By Monique Ross
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) March 21, 2016
A queer student has made an impassioned plea for politicians to stop using “in-pain children as political bullets” and stand up for the Safe Schools anti-bullying program, sparking a heated debate on the Q&A panel.
- Safe Schools program to be changed after concerns it was inappropriate for children
- Student Carter Smith praises Victoria for standing by the program
- He says the controversy is only doing further harm to at-risk kids
- Jacqui Lambie says conservatives need to wake up to reality facing youth
The program, designed to teach students about sexual and gender diversity and combat homophobia, will undergo content changes and only be used in high schools after a Government review sparked by concerns from conservative MPs and senators.
Victoria has vowed to go it alone and implement the program without changes, a move praised by student Carter Smith, who said the notion it is “radical gender theory” was “absolutely ridiculous”.
“What [was] said earlier about young queer people having a high rate of suicide, trust me, I see it, it is very true,” he said.
Energy and Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg said while he was “moved” by Carter’s comments and understood the mental health issues facing young people, he stood by the Government’s stance on Safe Schools.
He said the program contained the “controversial concept” that gender is fluid and can be self-selected. “The materials in the program say we shouldn’t use the terms ‘boys’ and ‘girls’, ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ anymore, we should use gender-neutral terms,” he said.