The Australian Government has appointed an author, who criticised schools for teaching about “decidedly unnatural” gay issues in a positive light, to head a national review of education.

Kevin Donnelly, head of the Education Standards Institute, has been appointed by Education Minister Chris Pyne to lead a review of the curriculum.

In his book ‘Why Our Schools are Failing’ he said: “The union argues that any treatment of sexual matters should be ‘positive in its approach’ and that school curricula should ‘enhance understanding and acceptance of gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender people’.

“Forgotten is that many parents would consider the sexual practices of gays, lesbians and transgender individuals decidedly unnatural and that such groups have a greater risk in terms of transmitting STDs and AIDS.”

Mr Donnelly went on to question whether “gays, lesbians and transgender individuals have a right to teach sex education”, which he said should be left to straight teachers.

He also blamed “left-wing academics, teacher unions and sympathetic governments” and “political correctness” for declining education standards in the country.

The education minister said he was confident Mr Donnelly would bring a “balanced approach” to the review.

Opposition minister Kate Ellis said his views had “absolutely no place in our schools” as they are “extremely offensive, dangerous and extreme”.

She said the appointment “is a really disappointing backward step”, because both parties had previously committed to not interfering in the curriculum for political reasons.