23rd January, 2018
Liberals get it wrong on Safe Schools program
The Liberal Party’s plan to scrap the Safe Schools program would be a pointless process of reinventing the wheel say the Australian Democrats.
Peter Smythe, who is running as an Independent Australian Democrats candidate in the state seat of Morialta, says the announcement poses more questions than answers.
‘How much will it cost to develop something new, consult, trial it, train teachers and roll it out?
‘The current anti-bullying initiatives combined with Safe Schools – which is a specialist program, to meet specialist needs – are working, and it makes more sense to strengthen what is there. If concerned there’s not enough general anti-bullying materials, it would, for instance, be feasible to strengthen some of the initiatives of other programs that are already there, to better address racism, or cyber-bullying. It would also be feasible to strengthen Safe Schools by including resources for primary school teachers, if that has been identified as something that is missing.
But we don’t need to throw out what’s already there and start from scratch. That is expensive, wastes time, and disrupts momentum.
‘From the Democrats’ perspective, certain lobby groups continue to politicise a program that is educationally sound, appropriate, and which has received positive feedback and reports from independent reviewers. The conflict makes good media copy.
‘It’s a case of the old dictum, never let truth get in the way of a good argument.
‘Unfortunately it looks like the Liberals have been conned by it.
‘When a program is producing the results, why would you get rid of it, replacing it with a “new” package, except to get votes from a conservative bloc at election time?
‘Let’s stop the politicking over this, and let teachers do their jobs. Safe Schools is no longer controversial – the marriage equality vote showed that’, said Mr Smythe.
Further comment: Peter Smythe 0400 777 284