18 May 2023

The Australian Education Union has welcomed the establishment of the National Respectful Relationships Education Expert Working Group to support the implementation of the Federal Government’s Consent and Respectful Relationships Education program.

“Improving the safety of women and children in Australia is the responsibility of all members of our community, but teachers, principals and education support personnel play a particularly important role,” AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said.

“By starting early and including specific consent education curriculum initiatives designed to teach students the underlying beliefs and attitudes that lead to gender-based discrimination and violence, there is a critical opportunity to help prevent violence against women and children.

“And, we must as a nation work together to prevent the kind of sexual harassment and assault between students that advocates such as Chanel Contos have so bravely shone a light on in recent years.

“However, we note with concern that the Working Group does not include representation of the teaching profession through the union.

“It is public school principals and teachers who will ultimately deliver respectful relationships school education. But, effective curriculum development can only occur if teachers are involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of programs from the very beginning.

“We urgently encourage the Albanese Government to rectify this oversight and appoint a representative of the teaching profession through the voice of the union to the Working Group as soon as possible. Further, consultation mechanisms must be set up to ensure that teachers are actively involved in the national collaboration process as outlined in the announcement today.”


Media contact: Alys Gagnon, 0438 379 977,