In the 1970s, Whitlam set up the Royal Commission into Human Relationships (fascinating stuff).

One of the many topics they considered was comprehensive sex education.

There is a need for early and continuous sex education and for an educational program which will help young people to be responsible to themselves and to each other and to decide and act with knowledge, not in fear or ignorance.

– Royal Commission into Human Relationships, Final Report, 1977

Conservatives at the time went into a frenzy of pearl clutching, insisting that priests and parents were the only people who should ever talk to children about sex. They ignored the evidence that many parents didn’t have the information their kids needed, or didn’t know how to talk to kids about sex, or had deeply disturbing attitudes towards sex that needed disrupting.

Most of all they ignored all the parents who wanted schools and experts to teach their kids about sex because they knew it would make their kids safer and happier.

Almost 50 years later, the only thing that’s changed is a different Royal Commission stopped even the LNP demanding that priests should talk to children about sex.

Effective consent education stops the weaponisation of fear and shame. It gives kids and teens the power to make safer, stronger choices about their own lives and bodies.

People who reject consent education and people who think their power base depends on weaponising fear and shame – there’s a Venn diagram that’s pretty much a perfect circle.

If you want to know more about consent education, here’s something I prepared earlier…

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Books by Jane Gilmore

Fairy Tale Princesses Will Kill Your Children

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