This article was originally published in The Spectator Australia.
In this article, Dr Bella d’Abrera contextualises and disseminates the findings of the IPA’s research into the national curriculum, conducted as part of the IPA’s Foundations of Western Civilisation Program.
The Foundations of Western Civilisation Program was established in 2011 to defend and extend Australians’ understanding of the influential, historical role of the West in establishing many of the liberties enjoyed by members of our society.
How massacres and Marxism invaded the national curriculum
It has not taken long for Prime Minister Albanese to weigh into the culture wars, even though the lefty progressive types insist that they are a figment of our imagination. Last week, our new PM sent up a rallying cry for what he termed as ‘fair dinkum’ history to be taught in Australian schools. By ‘fair dinkum’ he meant that children need to be taught about the atrocities committed by people of British descent upon indigenous people.
It is clear that the PM has not read the latest version of the national curriculum. If he had, he would have known that according to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority ‘Indigenous’ or ‘Aboriginal’ are now verboten because they are terms of oppression. We now must use ‘First Nations Australians’ or ‘Australia’s First Nations Peoples’. Keep up, Albo!
He would also know that the singular narrative currently taught to Australian children in the history syllabus is that Australia was founded on racism, and that the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 resulted in dispossession and genocide.
In Year 3, teachers will explain that ‘people have different points of view on some events that are commemorated and celebrated; for example, some First Nations Australians regard “Australia Day” as “Invasion Day”’. In Year 4, students will learn about the ‘effects of contact with other people on First Nations Australians and their Countries/Places following the arrival of the First Fleet and how this was viewed by First Nations Australians as an invasion’.
As part of a classroom activity, they will look at ‘paintings and accounts by individuals involved in exploration and colonisation to explore the impact that British colonisation had on the lives of First Nations Australians; for example, dispossession, dislocation and the loss of lives through frontier conflict, disease, and loss of food sources and medicines, the embrace of some colonial technologies…’.
In Year 9, they will study ‘the impact of colonisation by Europeans on First Nations Australians such as frontier warfare, massacres, removal from land, and relocation to “protectorates, reserves and missions”’. They will also investigate ‘the forcible removal of children from First Nations Australian families in the late 19th century and 20th century (leading to the Stolen Generations), including the motivations for the removal of children, the practices and laws that were in place, and experiences of separation.’
We are all for talking about the mistakes of the past. Nobody is suggesting that they should be ignored. No one is saying that there was no violence between white settlers and the indigenous populations. Quite the contrary. These are important aspects of the history of modern Australia that all children should know.
But this discussion has nothing to do ‘fair dinkum’ history, or even unfair dinkum history for that matter. What Australian children are being introduced to in the classroom is pure post-modernist theory, specifically post-colonial theory. They are being schooled in the ‘settler colonialism genocide’ paradigm which sprang from the febrile imagination of Australian historian Patrick Wolfe in the 1990s.
Wolfe famously declared that settler colonialism was a structure, not an event and that it was premised on the elimination rather than exploitation of the native population. According to Wolfe, how settler colonialism disrupted the indigenous relationship to land was a profoundly violent attack on their very being, which violence continues with every day of ‘occupation’.
Our education bureaucrats are motivated by the belief that European expansion was a capitalist and racist attempt to replace indigenous people with more productive non-indigenous populations, even at the cost of genocide.
Wolfe’s paradigm has been embedded into every single subject of the national curriculum, not just history, via the Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Cultures and Histories cross-curriculum priority. The ‘organising ideas’ of this priority are worth reproducing in full. Namely, that:
First Nations communities of Australia maintain a deep connection to, and responsibility for, Country/Place and have holistic values and belief systems that are connected to the land, sea, sky and waterways.
The occupation and colonisation of Australia by the British, under the now overturned doctrine of terra nullius, were experienced by First Nations Australians as an invasion that denied their occupation of, and connection to, Country/Place.
The First Peoples of Australia are the Traditional Owners of Country/Place, protected in Australian Law by the Native Title Act 1993 which recognises pre-existing sovereignty, continuing systems of law and customs, and connection to Country/Place. This recognised legal right provides for economic sustainability and a voice into the development and management of Country/Place.
If Prime Minster Albanese was really concerned about truth-telling in history, he would make sure that the history syllabus desists from propagating historical inaccuracies, such as the mythical notion that the British were warmongering, genocidal invaders. He would make sure that the positive aspects of how modern Australian history came into being were taught to children. He would start explaining to young Australians why this country has been the safe haven for millions of people fleeing from all over the world.
But the Prime Minister is not interested in a true account of history, he is interested in spin and politics. The left wing of the Labor party, of which Albanese is a product, sees power in the division of society, which is why it so strongly believes in multiculturalism and in undermining unifying symbols such as the Crown, Australia Day and the parliament.
Right now, the Albanese government is committed to dividing Australians by race by way of creating a parallel system of representative government comprised of indigenous Australians to the exclusion of all other Australians. Albanese and the left-wing political parties will use education to continue to inflict guilt and shame upon the nation until such a time that their ideas are accepted as fait accompli.