the difference between right and wrong, Not some vague ethics that may be appropriate in various countries. Also if kids are taught to respect elders and to choose between right and wrong it may keep them out of jail at a later date.
    Richied
    2nd Mar 2016
    4:00pm
    I'd prefer an ethics program that aligned with Australian social norms. This has nothing to do with religion, but strong ethics and philosophy. Check out the Ethics Centre for how this can be achieved.

    The chaplaincy program is aimed at providing religious chaplains of any faith to schools. That is, the chaplains will be able to teach kids right from wrong based on their religious teachings, and not based on what society thinks is right or wrong. So it is feasible for a chaplain in a Muslim school to apply those views of right or wrong; or a fundamentalist Christian chaplain can apply fundamentalist views of right or wrong. One can become a chaplain with very little training (you can become qualified as a school chaplain within 3 months if you focused) and there is no standard framework for applying what is 'right or wrong'.

    I for one am not against the chaplaincy program - I am against it in its current religious form (which precludes school welfare workers or non-religious counsellors), especially as according to the 2011 census the vast majority of Australians are not actively religious and 25% have no religion.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    10:02pm
    "The chaplaincy programme teaches our kids the difference between right and wrong"?????????? Really??? In what way? Can you describe exactly how that happens?
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    4:53pm
    I would read through all the comments but considering the amount of ignorance and homophobia in the few I've read I'm not going to bother.
    This is a program that supports LGBT+ students, teachers, employees and families. It does not indoctrinate children
    Being Gay, Lesbian, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Agender, Non-Binary or any of the other variants is not something you choose or get indoctrinated into.
    Those that claim this influences children into are just ignorant. Pure and simple.
    This might, however, help those that are trying to work out what their sexuality
    or gender is. It will certainly make them feel safe while they are working it out.
    Social Engineering? Seriously? Because people chose to be gay? Your ignorance is showing.

    And if this had been around when I was at school, it wouldn't have taken me as long to figure myself out.

    Yes. Lesbian here.

    Flame away!
    Rod63
    2nd Mar 2016
    5:17pm
    Best wishes to you Darkling. I have read all the comments and you will be pleased to know that of all the posters, the great majority are supportive of the programme and/or are not displaying ignorance nor homophobia. I was encouraged by that and you should be too.
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    5:29pm
    Thanks Rod63. Unfortunately the ignorant voices are often the loudest. I'm not one to be intimidated by them, but children researching this are seeing their comments. It must give them a real sense of hopelessness to see strangers anonymously posting like this on the Internet.
    My kids know I'm gay, and are supportive.
    When a 12yo displays more compassion than grown adults?
    Homophobes be ashamed.
    Ignorance is no excuse for picking on children.
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    5:25pm
    Question for the homophobes that are posting. Why do you think the programme is needed in schools? Because people like you exist outside of school, spreading your ignorance. How many of these kids can't talk to their parents because their parents are like you? They need somewhere safe.
    Your comments on this are bullying too....be proud.
    TassiePete
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:42pm
    Ms Darkling - criticising LGBTI people does not make a person a homophobe. I'm not, and won't be bullied by you or any of the gaystapo left. Back in the days when I was at school this gay bullying problem was not a problem at all. Mind you, if you were a gay you kept quiet about it so you would not be bullied by your peers. Now gays are encouraged to come out and be proud! Surely by doing so they can expect that "straights" may take offence. I feel sorry for those students who are LGBTI and get bullied at school but all the "safe school" type education in the world is not going to make the bullying go away. Perhaps teaching and encouraging the principle of "Love thy neighbour as thy self..." would have a far better affect in the long term. This is a good life principle and can be applied to many of life's experiences, not just to bullying.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:44pm
    TassiePete, using the term gaystapo probably makes you a homophobe.

    Why should straights take offence when gays come out?
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:55pm
    Lol gaystapo left? Really? Do you really think that exists?
    And why should straight people take offence...it's not like there is anything wrong with being gay...and of course it was a problem when you were at school..that's WHY gay people hid...we've always been around...were not going away...
    Love thy neighbour...unless your neighbour is gay...then hide them away...

    Actually I'm more offended by being called MS...Miss thanks ;)

    Oh and gaystapo....equating gay people with the Gestapo who would have gassed us if discovered...no...obviously not homophobic...ignorant instead...
    Tom Tank
    3rd Mar 2016
    9:41am
    I am afraid TassiePete that you have contradicted yourself. the Safe Schools program surely is based upon the principle of "Love thy neighbour as thy self".
    Your comment about a Gay coming out should expect to be bullied clearly states you lack the ability to "Love thy neighbour as thy self".
    A gay person is a human being and as the bible says "all men are created equal in the sight of God" but you obviously don't subscribe to that.
    Any individual deserves respect whether they meet your rigorous standards or not and that is what Safe Schools is all about.
    Would you have bullied a Spartan from ancient Greece I wonder.
    Nan Norma
    2nd Mar 2016
    5:58pm
    How much more are teachers expected to teach? Instead of teaching children not to be bullies, how about we teach good manners instead. You teach that on a daily basis. No need to spend money for a special class. Have any of you people over 60 years noticed that the more children are taught about sex the more they seem to indulge in it. How much ruder children are today?
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:12pm
    So, all children are rude? Yeah no.
    And this isn't about teaching manners. And I think it's far too late for that. How are children meant to learn not to pick on certain people when they see the adults round them doing it? This thread for example.
    This is about accepting everyone in our community. This is about children going to school and feeling safe. There are a lot of unaccepting parents and other adults out there. Have a look at what is happening in some states in the US where adults are trying to legislate for genital checks on children before they enter a public toilet....
    Yes, that is really happening.
    We entrust the schools and the teachers with the care and well-being of our children. That includes trans children. That includes gay children and bi children and every single child in that school.

    School shoud be safe. Pure and simple. For some children it is not. That is wrong.

    What is not wrong is teaching our kids to accept everyone around them for who they are.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:15pm
    Looks like it's time to again say that a correlation says nothing about causation.
    Nan Norma
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:28pm
    As I said, teach good manners, should have added respect to that too. No, not ALL children are rude, but a great many are. Ask any teacher, police officers. The fact we are now talking about the extent of bullying in school proves my point. Many bloggers on here have said the same thing.
    Young
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:37pm
    You will get boys pretending they are girls so they can go into girls areas such as toilets and change rooms.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:42pm
    Yes.

    But do you seriously think that has anything to do with this issue?
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:00pm
    Lol. So boys are going to dress up as girls so they can sit on a toilet instead of stand at a urinal?

    It's not like Girl's toilets are in the centre of the room and we are comparing genitals...a boy in the girls toilet is going to see less than a boy in a boys toilet...

    Hmmmm...urinals...
    Young
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:42pm
    Bullying will never be stopped.We all get bullied about things from the time we go to school.We older people have learned to cope with it.The young are far too precious these days.
    Richied
    3rd Mar 2016
    3:14pm
    Actually, a number of kids at my school were bullied, and committed suicide (and I went to a very good public school).

    I'm approaching retirement, so wondering who you are referring to as 'we older people'.
    Young
    2nd Mar 2016
    6:47pm
    Yes it has to do with this issue.Normal children's privacy will be invaded by these boys pretending to be girls.Teachers will have another non teaching issue to deal with.
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:06pm
    Your ignorance is staggering.

    So is your transphobia....

    Always interesting how threads like this reveal people's true nature...

    And please...show us the research that backs your statement...

    Oh and a AMAB trans female going to a girls toilet is not a boy pretending to be a girl..

    And a AFAB trans male going into a boys toilet is not a girl pretending to be a boy
    particolor
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:02pm
    I don't believe this, but lets not go like America ! A Kid that couldn't decide whether HE was Arthur or Martha was allowed to use the Girls Rest Room ! ??? :-( THATS TRUE :-)
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:51pm
    Girls' restrooms are usually better for those unsure, and for the regular users, because everyone uses closed cubicles. Much better than a room full of exposed urinals 60cm apart.
    particolor
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:05pm
    YES ! The problem probably started when He squatted on the Urinal ! :-)
    Paddles
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:28pm
    This is merely the latest manifestation of Government meddling. For Chrissake, get out of our lives and let us work out how we want to live!!!
    Richied
    3rd Mar 2016
    3:15pm
    First job of government is security and welfare.

    Protecting kids from bullies seems to fit right in there.
    Nan Norma
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:40pm
    When I was in high school we had a boy in our class who was gay. But we didn't know he was gay because we didn't know gay existed. We just knew he was different than the other boys in the class. We didn't think anything more about it, probably because no one brought our attention to it. It was only years later we realized he was gay. What does that tell you?
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:49pm
    Nothing.
    particolor
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:51pm
    That's right ! We never took much notice of it ! Except the Odd Bod that called them Sissy's !! :-)
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:58pm
    That he was probably miserable? But couldn't let anyone see that? Do we want to repeat the mistakes made back then?
    I have children currently in secondary school...I want them to feel safe and I want their friends to feel safe.
    Nan Norma
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:09pm
    particolor, That's about right. It was no big deal. It was just accepted.
    particolor
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:13pm
    Have you noticed the More Noise they making about these things nowadays the Worse the situation is Becoming ? Who started all this ?
    Don't answer that ! :-)
    Nan Norma
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:22pm
    particolor. I agree 100% Whitlam wanted to help single mothers, now it's become normal. More sex education, has solved nothing. Now young people seem to hop into bed at the drop of a hat. School children having sex. I know there is no turning back but where will it all end.
    particolor
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:32pm
    I'll condensed this severely !! But There's no jobs now since the Country was sold, and we are flooded with Councillors for Everything ? You name it !! and they all want their Cut ! Quantifying their positions with a Need for this and a need for that ! I can Cure that and Fix that and make Billy well again ??
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:50pm
    You do realise that it's straight kids who are more likely to have sex? Because gay kids are hiding?
    And teenagers have always had sex...single mothers are more common because they don't get married to the man who made them pregnant...there isn't more sex...it's just not hidden behind a wedding dress...
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:57pm
    ...or adoption, or abortion.
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:02pm
    Yes. Good point Barak
    The paperless adoptions where the baby was handed over to a family member or friend. The mother goes away for a "holiday" and reappears months later...
    The adoptions where the child was forcibly taken from the mother...
    And the backyard abortionists who killed a lot of women in the process.

    Not so good old days hey?
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:14pm
    Nope.
    Richied
    3rd Mar 2016
    3:16pm
    Tells me nothing.

    Well, perhaps that he hid his sexuality (and probably struggled with it through school).
    Cautious
    2nd Mar 2016
    7:59pm
    I've had all day since reading this to think about all the things our kids really need, what pensioners need, etc etc etc
    The list is very long and yes I know it's a mixture of governments involved.
    The question then is why we are spending money on this?
    Surely there is a better way?
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:05pm
    The kids who need this are why this exists. This is the better way.
    Richied
    3rd Mar 2016
    3:33pm
    Primary purpose of government is security and welfare of its citizens.

    Government should ensure that EVERYONE feels safe, and EVERYONE is supported to a minimum level.

    Just on half of federal government expenditure is on health and welfare, with another 7 percent on defense and safety. Another 13% is 'other purposes' which is predominantly GST and other payments to the states.

    So that leaves 30% of government expenditure that is not targeted towards the primary purpose of government.

    To put this into perspective, the Safe Schools program, at $2million per annum over four years, equates to 0.0005% of government expenditure.

    If the argument is economic, there are way bigger targets to hit.

    Also, on a pure cost-benefit analysis, it is sound economics. The return on investment is enormous, given each kid that doesn't suicide, goes on to get a job and pay taxes well in excess of the amount of the program.

    But it shouldn't be about economics - it should be about protecting citizens, in this case, kids.
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:10pm
    For those who are wondering if this is really needed. I am a member of a support forum (not going to name it) and there are Aussie secondary school kids who are suicidal from despair. Who are rejected by their parents, who are threatened, who have no idea where to turn. Who are living in fear every single day.
    Our kids need help.
    Cautious
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:26pm
    I guess I have to believe you as no one I know have ever mentioned there is such a need.
    Schools do have counsellors, I wonder why they aren't capable and why all the other channels don't work?
    Cautious
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:29pm
    This itself is an education.
    Darkling
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:37pm
    Fear. A kid who is scared, who is watching other gay kids getting picked on, who is witnessing a homophobic atmosphere is not going to go to the counsellor and single themselves out as a target.
    It's easy to say its the parents job. Some parents wont accept their gay kids, their trans kids.
    Having one place in their lives where they feel safe could save their life. Having one person they can talk to can make all the difference in the world.
    But discovering you are gay or trans is scary. You don't know who you can trust, how people will react. If people around you are openly homophobic or transphobic or dismissive it makes it so much harder to come out.
    And coming out is hard anyway. and there can be so much self hatred in there too.
    It's not just a case of there is a counsellor. It's feeling safe enough to be able to talk to them.

    It took me almost nine years to feel safe enough to come out. I'm an adult. I can't imagine how scary it is for a teenager.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    8:48pm
    Cautious - where the hell have you been to have not heard about the suicides?

    I guess you're learning now, and that's good, but the ignorance of people on these matters is the biggest problem.
    Ny19
    2nd Mar 2016
    11:34pm
    Darkling,

    Good to read your comments. I am the parent of a gay son, lesbian daughter and straight daughter. I began writing comments on YLC in 2012 specifically to fight for GLBTI rights at the time. Over these years I have observed a distinct positive change in the ratio of pro GLBTI comments to homophobic comments which gives me hope that ignorance is lessening. We will probably always have ignorant homophobes in our society but believe me, it is not just gay and lesbian people who are fighting for change.....it is all of us who love our children, relatives and friends who are gay. I think too it is probably all thoughtful, caring, empathic people in our society.

    I personally know kids who have suicided in the past because they were bullied at school and couldn't navigate the fears they encountered discovering they were gay/lesbian and the subsequent bullying. One boy age 14 came out to his best friend who spread it around the school and he was then bullied and hounded not just by other students but also by the priests in his Catholic school who told him he would go to hell. He hung himself 2 weeks after coming out. His mother wrote to the local newspaper to tell of his story. I know another 14 year old who set fire to himself and died. I know of a transgender adolescent who cut his penis off and died. This sort of stuff is devastating to know first hand, but we all know there are so many other stories that we never hear about of suicide and attempted suicide in GLBTI children. Knowledge that the rate of suicide is 6 times the average is why this programme was developed for the schools. Those who oppose this programme have no idea of what it is like to be a teenager and feel so alienated from a mainstream that does not cater to GLBTI children and their needs (eg taking a chosen same sex partner to a school dance) any way at all.

    This programme is a life saver and needs to be retained.
    Kopernicus
    3rd Mar 2016
    10:57am
    Darkling, fully agree with your comments but above all, I'm so glad you 'came out' to us here despite a strong whiff of homophobia. Nothing like the authenticity of first hand experience.

    I'm in a similar position to Robiconda, who made a fab post. I'd just like to add that my hostility to homophobia is profound, it's like I'm fighting for the deserved safety and respect of ones I love and will not take a backward step. Only a few years ago it was so easy to walk along a street and get the shit beaten out of you by vicious gangs of homophobes if you were regarded as being gay. There is a long and frightening history of persecution as well, I'm so glad things are changing for the better.
    Kopernicus
    3rd Mar 2016
    10:40am
    Boy, am I riled up after reading that a Sydney Catholic school cancelled an appearance by a young author who had just revealed he was gay and that his new book had a gay character in it. Firstly, the old hoary notion that you can be talked into being gay is so, so dumb. But what really gets me is that this is an institution that presided over industrial scale abuse of children all over the world, including here, for decades that we know of, and probably for centuries. We've just witnessed a world record performance of 4 days of obfuscation, lies and above all, emotional and soulless indifference to the suffering of so many young victims and their families, produced by the Catholic leader George Pell. If there is a God, can you imagine he would approve of the way man has organized and implemented religion? I say man, cause it's always run by a bunch of old blokes and if women were involved, perhaps it may have a heart and even acknowledge that homosexuals are human and should be treated as such.

    How can religion have any credibility on any pronouncement on sexuality given what has been revealed about the vile behaviour of this alleged moral and spiritual leader?

    As it is, clearly millions of people all over the world have rejected negative views on homosexuality held by most Christian religions while still maintaining their faith. This was amply demonstrated in the Irish acceptance of gay marriage. Here majority approve Gay marriage and you can safely assume millions of those are religious as well.


    The very reason we are having this debate about an anti bullying program is because proponents of the negative religious interpretation Tony Abbott (the most prescriptive and inept PM we've ever had) and Bernardi (a well known bigot) pushed the barrow in parliament. Interestingly the website minus18 is reportedly hacked. Talk about social engineering!
    Cautious
    3rd Mar 2016
    1:11pm
    Kopernicus, I guess I had better day that I am not Catholic but still wish to point out that your paragraph's are so full of errors.
    This whole debate has referred to statistics and facts to try to gain credibility but your emotional statements have no substantiation.
    I guess we could say who cares. Let them burn.
    But isn't that what is being claimed they did?
    Insubstantiated statements just weaken the whole case.
    Let me give you one statistic. Abuse cases by priests represent less than 2% of the subset. This is less than half of the proportion of the rest of the population. Still very very bad given who they are but hardly "industrial scale" compared to the rest of the population.
    I could go on but I don't want to, probably because it's not my fight anyway.
    My issue is, let's try to be creditable and be able to substantiate what is said or the whole thing becomes a mellow mush.
    Cautious
    3rd Mar 2016
    1:16pm
    Please excuse my typos, my fat thumb has made a lot of errors.
    Yeah right don't say anything about my fat bu_.
    Anonymous
    3rd Mar 2016
    1:17pm
    Yes, it's very sad that the present government, especially while Abbott was PM, gave strength to homophobes and bigots.

    And even though I suspect Turnbull thinks differently, he hasn't actually changed a thing on the policy front.
    Anonymous
    3rd Mar 2016
    1:19pm
    Cautious - the issue in the Catholic Church is not just the paedophilia, but the world wide cover-up. No other organisation has done it on such a scale.
    Richied
    3rd Mar 2016
    3:40pm
    Cautious: You've quoted that less than 2% of priests abuse kids, and rationalise that this is half the rate in the general population.

    I contend that a better measure would be comparing the abuse rates by priests with abuse rates of others who are in a position of power or control over children (teachers, scout leaders, counselors etc). Unfortunately I haven't been able to find figures, but based on (highly subjective) measure of number of cases reported in the press for both priests and for those other groups, I'd say priests represent a FAR GREATER percentage than the other groups.
    Kopernicus
    3rd Mar 2016
    10:07pm
    Cautious, the point is simple - if you claim to be a leader and in fact define morality and oversee it and then you are shown to have to have behaved immorally, you lose all credibility and have shown yourself to be a hypocritical fake. This is about the Church who not only did not report the offenders but hid them, a Church who did not give a shit about the victims - little kids and only cared to look after it's image and to preserve it's money. It still has not reformed.

    Where is the change in Canon law to make reporting obligatory? What about legal moves that shift Church assets into holdings that cannot be accessed. Words are cheap, deeds count. The Church has reformed nothing.

    I repeat - the Church has no credibility in giving advice on sexual behaviour. This Emperor aka Pope, hath no clothes. Talk to someone Irish, it was worse over there and went on forever.
    Kopernicus
    3rd Mar 2016
    10:21pm
    and seeing this abuse took place all over the world, the numbers would look pretty industrial to me. What's the record in Oz - 45 victims of one of those bastards, I think.

    An this institution was blindly trusted by kids and their families. They claim to have a hot line to God, don't they? I don't think Telstra can help here, many have stopped listening.
    apache
    3rd Mar 2016
    3:43pm
    I do not agree with this program in primary schools - too much information. Yes respect for differences should be taught. Some children are not sporty maybe dreamers, more interested in music or even chess , yes they are different and would be bullied for being different, but are they actually LBGTI ??? Do they get the impression that they are by the material being presented. For God's sake let kids be just kids again
    Anonymous
    3rd Mar 2016
    3:54pm
    apache, this is a program for secondary students.
    Darkling
    3rd Mar 2016
    4:18pm
    Apache. Why do you have the impression that it is for primary school kids. Is it the inclusion of the word kids? Teenagers are still kids.

    And some kids know in primary school, just so you know.
    Richied
    3rd Mar 2016
    4:47pm
    Just did a quick check and I counted less than 20 primary schools that have signed up for the program.

    Looking back to when I was in primary school (in the 60s), I recall in 5th class being taken by my parents to a few after-school sessions on sexual awareness. We kids were told all about body parts and how they worked, and how they worked together (well, at least how men's bits worked with women's bits). We were taught about puberty, and how pregnancy happened. There was however absolutely nothing about homosexuality. This was a fairly conservative Sydney North Shore public school.

    We kids thought it very funny, but looking back it did make for a perhaps easier transition into puberty than kids who didn't have these programs. I suspect it also made it much easier for our parents who either didn't know how to broach the subject of sex, or didn't want to.

    I know people say 'let kids be kids' and they can learn stuff when they are ready, however I suggest we (older people) are applying what we knew at that age to the current generation.

    I contend that kids of today know a heck of a lot more about the world than any of us did, and at a far earlier age. An example is when I was a kid, noone had tutors in primary school, yet my next door neighbour's kids have had tutors since they were six, just so they can keep up.

    I'd much prefer to have standardised resources available for kids when they ask questions.

    This program provides guidance for schools to proactively minimise homophobic language and behaviour, and secondly provides a set of resources that can be used reactively when a student seeks help.

    And the program is not just to protect GLBT kids, but those kids who are 'perceived' to be GLBT.
    http://www.users.on.net/~mec/evangelical/advertiser/index.html
    5th Mar 2016
    8:42pm
    There have been media articles saying how the "Safe Schools" program teaches children about sex and sexuality, and right along side them, there are other articles saying how "child-on-child" sex abuse is rife....the obvious connection is that when children learn about adult-only sex issues, they are too young and immature to handle the information responsibly thereby leading the children to have "play sex" (that's what the children call it) or doing "pretend sex" (their words) to make out that what they are doing isn't real sex when it actually is. The result is children getting sexually active at pre-teen ages with devastating results. Connecting the dots between irresponsible child "sex talk" and irresponsible child "sex action" is very easy. And where is abstaining from sex until you get married mentioned in all of this??....it's never mentioned!....God's sacred use of sex within marriage is COMPLETELY ignored. The result is widespread hurt by pre-marital, unprotected, (sometimes forced) child sex just to be cool or because they have sexual concepts introduced into their unprepared minds that spark a curiosity to experiment with it. The bully kids can rape other kids and get away with it because they say it is only "play/pretend" sex. Needless to say, the sex acts are in ALL shapes and forms.....PARENTS: please beware of what can happen to your children. This is the inevitable result of sexualizing our young people.

    Sometimes the truth hurts. Exposing "unSafe Schools" for what it is and exposing the same sex agenda is a good thing because it shows that our human desires (sin?) cannot override reality, but rather reality overrides our desires. For some people to try to undermine the family unit and create the illusion of "moral relativism" which destroys society (as my example above is just one example) is creating discussion and critical thinking. The more, the better. Is our biological sex determined by nature or nurture?....it's obviously the former. Is our gender different to our sex?....nope!....it's only  the subjective, post-modernist person of the "progressive" gay mindset who thinks that redefining words can somehow change reality. Since when is "progress" always a good thing anyhow? It's all just tricky word-smithing and targeting the naive young children of our society (without parental approval) because they are easy pickings. Make-believe "medical" reports just facilitate the illusion. The separation of "sex" (male/female biology) and "gender" is the latest attempt to trick people - because the biological make-up of a man and a woman is SOOOOO obvious, the same sex lobby has conceded that your biology (your anatomy) has either man parts or woman parts. QED. .....but now you can have "gender" which is the male/female/other that you "feel" you want to be - this is what the "unSafe Schools" program is ultimately teaching. So you can feel like you are a "man" (gender) in a woman's body (sex) or a "woman" (gender) in a man's body (sex).....or you can be both "man and woman" (fluid gender) in a man or woman body (sex).....or a "man" in a man or woman body but dressing in a woman way or visa versa.....or a "both gender" in a body that needs added hormones and body parts snipped off.....or a tuck and nip penis/breast body adaptation in a fluid-trans-intersex-hetro/homo gender (.....did you just laugh?.....no, no, no.....this is actually what they are trying to instil in our children at a pre-puberty age). Can you imagine how totally screwed up in the head these poor children will be as they grow up through their teenage years and then have to actual "decide" what "gender" they feel like for the rest of their lives - that's right.....once the physical anatomy has been changed in their young, immature years, their bodies cannot be reversed back when they wise up and make a mature decision to be heterosexual in a God-given way.

    It is inevitable now that schools will be polarised into “gay schools” and “non-gay schools” as the “gay schools” shout homophobia at anyone who does not want to be a homosexual (it will be a witch-hunt on all the time to “catch-out” the heterosexual and spew abuse at them just like Bill Shorten did to Cory Bernardi – no one wants to be on the run from the homo hit squad all day long) and the “non-gay schools” who are sick in the gut of having rampant hedonistic humanism/atheism shoved down our throats and so they want to live in peace by teaching their children the 3Rs and decency. The creators of the “Safe School” program obviously didn’t think through how their initiative will cause polarised “gay schools” and “non-gay schools” that will now eventuate – that is the path that we are now heading down. For schools/universities to support such a destructive program like “unSafe Schools”, it drags down their reputations and has me, for one, warning people not to send their children to such institutions – parents will vote with their feet (and their wallets) by not sending children to skewed schools/universities that are only into political activism and not into educating people.

    What a disgraceful joke!

    ….and there are gay-only groups that teach people how to have gay relationships, gay sex, etc….so much for homosexuality being “normal/natural” if you have to be taught it….and it is discrimination to make the group a gay-only group (oh….that’s right…..discrimination and abuse only works one way, the heterosexuals have to cop it).

    The Labor Leader, Mr Shorten, prompted and provoked a response from Senator Bernardi – Mr Shorten said “That would be the chap” first thereby prompting and provoking a response from Senator Bernardi. Many media articles fail to mention this but rather pretend that Mr Shorten was bullied for no reason and he used the Safe Schools program to deal with the “bully Bernardi”. No one should prompt or provoke hostility whether in the parliament or the play ground. If people think that what Mr Shorten did is acceptable and that the Safe Schools program encourages LGBTIQ (did I miss a letter?) children to similarly go around prompting and provoking hostility in schools and then crying “victim” when they get criticized, then the Safe Schools project is indeed as dangerous as Senator Bernardi says. The more that we are finding out about this “unSafe Schools” program, the more dangerous it becomes. Mis-reporting by people is causing a growing resentment and disgust against same sex marriage and if the media thinks that the Australian public are too stupid to see through skewed reporting, they are wrong. The same sex marriage lobby group keeps doing this sort of thing over-and-over again and it shows how devious and dishonest they are. The media should not be adopting the same devious and dishonest tactics in their reporting.

    The “unSafe Schools” program tells kids that gender is fluid and sexuality is not definable. It tells kids that Gender is how you feel. The program encourages kids to classify themselves while simultaneously denigrating such classification. It is a view of human sexuality and gender which is entirely constructed and removed from reality. It teaches kids that their personal feelings are paramount and that they should expect EVERYONE to affirm them. It makes kids who choose to be LGBTIQ hypersensitive and on the lookout for anything that might remotely be classified as bullying. The entire foundation of the programme is constructed on conjecture and dodgy use of statistics.
    Also, there is no homophobia…..just a different opinion. People who disagree with same sex relationships simply disagree, nothing more. Calling it homophobia is a cop out for not having a legitimate reason to have a same sex relationship and so to silence your critics, you use emotive name calling. The whole name calling stunt has worn out and people are not put off by being called homophobia, hate speecher or bigot because name calling is an acknowledgement that you have lost the argument. If equality is what the same sex marriage advocates want, then equality for all types of marriage would be allowed. To limit their marriage re-definition to only include “two consenting adults” is being unequal to the people wanting other forms of marriage – so it is quite a big lie to claim that SSM is “marriage equality”. If you want to save money on a “wasteful” plebiscite, then simply leave the Marriage Act as it is – no cost involved then!…..but the same sex lobby pushing for a change are creating the cost.

    The same sex lobby have used the Anti-discrimination Act to try and silence the Roman Catholic Church in Tasmania…..so already this bully tactic has been used. The Australian Christian Lobby are addressing this existing misuse of the Anti-discrimination Act and simply saying that such bully tactics should not be used by anyone (either the “yes” side or the “no” side) to silence people and stop free speech. The way that the media has made out the ACL are wanting favouritism or somehow circumventing the Anti-discrimination Act is further evidence of how devious and deceitful the SSM advocates are. The obvious outcome is that it will backfire and more and more people will be chased over to the “no’ side – that’s what happens when you lie too much for too long. 

    There is no hatred, bigotry or discrimination to uphold the millennia-old understanding that marriage is solely between a man and a woman. At worst, it is just a difference of opinion, and at best, it is upholding history for a reason – opposite sex marriages are the only way that civilizations can thrive and be prosperous (you can have children to start with and then to structure ethics, honesty and decency). The family unit is vital to how society functions and when it is distorted or changed, so does society. Already, heterosexual children are told not to use the terms “boy, girl, him, her, mummy, daddy, etc” because these terms are gender specific and oppose the same-sex/transgender identification – so heterosexual people (from a very young age onwards) are impacted in thousands of ways by the same sex marriage re-definition. Plus all heterosexual marriages change from being recognised as “married to a member of the opposite sex for life” to “someone I am temporarily having sex with” which, for me, would be insulting if I was in anyway assumed to be married just for sex or to another man. So every time I say the words “I’m married”, my marriage is being damaged by the re-definition of marriage. My feelings are as valid as any homosexual’s feeling and should be equally considered seriously in the whole same sex marriage debate. Failure to do so shows that the same sex marriage issue is not about love and equality, but solely a political stunt to legalize rampant hedonism and a blatant attack on Christianity. If you want honesty, then there it is. 

    The Rome Empire that had rampant hedonism and debauchery in the 1st-3rd centuries were not Christian (they killed Christians for sport in the “circuses” where lions would eat Christians) and the Emperor Constantine turned to Christianity as a way out of the horrors going on in the Roman society. So there is a perfect example of how we must also avoid the same horrors of rampant hedonism and debauchery by following the Christian teachings. In other words, we can be “saved from ourselves”. The ACL and Senator Cory Bernardi are highlighting the unfair and dishonest name-calling and dirty political tactics used by the same sex lobby group to silence their critics and shove their agenda down our throats. This will be highlighted a thousand times as the same sex lobby group continue with their dishonest bully tactics and prove the ACL to be true over-and-over-and-over again.
    Anonymous
    5th Mar 2016
    8:49pm
    TLDR (Look it up if you don't know what it means.)

    But I did check that link that made up the user name. It belongs to Sanctuary Christian Ministries in Adelaide.

    I don't think they like gays.
    Darkling
    5th Mar 2016
    9:01pm
    Lmao. Can you repeat that please? I switched off at the username....
    Thanks Barak...I guess it means more crap I dont need to read ;)
    Eve
    11th Mar 2016
    5:03pm
    Using evangelical's logic (1 fact and invent a story that supports your own position)........
    I saw a man smack a child. Hence, that child will grow up to be violent, or perhaps even a serial killer. If evangelical is allowed to ascribe forced sex as a result of sex education, then I can say smacking a child causes violent people. Actually, my position has more validity than evangelical's. But Barak and Darkling, you are right, the rest was so much guff, my eyes glazed over and I almost lost consciousness. The supreme irony of so many HATEFUL christians - love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek, to unto others..... - apparently all wasted on Bernardi, evangelical and their lot.
    http://www.users.on.net/~mec/evangelical/advertiser/index.html
    6th Mar 2016
    12:21am
    I am loving to homosexuals (the people), but I hate actions that are deceptive, hurtful to people and unnatural (including homosexuality). There is a difference…....I love the person, but hate the sin. Plus I am talking about the “same sex lobby group” and not individual homosexuals. I have met many homosexuals who don’t want same sex marriage laws because they don’t want the association with marriage – it is the same sex lobby group that spews out lies and name calling…..and the “unSafe Schools” propaganda. If you think it is Leviticus that I am following, then try reading Romans 1:16-32. No one can disagree with the passage because it is being fulfilled before our very eyes (for example: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”, “vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened”, “uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts”, “God gave them up unto vile affections”….and verses 28-31 describes most of our politicians perfectly).  Amen!
    Anonymous
    6th Mar 2016
    6:28am
    Yawn.
    Darkling
    6th Mar 2016
    10:02am
    Lol! Loving to homosexuals? Yeah. No youre not. The typical I have friends who are....line. That no one believes for a moment.

    I am an individual homosexual who believes that Marriage Equality cannot come soon enough. There are a lot of other individual homosexuals who feel the same.

    I am not sinning, I do not believe the bible has any part in my life and the ACL? The bile they spew? Hell no! Hateful lobby. And you place them with their open hatred of homosexuals above the individuals you supposedly love?

    And the safe schools coalitions is about preventing bullying, preventing self-harm and suicide in children. It's not about these children getting married. It's about them living.

    But, follow the leader here, and link the two completely different issues. Because you have no real argument about the Safe Schools programme, so you mix it in with another issue to confuse those who are unable to think for themselves. Who, with a heart, wants children to hurt themselves, be hurt by others?

    I look forward to the safe schools programme continuing and saving lives.

    I also look forward to the day I can marry the woman I love.
    nzXaust
    7th Mar 2016
    9:41am
    Are you a Grandfather? Do you love your grandchildren? Do you love watching kids having fun? Dont even THINK about watching a child doing ANYTHING! Today you're a "dangerous stranger".
    Anonymous
    7th Mar 2016
    12:23pm
    You might be.

    I'm not.
    Darkling
    7th Mar 2016
    12:39pm
    Ummm. This isnt a stranger danger programme. It's about kids being safe amongst their peers at school.

    Perish redingt reticle instead of just the eadline might help?
    Fready
    7th Mar 2016
    6:24pm
    When I was growing up homosexuality was a crime and an abomination to the Church. The Church has apparently rolled over (excuse the pun) to accommodate the G & L push, although how the Church can do this is a mystery to me. It's either an abomination or it isn't. This week we have been bombarded by gay films on television and articles in the print media, coverage of the G & L Mardi Gras and our politicians speaking little else than same sex marriage. This is social engineering.
    As for writers to this blog saying you can't turn heterosexuals into homosexuals it's not true. My brother was married and had 2 children. He is still heterosexual, but chooses to have homosexual encounters from time to time.
    Anonymous
    7th Mar 2016
    6:28pm
    Your education is sadly lacking. Look up "bisexuality".

    Certainly not an example of turning heterosexuals into homosexuals.

    And don't ask me to explain your church's turnaround. That's your problem, not mine.
    Darkling
    9th Mar 2016
    8:39am
    So your brother is bisexual?
    It isn't him turning homosexual, it's him realizing he wasn't straight. Or maybe he knew all along, but couldn't say anything because of attitudes like yours. Imagine knowing your own sibling considers you an abomination. Would you tell that sibling that you're not straight? Of course not.
    And as for the church? Maybe, just maybe, it isn't rolling over (how is that a pun?). Maybe it's the church realizing they were wrong. And marriage equality? Bring it on!
    Irene
    8th Mar 2016
    11:49am
    Since when was 'cisgender' a term used to describe children who identified with their biological gender introduced? What the??? I was a tad sympathetic to the focus of the safe school program's aim to do away with bullying and harassment of gender diverse students, but to go as far as labelling a child cisgender? Come on.
    Irene
    8th Mar 2016
    12:08pm
    Since when was the term 'cisgender', used to describe a child/person who identifies with their biological gender introduced? What the???? I was feeling a bit empathetic towards the safe school program's stated agenda to introduce information, education and tolerance towards gender diversity so as to stop bullying and harassment but to go so far as children having to identify in this way as being another point on the gender diversity scale is ridiculous. I will be looking more closely at this. Sheesh
    Anonymous
    9th Mar 2016
    8:18am
    How do you see the spectrum? Normal and abnormal?
    Darkling
    9th Mar 2016
    8:31am
    Do you know what cis gender means? It simply means that they identify as the sex that matches their genitalia, or the sex they were assigned at birth. It is the opposite of transgender. It's not derogatory or harmful to kids or anyone else.
    They don't have to identify as anything, except maybe human. Most will just call themselves male or female or boy or girl. Learning that there is another term they can use doesn't mean they have to. It's about learning. It's about understanding.
    I am a cis gender homosexual (lesbian). The majority of people are cis gender heterosexuals.
    It's just another term, and one accepted by the medical community. Not that different to calling ourselves homo sapiens. That is our species. Commonly called human.
    Hash
    9th Mar 2016
    8:11am
    Do we really need this Safe School program, I don't think so.
    Darkling
    9th Mar 2016
    8:14am
    Or maybe you could read what others have written about why it's needed?
    Or is it ok for teenagers to commit suicide?
    Anonymous
    9th Mar 2016
    8:20am
    Hash - Can you give reasons for your position?

    Without reasons, you appear like a very unthinking, uncaring person.
    Tassie
    7th Feb 2017
    10:37am
    It should be anti bullying of all children..not what it is now...wow! when I think back to my days in school..that wouldn't ever be allowed..the teachers just would have jumped on bullying of any sort..we certainly don't need the govt to teach our children about homosexuality at all..it's up to the parents and if they don't care..why then should the country be responsible ...they weren't on many issues...all people who are a tad different than what is accepted as normal get flack unfortunately..they did when I was at school but the teachers were on the ball and addressed it immediately..unfortunately today that's another matter especially with social media bullying, but often that is not because of homophobia.,it's just bullying..not wright. I know..it's horrific..but where are the parents..this should be where the govt should be maybe spending their (our) money and focus much more on..my two bobs worth....????????


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