13 November 2017

Statement re One Nation's comments about teachers

The Queensland Teachers’ Union is aware of the abhorrent remarks made by One Nation Queensland Leader Steve Dickson over the weekend regarding the alleged teaching of content of a sexual nature to primary school students.

The Queensland Teachers’ Union immediately called for an unreserved apology from Steve Dickson and One Nation on behalf of the QTU’s 44,000 members.

The allegations he has made are baseless and are hurtful to Queensland’s hard working teachers and school leaders, who go to work every day with the best interests of their students at heart.

It is completely unacceptable for political leaders or politicians in any position to simply fabricate stories to further their own agendas.  Such behaviour is at best disrespectful and at worst, dangerous.

The Safe Schools program in Queensland consisted of professional development and support for teachers and school leaders.  It also provided support to students and their families, through the principal. This professional development was designed to enable school staff to gain a greater understanding of the specific needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students and to help them to provide safe and supportive school environments for these students.  Presently and in the past, at no point was there a Safe Schools curriculum being taught in Queensland classrooms.

Safe Schools was a federally funded program which was made available to schools in Queensland with the agreement of the Queensland Department of Education.  Funding for the program ended on 31 October and so Safe Schools is no longer in operation in Queensland. The Queensland Teachers’ Union is keen to ensure that teachers and school leaders continue to have access to advice and resources to help them to create safe and supportive learning environments for the LGBTIQ+ students in their care.

The Queensland Teachers’ Union appreciates the overwhelming support that has been communicated to the union over the past 48 hours.  We understand that many members are very angry about these comments and are seeking further action. 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has publicly repudiated Steve Dickson’s comments.  We now expect Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls to do the same.  Most importantly, Steve Dickson and One Nation must issue an apology immediately.