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PACFA Response to the NSW Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020

PACFA, in close partnership with the LGBTQI+ Leadership Group, will be making a written submission in response to an Education Legislation Amendment introduced into the NSW Parliament in early August by Mark Latham MLC on behalf of the One Nation Party.

The Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020  aims to “provide that schools must recognise that parents are primarily responsible for the development and formation of moral and ethical standards and social and political values in their children, including an understanding of personal identity and questions of gender and sexuality and to prohibit schools, teachers, and training courses from teaching gender fluidity, and for other purposes.”

Shortly after the Bill was released, a large number of NSW and National organisations including the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, the Australian Association of Social Workers, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the NSW Council of Social Services (NCIOSS) And the NSW Branch of the Independent Education Union of Australia released a Joint Statement to record their strong opposition to the Bill and requesting that the NSW Parliament to reject the Bill.

Since the Bill’s introduction, PACFA’s LGBTQI+ Leadership Group has been working hard to develop a detailed statement and advocacy messages in response to the proposed amendments. The Leadership Group and the PACFA Office would like to acknowledge the feedback we have been receiving from many PACFA members in NSW,  who are deeply concerned over the impact of the proposed amendments on the counselling workforce in NSW and on children and young people with LGBTQI+ lived experience.  One of our NSW Members kindly granted permission for PACFA to share her story:

“My own son, who was assigned female at birth and raised as a girl for much of his life, has long struggled with severe anxiety, depression, and suicidality. For years we, as a family, had to fight to keep him alive, and his depression became so bad that he was eventually hospitalised for two months. Soon after this, he realised that his gender identity was not what was assigned at birth. Now, after coming out as non-binary trans-masc and having his gender affirmed by family, friends, and his educational institution, his mental health is, at last, beginning to improve.

I hate to think what would have happened to my beautiful, beloved son if he lived in a world where the Latham bill was made into law. I hate to think what will happen to the thousands of other trans, non-binary, and other LGBTQIA+ children who will be affected by this bill, should it come into effect.”

The Bill is now subject to a Parliamentary Inquiry and over the coming weeks PACFA will be developing a written submission to the Inquiry, building on the work already undertaken by the LGBTQI+ Leadership Group.

PACFA and the LGBTQI+ Leadership Group will keep all members informed on the outcomes of our advocacy as the Inquiry progresses.