Labor threatens freedom to home school in Queensland

Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto with Burdell resident and home education advocate, Heather Dixon.

19 March 2024

 Draft legislation recently introduced by the State Labor Government threatens to severely impact the rights and freedoms of home-schooling families and aims to eradicate the use of gendered language throughout the current Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (the Act).

The Education (General Provisions) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 (the Bill) is currently open to submissions and will be examined by the Parliamentary Education, Employment, Training and Skills Committee.

Burdell resident and home education advocate Heather Dixon said her fear was that the proposed changes to the Act could negatively impact home educators and the children they teach.

“I had the pleasure of home educating. My oldest son, who was home-schooled from grade 4 onwards, began his university education while his same age peers were still at school. He has received a diploma and is currently completing a bachelor’s degree,” Mrs Dixon said.

“I feel this is testament to the freedom to learn in his own way and through self-motivated education that many home educators support their children through.

“The main aspect I am concerned about is the proposal to force home educating families to follow the National Curriculum claiming this as the definition of a ‘high-quality education’. In the current legislation we have been required to provide an undefined ‘high-quality education’.

“The department has admitted we, as parent educators, were doing well at that with our successful reporting. This should raise the question of why a definition is needed if we are currently meeting expectations?

“A secondary aspect that I find to be greatly worrying is the removal of the 60-day provisional registration. I believe requiring an immediate plan upon application will see many plans rejected because they will not have allowed for the family to understand the submission requirements.

“Key stakeholders were targeted for consultation on this Bill and it was restricted to biased participants with representatives of the homeschooling community actively excluded. Why weren’t we, the real key stakeholders consulted?

“This proposition is overreaching and poorly designed. It feels very much like a knee jerk reaction to try to stem the large numbers of families who have started home schooling since the pandemic and entirely ignorant of the long-term successful home education happening here in Queensland.”

Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader Nick Dametto, who is a member of the Education, Employment, Training and Skills Committee, has urged everyone who stands to be impacted by these changes to lodge their submissions prior to the cut off on 25 March 2024.

Mr Dametto said that he and the KAP had been staunch advocates in the fight against previous attempts by Government to undermine the rights and autonomy of Queenslanders and Australian citizens, and that this Bill was a further example of the Government trying to encroach upon the fundamental rights of parents.

“Home schooling rates increased by 194% from 2019 to 2023. There are now more than 10,000 children being educated at home in Queensland,” Mr Dametto said.

“The overwhelming feedback I’ve received from home schooling parents confirms that the main reasons behind soaring home education numbers are: dissatisfaction with the current curriculum; uncontrolled student behaviour including bullying; and learning and behavioural difficulties that cannot be properly addressed in the mainstream education system (whether public or private) or under the current curriculum.

“Instead of turning on parent’s, this Government should be turning the mirror on themselves and asking the big question, why are so many families making the choice to educate from home?

“I also strongly oppose the suggestion of removing all gendered terms from the Act. Time and time again we’re seeing this woke ideology trying to make everything gender-neutral, as if stripping away gender terms magically fixes society’s issues.

“This week a public briefing was held in Brisbane where the committee were able to question departmental officers and other relevant stakeholders about what evidence was behind the proposed changes.

Submissions on the Bill close at 12pm, Monday 25 March 2024. More information about how to make a submission can be found on the link below, as well as information about upcoming public hearings and briefings. The committee will table its report on the 19th of April 2024.



Nick Dametto MP