UPDATE (3rd May): The petition has since been withdrawn with organiser, Ben Grubb, a former technology editor for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, issuing a public apology "for the pain it has caused to many in the LGBTI community".

The Australian Christian Lobby has "cautiously welcomed" calls for a "non-ideological national anti-bullying program" in schools to replace the controversial Safe Schools program but says parents should be the primary stakeholders consulted in the development of any new program.

Lyle Shelton, ACL managing director, says concerns about the Safe Schools program had always centred on the "gender fluid ideology it teaches children", adding that the organisation has always said there was "no excuse for bullying, full stop".

But he added that if the Federal Government was to be involved again in implementing a national anti-bullying program, "it should ensure that parents are consulted this time and are treated as the primary stakeholders".

“The Premiers of Victoria and Western Australia and the Chief Minister of the ACT should take note of the calls for a non-ideological anti-bullying program and drop their plans to persist with ‘Safe Schools’," he added.

Mr Shelton made the comments after a series of celebrities - including singer Missy Higgins, comedian Joel Creasey and actor Guy Pearce - signed a petition urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham "to implement as soon as possible a national anti-bullying, anti-violence program in schools across Australia that targets bullying in all its forms".

"We understand and accept that programs implemented in recent history, such as Safe Schools, have become highly politicised and controversial," the petition reads. "We wish not for controversy but for a program with a goal that everyone can agree on: an end to bullying and domestic violence in Australia."