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Monday, 15 March 2021
Page: 2190

Mr SHARMA (Wentworth) (13:59): I rise to speak in support of an incredible local constituent who is changing the discussion on consent education across Australia. Former Kambala student Chanel Contos has courageously highlighted what is an underreported scourge of sexual assault amongst our younger generation. It's an issue that desperately needs more resources and more attention. Chanel's petition for earlier sex education in schools, which began as an Instagram poll, has received over 35,000 signatures and over 4,000 testimonies from victims of sexual assault detailing their own experiences. What has been said is both harrowing and horrifying, and it's not confined to schools in my electorate; this is an institutionalised issue that clearly requires greater collective attention.

Earlier this month, I spoke with Chanel by phone to discuss how government can better support more comprehensive and holistic consent education in our schools and at an earlier age. I have since put Chanel in touch with the New South Wales education minister and New South Wales members of parliament, and she's started a petition in the New South Wales parliament, supported by Liberal, Labor and Greens members of parliament. I want to thank Chanel for her bravery and her leadership in creating this petition, and I thank the many students who have come forward to share their own horrifying experiences. There is clearly much more to do, and I commend those schools that have recognised and acknowledged this and promised to do better in educating our future young men and women.

The SPEAKER: In accordance with standing order 43, the time for members' statements has concluded.