An email reportedly sent by Senator Cory Bernardi to a Melbourne mother on the topic of the Safe Schools program has received criticism from the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham.
On Monday night, mother of two, Pia Cerveri received a reply to an email she had sent Bernardi containing her opinion regarding his stance on the anti-bullying program.
Beyond informing Ms Cerveri that she “clearly” hasn’t “any idea what is in the program”, Mr Bernardi’s email went on to say the Safe Schools website links to “bondage clubs and adult sex toys” before telling Ms Cerveri he worried for her children.
Read the full email at the link below.
— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) March 22, 2016
At the time of writing, it has not yet been confirmed by Mr Bernardi or his office that he had sent the email himself, although the email address used has been verified as his.
Having overseen the Government’s handling of a review on the Safe Schools initiative, Mr Birmingham expressed his displeasure in the language used in the email in an appearance on Channel Ten’s ‘The Project’.
“There is certainly language I wouldn’t use and that is not an accurate reflection of what is in the Safe Schools program,” he said. “There are genuine concerns contained in that about the type of websites that you can link from in relation to some of the recommended sites of the Safe School program. That is where we have taken action, but other areas of that, frankly, are not an accurate reflection and not terribly helpful.”
The exchange follows the news that the Government had recommended sweeping changes to the program, in which it would be limited to being available only to secondary schools, requiring parent consent for children to participate and also removing external links from the Safe Schools website.