Earlier this month, parents at Forestville Public School in the Northern beaches were invited to watch their children perform in a play entitled ‘Australia –You’re Standing in It’. Much of the junior amateur production was apparently a light-hearted re-enactment of Australia’s history, from Captain Cook’s arrival on the shores of Australia to the iconic ‘Louie the Fly’ advertisements which hit Australia’s screens in the 1950s.
However, particular one scene which focussed on the stolen generation, entailed a group of students dressing up as ‘nuns’ and proceeding to victimise the ‘Aboriginal’ students by pretending to subject them to both physical mental abuse. Concerned and angry parents who later complained about what had taken place on stage were subsequently told to ‘get a grip’ from the parents and teachers who had written and produced the play.
Earlier in June, tearful Year 4 students St Justin’s Catholic Primary in South West Sydney were duped by their teachers into thinking that they would be removed from their families at the end of the day. During this particular activity, a ‘nun’ informed the 7 year olds that the ‘Prime Minster’ had said that they would be taken away from their parents due to neglect. Many became so distraught throughout the course of the day that they had tried to escape at lunchtime.
By both allowing and actively encouraging this activity to take place, the teachers were clearly failing in their duty of care by causing undue suffering. Under the guise of educators, these paternalistic peddlers of propaganda were so caught up in their own moral outrage at the perceived transgressions of our forebears that they were prepared to inflict suffering on young and impressionable children.
Australia’s primary and secondary school children are being politicised through the history curricula. Rather than being taught critical thinking skills, or a balanced version of historical events based on facts, they are being fed a diet of identity politics and turned into future activists by left-wing educators who are using schools as vehicles from which to push their political agenda.
Children are being deprived of real historical knowledge about their heritage. In history classes, they are not being taught that the settlement of Australia was a good thing, for example. They are not being taught that the British colonists brought with them the institutions and values that have made Australia the stable, peaceful and prosperous country from which all Australians continue to benefit in 2017.
Unfortunately, things do not get any better at university. Those who go on to study history at university are no longer being taught about the history and substance of Western Civilisation which are essential to understanding our present and shaping our future. Instead, the focus has shifted from the study of significant historical subjects to a view of history seen through the lens of identity politics, race, gender and sexuality. Thus by the time that young Australians have gone through both school and university, they have been thoroughly and completely politicised, their actions and behaviour in the present shaped by their incomplete and skewed understanding and knowledge of the past.
Sadly, there appears to be a direct correlation between the identity politics being taught in our schools and universities and what is happening on the streets of Charlottesville. Throughout their school and university years, Americans are being constantly told that their country is not worth maintaining because it was founded as racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic immoral and illegitimate.
Thus, in the minds of the protestors who took to the streets last week, the only logical thing to do was to tear down, destroy and annihilate all the physical vestiges of those racist, sexist and bigoted men who belong to America’s terrible past. As a slave owning Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, was always going to be a prime target. Following the riots, Donald Trump presciently asked the gaggle of journalists, ‘this week, it is Robert E. Lee….is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?’
Last year, the University of Melbourne capitulated without a whimper, to the demands of students that the Richard Berry building which had housed the Mathematics and Statistics faculty for several decades be renamed. Professor Richard Berry was an English anatomist, neurologist and anthropologist who revolutionised the teaching of anatomy in Victoria and whose teaching produced an outstanding generation of surgeons.
However, during his life, Berry made an unwitting error of developing an interest in eugenics, which happened to be an extremely popular in the 1930s and which was later discredited as a pseudoscience. For the sin of his perceived racism, the university has begun the process of erasing Berry and all his achievements from its history.
If the University of Melbourne is really serious about its associations with a ‘racist’ such as Berry, it might want to take a closer look at its own namesake. According to historian Boyd Hilton, Lord Melbourne’s past was far from spotless. ‘It was irrefutable’ he claimed, ‘that Melbourne’s personal life was problematic. Spanking sessions with aristocratic ladies were harmless, not so the whippings administered to orphan girls taken into his household as objects of charity.’ Surely these allegations are serious enough to warrant Lord Melbourne’s erasure from history?
Both the ‘stolen generation’ play and activity which took place at Forestville and St Justin’s respectively, as well as the name changing lunacy seen last year at the University of Melbourne, are all part of a much larger global war that is currently being waged on the past by left-wing ideologues in an effort to purge the present of ‘bad history.’
Perhaps if Australian teachers and academics returned to teaching a balanced version of Australia’s history and left their Marxist identity politics out of the classroom, then Australia might not proceed quite so far down the anarchic path on which America seems to be well and truly set.
Bella d’Abrera is the Director, Foundations of Western Civilisation, at the Institute of Public Affairs.
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