Safe Schools Coalition’s Roz Ward resigns from government advisory role

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Roz Ward, the co-founder of the Safe Schools Coalition program which aims to stop LGBTIQ+ students from being bullied in the education system has resigned from  educational advisory role with the Victorian government.

Ward’s resignation follows a news report stating that she had described the Australian flag as “racist” in a private Facebook post.

Gender and Equality Commissioner Rowena Allen confirmed to The Age newspaper that she had accepted Ward’s decision to resign from the LGBTI Taskforce Education Reference Committee on Friday.

“Ms Ward has acknowledged that the post was inappropriate and may have caused offence, even if meant in jest, and posted in private,” Allen said.

Ward had only been recently appointed to the committee that advises Equality Minister Martin Foley.

The academic from LaTrobe University has faced a series of attacks in recent months over her suitability, due to her personal political beliefs. Ward faced controversy recently when video emerged of her speaking at a far-left wing event.

Last week Ward authored a post on her private Facebook account that included a picture of the LGBTIQ+ rainbow flag with the statement; “Now we just need to get rid of the racist Australian flag on top of state parliament and get a red one up there and my work is done”.

The comment came as the rainbow flag flew above the Victorian State parliament as Premier Daniel Andrews delivered his historic apology to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who had been prosecuted under past laws.

Ward released a statement apologising for the comments.

“I apologise for any offence that comments, posted on my private Facebook page, may have caused the government and members of the LGBTI community,” Ward said.

“These were private comments that were never intended for the public domain.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull commented on Ward’s post today saying it underlined the concerns many people had with the Safe Schools Coalition program. Turnbull said the government remained committed to ensuring school children were safe from bullying.

“Kids should be safe from bullying, whether it is on the basis of their sexual orientation, their race, their religion, their appearance, right across the board,” Turnbull told the media in Sydney.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has said that he did not agree with Ward’s views on the Australian flag but they had noting to do with the Safe Schools Coalition program.

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has called for Ward to also step down from her role relating to the Safe Schools program’s National Steering Group, arguing that her resignation from her Victorian advisory role is not enough.

Lyle Shelton, the Managing Director of the ACL said Ward was a self-avowed Marxist and was not a suitable person to be advising the government funded program.

“Parents are still largely unaware that this program encourages teachers to stop using ‘he’ or ‘she’ in the classroom and encourages age-inappropriate role playing in the classroom exploring homosexual relationships.” Shelton said.

Recently leading transgender rights advocate Catherine McGregor wrote an opinion piece that described Ward as a; “committed Trotskyite, who believes in the overthrow of the capitalist system.”

Back in April Ward spoke about the personal attacks she’s faced in her role as the co-founder of the anti-bullying program. Delivering a speech at Minus18’s Same Sex Gender Diverse Formal the academic said it had been a difficult time.

“I want to acknowledge the fact that its been a really pretty tough time for Safe Schools Coalition and for me personally. I’ve been targeted in the media and by certain people in the community because I stand up for social justice and equality.” Wards said vowing that she wouldn’t be standing down from her role.

OUTinPerth reached out to Roz Ward for comment on this story.

 

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