NSW Government reject Mark Latham’s anti-trans education bill

The New South Wales Liberal Government have just tabled a report outlining their opposition to One Nation NSW leader Mark Latham’s anti-transgender Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) bill.

The bill, put forward by Latham, would amend the state’s Education Act to “prohibit the teaching of the ideology of gender fluidity to children in schools”, ensure the curriculum does not include mentions of trans or gender diverse identities, and put teaching and support staff’s jobs at risk should they choose to support trans and gender diverse students.

The response delivered by Minister for Education and Early Learning and Deputy Leader in the Legislative Council Sarah Mitchell outlined the government’s position on the bill.

The report lists four reasons the Perrottet Government will not support the legislation, highlighting that many aspects of the bill are enacted through current legislation and practice, while others are operationally impossible such as “defining a coherent set of community ‘core values’ agreed upon by all parents”.

Minister Mitchell also rejected the bill on the grounds that it may lead to targeted discrimination against a marginalised community “which already experiences poorer mental health and wellbeing outcomes” and potential impacts on schools’ legal obligations to protect and support all students.

“The NSW Government remains committed to working with parents as partners in the education of all children across the State. This is enshrined in the Education Act 1990 (NSW) as one of the four principles of the Act, ‘the education of a child is primarily the responsibility of the child’s parents’,” Minister Mitchell’s response reads.

“Under current provisions of the Education Act 1990 (NSW), the rights of parents to guide their children’s moral development are paramount. These rights are protected by and reflected in the processes of public consultation that have gone into the development of the Australian Curriculum and NSW syllabuses. Parents’ rights are further safeguarded at the local level by processes of communication, choice, feedback and complaint within school communities.”

The Minister also outlined concerns that the bill had the potential to undermine and constrain the ability of teachers and schools to support all students’ education and wellbeing.

“A key risk of the Bill is the potential to marginalise the LGBTIQ+ community, which is a group already experiencing increased isolation and vulnerability. Seventy-two per cent of gender diverse young people have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Forty-eight per cent of gender diverse young people have attempted suicide in their lifetime. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) young people are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers (LGBTIQ+ Health Australia February 2020).”

“Every child has the right to receive an education of the highest quality, and the NSW Government supports the right of every student and teacher to be themselves at school and to fulfil their potential. NSW schools have legal obligations to protect and support students, including those who are same-sex attracted or transgender.”

This is the second piece of key legislation put forward by Latham that has targeted NSW’s LGBTQIA+ community, and failed to gain support in NSW Parliament.

In February, Latham’s Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equity) Bill failed to get enough support for a second reading, with it being voted down 29-4. Government MPs united with the Opposition to turf the bill out of parliament.

OIP Staff

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If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / qlife.org.au (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife are a counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DISCHARGED[email protected]discharged.org.au
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 / lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 / www.beyondblue.org.au

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