The conservative federal backbencher who used parliamentary privilege to accuse the Safe Schools program of being linked to a “paedophilia advocate” has been criticised by Labor for his “ugly” comment.
On Wednesday, Liberal Nationals MP George Christensen said Professor Gary Dowsett from La Trobe University, who helped establish the anti-bullying campaign, was a “longtime advocate of intergenerational sex, otherwise known as paedophilia”.
The MP quoted from a report containing “controversial views” which he said was published by Professor Dowsett in 1982.
“He says: ‘How different then is the gentle, tentative sexuality between parent and child from the love of a paedophile and his or her lover. That kind of love, warmth and nurture is an important part of the paedophilic relationship’,” Mr Christensen told Parliament.
“He argued in that journal that paedophilia should be part of the gay movement, it must be legally recognised and depicts it as a wider sexual liberation.
“Given the shocking information, it’s imperative all federal funding for Safe Schools be suspended immediately, pending a full Parliament inquiry.”
Senior Labor shadow minister Mark Dreyfus described the comments of “absurd”.
“There is no depth to which George Christensen would not sink in order to mount this kind of ugly, absurd attack on a program that was established to help young people in our schools,” Mr Dreyfus told ABC radio on Thursday morning.
Professor Dowsett has declined to comment but a statement has been issued by a spokesman from La Trobe University.
“We are appalled that a respected academic has been attacked using parliamentary privilege,” the spokesman said.
“This is a blatant attempt to distract attention from the independent endorsement of the highly effective Safe Schools program.
“We stand by the important work of Professor Dowsett and his team.”
Mr Christensen and other members of the Coalition backbench have called for a parliamentary inquiry into the Safe Schools program, rejecting a Government-commissioned report as a “joke”.
– with ABC and AAP