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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Deception by state government over Ethics classes

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Thank you for the Byron Shire Echo editorial last week strongly opposing impending changes to the way Ethics classes are to be offered to children in NSW schools.

The struggle to have the classes allowed in schools was long and hard-fought and the program is still vulnerable to the unethical manipulations of the state government by Fred Nile and the Religious Right.

The latest move is to enforce a recommendation that parents only be informed about the option of ethics classes after they have answered a question about what religion their child is.

Only those parents who opt out of scripture classes are then offered Ethics classes, effectively deceiving people about the option of ethics.

At the moment the system is to offer Ethics along with scripture – on an equal footing – at the beginning of the year thus making it available to all parents, regardless of their religious leanings.

This proposed recommendation is against the spirit of the legal changes of 2010 which specifically provided that ethics classes were to be allowed in government schools as an alternative to scripture.

This is a clear statement of a democratic right and the taxpayers who pay for public schools have the right to know what classes are available for their children.

I have been involved in the teaching of ethics at Byron Primary since its inception in 2010 and have seen support of the classes grow at all levels. The kindergarten class this year is now overflowing!

I feel privileged to have been able to deliver a curriculum that encourages critical thinking and exchange of opinions.

It’s like feeling a fresh breeze stream across the field of learning blowing away the cobwebs of the Middle Ages.

I agree with Echo editor Hans Lovejoy when he says if ethics lessons were an established part of the school learning experience then over time they would ‘transcend fear’ and give a useful guide to ‘navigate through modern life’ and even do a tiny bit towards helping to create a ‘universal moral compass’.

Those wanting to comment on this issue could go to the petition running at: https://www.change.org/p/nsw-premier-mike-baird-don-t-change-the-school-enrolment-form-

Christine Willmot, Sunrise


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  1. Seems like the online letters editor only likes publishing the letters that support his distorted anti Christian heathen worldview. As an editor you make a good gate keeper. Typical of so called self styled progressives and their blatant hypocrisy.

  2. The false dichotomy that the title of your last editorial draws resonates with a lack of understanding and a bias which is myopic, especially for an editor of a news /advertising rag such as yours. So in the interest of setting your lack of understanding straight I suggest you have a good look at all the ethical things religions teach and the fact that the majority of adherents do their best to live moral lives based on religious precepts. These precepts are the ones you would defend when Islam is attacked for example. But considering the Charlie Hebdo debacle it might be prudent not to go there. It seems ethics can get you killed. Your singling out of Christians for acting unethically is bizarre in that context as any ethicist will tell you, freedom of worhsip is a fundamental human right and to impinge it is unethical. Ethics is the study of systems of morality and as traditions teach us, morality is set down by higher beings , some of divine providence, others more earthly. religions are formed around these beings and their teachings. So the notion that religion is bereft of ethics is a nonsense and your assertions, based on the actions of a few, that religions need ethics as a guide puts the horse before the cart and is an insult to all Christians everywhere. Insulting a persons beliefs is unethical and last time I looked a possible breach of Section 18 of the anti discrimination act.

    • Mike – where did you get the idea that “… morality is set down by higher beings, some of divine providence…”!! You can prove this I presume!


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