The June 2014 meeting of the 17 Group will take place onWednesday the 4th of June at 7 pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury StWest End. The topic is “Christopher Pyne and His Attempt to Re-ignite the Culture Wars”. The discussion of this topic will be introduced by Adrian Skerritt who has provided the following summary of his talk:
With the Review of the National Curriculum for schools, Christopher Pyne is aiming to reignite the culture wars that raged during the Howard years. John Howard, with the support of establishment historians such as Geoffrey Blainey and Keith Windschuttle, challenged the research of those historians who described massacres of Indigenous people during the 19th century and the deliberate policy of removing children from Aboriginal families in order to destroy Aboriginality. These findings for Howard constituted a “black armband” view of history and failed to acknowledge, in his view, the contribution of pastoralists and entrepreneurs. No matter how meticulous and careful the research that demonstrated the injustice at the heart of Australian history, Howard lined up his cultural warriors in Quadrant and The Australian and orchestrated a chorus of denial. It was persistent and reshaped the cultural debate in favour of the conservatives.
Pyne does not appear to be anywhere near as successful. He has enlisted an ideological zealot, Kevin Donnelly to conduct the review of the Australian curriculum. The central charge is that left bias has distorted the new national curriculum. Here Pyne and Donnelly have set up a straw figure. The national curriculum is not especially left wing. It draws upon some of the best international research about how history, science, maths and literature should be taught. The history units do look at Australia’s role within the region and there is a strong emphasis on Indigenous perspectives. This has been enough to prompt Pyne to initiate another cultural war. It would need to consist of some early and decisive victories if it is to rescue a government reeling from the extraordinary anger its budget has produced.
Some biographical details on the speaker:
Adrian is a history teacher and member of the Qld Teachers Union. Over recent years he has become more alarmed at what historians Lake and Reynolds have described as the “militarisation of Australian history” and how this history is taught in schools.
Adrian has been a socialist since 1988. He and his family live in Yeerongpilly and his 2 children attend a wonderful government school. He is keen to talk to other people who cherish state schools, trade unions and civil liberties and discuss ways we can look after these things in the aftermath of the Queensland election.
As we learned last week, Leon Davidovich had of course included a photo of Pyne among his Coalition Cabinet darts targets, but didn’t seem to know a lot about him, until, made curious by reading Adrian’s summary, he “did a bit of googling”. ( He likes to use such contemporary expressions, being proud of being “au courant”, as he put it, in his cosmopolitan way.) This is what he found:
We couldn’t get him to stop laughing long enough to find out if he was coming to the meeting. But you, potential symposiast. Try to stop laughing long enough yourself to decide to come.
Welcome people from all directions. Click to write
Letters to the Editor
WBT does not reveal our sources. We do not hold shares or interests in corporations.
We monitor this site for factual errors. If readers see errors please email the editor or place a correction in a comment box.
Banner image is of the southern border ranges in Queensland.
Please be aware this site contains images and voices of indigenous people now deceased.
- GetThemOut Campout on KP Prison – torture’s simple plan
- Thanks to Justice for Palestine (Brisbane) on Gaza Fights for Freedom
- WBT Wrap-up for 2020 on The future of Workers BushTelegraph?
- Howard’s War on Soldier, We Love You
- Correction on Yet ‘another stupid development’
- ‘Power and pain’: an Australian citizens’ encounter with the SAS on Big Boys’ Rules in Afghanistan
- WA Minister for Heritage, Arts and Culture on Qld universities in the red. Why?
- Anonymous on Yet ‘another stupid development’
- mahi patel on Not all, fall down
- Solidarity with Cuba and the Palestinian people!! on Stories from the revolution in Cuba and Palestine
WBT addresses the following questions:
1. Industrial question: The Master/servant relationship. The struggle for Worker Control.
2. Ownership question: Who owns the land or does the land own us? Rights to the city, right to country. The struggle of indigenous people for land rights and social justice in Australia.
3. Political question: This is the class struggle. Who owns the means of production? Who governs? How are democratic rights won and shared.
Radical Times ArchiveClick image to go to archive
Radio, podcasts & Blogs
Paradigm Shift - 4ZZZ fm 102.1, Fridays at Noon
Words are the Wind - Words from Struggle Street
Eva Bartlett In Gaza
4ZZZ News & Current affairs — 4zzz is on the land of the Turbul & Jagera people, never ceded
Save Leard State Forest — Archive of actions to stop mining in the Piliger
Rob Pyne - a far northern life — sharing stories of Rob's struggle inside the ALP and his move to independence.
Contains some excellent chapters about his stint in parliament.