26 C
Byron Shire
April 13, 2024

Ethics classes under pressure from religious right

Latest News

Rains, drains, floods

The ABC news and Guardian recently published reports of the potential return of La Niña in 2024 bringing similar...

Other News

Valuing the lives of others

The language of the Australian government about the war in Gaza has hardened since the death of Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom, along with six other people working for the World Central Kitchen charity, when their vehicles were hit by three Israeli missiles.

CSIRO reveals Australia’s attitudes to renewables

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has today released the most comprehensive survey of Australians’ attitudes toward the renewable energy transition.

Share the love cactus

Want to experience fresh, new music? A new local band has germinated from the fertile artistic soils of the Northern Rivers. Hashimoto’s Cactus is the lovechild of Stephen Lovelight, who is one of the members of the Round Mountain Girls.

Itching for a Mullum flea market?

A new flea market will launch this Saturday, April 13 from 8am until 2pm at the Mullum Community College campus.

Man charged over alleged home invasion – Kingscliff

A man faced court yesterday charged over an alleged home invasion in Kingscliff that left one man dead and another seriously injured.


It is difficult in the current situation to see Israel as anything but a malignant force in the world....

‘What is morally wrong about stealing?’ asks ethics co-ordinator, Christine Willmot.

‘Is there a difference between something that is legally wrong and something that is morally wrong? How do we know if an argument is valid?’

These are some of the questions that Years 5 and 6 children are discussing in ethics courses in the many Byron Shire schools which have taken up the opportunity to introduce the course after the NSW government approved the program last year. The classes are offered as an alternative to special religious education, or ‘scripture’.

Ms Willmot says, however, that offering children ways to explore ethical dilemmas is being undermined by religious politicians.

‘Unfortunately, this popular cutting-edge program is again threatened with closure from the religious right under the leadership of state MP Fred Nile who is pressuring premier O’Farrell to abolish ethics in return for Nile’s support for certain legislation.’


‘The approach taken is to explore ethical issues in the classroom through dialogue and discussion – a tradition of philosophical inquiry that goes back to Socrates,’ says Ms Willmot. ‘The curriculum is varied and challenging. By learning to think about ethical matters in a “community of inquiry” framework, students are encouraged to voice their opinions and the reasons for their views, to build on one another’s ideas, or suggest alternatives, and to listen carefully and respectfully to the views of others. Reports from all the classes around the Shire tell of lively and often mature debate from the children who are eager to support their arguments with personal experience and at times well-informed awareness of public political issues.

‘Community and parental support is now vitally important for the survival of the program,’ she says.

Volunteers and coordinators are urged to visit www.primaryethics.com.au.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Elimination by people-power voting is necessary to remove dictators from Russia, Israel, China, Iran, wannabe (again!) North Korea, to avoid what is heading toward...

Itching for a Mullum flea market?

A new flea market will launch this Saturday, April 13 from 8am until 2pm at the Mullum Community College campus.

Bangalow Chamber Music Festival relocates to Qld 

After two decades, Bangalow Chamber Music Festival organisers have announced they will be moving the event to Mount Tamborine, Qld, after ‘increased costs and lower than average ticket sales’.

Success for Queensland’s first drug testing at Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival

The sun was peeking through the clouds as festival-goers arrived at the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival in Queensland over the Easter weekend.