Human Rights Lawyers Condemn Mark Latham’s Anti-LGBT Education Bill

August 19, 2020

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has written to the Premier and Attorney General expressing serious concern about NSW One Nation Leader Mark Latham’s  Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 (the Bill). ALHR has warned that, if passed, the private member’s Bill will significantly impact the human rights of LGBT young people. 

ALHR President Kerry Weste said, “The Bill contains numerous very troubling measures including provisions that would prohibit NSW schools from teaching that trans and gender diverse people exist and should be treated with respect for their inherent dignity and right to equality. It would also prohibit NSW school counsellors from affirming a trans or gender diverse student or providing them with any support or referrals to gender affirming support. Further measures in the Bill would place NSW teachers at risk of losing their job when they support a trans or gender diverse student in affirming their identity, and would require NSW schools to present discredited counter narratives when teaching classes like science or history.”

“The proposed legislation flies in the face of law and policies which direct curricula both in NSW and across Australia. It ignores the fact that LGBT young people remain some of our most vulnerable to abuse, harassment and violence. LGBT young people have the right to learn in inclusive, supportive environments, free from discrimination. These protections are enshrined in international human rights instruments to which Australia is a party. If Mark Latham’s Bill were to become law in NSW our institutions would effectively become complicit in serious LGBT human rights abuses.”

ALHR LGBT Co-Chair Georgia Burke said, “The Bill purports to remedy an alleged issue in NSW that teachers in schools ‘teach gender fluidity’. This is not the case. The data on which this claim is made is non-existent. Teachers are obliged by law and subsidiary codes of ethics to honour the identities of children as they identify. This does not leave out girls and boys, but rather creates space for the diverse ways in which other children are telling us that they identify. This is a dangerous Bill driven by fear and drafted with contempt for evidence-based best practice with respect to pedagogy and children’s psychological development.”

ALHR LGBT Co-Chair Nicholas Stewart said, “LGBT students represent a significant minority population: 10% of students are same-sex attracted, 4% of students are trans and gender diverse and 1.7% of students are intersex. Research has found that 10% of young people reported that their school did not provide any form of Sexuality Education at all, 40% attended a school with no social or structural support features for sexual difference; only 19% of young people attended a school that was supportive of their sexuality; and more than one-third described their school as homophobic. We need to support these vulnerable young people, not ignore them.”

Ms Weste concluded, “The NSW Parliament must give due and proper weight to its international human rights law obligations. ALHR calls on all sides of politics to reject Mr Latham’s Bill as an attack on the rights of LGBT young people.”

Contact: ALHR Media Manager, Matt Mitchell .M: 0431 980 365 E: