In Depth

Australian politician apologises for claim schoolgirls are being ‘taught to use dildos’

Steve Dickson said he was misinformed when he said teachers were showing girls how to use sex toys in class

A high-profile member of Australia’s far-right One Nation party has apologised for claiming that sex education classes were teaching primary schoolgirls how to use a strap-on dildo.

Steve Dickson, the leader of the Queensland branch of the nationalist party, made the comments on Saturday as he campaigned for re-election in Buderim, about 60 miles north of Brisbane.

“We are having little kids in grade four at school, young girls being taught by teachers how to masturbate, how to strap on dildos, how to do this sort of stuff - that is the real problem in this country,” he said.

The Safe Schools programme is a government-funded resource which offers teacher and parents guidance on sexuality and gender issues relating to children. “It does not involve education on how to use sex toys.” says The Guardian.

Dickson’s claims quickly drew scorn and ridicule from educators and fellow politicians. Labor politician Annastacia Palaszczuk, the head of the Queensland state government, denounced the comments as “absolutely atrocious” and “complete nonsense”, the Courier-Mail reports.

On Monday, Dickson withdrew the claim that the Safe Schools programme taught girls to use dildos, saying that he had been misinformed by the parent of a schoolgirl in his constituency.

“I can only go by what parents are telling me," he said. However, he remained insistent that the programme contained “highly explicit material”.

“I apologise if the specific words I used offended anyone, but I make no apology for One Nation’s policy to remove the controversial Safe Schools program from Queensland classrooms,” he said.

Dickson, who was in his third term as Liberal National party representative when he defected One Nation in January, is hoping to retain his Buderim seat when Queensland elects representative to the state parliament on 25 November. He is predicted to lose to Liberal National party candidate Brent Mickelberg.

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