October 13th 2012

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Articles from this issue:

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Australian people win on marriage

EDITORIAL: Federal vote on marriage: wider implications

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Floundering Labor resorts to class warfare

GLOBAL SECURITY I: Ten years after the Bali bombing

GLOBAL SECURITY II: Islamism's long-term influence operations in the West

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: RBA cuts rates as economy braces for "perfect storm"

MARRIAGE LAWS: State same-sex marriage laws are unconstitutional

SCHOOLS: The radical agenda of the national sex-ed curriculum

UNITED STATES: Obama betrays doctor who led US to bin Laden

ASIA: Island dispute pits Japan against Taiwan and China

WOMEN'S RIGHTS: Film exposes sex-selective abortions of baby girls

SOCIETY: How different are Britain and Australia?


CINEMA: "Divine madness" or sacred creativity?

BOOK REVIEW America's worst ever President?

BOOK REVIEW No sense have they of ills to come

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The radical agenda of the national sex-ed curriculum

by Tempe Harvey

News Weekly, October 13, 2012

Would you trust a school program that encourages your immature teen to experiment with oral, anal and vaginal sex, and which fails to inform him or her fully of the associated serious physical and emotional risks?

Government-mandated sex “education” may soon be provided in all Australian classrooms, as part of health and physical education (HPE). This is the recommendation of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (ACARA) HPE curriculum guidelines issued in August.

These guidelines go far beyond merely promoting physical fitness, nutritious eating habits and healthy living. There is in addition a list of controversial “focus areas”, to be taught to children at regular intervals from earliest infant school to high school.

Near the top of the list is “sexuality and reproductive health”, which includes “exploring sexual and gender identity, managing intimate relationships, understanding reproduction and sexual health (and) accessing community health services” (p.22).

Other focus areas include “respectful relationships”, e.g., “respecting and valuing diversity”, and “personal identity and sense of self”, e.g., “body image” and “gender identity” (p.22).

The ACARA guidelines map out in detail what children are expected to be taught during each year of their schooling:

Years 1-2 infants will “begin to understand respect for diversity” (p.13).

Years 5-6: “Students learn to … value the diversity within their community. They learn about their rights to non-discrimination and equality, including their right not to be stereotyped on the basis of their sex/gender.... Students examine the concepts of gender expectations and stereotypes” (pp.18-19).

Years 7-8: “Students learn to recognise sexual feelings … and appropriately respond to instances of discrimination and harassment” (p.18).

Years 9-10: “Students … practise taking positive action to value diversity in their school and wider community.... Students critically examine how a range of sociocultural and personal factors influence sexuality, gender identity, sexual attitudes and behaviour” (pp.18-19).

The proposed HPE curriculum has downplayed sport in order to push politically-correct sex and gender education onto children.

Such classes will likely be made mandatory for Prep to Year 12 students in both private and public schools in any states that adopt the federal Labor government’s national curriculum.

Once in the hands of education bureaucrats, the content, emphasis and age-appropriateness of sex education could be liable to change with little if any reference to parents, whatever assurances to the contrary are given by curriculum proponents.

The only solution to this high-handed government approach is to restore to parents the right to choose what is most appropriate for their children.

Queensland parents currently enjoy such freedom. Sex-education is an extra-curricula subject, and parents are free to choose whether or not their children attend. These classes, rightly, can vary greatly to match the philosophy of each school community with many programs emphasising abstinence and faithfulness.

Studies in Australia, the UK and US have found that abstinence programs are highly effective in reducing promiscuity, sexual diseases and teenage pregnancy. Conversely, programs which teach about the use of contraception have the opposite effect.

Will parents be left with any power to determine what is suitable for their children to be taught?

The compulsory nature of the national curriculum seriously weakens parental authority — even in subjects unrelated to sex education.

Last month, a Brisbane mother Anj Johnston was appalled to discover that her 12-year old daughter was required to read a particularly salacious passage from Tim Winton’s Lockie Leonard Human Torpedo, a novel that is described as being suitable for 13-14 year-olds.

The concerned mother immediately complained to the school, but was told by its middle-school principal, Deb Day, that the book was a recommended text for all Queensland state schools under the national curriculum (Courier-Mail, Brisbane, September 23).

National sex education guidelines will likely borrow from the state of Victoria. One widely-used program, produced in 2004 by the Victorian Department of Education and Training, is called Catching On: STD/HIV Prevention Education Project: Teaching and Learning Activities for Years 9 and 10.

It instructs Victorian children, “You can use a condom to put a barrier between foreign bacteria (that is, his) and the mucous membranes that such bacteria thrive in (such as your vagina, urethra, anus and mouth). We tend to think mainly about condom’s efficiency at preventing HIV. In fact, they also do a great job preventing the spread of other STDs” (p.97).

It adds: “Thoughtfully, condom manufacturers now make flavoured versions to stop the spread of STDs through oral sex.” (p.95).

National curriculum sex education would render parents powerless to stop misleading sex and gender information reaching their children. Politicians must instead adopt Queensland’s “extra-curricular” model, and excise sex education from school curricula entirely.

Mrs Tempe Harvey is a researcher for the Australian Family Association.



“Oops! UK sex education led to more pregnancies”, VoxPoint (Adelaide: FamilyVoice Australia), August 2009.

Debbie Ollis, Peter Roberts and Jenny Walsh, Catching On: STD/HIV Prevention Education Project: Teaching and Learning Activities for Years 9 and 10 (Melbourne: Victorian Department of Education and Training, 2004).
URL: http://newsweekly.com.au/files/01CatchingOn(Years9and10).pdf

Debbie Ollis, Lyn Harrison and Anthony Richardson, Building Capacity in Sexuality Education: The Northern Bay College Experience, Report of the first phase of the Sexuality Education and Community Support (SECS) project (Geelong, Victoria: Deakin University, May 2012).
URL: http://newsweekly.com.au/files/02_BuildingCapacityDeakinUni(May2012).pdf

The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (Sydney: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], August 2012).
URL: http://newsweekly.com.au/files/03_ACARA(Aug2012).pdf

David Paton, “Underage conceptions and abortions in England and Wales 1969-2009: the role of public policy”, Education and Health (Schools and Students Health Education Unit, Exeter, UK), Vol. 30, No. 2, 2012, pp.22-24.
URL: http://sheu.org.uk/sites/sheu.org.uk/files/imagepicker/1/eh302dp.pdf

Kylie Lang, “Concern over national plan for early puberty education”, Courier-Mail (Brisbane), September 23, 2012.
URL: www.couriermail.com.au/spike/columnists/concern-over-national-plan-for-early-puberty-education/story-fn8fquew-1226479390446

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