Since being sworn in as prime minister of Australia last month, Scott Morrison has made no secret of the fact that he is a devout Christian, having already made clear his disapproval of contentious topics such as sex education classes in schools.
Last week, Prime Minister Morrison laid out his cards on the issue of religious freedom, promising to introduce laws to protect it, telling the Sydney Morning Herald: “At the end of the day, if you’re not free to believe in your own faith, well, you’re not free.”
Morrison, who superseded Malcolm Turnbull following a second leadership spill within the Liberal Party on August 24, went on to say that children in public schools should “not face curbs on Christian traditions”, arguing it’s part of Aussie “culture”.
He added: “Like anyone else, they should be able to do Christmas plays, they should be able to talk about Easter. That’s our culture. There’s nothing wrong with that.
“The narks can leave those things alone. If you want to send your child to a Christian school, you have the choice to do that and you can go and do it.”
However, not everyone agreed with the PM’s views and one Fairfax columnist took umbrage with Morrison’s comments, saying she wants her Jewish children to grow up playing roles such as “Moses or Esther in the school concert” rather than typical Christian characters such as the Virgin Mary or an angel.
Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, Tracey Schreier said: “If parents choose to send their children to a public school, they need to accept that school is not a religious school. Public schools should honour all the festivals and traditions of their multicultural and multi-religious school communities.
“Christianity is not our ‘culture’; culture is our belief in equality, democracy, human dignity and a ‘fair go’. Culture is not making a child in multicultural Australia don a pair of angel wings in a Christmas play.”
Last week Morrison revealed he chose to send daughters, aged nine and eleven, to an independent Baptist school to avoid them having “the values of others” imposed on them through the likes of sex education role-plays, on topics including bisexual teenagers to youngsters with multiple partners.
The 50-year-old pollie joined 2GB host Alan Jones on his radio show to discuss the new Safe Schools program, as Jones pointed out that some teachers are now asking students in Year 9 to take part in role-plays, acting out the part of bisexual teenagers who have had multiple sexual partners.
Asked if this will happen in classrooms under his own prime ministership, Morrison said: “Well it’s not happening in the school I send my kids to and that’s one of the reasons I send them there.”
As Jones asked if things like these role-play exercises make his skin crawl, Morrison added: “It does Alan for this reason. The values I have as a parent, that’s where you get your values from. I don’t want the values of others being imposed on my children in my school.