Australia’s new prime minister has not been shy about his strong Christian faith, and now his views of the current state of education in his country regarding “values” is stirring controversy Down Under.
Scott Morrison said in a radio interview after assuming office Aug. 24 that he sends his children to a private school because he doesn’t want “the values of others” imposed on them, .
Morrison agreed with broadcaster Alan Jones of the station 2 GB in Sydney that a special state-sponsored curriculum on teen sexuality for high schoolers made his “skin curl.”
In a separate interview on Monday by radio station 3AW about his position on so-called gay conversion therapy, he declined to take a position. The issue came up as a coalition of “survivors,” pastors and community advocates circulated a petition calling for a crackdown on the practice.
But the prime minister responded when Jones asked his opinion of the high-school program in the state of Victoria that has students role-playing various sexualities.
“Does this make your skin curl? That there are character cards under this [program] where young kids in schools, girls, Megan, we’re told that Megan is 17, she lives in the city and works in the local cafe she’s had 15 sexual partners and describes herself as bisexual, and these girls in class are told to role model these particular people,” Jones said.
“Year 9 students are told to role play them and the teachers are given role-playing cards. And Kelly is 14 and she’s interested in girls she’s not sure but she thinks she might be a lesbian and all of this is going on in the classroom. Is that going to happen in classrooms under your prime ministership?”
Morrison replied: “It does, Alan, for this reason, the values I have as a parent, that Jenny and I have as parents, that’s where you get your values from,” he said.
“I don’t want the values of others being imposed on my children in my school, and I don’t think that should be happening in a public school or a private schools.”
He said he wants to protect independent schools “to ensure they can continue on providing at least that choice.”
“When it comes to public schools … how about we just have state schools that focus on things like learning maths [and] learning science,” he said.
Morrison said it was one of the reasons he sent his children to an independent Baptist school.
“It’s not happening in the school I send my kids to, and that’s one of the reasons I send them there,” he told 2GB.
The Guardian said the teen sexuality program by the Victorian government aims to “address and prevent family violence, through the examination of topics around gender, power and respect.”
Morrison’s public support for religious schools over the public institutions, the paper said, “comes amid an increasingly fractious education funding debate.”