/Government consent video featuring milkshakes criticised by campaigners – ABC News

Government consent video featuring milkshakes criticised by campaigners – ABC News

New national education materials designed to teach school-aged children about consent, using examples related to tacos, milkshakes and going for a swim, have been slammed by campaigners for “trivialising a serious issue”.

Key points:

The federal government’s “Respect Matters” campaign features hundreds of videos designed to form part of sexual assault teaching in schools, with it saying they will teach children about “safe, healthy and consensual relationships”.

But sexual assault prevention campaigners have slammed the material, saying they are “concerning, confusing and fall well short of the national standards”.

In one video, a boy and girl are shown drinking and discussing milkshakes — before the girl smears the milkshake in the boy’s face.

“This is what we call moving the line,” the video’s narrator states. 

“When a person imposes their will on you, it’s as if they were moving the ‘yes’ line over the ‘maybe zone’ or the end zone, ignoring your rich inner world and violating your individual freedoms and rights. 

“Moving the line is at least disrespectful and at worst abusive.”

Sexual assault support services:

End Rape on Campus Australia founder Sharna Bremner said the material was littered with problems.

“The materials are partly incorrect in some places and they are engaged dearly in this weird use of cutesy metaphors,” she said.

“But we know students in these particular aged groups are quite capable of discussing sex and consent in real terms, they do not need videos about milkshakes and tacos.

“I was torn between wanting to laugh at them or being generally horrified.

“These aren’t videos that speak to any of the serious issues we need people to be discussing.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said the website was created and reviewed by experts in the field and the videos were in line with the national curriculum.

They said teachers and the community were consulted about the content, but that the department would continue to “update and refine content” as required.

a profile photo of executive director of rape and domestic violence services australia karen willis with a serious expression

Image: Supplied

Sexual assault prevention educator Karen Wills said the campaign would not work.

“These resources fall well short of the national standards and what experts know is needed to actually change behaviours and prevent abuse,” she said.

“Sex and consent is far more complicated than videos about milkshakes and sharks at the beach.”

Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek said the campaign was a “wasted opportunity”.

“This is a moment in Australian history where people are crying out for better consent education for our young people and across our community,” Ms Plibersek said.

“Once again we have a government with an advertising-led response and they haven’t even got the advertising right.”

A shoulders-up portrait of politician Tanya Plibersek

AAP: Dan Himbrechts

Announcing the campaign last week, Education Minister Alan Tudge said the campaign had been “designed to complement programs already being offered by states and territories”.

“The most important people in teaching kids about respect and relationships are parents, but schools can also play a vital role,” he said.

“These materials will provide additional support to better educate young Australians on these issues.”