Page 3306 - Week 09 - Thursday, 24 August 2017

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I can understand why parents and carers would like to know more about safe schools and seek clarification about its aims and methods. Gender, as I mentioned, is a fairly fundamental part of the construct of ourselves, and the idea that it may not be what we think it is is scary and confronting in many instances. But if you are someone who finds the program worrying, I suggest you look at the website or talk to your school community and get clarity about the content of the program.

On that note I am a little confused about what exactly the problem is for Mr Wall. I understand that on radio this morning he said that parents were concerned because they did not know what content was being delivered, but he also said they felt there was explicit content in the program. It is kind of one or the other; you do not know.

Mr Wall: There are 1,000 signatures, Caroline. They can have different views.

MS LE COUTEUR: There are 1,000 signatures. Can I suggest to those 1,000 signatories that they might wish to, as I said, look at the website or talk to their school community. This is a human problem. It is a human issue; it is not a political issue. These young people deserve our support, and I am very glad that the ACT has the safe schools program to help support the young people, their parents, their family, their carers and their community.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (10.13), by leave: First of all, I thank my colleague Andrew Wall for bringing forward this petition. Secondly, I want to say: shame on the Deputy Chief Minister for condemning my colleague Andrew Wall here in the Assembly for being a voice for almost 1,000 Canberrans. He has done the right thing. He is a representative of Canberrans. They wanted to have their voice and their opinion heard in this chamber, and you have condemned him for doing that. It is his role to do that. So shame on you. You have silenced almost 1,000 Canberrans out there.

Mr Gentleman: A point of order, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mrs Kikkert, can you resume your seat, please? A point of order.

Mr Gentleman: The standing orders require members to address the chair or the Speaker, and not members across the chamber.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Gentleman. I uphold the point of order. All comments should be made through the chair, Mrs Kikkert.

MRS KIKKERT: Thank you. I will continue with my speech. Keeping our youth safe is one of the greatest priorities for governments and every single child in our schools deserves this protection. I am concerned, however, that this government has tunnel vision with regard to the current safe schools program. While I wholeheartedly support all efforts to create a safe and supportive environment in schools, we need to be more inclusive in our efforts. So many of our youth are vulnerable and they likewise deserve their schools to be safe places for them. The government needs to be as fair and inclusive as it can be.

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