Even as controversy is raging over the Safe Schools program, the Greens have urged the Tasmanian Government to provide more support to the program.
This is despite the criticism by many Liberals MPs that the program is trying to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues among young students. The Safe Schools program has been under fire from a section of Liberal MPs. The outcry has led to the federally funded program’s review as ordered by the Prime Minister.
Tasmanian Greens MP Andrea Dawkins exuded the confidence that the review would allay all apprehensions and make the program more positive, reports The ABC.
“This is a teacher resource, this is not something where Safe Schools go into the classroom and say to students, this is what you can do with this program,” the Greens MP said.
Tasmanian Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff also said he received mixed feedback about the program. Dawkins urged the Tasmanian Government to provide enhanced funding to expand the program into more schools. Some 16 Tasmanian government schools are already participating in the program.
Many coalition MPs are against the program, saying it taught homosexual issues to an inappropriate audience like the young students. However, the Safe Schools Coalition rejected all criticism and said the program equips staff and students with “skills, practical ideas and greater confidence” to create a “safe and inclusive environment for same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families.”
Meanwhile, former PM John Howard expressed surprise at the ‘Safe Schools’ program receiving excessive attention. He told Sky News that he was “baffled” on the debate and observed that many proponents of the hot taxpayer-funded program seemed to be out of touch.
On the program seeking to inform students about sexuality at a younger age, Howard said, according to our culture “those matters should be discussed by parents with their children.”
Howard also added that if the program was trying to address the issue of bullying, then there are better ways of doing it.
“You don’t need to be pursuing such a social agenda as the document is clearly pursuing in order to deal with bullying,” Howard said.