Over 160,000 sign All Out petition condemning chaplaincy program
All Out will deliver a petition to Parliament House in Canberra today opposing the funding of chaplaincy programs in schools.To date close to 168,000 people have signed the petition which calls on Tony Abbot to protect all young Australians, including lesbian, gay bi, and trans people.
The petition says: Don't pass any form of the budget that contains funding for religious groups to take the place of qualified mental health professionals or social workers in schools.
All Out executive director Andrea Banks said government funding shouldn't be spent on spreading religious dogma and suggested already vulnerable LGBTI teens were at risk from the proposed chaplaincy plan.
“Kids of every faith and identity should be able to feel safe and know, without a doubt, that the adult they approach in school with questions will not judge and is qualified to help them” said Banks.
“Government money should not be funding the spread of any particular religious ideology. In this new Budget, qualified, secular counsellors are losing their jobs while lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender kids could be counselled by an untrained volunteer who believes that being gay is a sin”.
According to an Essential Media poll only 5 percent of Australians support Abbott’s plan to put religious chaplains in schools,
Amongst those in line to receive funding include ACCESS Ministries and Your Dream Incorporated.ACCESS Minaistry has actively campaigned against same-sex marriage and adoption while Your Dream's founder has links to Hillsong.
“No organisation with an affiliation to globally renowned anti-gay groups should be running services for kids in school,” Banks said. “We are calling for the funding to be dedicated to qualified, professional organisations and to automatically disqualify any group that is linked to extreme, anti-gay groups.” said Banks.
You still have time to add your signature to the petition as it wont be presented til 2pm.