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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier of Queensland
    The Honourable Peter Beattie


    Premier of Queensland
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    Saturday, April 15, 2006


    The draft Education Bill actually enhances the right of parents to decide what sort of religious education is given to their children, Premier Peter Beattie and Education Minister Rod Welford said today (Easter Saturday).

    “And nothing in the draft Bill takes away any of their rights when it comes to religious education,” said Mr Beattie.

    “Religious instruction will continue to be offered to all children in state schools wherever feasible.

    “Because the main religions are part of state-wide, national and often international networks, they have the ability to deliver instruction and they have the staff and volunteers necessary to deliver instruction to the State’s 1,300 schools and 490,000 students.

    “The main change being contemplated is finding the best system of providing school principals with enforceable and clearer guidelines about who can and can’t be admitted to schools to talk to children about religion.

    “All sorts of people and organisations approach principals asking for permission to talk to children and the guidelines about who can be admitted and who can be refused are not as clear as they might be.

    “At the moment it can be difficult for a principal to make such a decision.

    “We want legislation that gives firmer guidelines to protect children and parents from charlatans and extremists.”

    Mr Welford said: “Under the Bill, organisations will have to demonstrate to the Director-General of Education that they are suitable groups with a credible approach, written instructional materials, and Blue Cards for those people teaching children.

    “In addition, it has to be clear that they would not threaten the good order and management of a school – in other words, they would not offend a group of children or parents with their views.

    “It is envisaged that at a school level the principal would assess applications from those organizations approved by the Director-General and should discuss the application with the parents and citizens’ association.

    “Finally, parents will be advised of the religions or other organizations which have expressed an interest in instructing their children and it would be up to parents to decide.

    “If, for instance, a small group of parents at a school said they wanted their children to receive information from a particular organization, only those children would receive that instruction if it was practical in that particular school to do so.”

    Contact: 3225 1214

    April 15, 2006.