The Victorian Liberals have announced their proposed replacement for Safe Schools if they win the next state election, drawing praise from the Australian Christian Lobby.
The opposition’s plan would include a “zero tolerance” approach and the possibility of expelling repeat offenders, ABC News reported.
“We are going to change the ‘3 Rs’ to the ‘4 Rs’ – reading, writing, arithmetic and respect,” Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said in a statement.
Guy has previously said that Safe Schools has become “politicised”, with the new program delivering on his 2016 promise to axe the program.
The announcement was welcomed by the ACL, which has been waging a war of misinformation over the Safe Schools program since it was first established.
“Today’s announcement by the Coalition is the first step to unpicking the questionable education legacy of Daniel Andrews – Safe Schools, Marxism and queer theory,” said Dan Flynn, the Australian Christian Lobby’s Victorian director.
“Matthew Guy’s desire to address broad based bullying rather than promoting radical gender theory in schools is to be congratulated.
“The Coalition’s commitment to replace the program with a broad based anti-bullying plan will ensure that all Victorian children reap the benefits,” Flynn said.
James Merlino, Victoria’s Education Minister, said the Andrews government already had multiple anti-bullying programs, including one through the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, in effect.
In May, Merlino told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that there had been a nearly 98 per cent participation rate in the Safe Schools program.
“When students are bullied it can lead to depression, anxiety, and self harm,” he said.
“[Safe Schools] is a universal anti-bullying program… this program is needed.”
NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley, on the other hand, last year declared Safe Schools “gone for good” in the state.