The ‘Respect Matters’ program was funded to educate students about consent. Half the budget was spent on a nonsensical video that lasted a day.
Announced in 2019, the Respect Matters program was instituted to support teachers educate students about safety, consent and wellbeing.
In a press release, Minister for Education Dan Tehan said parents and teachers played an important role in teaching children about the value of healthy and respectful relationships, and the impact of their behaviour.
“This program builds on the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework, released in 2018, and will include resources to help students understand vital concepts like consent and respect,” he said.
To achieve these aims, the Morrison government budgeted $7.8 million. More than half of was spent on the video that attempted to explain consent with milkshakes, one that has been described as ‘confusing’, ‘bizarre’ and ‘trivialising an incredibly serious issue’.
The video drew comparisons between “getting pizza” and “can I touch your butt?”
“When a person imposes their will on you, it’s as if they were moving the ‘Yes line’ over the ‘Maybe zone’ or the ‘End zone’, ignoring your rich inner world,” the video voiceover says. “And that’s not good.”
The video lasted one day before the Department of Education pulled it, citing “community and stakeholder feedback,” representing yet another example of Canberra missing the point, and forcing the taxpayer to fund the personal growth of the clueless ministers who approved it. As Amber Schultz noted, the video was endorsed by Dan Tehan and Alan Tudge, “who have voted for the religious discrimination bill, and against same-sex marriage.”
Additionally, Alan Tudge featured in the Four Corners investigation ‘Inside the Canberra Bubble’ that detailed an affair he was having with a female staffer, and the lengths he went to hide it.
Gallingly, this video exists at the same time as the petition started by activist Chanel Contos; one that has detailed thousands of accounts of sexual assault and rape in Australian schools. Contos maintains that enthusiastic consent, slut-shaming and sexual coercion are among the key topics not being adequately taught to young Australian students.
“It shows that this problem goes across all of society into every institution, and it also shows that schools have a common denominator here and they can be the catalyst for change,” Ms Contos told SBS News.
“It’s reflective of the rape culture society we live in. However, the victim often is the one who carries the burden of that – whether that’s shame, regret or mental health issues.”
Typically, it seems that the education is left to those who have no idea; those who either don’t understand what constitutes consent or how serious the issue actually is.
What a terrifying prospect.