A teacher turned Greens senator has blasted Pauline Hanson’s push to ban transgender issues from being taught in schools.
The One Nation leader managed to revive her 2020 bill after it was rejected by a committee two years ago, and it was debated in the Senate on Wednesday.
Senator Hanson’s grievances with the education system included ‘Marxism’, critical race theory and ‘climate change prophecies of doom’ being taught along with ‘gender fluidity’.
Her bill demanded Education Department bureaucrats draw up a ‘balanced’ curriculum and that schools only get government funding if their states passed laws banning ‘indoctrination’.
Rookie senator Penny Allman-Payne, who was a high school teacher for almost 30 years including teaching sex ed, said the bill was an insult to teachers.
‘It’s not about balance. It’s about hate and propaganda,’ she said.
The former head of humanities said school curriculum was based in truth and science and teachers delivered it.
‘We don’t cherry-pick the bits of science that we agree with or disagree with, we don’t cherry-pick the bits of history that we like and are hard to face and we don’t discriminate against the children who are in front of us in our classes,’ she said.
‘I invite you to come into a school and sit in front of a student who has made several attempts on their life because they have been subject to hate and transphobia.
‘How dare you use our young people as political footballs. They are not wanting anything except to be accepted for who they are.’
Greens senator Penny Allman-Payne, who was a high school teacher for almost 30 years including teaching sex ed, said Pauline Hanson’s bill was an insult to teachers
Senator Allman-Payne said students had a critical thinking skills and their teachers were not interested in indoctrinating them.
Instead, it was Senator Hanson and other proponents of the bill who were ‘seeking to indoctrinate people with their hateful and bigoted views in our schools’.
‘I will not subject young people in this country to your bigotry and hate. I will stand up every time I see it, and the Greens will call it out,’ she said.
‘This bill isn’t about critical thinking; this bill is about legislating a far-right curriculum.’
Senator Allman-Payne warned that allowing politicians to overpower educators led to some parts of the US banning racism and sexuality being taught in schools and even books being burned.
‘This bill is dangerous. As a teacher with over 30 years of experience in our schools, I know it is an injustice to the young people in our schools, and it is an insult to teachers,’ she concluded.
Senator Hanson earlier opened the second reading of her bill with a 14-minute speech on everything she saw as wrong with the education system.
She began by saying teachers were supposed to educate, not ‘indoctrinate them with Marxism’
‘They are not supposed to groom them into believing they can be a boy one day and a girl the next. They are not supposed to recruit them as warriors for climate change or social justice,’ she declared.
Senator Hanson claimed the bill was necessary because the education system was ‘thoroughly infiltrated by activists and disturbing concepts about race, climate and gender grounded in disproven neo-Marxist theories’.
Parents only discovered this, she claimed, when they were forced to homeschool their children during Covid lockdowns.
‘They discovered their children were being told they were evil, racist oppressors just because they were white and that they should feel shame and remorse for it,’ she said.
‘They discovered their children were being groomed into believing they could choose their own gender at a whim, biology be damned. They found their children were being terrorised by climate change prophecies of doom.’
Pauline Hanson’s grievances with the education system included ‘Marxism’, critical race theory and ‘climate change prophecies of doom’ along with ‘gender fluidity’
Senator Hanson then claimed schools were ‘destroying our children’s little minds’ and compared being taught transgender issues to being groomed by a paedophile.
‘We are opposed to paedophiles grooming children for what they want to do to our children. Why is this any different? Why is this not grooming our children at a very young age?’ she said.
Senator Hanson said her eight-year-old grandson said he was ‘totally confused’ by a boy in his class wearing girls’ clothing to school, and was told you culd choose to be male or female.
She demanded ‘normal’ Australians stop being told they had to change their lives for the 1,200 people who identified as transgender in the 2016 census.
‘We sit here and listen to the claptrap that comes out of the Greens’ mouths with all this bloody rubbish that they’re pushing about gender fluidity and identity and LGBTIQ and 39-plus [genders] – I don’t know how many there are,’ she said.
‘I can’t believe how many sexual identities they want to impose on people, but, at the end of the day, we are male and we are female.’
Senator Hanson finished by telling parents to ‘grow up’ and take responsibility for what their children were taught.
‘And, if you don’t like what they’re being taught, then go and visit the schools and the teachers and the principals and have your say,’ she said.
Deputy Greens leader Senator Mehreen Faruqi also spoke out against the bill, saying it showed how racist and out of touch Senator Hanson was
Deputy Greens leader Senator Mehreen Faruqi also spoke out against the bill, saying it showed how racist and out of touch Senator Hanson was.
‘Senator Hanson, honestly, give it a rest. You are making a fool of yourself. What you are doing is despicable,’ she began.
Senator Faruqi explained that when the education committee reviewed the bill in 2020 it found it to be poorly drafted, vague and inconsistent.
‘But, in addition to being bad legislation, in a technical sense, this bill is just vile,’ she continued.
‘It is transphobic. It is anti-science. It is an attempt to force a rewrite of the curriculum to require teaching of climate denialism and harmful, outdated ideas of gender and sexuality.’
Liberal Senator Alex Antic and One Nation MP Malcolm Russell rose in support of the bill with speeches making similar arguments to Senator Hanson.
Labor Senator Louise Pratt and Trade Minister Don Farrell opposed it, along with 28-year-old Greens senator Jordon Steele-John, who spoke as a young person.
Senator Allman-Payne said students had a critical thinking skills and their teachers were not interested in indoctrinating them
Liberal National senator Gerard Rennick said he hadn’t read the bill and thought parents should have more say over what their children were taught and kids were too young to understand such issues.
‘Even in your 20s, I don’t want you being involved in politics. When you’re in your 20s, go out and get drunk, get to understand women better, get rich and travel the world,’ he said.
‘Come back to politics when you’re in your 40s and you’ve lived a life and you can actually throw yourself into it.’
However, he opposed the legislation because he wanted the government out of people’s lives as much as possible.
‘I want ideology out of education altogether, whether it’s right wing or left wing. I don’t really care. I just want children to be children, and I want the primacy of the parent to remain in their upbringing,’ he said.
‘We just want government out of our lives, and we want the innocence of childhood to stay just like it is.’