ACT News


Lyle Shelton, Fred Nile to speak at Canberra anti-Safe Schools rally

Ultra conservative Christians Fred Nile and Lyle Shelton will speak against the Safe Schools program in Canberra on Saturday despite the initiative not yet launching in ACT schools.

The joint Christian Democratic Party, Australian Christian Lobby, Australian Family Association, Rise Up Australia and Australian Marriage Alliance rally will feature seven speakers including parents from ACT public schools.

Christian Democratic Party ACT leader David Kim organised the protest just months after his anti-Safe Schools campaign posters were torn up and left in the letterbox of his Kambah home.

The original Safe Schools program was designed as a support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students and staff in response to high rates of bullying and abuse.

The ACT government has funded its own, Canberra-specific version of the initiative, which will not run as a classroom program but offer resources and support to gender and sexually diverse students. It will launch by the end of the school year.

Reverend Kim declined to say why he opposed school-based support for LGBTI students.


"Basically I don't want to say directly because the reason is the people who will come is not only one category of people, but people who come to the rally is the common thing is they disagree with the Safe School program," he said.

Reverend Kim said he wanted Safe Schools replaced with his program "Dream Schools", in which teachers could model ethics outside of the classroom, chaplains would provide counselling services for students and the Australian National University would deliver dedicated scholarships to Canberra students.

"I will focus on the ACT because at the moment the Labor government is one of the strongest in that [support of Safe Schools], especially Chief Minister Andrew Barr is one of the political leaders and under him those groups (LGBTI people) are having very strong courage," he said.

Police had already been called for protection and Reverend Kim said he would rather not debate pro-Safe Schools groups.

"Physically or emotionally we don't want to be challenged by those people ... we want to try to peacefully express [ourselves]," he said.

Political lobbyist and Australian Christian Lobby leader Lyle Shelton and right-wing New South Wales politician Fred Nile and have long been vocal in their opposition to Safe Schools. 

ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry has repeatedly expressed her commitment to LGBTI young people.

"In the ACT, we believe that every student has the right to feel safe, included and welcome in our public schools regardless of personal circumstances," she said.

The protest will start at 2pm in Civic Square.