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Fighting for an education

Make no mistake, we are at war.

From the outset, this government has attacked public education and it is only getting worse.

After a categorical promise, repeated many times, that there would be “no cuts to education”, the Coalition’s first budget slashed $30 billion from the Gonski funding agreement, a cut that remained in their second budget despite a public outcry. University fee deregulation also remains festering on the books.

The December 2013 MYEFO defunded the First Peoples Education Advisory Group. The 2014 budget announced funding for Indigenous language support would be cut by $9.5 million over five years. They also ceased funding for the National Partnership Agreement for Indigenous Early Childhood Development which meant 38 Indigenous childhood development centres across the country will close. Abbott did however find money for more truancy officers.

By December 2013, Minister for Education Christopher Pyne had worked out what was wrong with the education system saying, “I am personally very determined to drive an agenda in literacy that focuses on phonics.”

In January 2014, Pyne appointed Donnelly and Wiltshire to review the national curriculum, ignoring the over 20,000 submissions by experts, the thousands of consultation meetings since 2007, hundreds of draft versions across the many learning areas, and dozens of Ministerial Council meetings, that had led to a result that was in the process of being implemented.

Stephanie Forrest, the IPA’s “expert” on the National Curriculum who had just graduated with a BA in 2013, was quick to give her opinion despite no experience in education other than being a student of ancient history.

“The education minister Christopher Pyne has promised to review the Gillard Government’s National History Curriculum. But the curriculum doesn’t need to be reviewed. It needs to be scrapped.

The curriculum leans towards a politically correct, distinctly leftist agenda, which places undue emphasis on concepts like ‘environmentalism’, ‘socialism’, and ‘multiculturalism’, while denigrating the legacy and achievements of Western Civilisation.”

In 2011, long before he was appointed to do the review, Donnelly wrote an article for the Drum criticising the developing curriculum:

Instead of celebrating Western civilisation, Christianity and Australia’s Anglo-Celtic heritage, priority is given to “Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia”, along with “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures” and politically-correct issues like the environment.

Ignored is the role of the British Empire in spreading trade, technology, education, medicine and a commitment to the Westminster system of government throughout the world and the significance of the Commonwealth of Nations.

On reading the national history curriculum, one searches in vain for a proper acknowledgement that modern Australia is Anglo-Celtic in origin and that our history can only be fully understood in the context of the nation’s Western heritage and Judeo-Christian beliefs and values.

When Christianity is mentioned it is usually in the context of other religions, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism, and there is little recognition of the central role of the Catholic Church in European history and Western culture.

It’s ironic that when many talk of the clash between Islam and the West, and Australia is involved in wars against Islamic extremism in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we appear unwilling or incapable of teaching future generations about the unique nature of Western civilisation and the very values, beliefs and way of life that protect us and offers sanctuary to thousands from overseas.

There is an alternative to the national history curriculum’s politically-correct focus on diversity and difference (code for multiculturalism) and the belief that all cultures are of equal value and worth.

It’s no accident that the Preamble of the Australian Constitution contains the words, “humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God” and that the Commonwealth Parliament begins each daily session with the Lord’s Prayer.

While it’s true that since federation, and especially in the years after the Second World War, Australia has become a more culturally diverse nation, the reality is that the overwhelming majority of those living here can trace their ancestry back to the UK, Ireland and Europe.

It’s also true that the reason why so many millions of migrants have come to live here is because of the peace, prosperity and tolerance that characterise our way of life. A way of life that that will quickly disappear if we fail to teach future generations about what truly unites us as Australians.

Wiltshire and Donnelly spent six months in 2014 supposedly reviewing every single curriculum for every single subject for every single age group. Over $300,000 later they decided they were right. They recommended:

  • More emphasis on our Judeo-Christian heritage, the role of Western civilisation in contributing to our society, and the influence of our British system of government
  • more emphasis on morals, values and spirituality
  • increase the amount of phonics taught and increase the focus on Western literature.

They also warned that “adopting a politically correct approach in areas like sustainability, Asia and Indigenous histories and cultures, and in subjects like history and civics and citizenship compromises the integrity of a liberal–humanist view.” This was enough for Abbott to call a review of ACARA, the national curriculum body, itself.

Remember the IPA’s 75+25 radical ideas to transform Australia? One of its authors, 28 year old James Paterson, has just been installed in the Senate without having to face an election. He has immediately shared his views about education despite appearing to have no qualifications or experience in the area. According to Q&A he was “completing the final year of his Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Melbourne.”

These were a few of James’ points when he worked for the IPA:

11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities

12 Repeal the National Curriculum

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools

In an interview with Wendy Harmer, Paterson said that many parents are choosing private schools because they believe such schools are “better at conveying the values of a good work ethic, caring for your community and your neighbours and being raised in a way that is socially conservative.” Interesting considering he went to a public school.

According to his maiden speech he is also opposed to a national curriculum, which he seems to regard as a subversive, left-wing document. He believes it should be replaced by competing private curricula. He is also a fan of charter or so-called independent public schools and seems to believe that they will solve the widening gap between our lowest and highest achievers.

Add this to the hysteria about the Safe Schools Coalition and the quarter of a billion for school chaplains and it becomes very apparent that, far from devolution of responsibility to the states, principal autonomy and parental involvement – all those things they talked about before the election – the Coalition is absolutely determined to control what is taught to whom and how.

It has also been reported that the government is putting Scott Morrison’s much vaunted childcare package on hold. What they call childcare, educators know are the crucial first building blocks in learning so, yet again, our children will miss out so the Coalition can buy fighter jets, submarines and bombs and protect entrepreneurs, investors and multinational tax avoiders.

Teachers are taking up the fight to protect our kids and we must all stand with them against crippling funding cuts, the politicisation of education, and the infiltration of a fundamentalist Christian moral agenda. The education of our children is a right for all, not just the elite.


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  1. Wally

    Changes to curriculum hamper productivity in the class room, it takes teachers many hours to prepare for classes and years to perfect their delivery only for people with no knowledge to interfere and make changes that are counter productive. Any government overseer should be more involved in the accuracy, breadth of coverage and learning outcome provided by the education system and leave the decisions on where and when curriculum changes are required to professional working groups comprising in the main of teachers in that field.

  2. Garth

    Thanks Kaye. I’m starting to get mightily pissed off with the IPA’s interference in government. Of course everyone has a right to participate in our democracy but the IPA seem to have inordinate influence for their size and we don’t even know fully who is behind them. And what the hell qualifies a 28 yo whose sole working experience is with a right wing lobbying party to be parachuted into a senate seat of one of the major parties? It’s not hyperbole to say there needs to be a royal commission into certain groups having inordinate government influence (with the IPA being first off the blocks). It should include any argument for such groups having tax free status.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Look at the people who were at the IPA 70th birthday bash in April 2013…Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, George Pell, Tony Abbott,George Brandis, Andrew Robb, Tim Wilson, James Paterson, Andrew Bolt….the plotting that must have gone on.

  4. Matters Not

    .the plotting that must have gone on.

    Don’t think so. ‘Plotting’ suggests that those involved want to make significant change to current arrangements re ‘world views’ and the like and it’s necessarily imminent or desirable at least in the immediate future. Or changes to an existing ‘common sense’ if you like. Not so. Completely unnecessary.

    IPA members, generally speaking, share a common philosophy that is underpinned by a view re the ‘nature of man’, the ‘nature of society’ and the right (and good) relationship(s) between same. While these assumptions are usually unexamined by most adherents, this does not prevent a ‘common sense’ to evolve.

    Thus there’s no need to ‘plot’ or even to ‘discuss’ what is blindingly obvious. Just let the IPA ‘common sense’ (particular and peculiar as it maybe) prevail. QED.

  5. Kaye Lee

    I was thinking more of the job promises….

  6. johnlward010

    While I was preparing this comparison of policies of the major parties for you, (dear reader).
    What I found really fascinating was the verbs used by the ALP and the LNP e.g
    ALP. Establish, increase, Change, introduce, improve, achieve, create.
    LNP. Privatise, repeal, abandon, withdraw, abolish, force, halt, end.
    Look at what The Australian Labor Party have achieved! _And what the LNP plan to do to those achievements. i.e.;
    They plan to privatise or sell off assets
    Privatise Medibank
    Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme
    Privatise Australia Post
    Privatise SBS
    Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function
    Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport
    End all public subsidies to sport and the arts
    Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction
    Privatise the CSIRO
    ALP. · NBN (the real one) – total cost $37.4b (Government contribution: $30.4b)
    LNP. Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and
    privatise any sections that have already been built
    Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship
    ALP. · BER 7,920 schools: 10,475 projects, not just school halls, (completed at less than 3% dissatisfaction rate)
    · Gonski – Education funding reform
    Repeal the National Curriculum
    Introduce competing private secondary school curriculum
    ALP. · NDIS / Disability Care
    · MRRT & aligned PRRT
    LNP. Repeal the mining tax
    ALP. · Won seat at the UN
    LNP. Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council
    ALP. · Signed Kyoto
    LNP Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol
    ALP. · Signatory to Bali Process & Regional Framework
    · Eradicated WorkChoices
    · Established Fair Work Australian Labor Hub
    LNP. Repeal the Fair Work Act
    Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them
    Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors
    ALP. · Established Carbon Pricing/ETS (7% reduction in emissions since July last year)
    LNP. Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it.
    ALP. · Established National Network of Reserves and Parks
    · Created world’s largest Marine Park Network
    · Introduced Reef Rescue Program
    LNP. Repeal the marine park Legislation LP
    ALP· National Apology
    · Sorry to the Stolen Generation
    LNP. Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
    ALP. · Increased Superannuation from 9 to 12%
    LNP. Abolish the low-income superannuation contribution. This will reimpose a 15 per cent tax on superannuation contributions for 3.6 million workers
    earning less than $37,000 will pay more than $4 billion extra in tax on their super over the next four years.
    Abolish the proposed 15 percent tax on income from superannuation above $100,000 a year. The combined effect of these two superannuation changes is that 16,000 high-income earners with
    superannuation savings in excess of $2 million will get a tax cut
    End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws
    Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement
    ALP. ·Changed 85 laws to remove discrimination against same sex couples
    LNP. Defund Harmony Day
    ALP. · Improvements to Sex Discrimination Act
    · Introduced National Plan to reduce violence against women and children
    LNP. End all government funded Nanny State advertising
    ALP. · Introduced Plain packaging of cigarettes
    LNP. Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other
    products, including alcohol and fast food
    Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling
    ALP. · Legislated Equal pay (social & community workers up to 45% pay increases)
    · Legislated Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme
    LNP. Introduce a paid parental leave scheme that replaces a mother’s salary up to $150,000. To put it crudely, this means a low-income mum gets about $600 per week while a high-income mum gets close to $3000.
    Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than
    260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784
    Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16
    Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States
    ALP. · Established $10b Renewable energy fund
    LNP. Abolish the Clean Energy Fund
    Abolish the Department of Climate Change
    Repeal the renewable energy target
    ALP. · Legislated Murray/Darling Basin plan (the first in a hundred years of trying.)
    Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
    Encourage the construction of dams
    ALP· Increased Education funding by 50%
    · Established direct electoral enrolment
    LNP. Introduce voluntary voting
    End mandatory disclosures on political donations
    End media blackout in final days of election campaigns
    End public funding to political parties
    ALP. · Created 190,000 more University places
    LNP. Introduce fee competition to Australian universities
    Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
    Means test tertiary student loans
    ALP. · Achieved 1:1 ratio, computers for year 9-12 students
    · Established My School
    · Established National Curriculum
    · Established NAPLAN
    LNP. Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools
    ALP. · Increased Health funding by 50%
    LNP. Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
    Abolish the means test on the private health insurance rebate. This will deliver a $2.4 billion tax cut over three years for individuals earning more than $84,001 a year, or couples earning more than $168,001. People on lower incomes will receive no benefit.
    Repeal the alcopops tax
    ALP. · Legislated Aged care package
    · Legislated Mental health package
    · Legislated Dental Care package
    · Created 90 Headspace sites
    · Created Medicare Locals Program
    LNP. Means-test Medicare
    ALP. · Created Aussie Jobs package
    · Created Kick-Start Initiative (apprentices)
    · Funded New Car plan (industry support)
    LNP. Cease subsidising the car industry
    End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of
    Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
    ALP. · Created Infrastructure Australian
    LNP. Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a
    searchable database
    End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local
    manufacturers in government tendering
    ALP. · Established Nation Building Program (350 major projects)
    LNP. Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including.
    Lower personal income tax for residents
    Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states
    Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold
    Allow the Northern Territory to become a state
    ALP. · Doubled Federal Roads budget ($36b) (7,000kms of roads)
    · Rebuilding 1/3 of interstate rail freight network
    · Committed more to urban passenger rail than any government since Federation
    · Developed National Ports Strategy
    · Developed National Land Freight Strategy
    · Created the nations first ever Aviation White Paper
    · Revitalized Australian Shipping
    · Reduced transport regulators from 23 to 3 (saving $30b over 20years)
    · Introduced NICS – infrastructure schedule
    · Australia has moved from 20th in 2007 to 2nd on OECD infrastructure ranking
    · Awarded International Infrastructure Minister of the Year (2012 Albanese)
    · Awarded International Treasurer of the Year (2011 Swan)
    · Introduced Anti-dumping and countervailing system reforms
    LNP. Remove anti-dumping laws
    Deregulate the parallel importation of books
    Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade
    ALP. · Legislated Household Assistance Package
    LNP. Eliminate family tax benefits
    ALP. · Introduced School Kids Bonus
    LNP. Abolish the means-tested School kids Bonus that benefits 1.3 million families by providing up to $410 for each primary school child and up to $820 for each high school child.
    ALP. · Increased Childcare rebate (to 50%)
    LNP. Abolish the Baby Bonus
    ALP. · Allocated $6b to Social Housing (20,000 homes)
    · Provided $5b to Support for Homelessness
    · Established National Rental Affordability Scheme ($4.5b)
    · Introduced Closing the Gap
    · Supports Act of Recognition for constitutional change
    · Provided the highest pension increase in 100 years
    · Created 900,000 new jobs
    · Established National Jobs Board
    Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers
    · Allocated $9b for skills and training over 5 years
    · Established Enterprise Connect (small business)
    · Appointed Australia’s first Small Business Commissioner
    · Introduced immediate write-off of assets costing less than $10,000 for Sm/Bus
    · Introduced $10,000 immediate write-off for Small Business vehicles over $16,500
    · Introduced Small business $1m loss carryback for tax rebate from previous year
    LNP. Return income taxing powers to the states
    · Legislated Australian Consumer law
    LNP. Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
    ALP. · Introduced a national levy to assist Queensland with reconstruction
    Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
    · Standardised national definition of flood for Insurance purposes.
    · Created Tourism 2020
    · Completed Australia’s first feasibility study on high speed rail
    · Established ESCAS (traceability and accountability in live animal exports)
    · Established Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse
    · Established National Crime Prevention Fund
    · Lowered personal income taxes (Ave family now pays $3,500 less p.a. than 2007)
    · Raised the tax-free threshold from $6,000 to $18,200
    LNP. Lower the tax-free threshold from $18,200 to $6000. This will drag more than one million low-income earners back into the tax system. It will also increase the taxes for 6 million Australians earning less than $80,000.
    ALP. · Australia now the richest per capita nation on earth
    · First time ever Australia has three triple A credit ratings from all three credit agencies
    · Low inflation
    · Lowest interest rates in 60 years (Ave mortgagee paying $5,000 less p.a. than 2007)
    · Low unemployment
    · Lowest debt to GDP in OECD
    · Australian dollar is now fifth most traded in the world and IMF Reserve Currency
    · One of the world’s best performing economies during and since the GFC
    · Australia now highest ranked for low Sovereign Risk
    · Overseen the largest fiscal tightening in nations history (4.4%)
    LNP. Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP
    ALP. · 21 years of continuous economic growth (trend running at around 3%pa)
    · 11 years of continuous wages growth exceeding CPI
    · Increasing Productivity
    · Increasing Consumer Confidence
    LNP. Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification
    ALP. Record foreign investment
    · Historic levels of Chinese/Australian bilateral relations
    · First female Prime Minister
    · First female Governor General
    · First female Attorney General
    LNP. Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
    Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced ‘
    Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law
    End local content requirements for Australian television stations
    Eliminate media ownership restrictions
    Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games
    ALP. A fiscal strategy to return to budget surpluses over the economic cycle without damaging its economy with austerity measures already proven to fail. A future linked to the National Broadband Network, renewable energy and greater productivity through higher education and infrastructure investment. Improved social equality and has a larger voice on the world stage.
    All this (and more) despite a hung parliament, a recalcitrant press and the most negative and
    asinine Opposition since Federation.
    In my view this has been one of the finest parliamentary periods in our history.

  7. jim

    ““A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.Democracy,is NOT a set and forget system but requires the voter to be Vigilant. A great post John Ward.

  8. Möbius Ecko

    · Created world’s largest Marine Park Network

    johnlward010 great list, but in one of only a couple of items I agree with NoS in, it was not Labor who created the world’s largest Marine Park Network. That was initiated by Howard in a bi-partisan policy supported by Labor and implemented by Gillard.

    Yes it was the Abbott Liberals who repealed Howard’s initiative, I believe solely for the reason that it was Gillard and Labor who implemented it. Abbott was all about destroying anything that Labor had a hand in, even if it was a Liberal initiative in the first place.

  9. Terry2

    The federal government have shown that they wish to control every aspect of our public school system judging by their minute control over curriculum matters. Perhaps they could extend this level of commitment to restoring education funding.

  10. Michael Lacey

    johnlward010 good one liked reading that !

  11. z

    Fighting for an education and for public medicare and all the social services will be long term goal for all Aussie households under LNP

  12. Kaye Lee

    They promised us the paid parental leave that women of calibre deserve and instead took away our current entitlement.

    They promised a childcare package to help women get back to work – shelved

    They promised to address bracket creep as the average Australian worker moves into the second highest tax bracket – shelved in favour of a company tax cut for companies who pay no tax.

    In their ‘Plan for Real Action’, the Liberals stated that: “We will improve housing affordability and encourage high levels of home ownership.” – shelved in favour of investors

    They promised no adverse changes to superannuation and then froze the SG increase and got rid of the low income co-contribution – the only tax concession available to low income earners.

  13. Matters Not

    that they wish to control every aspect of our public school system judging by their minute control over curriculum matters

    Well may they wish but as the Governments of the ACT and Victoria demonstrate they are all bluff and bluster. No constitutional ‘head of power’. But needless to say, I am yet to see a MSM article that makes that simple but important point. Why the other States and Territories aren’t kicking the Feds remains a mystery. ?

    You can read about ‘heads of power’ and Section 51 here.

  14. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks johnlward010,

    for the comprehensive list. All LNP destruction must be reversed once they are removed from office.

  15. JohnB

    Great list John Ward – deserves wide distribution.

    Below is a handy link to facilitate future reference:

    Fighting for an education

  16. JohnB

    …however there are some listing errors that ought be corrected.
    suggested corrections below·

    [LNP] Repeal the National Curriculum
    Introduce competing private secondary school curriculum

    LNP. Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
    ALP. • Introduced a national levy to assist Queensland with reconstruction
    [LNP] Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant

    [LNP] Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers
    [ALP] • Allocated $9b for skills and training over 5 years

    [LNP] Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
    [ALP] • Standardised national definition of flood for Insurance purposes.

    LNP. Return income taxing powers to the states
    [ALP (2010)] • Legislated Australian Consumer law

    ALP • Introduced immediate write-off of assets costing less than $6,500 for Sm/Bus ..(not $10,000)
    · Introduced [$5,000] immediate write-off for Small Business vehicles over [$6,500] ….(not $10,000 and not $16500 respectively)

    An extensive IPA vs ALP govt. (2013) is here:

    @geeksrulz compares IPA 100 point list and Labor policies and achievements

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