LGBTIQ+ Young People At Risk in NSW

January 29, 2021

Human Rights experts warn that One Nation’s “Education Bill” offends Australia’s international human rights obligations and standards of inquiry 

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has condemned Mark Latham’s Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 (the Bill), and the present Portfolio Committee inquiry into it, as inherently flawed and an alarming risk to the human rights and safety of LGBTIQ+ young people in NSW.

ALHR President Kerry Weste said, “The Bill itself is rife with many very troubling measures, including provisions at odds with international human rights law standards. It 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. The Bill would place NSW teachers at risk of losing their jobs 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.”

With submissions to a public inquiry on the Bill now being invited, ALHR has also highlighted  serious concerns in relation to the inquiry itself. Ms Weste said, “Mr Mark Latham is the Chair of the Committee conducting this inquiry, and is therefore inquiring into his own proposed legislation. This undermines any confidence that the inquiry will objectively examine the adverse impacts of the proposed reforms on vulnerable young people.”

“Further, the inquiry is primarily being conducted by way of an online questionnaire. ALHR is concerned that the questions appear to have been formulated in such a way as to obtain self-serving data and to limit the views and information that members of the NSW public can provide to the Inquiry. For instance, the questions fail to provide any means to address whether NSW should pass laws that effectively prohibit schools from abiding by Australian and international human rights standards, policies and codes of ethics, to honour the identities of children as they choose to identify.

Ms Weste continued, “The inquiry’s questionnaire intentionally seeks to further Mr Latham’s extreme ideologies by asking leading questions such as, “Do parents have enough say about what is taught in the classroom?” and, “On matters concerning a student’s gender and sexuality, do you agree that parents are primarily responsible for the care and guidance of their children?”

“ALHR is alarmed that Mr Latham intends to ignore established law and policies which were drafted following significant consultation with pedagogical experts and which direct curricula both in NSW and across Australia. 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 in its entirety, to call out this attack on the rights of LGBTIQ+ young people, and to consider any output from this inquiry with great scepticism.”

Contact Matt Mitchell on 0431 980 365 or

Read ALHR’s earlier media release on this Bill here

Read ALHR’s correspondence to the NSW Attorney General in relation to this Bill here