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Speech: Alan Tudge's attempts to whitewash the curriculum

Speeches in Parliament
Mehreen Faruqi 24 Nov 2021

I am concerned about the recent attempts by the minister for education to incite a culture war over the draft national curriculum created by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, or ACARA, as they're known. I find his comments on the draft curriculum offensive, pathetic and ahistorical. They should be challenged by everyone who cares about the integrity of our education system.

As part of the changes, students will be asked to debate the difference between commemorating and celebrating Anzac Day. Minister Tudge claims that this would present Anzac Day as a contested idea that could lead to students being taught a negative view of our history.

The minister has also criticised the emphasis on invasion theory in relation to 26 January. To him, First Nations perspectives should be included but not at the expense of dishonouring our Western heritage. Minister Tudge claims he wants students to learn a proper, accurate version of our history. To him, this means a curriculum that doesn't allow students to question the idea of our society, which might not be as free, egalitarian and tolerant as he likes to think. He wants students to never think about Australia's history as full of injustices. He doesn't want students to be given the full facts so they can come to their own conclusions. He obviously doesn't think that students should be taught critical-thinking skills.

We should all be very concerned. Minister Tudge's gloves-off approach to pushing an overly nationalistic, sanitised version of Australian history will undermine the quality of education in this country, and we shouldn't stand for his attempt to whitewash the history of this country.


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