Health Alliance Responds

milkA statement in the name of Rebecca Reynolds was posted on Facebook last night, after outrage was expressed at her statement giving aid and comfort to opponents of the Safe Schools Coalition program.

The National LGBTI Health Alliance absolutely supports the availability of Safe Schools Coalition Australia to all schools.

There is a strong evidence base that tells us that intervening early in the promotion of inclusion is essential to support the health and wellbeing of young people and of all LGBTI Australians. The Alliance demonstrates this position in all its work and absolutely supports the Safe Schools Coalition Australia and its roll out across the country. Allowing for a program to be one of choice and to be implemented flexibly by the school does not minimise the urgency or importance of these programs.

The Alliance has found that by engaging in conversation about health and diversity with service providers we are more likely to achieve inclusion of LGBTI people. The Alliance endorses the approach of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia, which continues to “support individual principals and teachers to decide which resources or supports will best meet their needs and how they use these within their own school”.

With such diversity across communities in Australia, a one size fits all approach does not work. The Safe Schools Program is evidence based and its local partners in each state and territory consider implementation of the program for their particular context. Schools and principals then consider the best way to implement the program for their local context.

The Victorian Government is making significant and admirable headway in the area of equality and inclusion for LGBTI people and we applaud them for their continued support of the Safe Schools Coalition Program and their commitment to making the program available as widely as possible.

A petition was launched calling for her immediate resignation, while board members demanded an emergency meeting to address the situation. Chair Susan Ditter refused, and instead threatened legal action against board members who publicly criticised Reynolds and herself.

Calls for the resignation of both Ditter and Reynolds are likely to be prominent at today’s Melbourne Hands Off Safe Schools Rally at the State Library at 5.30pm.


Reynolds statement was met with widespread derision on social media.

Your board are run by a pack of gutless wonders, who have buckled to Right Wing pressure and will be held responsible for any further compromise to the Safe Schools Coalition program. Traitors are never forgotten.

Yes it should be a choice because why should an entire school community suffer the horrors of it, if only 1 child is quietly suicidal, eh? What are they frightened the safe schools program might see them relegated or even losing relevance as a health body entirely?

If she cannot stand up for kids, she should stand down. someone with an unshakeable faith in knowing the Safe Schools program saves lives needs to take her position.

Stupid response on their part. It’s not a one size fits all approach to suggest that EVERY school needs the Safe Schools program. And that the program is designed as a framework with elements that can be tailored to meet unique local needs.

“Allowing for a program to be one of choice and to be implemented flexibly by the school does not minimise the urgency or importance of these programs?” What does that mean? It’s bullshit: either the program is urgent and important, or it’s not.

Sadly, [The Alliance] seems too fractured to be able to hold a consistently constructive approach to anything.

The Principal of Brighton Secondary College, however, gave Safe Schools a ringing endorsement:

brighton secondary


About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)