Australia: Safe Schools scare campaign targets Chinese-Australian voters

A scare campaign falsely claiming Labor plans to introduce school programs teaching students how to have gay sex is being circulated on Chinese social media, in the latest sign of “fake news” infiltrating the federal election.

The unauthorised post targeting voters on the popular Chinese-language app WeChat uses well-worn myths about the anti-bullying resource Safe Schools to urge people not to vote for Bill Shorten. Claiming that Labor has decided that it will roll out the program to “all Australian primary and secondary schools if they win the election”, the message warns: “For the sake of our children, don’t vote for Labor! You cannot vote for Labor!

“Safe School [sic] is to teach students same sex sexual intercourse,” says the message, written mostly in Mandarin and featuring a photo of the Opposition Leader.

“That men can use women's toilets. For men to wear women's clothing. That the following vocabulary cannot be used: dad, mum, older brother, younger brother, older sister, younger sister, uncle, aunt, boy, girl, pregnant, and other gendered words.” With three weeks until the May 18 poll, the scare campaign is the latest example of just how toxic the federal election has become - and how easy it is to infiltrate cyberspace with misinformation. Read more via The Age