The Turnbull government has made dramatic changes to its Safe Schools anti-bullying program that have been described by the scheme’s opponents as “gutting” its content.
The changes sharply reduce the lesson content, restrict it to secondary schools, shift the program to a government website, remove all links to other material and sites, and add a requirement that students get parental consent and schools get parent-body consent before opting to use its materials.
Don't confuse what the government says with what their report found....
The Victorian Government has said it will not be making any changes to the Safe Schools anti-bullying program despite a Federal Government decision to amend it after concerns from conservative MPs.
The review came after ultra conservative Coalition MPs and senators said they were concerned about some of the material in the program, which is designed to teach children about sexual and gender diversity and stamp out homophobia.
Victoria's Education Minister James Merlino said the Safe Schools program content had already been approved by curriculum experts and would remain intact.
Mr Merlino said Victoria would continue to roll out the program in schools.
"What we are saying in Victoria is that we will no allow this to happen," he said.
"If the Federal Government pulls funding from the Safe Schools coalition, we will ensure that the program continues as is.
"We will expand it to every government secondary school in Victoria, as we promised."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he believed Mr Birmingham had handled the review of the program well.
"The Victorian Government obviously can fund whatever programs it wishes," he said.
Mr Merlino said young same-sex attracted people were six times more likely to attempt suicide and the program "saves lives".
"We know that 75 per cent of same-sex attracted young people are bullied and the vast majority of that occurs in our schools and that's why we need a universal anti-bullying program in our schools," he said.
"What Malcolm Turnbull has done is cave in to the bigots in his party with no consideration to the pain and suffering this is causing LGBTI students and their families.
"This has never been an issue about the Safe Schools coalition, this has always been about the views of the extreme elements within the Liberal Party.