The New South Wales Parliament has permitted One Nations leader Mark Latham to lead an inquiry into his controversial Bill that seeks to ban schools from teaching about gender and sexuality. 

The Parliament committee headed by Mark Latham is inviting submissions through an online questionnaire and LGBTQI advocacy organisations are asking the community to register their protest against the Bill. 

The Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 says its aim is to give parents, not schools, the primary responsibility “for the moral, ethical, political and social development of their children.” The Bill allows parents to object to the teaching of anything related to gender identity and sexuality in schools if it contradicts their values. 

Bill Risks Jobs of Teachers, School Counsellors

“In particular, the Bill seeks to prohibit the promotion of gender fluidity in schools, including through course development and continuing professional development of the State’s teachers,” the committee said on its online form. 

The Bill has provisions that says that authorities “must revoke accreditation for any person who develops courses or any teacher who teaches in a way that teaches gender fluidity or fails to recognise the responsibility for parents for education in matters of parental primacy.” 

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 Terming the Bill as “harmful” Equality Australia said the Bill “risks the jobs of teachers and school counsellors who recognise trans and gender diverse people, or provide them with support.” 

Equality Australia has exhorted the community to oppose and reject the controversial Bill by making their submissions to the online questionnaire. 

“The Bill harms trans and gender diverse students by denying their existence and preventing teachers and counsellors from supporting them. It allows parents to withdraw their child from a class or program which tells them LGBTIQ+ people are just like everyone else,” said Equality Australia.

The online form has options for the community to say if they support or oppose the Bill. Other questions deal with teaching of gender and sexuality in schools as well as whether parents should have a say about what is being taught in  schools and if they should be allowed to remove their children from schools that do not agree with the family’s social and moral values.

‘Bill Is Harmful To Other Marginalised Communities’

The danger from the Bill is not just to the LGBTQI community. The NSW Council For Civil Liberties said that if the Bill is enacted, “parents could object to curriculum that covers Australian Indigenous history, the Stolen Generations, climate change, immunisation, evolution, LGBTIQ+ people, different cultures and religions, science, refugees and people seeking asylum.”

The Council said it was important to ensure the NSW Parliament “rejects this unnecessary and harmful bill.”

The submissions to the inquiry into Mark Latham’s Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 can be made by filling the online questionnaire here. 

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