September 10

Marching through the institutions

The left wing historian Professor Stuart Macintyre, a former communist, has been appointed to the National Curriculum Board to draft the course in history for schools from the first year of school through to Year 12.

 According to Justine Ferrari, writing in The Australian on 10 September, 2008 Professor Macintyre, the Ernest Scott professor of history at Melbourne University and chairman of Australian Studies at Harvard, was sidelined by the Howard government in its pursuit of a national curriculum for Australian history.  

Professor Macintyre becomes one of four educators appointed to draft "framing documents" setting out a broad direction for the curriculum in four subjects.

The teaching of our history is crucial.

Our youth need to have a full understanding  about the heritage of this country, and its extraordinary achievements in so many fields, not least our being one of the world’s oldest continuing democracies.

According to Kevin Donnelly ("My worst fears have been realised," The Australian 10 September, 2008) Professor Macintyre dismisses such a “grand narrative” celebrating our national achievements; history for him it is rather about “privileging victim groups and interpreting the past in terms of power relationships.”

Kevin Donnelly says the second appointment that of Professor Peter Freebody, confirms that control the national curriculum has been captured by the usual suspects.

He will oversee English; he is a supporter of “critical literacy” which asks students to analyse and deconstruct “texts” in terms of power relationships and theory.  

This saga illustrates again the dangers of ignoring the clear intentions of the Founding Fathers and of the people of Australia.

…constitutional intention flouted…

Education was never intended, either by our Founding Fathers or by the people, to be a responsibility of the Federal government.

The Federal government and Parliament were intended  to have no power whatsoever over our schools.

The argument that we need a national policy on everything has all the weakness of the Marxist approach to government.

It assumes that our politicians –if they are based in Canberra –  know best.

They do not.

 Where state matters are left to the states, we can easily compare the states which are pursuing a successful policy in a given field and those who are not.

We can even move, as many did when Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen abolished that hated tax, death duties, which impacted principally on farmers and those whom Sir Robert Menzies once so eloquently described as the “forgotten people.”

A succession of centralist federal politicians, weak state politicians and judges have ensured that the Federal government has seized  an exorbitant proportion of government revenues and can control the states.

In the meantime, so called “republicans” whose only agenda is to increase the power of the political class, have distracted an indulgent media from this most serious constitutional problem – the excessive concentration of money and therefore power in Canberra.

The Labor Party, to its credit, has always been open and honest in its centralist agenda.

What is lamentable is that those parties  who have long proclaimed their allegiance to federalism have  in recent times  gone down the same cetralist path.

Sir Robert would not have approved.

  

 


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