A stoush over Safe Schools has highlighted deep divisions within the Coalition as some MPs air their grievances with the anti-bullying program while others throw their support behind it.
A review into the program was ordered by the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, late last month after backbench unrest about its content. The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said: “I think it’s beyond a joke that Mr Turnbull is fanning the fires of the lunar right of his political party.
“Mr Turnbull has to show leadership. His mistake was not in slapping down this issue earlier. Now he has a standoff between an insurgent rightwing backbench and his minister for education.”
Conservatives within the Coalition say the anti-bullying campaign, which aims to stamp out homophobia and transphobia, undermines a parent’s ability to teach their children about gender and sexuality.