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Question – Education Funding

Question
Adam Bandt 2 Mar 2016

Mr BANDT

My question is to the Prime Minister. The Safe Schools program has been stopping bullying around the country, and has helped many young people feel that they fit in. Prime Minister, is your commitment to socially progressive values so skin deep that you will put young people's welfare at risk and throw a successful antibullying campaign under a bus just because the bigots in the conservative brotherhood tell you to?

Mr Perrett interjecting—

The SPEAKER

The member for Moreton will leave under 94(a). He has been warned.

 

The SPEAKER

The member for Melbourne should know full well that the last part of that question contained language offensive to members of parliament. The Prime Minister will disregard it. I am saying to the member for Melbourne, and to all members, now that I have made that point, that a repetition of that in a question will not lead to a rephrasing—I will move to the next question. I am going to ask the member for Melbourne to withdraw the unparliamentary term.

Mr BANDT

I withdraw.

Mr TURNBULL

Every student, every child has the right to be safe at school and at home. We have no tolerance for bullying of any kind. Let us be quite clear about that: bullying, whether it is in the classroom, on the bus or on the internet, wherever it occurs, is utterly unacceptable. It is unacceptable on whatever basis that bullying occurs—whether it is on the basis of a child's sexual orientation, their perception of their sexuality, their race, their gender, their religion or their appearance. All of us have been children and many if not most of us are parents. We know how damaging bullying of children is. We know, too, how significant bullying on the internet can be. When I was a child, of course, bullying was much more of a personal, face-to-face issue. Now we know that destructive bullying of kids online can do enormous damage. That is why our government has established a Children's eSafety Commissioner to ensure that bullying and abusive material directed at young people is taken offline.

Let me come to the particular point of the honourable member's question. He asked about the Safe Schools program. We are totally committed to schools being safe—absolutely. Members of this parliament on both sides have raised concerns about some of the content that has been made available, apparently or purportedly, through or in connection with this program.

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr TURNBULL

Honourable members opposite say that those claims are untrue. We on this side of the House respect every member of this House because they represent Australians. They each represent a constituency. We respect every member of this parliament and, as concerns have been raised, I have asked the minister to examine the complaints and to report back to me. That is the responsible thing that any Prime Minister and any government should do. The minister, Senator Birmingham, is doing just that. He is conducting a review, or having a review conducted by Professor Bill Louden, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Western Australia. When that review is completed it will be provided to me. We will make that review public and we will be able to judge the merit of the criticisms and what steps, if any, should be taken consequent on the review. That is taking children's rights seriously. It is taking bullying seriously. It is standing up for children.

Mr Keenan interjecting—

The SPEAKER

The Minister for Justice will cease interjecting. The Minister for Justice is delaying me giving the call to the member for Forrest.

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