Our vision is an Australia where all children, regardless of background, attain an excellent education. An education that will help them access and take advantage of the rights and opportunities their more privileged peers may take for granted. An education that means our economy will thrive through the changes to come. An education that will help to ensure our society remains cohesive and inclusive – able to engage in civil discourse and withstand the pressures of division and intolerance.
So often, when we consider the cycle of educational disadvantage and the future we wish to be true for our young people, we notice the more obvious gaps in achievement and attainment and aspiration – those that occur along economic, ethnic, and geographical lines. But there are less obvious differences that exist despite these lines and which can compound these gaps, resulting in children being left behind through no fault of their own, unable to engage equally in society.
The ability to participate in society, and to be free from discrimination and disadvantage is a basic human right. Diversity can and should make our society stronger, but this can only happen when all members of our society feel inclusion and belonging, no matter our differences.
Today, young LGBTQI people are among our vulnerable. Relative to their peers, they experience verbal and physical abuse more frequently, and have lower levels of wellbeing, attendance, aspiration and achievement. Almost half of LGBTQI youth report being diagnosed or treated for a mental disorder in the past three years, and one in six have attempted suicide.
We believe that in order to set children up for success in education, and in life, they need to experience unconditional positive regard and have the opportunity to lead a life of choice. That choice should extend to their ability to enter into marriage with the partner they love.
It is for them that we issue this statement in support marriage equality, in celebration of diversity, inclusivity, choice and love.
We also take this moment to underscore, through the reconciliation work we have launched and the increasingly diverse recruitment strategies we employ, our full commitment to treating all people fairly and with respect, regardless of economic status, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religion or ability-level.
Children of all backgrounds are valuable as they are. At TFA, we don’t accept that the postcode you are born in should determine your future. In this instance, nor should who you love.