Safe Schools is like child grooming, says Nationals MP George ChristensenThe MP says the $8m program to combat homophobia promoted links to websites advising children about penis-tucking and gay sex
A conservative government backbencher has issued a critique of a schools program focused on gay and lesbian issues, accusing it of condoning child grooming. George Christensen claimed in parliament the Safe Schools program recommended pornographic content, sex shops, sex clubs and adult communities to school children in the name of an anti-bullying initiative. He said the program had links to websites that advised children about chest-binding, penis-tucking and gay sex and gave instructions to children about unblocking websites without their parents’ knowledge.
“The parents would probably call the police because it would sound a lot like grooming work that a sexual predator might undertake,” Christensen told parliament on Thursday. Family First senator Bob Day said the Safe Schools program had nothing to do with preventing bullying, labelling it “anti-parent”. Parents were not being consulted and children were being exposed to ideas contrary to the values of their families.
“North Korea gets schoolchildren to tip off teachers and thereby the state that their parents have Bibles in their homes,” he told the Senate. “Be very wary of those intolerant of different views when they start invading schools
.” The attacks on the $8m taxpayer-funded program continued into a third day after the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, ordered a report into Safe Schools following pressure from conservative backbenchers. The group was led by Liberal Cory Bernardi but found a late surprise supporter in Labor senator Joe Bullock. Bullock said Safe Schools was a “terrible program” that should be stopped immediately.
The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, a supporter of the program, would not address Bullock’s comments but instead focused on Bernardi for complaining about being branded a homophobe.
The tit-for-tat between the pair continued a day after the duo exchanged barbs in a press conference in which Bernardi called Shorten a fraud and the opposition leader fired back with the homophobe jibe. Later Bernardi criticised Shorten for resorting to name-calling.
Shorten defended his comments on Thursday, saying he did in five seconds what Turnbull had failed to do in five months. “You have a senator walking past acting like he is at the football yelling out free advice at a press conference and he has a sook about someone standing up to him,” Shorten told reporters in Canberra.