By Keith Windschuttle, Quadrant 12 November 2019
Inventing and Manipulating History
When Julia Gillard was Minister for Education in the Rudd government in 2008 she appointed a committee to rewrite the national schools curriculum from primary school to year 10. When the curriculum’s compulsory Aboriginal content was published it became a controversial issue. The Coalition opposition under Tony Abbott called it “political correctness run riot” and a ”black armband” view of Australian history, saying it placed too much emphasis on indigenous perspectives and very little on the nation’s British and European political and cultural heritage.
Nonetheless, indigenous studies still remain a core concept within the national curriculum. The academics and bureaucrats responsible never gave up their objective to make it compulsory for all Australian schoolchildren. Today, much of the content set in place by Gillard is now being updated to accommodate the arrival of a new and far more radical set of ideas about traditional Aboriginal culture and society. This is largely the result of an acceptance within the education system of the book, Dark Emu, by the self-described indigenous author Bruce Pascoe.