Resolutely opposed to Latham’s legislation

IEU Council recently passed two resolutions opposing One Nation politician Mark Latham’s backwards legislation before the NSW Parliament that seeks to disempower teachers.

One Nation politician Mark Latham has two Bills before the NSW Parliament: the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 (NSW) (the Parental Rights Bill) and the Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020 (NSW).

While the IEU opposes both Bills, the Parental Rights Bill is particularly dangerous. It aims to enshrine ‘parental primacy’ in law, meaning parents can object to schools teaching ethical and moral standards, political and social values and matters of personal wellbeing and identity, including gender and sexuality. Mr Latham has already vociferously objected to a PDHPE class exploring various forms of discrimination in Australia and an English class analysing writing style in an article featuring environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Both the IEU and the NSW Teachers Federation have made submissions opposing the Bill to the Legislative Council Committee inquiring into the Bill, as well as appearing before the Committee to give evidence.

A number of IEU Sub Branches have passed motions opposing the Bill. Here are just two of the resolutions in full.

North West Sub Branch

Comprising members in north-western NSW, taking in Walcha, Walgett, Mungindi, Quirindi, Tenterfield, Tamworth, Moree, Glen Innes, Gunnedah, Narrabri, Lightning Ridge, Armidale and Inverell.

Resolution: The North West Sub Branch of the IEU expresses its serious concerns about the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 as an unwarranted and ill-conceived attack on the professionalism of teachers and an affront to the rights of the child as articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory.

Sub Branch believes the Bill indicates little knowledge or understanding of how schools function on a day-to-day basis, shows no regard for the professional judgement of teachers, and has the potential to cause significant harm to individual students and teachers.

Sub Branch calls on the Armidale Diocese and independent school authorities to oppose the Bill as unworkable, a threat to the professional autonomy and judgement of individual teachers and education systems, and as an attack on the intrinsic rights of children.

South Coast Sub Branch

Comprising members in Milton to the Illawarra and Macarthur regions (Campbelltown, Ingleburn, Camden)Picton, Wollondilly and the Southern Highlands (Moss Vale, Mittagong, Bowral).

Resolution: That the South Coast Sub Branch of the IEUA NSW/ACT condemns Mark Latham’s deprofessionalising and anti-student wellbeing Parental Rights Bill, and calls on NSW Parliament to reject the Bill in its entirety, for the benefits of students and school staff.

Further, it notes that the Bill does not acknowledge the complexity of the nature of education and is therefore unworkable.

Monica Crouch