Latham report fails teachers and gender-diverse students

NSW Teachers Federation has condemned One Nation’s war on trans and gender-diverse students expressed in a biased and misleading report of a NSW parliamentary committee written by One Nation MP Mark Latham.

The report is a further attack on the teaching profession and is the epitome of the politicisation of our schools.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos called on the State Government to reject the report, which he said was based on sweeping assertions and little concrete evidence.

Evidence presented to the Committee is largely ignored and the report fails to recognise and understand teachers’ professional standards, curriculum, policy requirements and the legislative frameworks within which teachers teach.

The Latham report calls on the NSW Government to “urgently review and overhaul the Controversial Issues in Schools Policy to afford greater priority and deference to parental rights”.

“Paradoxically, or quite deliberately, while the Department’s Controversial Issues in Schools Policy states that teaching should ‘allow students to explore a range of viewpoints and not advance the interest of any particular group’, the One Nation amendments to the Education Act would enshrine a political party’s ideological views on schools,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“A school curriculum cannot be owned by any individual group, political party, regime or tendency. Importantly, the curriculum needs to have regard to the pluralism of our society at large nation and respect for pluralist values within a liberal democracy.

“This report is nothing but a vehicle for One Nation’s hatred and ultra-conservative vision for education, which is a direct attack on the safety of trans and gender-diverse young people in schools.

“It ignores that gender identity is enshrined in Australian sex discrimination law and international human rights law.

“This Bill would make it impossible to respectfully and inclusively teach many areas from the Sex Discrimination Act to contexts in English and the Creative and Performing Arts.”

Further, the report of the Parliamentary Education Committee, chaired by One Nation’s Mr Latham, recommends policy changes that would prohibit students from confidentially coming out as transgender to their teachers or school counsellors.

Mr Gavrielatos said the relationships of trust between teachers and students create the feeling of safety for a young person.

“If a student confides in a teacher – remembering teachers are mandatory reporters and therefore any physical or psychological harm must be reported – we must be able to continue to ensure that those students have faith in their teachers to be able to continue those relationships of trust so that child may disclose information that is intrinsic to their safety,” he said.

“For our school counsellors not to be able to address matters relating to a student’s gender identity would mean they would not be able to perform their work.
Students will be put at risk.”