The head of Australia’s Safe Schools Coalition has stepped down after claiming the country’s flag is “racist”. The comments were made after the rainbow flag was flown from the Victorian Parliament for the first time – following Premier Daniel Andrews’ ground-breaking apology for the state’s anti-gay laws.
Safe Schools Coalition manager Roz Ward ignited fury with her reply. She quipped on Facebook: “Now we just need to get rid of the racist Australian flag on top of state parliament and get a red one up there and my work is done”.Right-wingers laid into the comments, and following the row Ms Ward has decided to resign. She told News.com.au: “I apologise for any offence that comments, posted on my private Facebook page, may have caused the government and members of the LGBTI community. “These were private comments that were never intended for the public domain.” The Safe Schools program, which was commissioned up by the former Labor government, teaches about LGBT issues in schools in a bid to battle bullying.
However, it has come under extensive scrutiny due to campaigns from the homophobic Australian Christian Lobby and anti-LGBT MPs – who claim it is “dangerous” and “brainwashing” students. After a ‘review’ of the scheme, the right-wing federal government gutted Safe Schools of much of its content – restricting LGBT resources from being used in classrooms, banning sessions in primary schools, and cutting off government funding.