Sex and the Prime Minister

After Liberal MP Dr Mal Washer (who was instrumental in killing Tony Abbott’s plan last year to invade the privacy of doctor-patient confidentiality for teenagers) proposed that sex education be made compulsory in all schools regardless of religious affiliation, John Howard has apparently discovered that “more sex education could help reduce the number of abortions in Australia”. But he’d prefer sex education to be a parental responsibility, though recognising that “that was not always possible with some parents uneasy about discussing the issue with their children”. Shades of “how to discuss drugs with your cocaine using, rave attending but otherwise nice middle class kids”?

Brendan Nelson is investigating what’s being taught currently in the different States but doesn’t think a “one size fits all” model is appropriate. I guess sex ed won’t be on the National Leaving Certificate exam then….

I think Mr Howard and Dr Nelson have just learnt a lesson in how difficult it is to juggle the views of different backbench factions and lobby groups in the current political climate. Howard’s recognition last year that the “abortion debate” was probably a net negative for the Government was probably spot on. But at least all this distracts the folks from the prospect of rising interest rates.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2024 years ago

And I’m sure Mr Howard and Dr Nelson are very grateful for that lesson, too.

If I was a backbencher or a lobbyist I’d be looking for a lesson in how to juggle Mr Howard. That would a well subscribed Professional Development Seminar.

2024 years ago

“Sex and the Prime Minister” is surely an oxymoron.

I was living in the States when the “talk to yr kids about drugs” ad campaign was on. was any evaluation or followup ever done about its effectiveness?

maybe there’s a new career opportunity for Mr Howard junior (since sending election spam presumably is no longer a paying business) in fronting an ad campaign where the PM beloved of all of us carefully and tastefully explains the birds and the bees to his offspring.

2024 years ago

I clicked on the post just because of the headline. I’m a sucker for that sort of tease.

It does support the argument that there will be internal opposition and debate within the Lib/Nat coalition on many issues, so maybe the coming Senate domination will in the end open up a few long running differences to public view.

Fingers and toes crossed for some serious bickering over the spoils of victory ahead of the Senate majority. I’d love to see the discipline break down.

2024 years ago

I think Howard is correct that sex education is helpful for reducing teen pregnancies. The trouble is that when I hear Howard raise an issue I look for ulterior motives. My cynicism got the better of me and the ugly prospect of importation of abstinence only sex ed fulfilled my cynicism.

Speaking of culture wars, I’m prepared to wager $10 that Old Rice Monkey and Nuts will be the first to promote intelligent design/cretnism in the culture wars.

2024 years ago

Brendan Nelson’s fixation on “one size fits all” sex education is worrying. Surely as a doctor Brendan knows that it’s not the size of your sex education that counts, it’s what you do with it that matters….