Tim Mander, as Queensland opposition spokesman for education, claims the Safe Schools Programme has been “hijacked by activists,” a comment  Secular Party Spokesperson Trevor Bell says is “gross hypocrisy”.


“It is amazing he can say that with a straight face actually,” said Mr Bell. “Tim Mander is a former CEO of Scripture Union Queensland, an organisation involved in placing volunteer bible-bashers in our state schools. For the most part, these volunteers are not providing balanced religious education but instead seek to indoctrinate children into an evangelical form of the Christian faith. If he’s worried about activists in our schools, he should start with a look at the religious instruction lessons Scripture Union promotes.”


Mander has previously stated his concern that the Safe Schools Program contains “adult concepts”, and has quoted a psychiatrist’s statement that “gender diversity may not be appropriate for 11 year olds”. Yet Scripture Union recommends that religious instruction teachers use Connect materials, published by Christian Education Publications, and in their very first lesson, children as young as five are taught God punished the Jews for “not driving out other nations completely”. The lesson goes on to criticise Jews for doing what they thought was right, rather than simply obeying God.


“I would suggest to Tim Mander that God’s recommendation that the Jews commit genocide might also be considered an adult concept, which most five-year-olds could do without”.


The Secular Party questioned the real reason for Tim Mander’s objection. “The hypocrisy makes me question whether there are other motives,” said Bell. “I suspect that Mr Mander is convinced God approves of religious instruction lessons but disapproves of anything that might support homosexuality. Unable to trot out ‘God’s will’ as his reason, he’s forced to construct a nonsensical argument using notions of activism and age appropriateness.”


The Secular Party of Australia also stated its support for the Safe Schools Program. “Hopefully the funding will continue, and hopefully the opposition will find a new education spokesperson who recognises we live in the 21st century.”


The Secular Party of Australia is a political party committed to the principle of secularism, and supports evidence-based policies that adhere to the universal values of honesty, compassion, freedom and justice. https://www.secular.org.au

Trevor Bell

Spokesperson for The Secular Party of Australia

Ph 0413 628 747

[email protected]