The co-chairman of the federal government's national curriculum review has disassociated himself from comments by his fellow co-chairman, Kevin Donnelly, supporting corporal punishment in schools.
Dr Donnelly said on Tuesday he had no problem with corporal punishment in schools if it is supported by the local community. Educators and health experts slammed his stance.
He is co-chairman of the curriculum review with Kenneth Wiltshire, a professor of public administration at the University of Queensland.
In a letter to Fairfax Media, Mr Wiltshire distanced himself from Dr Donnelly's comments.
''In response to reports in The Sydney Morning Herald and a number of inquiries, I wish to make it clear that I dissociate myself from comments attributed to Dr Kevin Donnelly regarding corporal punishment in schools,'' he wrote.
''I can also confirm that neither the Australian curriculum itself, nor the current review of the curriculum, is linked in any way to the topic of corporate [sic] punishment or any other school-based practices of this nature. They are a matter for school management and state and territory jurisdictions.''
Mr Wiltshire declined to comment further.
In an interview with 2UE on Tuesday, Dr Donnelly said the threat of physical punishment had proved ''very effective'' when he was at school.
''I grew up in Broadmeadows, a housing commission estate in Melbourne, and we had a Scottish phys-ed teacher,'' he said.
''Whenever there were any discipline problems he would actually take the boy behind the shed and say, 'We can either talk about this or you can throw the first punch.'
''That teacher would probably lose his job now but it was very effective. He only had to do it once and the kids were pretty well behaved for the rest of the year.''
Dr Donnelly's former PE teacher, Hugh ''Shuggy'' Murney, 75, said he had used the strap as a teacher but abandoned it in 1968. He no longer supports corporal punishment.
''I don't think in modern days that this would be a good idea,'' he said. ''Everything has completely changed. I think children are cheekier these days, but giving them the strap is not the answer.''
Corporal punishment was banned in NSW schools in 1995 and in Victorian schools in 2006, but is still legal in South Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. But it is used in very few schools.
A spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne said on Wednesday: ''The Minister does not support a return to corporal punishment in any form … Dr Donnelly's views are a matter for him.''
The Greens have called for Dr Donnelly to resign from the curriculum review, to be handed to the government this month.
Paul Ronalds, the head of Save the Children, said: ''We urge all states in Australia to legislate to end corporal punishment so that children can be free to go to school and learn without fear of physical violence from their teachers.
''Australia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which outlaws all forms of physical and humiliating punishment of children. Until corporal punishment is outlawed, Australia is failing its obligations under the treaty.''