Labor and Greens MPs have accused One Nation’s Mark Latham of censoring opposition in a “sham” parliamentary report into his own anti-transgender legislation.
Latham, who is One Nation’s NSW leader, chaired the NSW parliamentary inquiry into his Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020.
He wants the NSW Government to pass the Bill to ban the promotion of “gender fluidity” in state schools.
After Latham unveiled it last year, the Bill caused outrage for attempting to outlaw all support and recognition of trans students at school.
Any teachers and counsellors violating the law could have faced the sack had the Bill passed.
On Monday the parliamentary committee, chaired by Latham himself, released a report on the Bill, supporting its passage.
The report supports the Bill banning any “promotion” of diverse gender identities in schools by amending Education Department rules.
If passed, the Bill would also crack down on counsellors discussing gender identity with students.
Under the proposal, schools would also have to out all trans and gender diverse students to their parents, and the parents of all other students in the same year group.
“No school or school staff can withhold information from parents about the gender or gender transition of a student at the school,” the report states.
Latham’s proposal would also ban trans students from using toilets and change rooms in line with their gender identity.
Trans students in year 7 or above could also no longer compete in school sport “outside of their biological gender [sic]”.
And before any student could participate in any LGBTIQ support group at school, they would also need to out themselves to their parents to obtain consent, under the Bill.
Latham’s Bill would also allow parents to “conscientiously object” to the teaching of any “political and ideological dogma” to their children.
The NSW Liberal Government has six months to respond to the report.
Mark Latham’s Bill is ‘the most anti-LGBTIQ this century’
LGBTIQ advocates have blasted Mark Latham’s proposed legislation as “an echo of the Thatcher-era Clause 28 law in Britain”.
Just.Equal spokesperson Dr Charlie Burton said it’s “the most anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation introduced in Australia this century.”
“[It] seeks to erase trans and gender diverse young people from schools, and make life harder for all LGBTIQ+ youth,” Burton said.
“Both the Liberal and Labor parties must condemn this bigoted legislation and end this war on transgender young people.”
Just one trans person – health expert Teddy Cook – was able to address the inquiry to oppose Mark Latham’s Bill.
Cook’s moving speech to the committee went viral in April.
Bill would ‘threaten the safety’ of students
A Labor and a Greens MP were also members of the committee examining Mark Latham’s Bill. Both wrote blistering dissenting responses to the report, accusing Latham of censoring opposition.
Labor MP Anthony D’Adam said if passed, the “harmful” legislation will do “real and lasting damage to our education system” if passed.
“Every child has the right to feel safe at school but this legislation threatens that safety,” he said.
D’Adam said despite Latham’s “concern for parental rights,” the Parents and Citizens Association (P&C), who opposed the Bill, was not allowed to speak to the inquiry.
“The report neglects to mention that the overwhelming majority of submissions to the inquiry opposed the Bill,” he said.
“In place of the legitimate and considered views of parents, policy experts, and teachers, the report cites Daily Telegraph articles as evidence of fact.
“At its core, this bill attempts to censor what’s taught in our classrooms to accommodate the views of a minority.
“The measures in this Bill which mandate that teaching must be ‘non-ideological’ will put a chill through our classrooms. Neither the Bill nor the report defines this term.
“All children have the right to learn about the world as it is, including that there are gender diverse kids.
“These children, like all others, are deserving of a safe, welcoming, and affirming learning environment.”
D’Adam blasted the conduct of the Latham-led parliamentary inquiry as “problematic from its inception”.
Greens slam report backing Latham Bill as ‘sham and embarrassment’
Greens MP David Shoebridge was also on the committee, and opposed the Bill. He also furiously slammed the report as a “sham and embarrassment” to the NSW Parliament.
“Trans people are not an ideology,” he said.
“They are in our families, schools and community. They deserve our care and protection, and of course, access to education.”
He said the Latham Bill is “unworkable” and the NSW Government must reject it.
“This bill and report is an attack on the teaching profession and on thousands of young people and their families. [They’re] working so hard to make schools safer, better places,” he said.
“[It] breaches international and national legal obligations and sets up a scheme that’s unworkable.
“It requires teaching to be both non-ideological and also not inconsistent with the values of the parents. It’s unclear how such a thing is possible.
“This bill would lead to absurd outcomes like school sports being more restrictive than the Olympics.”
Shoebridge added the inquiry did hear families and teachers need “more resources and support to assist trans and gender diverse young people.”
“The committee received significant peer reviewed data showing the risks trans young people are currently exposed to in schools,” he said.
“There is significant evidence that affirming young people in their gender can literally be life-saving.
“This has been ignored and the risks posed by the bill are also simply ignored [in the report].
“The report ignores the great majority of the evidence before the committee that staunchly opposed the Bill.
“Attempting to write out the opposing position highlights the weakness of their own position.”
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.