Govt 'ignored warnings' about fundamentalist Christians
THE NSW Government has been accused of ignoring warnings about fundamentalist Christian groups operating within schools and only acting once radical Islam became the issue.
Premier Mike Baird has announced an audit of all prayer groups operating in NSW state schools in a bid to stop radical violent extremism being promoted to students.
But the Greens claim repeated warnings about fundamentalist Christian groups' unregulated lunchtime preaching had been swept under the carpet.
"Despite the warnings, the Education Department refused to take any serious action," Greens NSW MP John Kaye said.
"Instead they hid behind busy school principals and effectively gave pushy fundamentalist Christian groups free rein in NSW public schools.
"The minute there is a whiff of radical Islam exploiting the lack of effective regulation, Premier Mike Baird decides to act.
"By failing to crack down on these fundamentalist Christian groups and their secretive lunchtime sessions, Mike Baird's government has allowed radical Islam to infiltrate NSW public schools."
Human Rights Advocacy Australia has written to the Education Department multiple times since last year, claiming the Scripture Union NSW and other Christian groups were indoctrinating students with violent religious messages during school hours.
The department responded to the group's concerns in March but said it supported voluntary prayer groups for "freedom of religion" reasons.
HRAA again wrote to the department after an investigation this month began into claims of a student preaching extreme Islam at a Sydney school.
The group said the allegations were clear evidence the department "cannot rely on faith-based organisations to self-regulate their compliance with departmental policy".
The Premier said the prayer group audit would cover all faiths to avoid schools becoming "the setting for extremist ideologies".