WEL has lodged a submission on this pernicious Bill. Ours and other submissions, will be published on the Inquiry website before the hearings scheduled on 20 and 21 April. Keep an eye out for it here
The Australian Christian Lobby has been actively campaigning to solicit support for the Bill. WEL is very concerned at the increasing influence and authority the NSW Government is ceding to One Nation on education and other policy areas.
In researching the submission it became apparent that what was formerly known as non-sexist curricula and programs no longer existed in schools and that the cowardly NSW Government abandonment of the Safe Schools curriculum and implementation program (which modernised and updated aspects of non-sexist education to focus on gender)’ has left a real vacuum.
The submission deadline itself coincided with the escalating alarm amongst feminists in response to the Morrison Government’s attitudes and actions on rape and sexual abuse cases, together with shocking revelations regarding sexual abuse and assault suffered by young women in Sydney private schools.
Provisions in the Bill would allow further fragmentation and suppression of already insufficient respectful relationships, sexuality and well- being education in schools as well as undermining anti bullying programs and many positive initiatives fostering school /community collaboration. It would seriously prejudice the work of school counsellors by forbidding them to recognise or support students struggling with transgender identities or indeed questioning their gender formations.
WEL’s recommendations on the Parental Rights Bill
1.That the Inquiry recommend that the Bill not proceed as it will undermine the delivery of quality education in NSW and impose an impossible and unjustified administrative burden on the education system. If passed, it will undermine the critical role schools need to play in developing children and young people’s understanding of and capacity to prevent bullying, sexual assault and domestic violence, and to develop their capacity for relationships based on equality, consent and respect;
2.That consideration be given to broadening the definition of ‘parents’ to include families and communities, incorporated into legislation and policy where possible;
3.That urgent consideration be given to strengthening the provision and delivery of respectful relationships, sexuality and sexual health education in NSW Public schools and to making such provision mandatory.