The education system has for too long been rife with Left-Wing ideology. Of course, the universities have borne the worst of this over the years, but it has without doubt infiltrated and at the very least begun to work its way through schools in general. One the most pervasive doctrines infecting the system is that of identity politics, moreover gender ideology. Children are being targeted by teachers, mentors, who do not have their best interests in mind. Rather, these people who are entrusted by parents with their children for hours every day seek to indoctrinate these young developing, and thereby susceptible, minds with views that are unfounded in reality and indeed harmful.
Children are being taught that their gender is fluid, that the gender spectrum is expansive, and that they can identify as whatever they wish to. Biological fact dictates that there are only two genders: male and female. The idea of a gender spectrum is nonsensical, and yet the same people who tell us to “trust the science” on everything want us to believe it is legitimate. This belief that there are a multitude of genders that one can identify is pushed upon children with a sinister goal: to confuse them, turn them against biological fact, in many instances turn them against their parents, and alienate them, conscripting them to a minority that is angry at the world. If anything, it is a tragedy, abusive in nature on the part of the indoctrinators.
But there are some willing to fight back against this pervasive ideology, defending parental rights, the minds of children, and the education system. At the forefront of this battle is Mark Latham, leader of One Nation in New South Wales and member of the NSW Legislative Council. Latham has often been outspoken on the tragedies befalling education in this country. In recent weeks, he has taken a stand, mounting a defense against gender ideology being taught in NSW schools in the form of a Bill. The Bill, Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020, seeks to amend the Education Act 1990 to “clarify that parents and not schools are primarily responsible for the development and formation of their children in relation to core values such as ethical and moral standards, social and political values and an understanding of personal identity, including in relation to gender and sexuality”, “prohibit the teaching of the ideology of gender fluidity to children in schools”, ensure all courses at all levels of schooling and that all school staff do not teach gender fluidity, and that parents are consulted in regards to courses of study that “include teaching on core values”. If parents so wished, they would also be allowed to withdraw their children from “instruction on core values where parents object to the particular teaching on these matters of parental primacy”.
The key aims of Latham’s Bill are to ban gender ideology being taught in schools, and to protect the rights of parents as primary instructors on core values to their children. Over the past weeks, submissions have been made and hearings undertaken in an Inquiry on the Bill. These have come from all sides of the issue, including LGBTQ organisations, the NSW Teachers Federation, organisations that oppose gender ideology, the NSW education Standards Authority (NESA) and representatives from each of the public and Catholic school systems. Some of these submissions provided were predictable. It was obvious LGBTQ organisations would take a stance against the Bill, while those that oppose gender ideology would support it. The Teachers Federation, which has been trying to rid schools of Special Religious Education/Scripture teaching for years, predictably opposed it, as did the public system. Yet the Catholic schools took everyone by surprise, divided as they were on the matter.
Now, it would stand to reason that Catholic schools would support Latham’s Bill, given it aligns with the teachings of the Church and faith values. The Archdiocese of Sydney and Catholic Schools NSW clearly saw this and threw their support behind it. Archbishop Anthony Fisher stated “we know that parents are the primary and principal educators of their children, and schools exist to support this role”. But one Diocese, the Diocese of Parramatta, shockingly opposed it. The Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, headed by Greg Whitby, stated the Bill’s “prohibitions on what can be discussed within the learning process can stigmatize these matters and people whose life experiences are connected to them.” It was concerned that it would result in LGBTQ students being harassed. Furthermore, it made the absurd claim that “the concept of ‘parental primacy’ is akin to ‘parents rights’ and this concept has long been discarded in Australia”. Even more strange was the claim that the banning of the teaching of gender fluidity could impact the discussion of Shakespearean plays where female characters disguise themselves as men.
The Parramatta Diocese, led by Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, is no stranger to stepping outside the boundaries of the faith. In the 2017 same-sex marriage vote the Bishop told Catholics to “vote their conscience” on the issue, rather than encouraging them to vote against it. In 2020, a new religion curriculum was brought forward that contained questions about sexual identity. The Bishop is however yet to make his views known on Latham’s Bill.
Perhaps most concerningly, however, is Whitby’s disturbing claim that “equity” is central to education in Australia. To be clear, equity and “equality” are not one and the same. Equality is “equality of opportunity”, that is, everyone has a chance to achieve the same goal, to, for example, obtain a certain job. Equity is a term peddled by Marxists for “equality of outcome”, where people all get the same outcome no matter their background, skills, education and so forth. This is the land of quotas, of preferencing those of a certain identity over those of merit. When it comes to education, this could mean replacing skilled teachers specializing in certain subjects with those who align with a certain ideology. In the Catholic system, it could drive the faith out of schools.
Mark Latham’s Bill, arguable one of the best modifications seen to the education system, has clearly exposed the problems in NSW education, including in the Catholic system. Whitby appears ready to take the “Catholic” out of the Catholic schools, and it is pertinent that Bishop Vincent takes a stance aligned with Church teachings and saves the system from subjugation to a dangerous ideology.
If education is to recover at all in this nation, this Bill must pass into law.
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Joel Agius is a young Catholic Conservative writer currently studying journalism and creative writing with Griffith University. He writes on freedom, religion and the human condition, mainly focusing on the Australian and US social and political scenes. He also volunteers as a Special Religious Education teacher in State primary schools, and occasionally contributes to The Spectator. You can find him on Twitter or read his work over at his blog. If you would like to support his work, you can click here.