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'Clumsy' govt-backed consent video panned

The federal government is under fire from within its own ranks for a "clumsy" video on consent released as part of a new sex education campaign.

Education Minister Alan Tudge last week launched a raft of online resources to help teach school students about respectful relationships.

In one video published on The Good Society website, a young woman smears a milkshake on a man's face in a bid to convey consent.

"It's just a funny game, Bailey. I know you really like my milkshake," she says in the video entitled "moving the line".

Other obscure demonstrations include a man with a spear gun attempting to coerce his female partner concerned by sharks to go for a swim at a beach, and a man eating a taco in reference to sexual assault.

While sympathetic to those trying to broach these difficult topics, Nationals Senator Matt Canavan said the milkshake video failed to strike the right tone.

"With something as sensitive as this, we're probably best just to be direct," he told ABC TV on Monday.

"I'm no expert in this field, but I think these sort of clumsy metaphors probably do make more confusion for young children than help."

Labor MP Kristy McBain agreed, describing the government-approved sex education video as "bizarre".

"To do it like that was really clumsy. It didn't make sense," she said.

"We are better off being really direct with this stuff. It's the only way it's going to land with kids, with teenagers, with young adults."

In a statement to announce the new website on April 14, Mr Tudge said the resources were part of the Respect Matters program - developed in conjunction with Our Watch, the eSafety Commissioner, the Foundation for Young Australians and other groups.

Our Watch, a peak body dedicated to preventing violence against women and children, said it was consulted confidentially between late 2017 and 2019 when the materials were being developed and provided advice.

But it was not asked to "use or endorse the materials subsequently", a statement said.

A Foundation for Young Australians spokeswoman similarly told AAP it had not been requested to review, use or endorse any materials after introducing the government to a young person within its network.

The backlash comes as new research shows almost two in three young people are not being taught how to discuss sexual consent.

The survey of 1000 Australians aged 18 to 90 by sexual wellness provider NORMAL found only 34 per cent of women and 37 per cent of men under 24 reported learning how to discuss consent with a partner.

NORMAL founder Lucy Wark said it demonstrated young Australians were not being taught enough about consent and other aspects of sex education at school.

"Education is a critical part of rewriting the consent narrative," she said.

© AAP 2021