Pauline Hanson tries to revive anti-transgender education bill

Pauline Hanson

One Nation attempted to revive its anti-transgender education bill from 2020 in parliament this week. On Wednesday leader Pauline Hanson reintroduced the proposed bill to parliament saying Australia’s education system had been overtaken by activists.

Citing the need for her Australian Education Legislation Amendment (Prohibiting the Indoctrination of Children) Bill 2020 Senator Hanson said the legislation was needed to stop teachers from “grooming” children into being transgender. 

“This bill is aimed at ensuring schools and teachers do what they’re supposed to do, rather than what many of them are doing today. They are supposed to educate our children.” Senator Hanson said.  “They are not supposed to indoctrinate them with Marxism. They are not supposed to groom them into believing they can be a boy one day and a girl the next.”

“These are decisions that Australians must only make for themselves when they are old enough. At school age, they are not old enough. But they are very easily influenced and, with their education system thoroughly infiltrated by activists and disturbing concepts about race, climate and gender grounded in disproven neo-Marxist theories, our kids are leaving school without the education they need.” Senator Hanson said.

The One Nation leader said teacher’s being indoctrinated themselves as “woke universities” was the root cause of her concern.

Alongside recognition of people who are transgender, Senator Hanson also rallied against climate change education and depictions of Indigenous Australians being the victims of a genocide. Senator Hanson said people should be adults before they are given information on sexuality.

“Give me a break! We are talking about a person’s sex or their sexual preferences, and we are teaching kids this? Let the children grow up and be adults before they decide what you are imposing.” the One Nation leader said.

The politician said allowing younger children to know about sexuality and people changing gender was equivalent to child grooming by sexual predators.

“We are opposed to paedophiles grooming children for what they want to do to our children. Why is this any different? Why is this not grooming our children at a very young age? We are confusing them as to what they should be or shouldn’t be—whether male or female or their sexual preference.”

Senator Hanson said the Australian Bureau of Statistics has recorded only 1,200 people who identified as transgender in 2016, and it was unreasonable that they entire of society was being asked to change to accommodate a small minority of Australians.

The figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that Senator Hanson quoted comes with a note highlighting that it is a very unreliable statistic. The figures have previously been quoted by News Corp columnist Peta Credlin.

Senator Mehreen Faruqi from The Greens responded to Senator Hanson, telling the chamber that the previous parliament had already dismissed the bill saying it had been determined to be “poorly drafted, vague and inconsistent.”

“In short, it is bad legislation.” Senator Faruqi said.  “But, in addition to being bad legislation, in a technical sense, this bill is just vile. It is transphobic. It is anti-science. It is an attempt to force a rewrite of the curriculum to require teaching of climate denialism and harmful, outdated ideas of gender and sexuality.”

The Greens MP said One Nation was a party focused on creating division, calling Senator Hanson “a peddler of sad and hateful politics, spreading ignorant prejudices.”

“This bill is a vile, unsubtle, blatant attempt to force schools to spread ridiculous and cooked One Nation beliefs which would harm trans and gender-diverse students and introduce antiscience concepts into classrooms around the country. Schools would not be able to tell people in this country the history of how violent settlement took place and how we need to reconcile with that history.

“All that trans adults and children want is the right to live their lives with respect and dignity and to be who they are, like other people are able to do in this country.” Senator Faruqi said.

Greens colleague Senator Penny Allman-Payne said she felt uniquely qualified to share her thoughts on the proposed legislation given her 30 years of experience as a secondary education teacher, including working in health and sexual education.

“This bill isn’t about critical thinking; this bill is about legislating a far-right curriculum.” Senator Allman-Payne said.  “Individual senators and parties interfering in what is taught in our schools instead of leaving it to the education experts is a very slippery slope.

“In the US, we see some states banning teachers from teaching about racism or sexuality, and some are even banning books. This bill is dangerous. As a teacher with over 30 years of experience in our schools, I know it is an injustice to the young people in our schools, and it is an insult to teachers.”

Labor senator Don Farrell said his party remained as opposed to the bill as they were when it was previously introduced. While Western Australian senator Louise Pratt read a quote from actor and activist Georgie Stone.

Liberal Senator Alex Antic, who recently accused the ABC and drag performer Courney Act of “grooming children” by reading a story about a girl who preferred pants over dresses, said he believed education system was under attack from people who wanted to erode Australian values.

“The radical left understands that, for people to accept their absurd ideas and their ideology and be obsessed with power structures and group identity based on race, class, sex and religion, they have to indoctrinate children from an early age. To them, this is the purpose that schooling serves.” Senator Antic said.

“This institutional capture of the education system by leftist, socialist, intersectional ideology has been devastating to the social wellbeing of this country and, I’d argue, to the lives of young people in general, who are tragically more depressed and more worried about the future than they ever have been before.

Senator Antic said Australian schools had “regrettably become a vehicle for so-called sexual liberation ideology.”

Fellow Liberal senator Gerard Rennick said he had never read Senator Hanson’s bill, but he did have comments about the issue to add to the record.

Senator Rennick shared his belief that any issues about sexuality or gender should be dealt with by parents and psychologists outside of school hours.

“I’ve got children. If they have issues about their sexuality—and I’ve said this before—I will deal with it with a properly trained psychologist outside of school hours.”

Western Australian Greens Senator Jordyn Steele-John said Senator Hanson’s bill was “absolute nonsense” and “racist”. Senator Steele-John said members of the chamber were looking to capitalise on important conversations society was having for their own political gain.

“The role of race and power in this country and the deep and urgent need to support queer kids, particularly trans kids, in school in this country—these are conversations which our community is engaged with and which our community is grappling with, expending extraordinary emotional labour educating, informing, healing and helping people to gain new views, taking incredible amounts of time and energy in the process. And these people are coming in here to exploit those conversations for their own political gain.” Senator Steel-John said.

“This should be a place in which people work to support those courageous community conversations that are happening right now. This should be a place that works to support parents talking with their kids about concepts that they might not have heard of before. It should be a place where we support communities to engage with the difficult conversations about the reality of our history and about the reality of what racism has done and is doing to communities across Australia.

“Instead, we get this legislative filth and this legislative hate, contributed to by MPs who admitted before they made their contribution this afternoon that they hadn’t read the bill and didn’t know the context, but just wanted to have a go anyway.”

Debate on the bill was adjourned for a later date.

OIP Staff

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