NSW government rejects Mark Latham’s anti-trans education bill

one nation nsw leader mark latham nsw parliament education bill religious discrimination
Image: NSW Parliament

The New South Wales government has officially rejected One Nation state leader Mark Latham’s anti-transgender education bill.

Latham’s Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill would’ve banned any “promotion” of gender diversity in schools and threatened all staff with the sack if they recognised or supported transgender and gender diverse students.

The proposal caused outrage from LGBTIQ advocates, sparking multiple protests in Sydney.

But this week NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has confirmed the government won’t support Latham’s bill.

In the government’s response to parliament, Mitchell said aspects of Latham’s bill on parental engagement with schools are covered under current legislation.

She said others are “operationally impossible”, including Latham’s demand for “a coherent set of community ‘core values’ agreed upon by all parents”.

However Mitchell also warned the bill would lead to targeted discrimination against a marginalised community “already experiencing poorer mental health and wellbeing outcomes”.

Schools legally obligated to support gay and trans students

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said Mark Latham’s proposal could impact schools’ legal obligations to protect and support all students.

“This Bill has the potential to undermine and constrain the ability of teachers and schools to support all students’ education and wellbeing,” Mitchell said.

“A key risk of the Bill is the potential to marginalise the LGBTIQ+ community.

“[This] is a group already experiencing increased isolation and vulnerability.

“Seventy-two per cent of gender diverse young people have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

“Forty-eight per cent of gender diverse young people have attempted suicide in their lifetime.

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) young people are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers.”

Mitchell said, “Every child has the right to receive an education of the highest quality.

“The NSW Government supports the right of every student and teacher to be themselves at school and to fulfil their potential.

“NSW schools have legal obligations to protect and support students, including those who are same-sex attracted or transgender.”

Mark Latham’s bill was ‘most anti-LGBTIQ piece of legislation this century’

LGBTIQ advocates welcomed the state government rejecting Mark Latham’s bill.

Some previously blasted the One Nation NSW leader’s proposal as the “most anti-LGBTIQ piece of legislation this century”.

But Equality Australia’s legal director Ghassan Kassisieh said this week, NSW’s LGBTIQ+ community “can breathe a little easier”.

“The NSW Government has stood up to One Nation’s bullying of trans and gender diverse kids, affirming their right to connect, succeed and thrive at school,” Kassisieh said.

Trans man Teddy Cook, from ACON, was the only transgender person permitted to give evidence at committee hearings on the bill.

“All children flourish and succeed when they are affirmed and supported for who they are,” Cook said.

“It’s fantastic to see the NSW government today stand by trans kids and their families, who already face so many barriers, and experience disproportionate levels of bullying and harassment.

“Trans kids already experience extremely concerning negative mental health impacts.

“[We] see this in research findings all over the world.

“One Nation’s Bill would only have made schools less safe for trans students, and placed lives at risk.”

It comes after Mark Latham’s own Religious Discrimination Bill was overwhelmingly rejected in the New South Wales parliament.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter Turner
    18 March 2022

    Well Latham dear, you have had your 15 minutes of fame (or infamy). It’s now time to fade into oblivion. Hopefully you will lose your seat now that your true self has been revealed.

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