The Daily Telegraph
October 27 2015
Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School principal Cheryl Irving said she was allowing Shi’a children to opt out of singing or listening to the anthem because it was a religious month of mourning and they should not be forced to take part in joyous events.
“Muharram is a Shi’a cultural observation marking the death of Imam Hussein,” Ms Irving said. “This year it falls between Tuesday October 13 and Thursday November 12.
“Prior to last week’s Years 2-6 assembly, in respect of this religious observance, students were given the opportunity to leave the hall before music was played.”
But Lorraine McCurdy, who has two grandchildren at the school, said she was furious when school officials invited students to leave during Advance Australia Fair.
“Two children got up and said ‘welcome to our assembly’ and with that a teacher came forward and said all those who feel it’s against their culture may leave the room,” Ms McCurdy told Melbourne radio station 3AW yesterday.
“With that about 30 or 40 children got up and left the room. We sang the national anthem and they all came back in.
“I saw red, I’m Australian and I felt ‘you don’t walk out on my national anthem’.”
Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie also hit out at the school, which promotes the ethos of “Many Cultures, One Community”, after the revelations first emerged in the community’s local newspaper.
“I find these schools allowing this to happen disgusting. I don’t think religion needs to be brought into the national anthem,” she said.
While the school has received the full backing of Victoria’s Department of Education, the situation could not be any different north of the state border.
NSW’s Department of Education last night told The Daily Telegraph that students would not be allowed to sit out the national anthem in NSW under any circumstances.
“It is not acceptable for any student in a NSW public school to walk out during the anthem and disciplinary action would be taken against the student,” a spokesman said.