Premier intervenes to deny choice in schools

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The NSW Opposition has slammed Mike Baird for working against the public interest – following revelations the Premier’s office intervened to fast track a request to remove all references to ethics classes on public school enrolment forms.

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said removing the choice between special religious education classes and secular ethics classes was an unfair overreach of the Government.

“Once again the Baird Government is not acting in the public’s interests,” Mr Foley said.

“This comes hot on the heels of the Baird government’s decision to fight the independent Australian Energy Regulator’s decision to reduce electricity prices.

“It appears as if Mr Baird is pandering to the state’s principal opponent of ethics classes, the Rev Fred Nile MLC – who also happens to have the deciding vote on electricity privatisation.

“When it comes to ethics classes in NSW public schools, it is the wishes of the students and their parents that should and must come first.

“The state should not prefer one form of instruction over another when it comes to scripture and ethics classes.

“The state should be neutral. It’s a matter for students and their parents to decide without intervention from the state.

“To amend the enrolment form is a blatant form of favouritism of one form of instruction over another."

Shadow Minister for Education Linda Burney said: “Ethics classes are an important Labor initiative implemented after much debate.

“To think that the Premier has intervened to see public school students denied a choice between religious scripture and secular ethics classes is appalling.

“Students and their parents must be able to freely choose whether to enrol in scripture or ethics classes – but the Liberal Government is willing to stand in the way.”