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Liberals Cave to Extreme Right on Safe Schools

Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Saturday, 5 November 2016

Tags: LGBTI, Education, Discrimination, Young People, Mental Health, Anti-Discrimination Act, Safe Schools Program

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Education spokesperson

At their State Council meeting today, the Tasmania Liberals passed a Motion to abolish the Safe Schools program. 

Passing this Motion sends a frightening message to LGBTI Tasmanians, their friends, families and school communities. It's clear the Tasmanian Liberal Party does not, and will not, support them.

Safe Schools is a program that helps to create safe and supportive environments for young LGBTI people.  It is a critical resource for teachers to help end discrimination and bullying in schools. 

Many teachers don't have the experience to support young people who are coming out, transitioning or experiencing other issues related to gender identity or sexuality.  It was the high rates of suicide and mental health problems experienced by the LGBTI community that prompted the Safe Schools Coalition to offer their program.

The passing of a Motion to abolish Safe Schools is on top of the Liberals' proposed changes to the State's anti-discrimination laws.  If these changes go through, they will place the health and wellbeing of young LGBTI people at serious risk.

The notion previously stated by senior Liberals, like Senator Eric Abetz, that Safe Schools was about "some sexuality agenda in the Marxist cause" is completely out of touch with reality.  The Liberal Party's regressive policies, and senior members' extremist comments, risk serious harm to a generation of Tasmanians. 

In passing this Motion, the Tasmanian Liberals have once again showed how their deeply fearful and conservative extreme-Right influence trumps good sense and support for young people.