Among the protests, Monday’s rally in Melbourne attracted an estimated 2000 people.

Rallies in response to the Federal Government’s decision to implement changes to the anti-bullying Safe Schools program are being organised and held across Australia.

The changes were announced after the results of the independent review were released last week. Changes include downsizing the program, allowing the program only to be implemented in secondary schools, and to have certain materials only be available through certain staff members.

The program will also receive no federal funding after 2017. Already, the ACT and Victoria state governments have pledged to use their own budgets to fund an unchanged program. 

The changes have been met with criticism. National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell expressed concern about the impact of parental consent stipulations. She said, “We should support measures to improve and enhance the resources, and to ensure the age-appropriateness of materials for children and young people. However, there does need to be careful consideration of the impact of the Government’s proposed parental consent measures on children struggling with sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.”

She highlighted the need for children that have yet to “come out” to their families to be able to access the program and the information.

Protests have already happened in Perth and Melbourne. It is estimated that around 2000 people participated in the protest outside Melbourne’s State Library on Monday.

At the rally, one of the organisers said to the crowd, “Every child has the right to feel safe and supported and happy. That’s how I would want my child to feel at school.”