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Motion to de-fang the Greens-Labor “National Curriculum”

A unanimous vote of support from the 900 delegates at the LNP Convention this morning, with the invaluable input of Senator Brett Mason (pictured). The issue was the culture-changing juggernaut of the Left, the ‘national curriculum’, and how a benign plan under the Coalition to standardise ‘standards’ across the country became an insidious means of inculcating “approved attitudes” in students, once the scheme was in the hands of the left – in particular, under then-education Minister Julia Gillard in 2010.

This was the motion, more or less:

That this Convention of the LNP acknowledges the benefits of a National Curriculum in setting consistent academic standards across all States, but notes the dangers of a rigid and ideologically selective cultural agenda being imposed on all students; therefore this Convention of the LNP calls for the licensing of independent curricula that meet the nationally-consistent standards but are not bound by a nationally-determined agenda.

The speech with the motion had to be brief; the coverage afterwards in the Brisbane Times was fair but even sketchier, and neither do this vast topic justice. I will come back to in with more detail at a future date. For now I post both my 3 minute summary and the BT ‘rolling coverage’ (with other developments during this first morning of a three-day conference).

Mr President,
Those of us with children or grandchildren at school should consider the recent warning given by the Institute of Public Affairs, the IPA:

“This (national) curriculum, which amounts to a campaign document of the Left in the cultural wars, will be the basis on which every child in Australia will be taught… The ALP’s national curriculum is egregiously biased with an over-emphasis on Asian and Aboriginal histories at the expense of teaching children about the history of Western civilisation… The (curriculum) admits that it sets out to ‘shape’ the next generation of leaders, rather than just teach them.”

When the shadow minister for education, Christopher Pyne, launched the IPA critique of the national curriculum last year he said:

“No history curriculum in Australia can honestly impart knowledge without tracing the history of Western Civilisation. Yet that is exactly what the drafters of the (national) curriculum have attempted to do.”

Delegates may understand the anti-west distortion of the history curriculum when they learn that it was overseen by Professor Stuart McIntyre, the leading historian of Australian communism, a former communist himself and now ‘democratic socialist’.

A similar distortion is seen in the recently released Civics curriculum. Writing in the AGE last Sunday, the IPA’s Chris Berg summed up: “the ideology here is so flagrant, teachers might as well just tell the kids who to vote for”.

There is little reason to celebrate the LNP running the economy in Queensland if the ALP is still ‘running the minds’ of our children. If conservative governments do not confront this major offensive in the culture war, there will be fewer and fewer free-thinking young voters to support conservative values and policies in decades to come.

 

Our motion does not suggest that we simply exchange a Greens-left curriculum for a conservative curriculum with each change of government. We support the position of Christopher Pyne and the IPA in calling for parental choice amongst a number of high-standard curricula. Government schools can still have their national curriculum, so that children can move interstate without inconvenience, but there is no reason for this federal juggernaut to crush all other options. Under Labor, no new independent curriculum is permitted, and existing curricula like Montessori or the International Baccalaureate are only tolerated on condition that they agree to impart the same core ideological content as the national curriculum.

 

That should change under a coalition government. As the IPA’s James Patterson says, “Such a reform takes power away from the federal government in determining exactly what children are taught and instead places this in the hands of parents and schools”.

The policy proposed in this motion will break up the Greens-left monopoly over our children’s education and restore parental choice.

Thank you.

The Brisbane Times ‘rolling coverage’ of day 1 of the Convention made mention of Senator Brett Mason’s amusing remarks in seconding the motion.

10.50am: LNP members have railed against aspects of the national curriculum, with a Queensland Senator arguing the three Rs are now about the republic, reconciliation and refugees.

The gathering has unanimously passed a motion by the LNP’s Toowoomba North State Electorate Council which raises concern over “the dangers of a rigid and ideologically selective cultural agenda being imposed on all students”.

It calls for the licensing of independent curricula that meet nationally consistent standards but are not bound by a nationally determined agenda.

LNP member David van Gend likened the national curriculum to a “campaign document of the left” and argued it was biased and focused on Aboriginal and Asian issues and there was “anti-west distortion of the history curriculum”.

He said there was little reason for the LNP to be running the economy “if the ALP is still running the minds of our children” and argued there would be “fewer and fewer free-thinking people”.

Dr van Gend said it was not simply a matter of exchanging a Greens-left curriculum with a conservative one, but schools and parents should have more “direct choice” on teaching matters.

“The policy proposed in this motion will break up the Greens-left monopoly over the education of our children and restore parental choice,” he told the gathering.

LNP Senator Brett Mason spoke in support of the motion, saying when he went to school students were taught the three Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic.

“Well under the new national curriculum the three Rs mean something quite different – it’s about the republic, it’s about reconciliation and it’s about refugees,” he said, prompting laughter among the LNP members gathered at the Hilton Hotel.

Senator Mason called for more parental choice and flexibility over “political correctness and also indoctrination”.

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/rolling-coverage-lnp-state-convention-20120713-21zos.html#ixzz20hG5kfPH

UPDATE

Former PM, John Howard, weighs in to the debate in very similar terms (front page of The Australian, September 28th 2012, HERE:

John Howard revives history wars in attack on Labor curriculum

JOHN Howard has re-entered the culture wars, describing the Gillard government’s national school history curriculum as “unbalanced, lacking in priorities and quite bizarre”, and accusing it of marginalising the Judeo-Christian ethic and purging British history.

The former prime minister said last night that “our Western heritage appears to be so conspicuously absent from the history curriculum reflects a growing retreat from self-belief in Western civilisation”. In a swingeing critique of the government’s national high school curriculum, which is being introduced at various levels in the states through to 2014, Mr Howard said a lack of proper perspective in history teaching would “deny future generations a real understanding of what has made us as a nation”.

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