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Greens call for inquiry into homophobia and transphobia in schools as PM muscles in on Safe Schools Coalition

Media Release
Janet Rice 23 Feb 2016

The Australian Greens will tomorrow move for a Senate inquiry into homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, as the Prime Minister calls for an investigation into the Safe Schools Coalition.

"Rather than targeting a program designed to help LGBTI young people and their families, the government should be focusing its efforts on the broader issue of combating bullying and transphobia in schools," Greens sexuality spokesperson Senator Robert Simms said.

"Once again we see Malcolm Turnbull caving into the conservative forces on his backbench. This comes just hours after Senator Cory Bernardi's rant late last night on this program.

Last night, Senator Simms responded to Corey Bernardi's attacks on the safe Schools Coalition. See Senator Simms's response here:

"Opposition to the Safe Schools Coalition seems to be based on the absurd idea that simply by talking about differences in sexuality or gender identity you're going to recruit people. Anyone with the most basic understanding of human sexuality knows how ridiculous that is.

"The Senate Inquiry the Greens will initiate tomorrow will look at the impacts of transphobic and homophobic bullying and identify ways that young people can be supported."

Greens gender identity spokesperson Senator Janet Rice said: "This week, an inspiring bunch of trans young people have put the case to parliamentarians to reduce the barriers they face, yet the government's action is putting more up.

"With one in five gender diverse young Australians experiencing physical abuse, we must do everything we can to support them in school."

Tomorrow's motion is below:

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that -
The following matter be referred to the Education and Employment References Committee for inquiry and report by 20 June 2016:

The prevalence and impacts of homophobia, transphobia and, discrimination against people with intersex variations in Australian schools, with particular reference to:
a. prevalence of bullying, verbal and physical abuse
b. impacts of bullying on academic performance
c. long term health effects and other implications of bullying
d. levels of support provided to individuals subjected to bullying
e. potential government support that could be provided to reduce the prevalence of bullying

Media contact: Senator Simms - Amy Moran 0417 173 508
Senator Rice - Sam Drummond 0400 352 935


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