‘Ham-fisted culture wars’: states take Alan Tudge to task over history curriculum concerns

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The national acquisition minister’s claims that projected changes to Australia’s nationalist program would contiguous Anzac Day arsenic a “contested idea” person been labelled arsenic “ham-fisted civilization wars rubbish”.

In a code to the Centre for Independent Studies connected Friday, Alan Tudge aired concerns that the draught changes could pb to students being taught a “negative presumption of our history” and impact their willingness to support Australia.

Tudge had antecedently warned the past program changes could pb to students processing a “hatred of Australia and Anzac Day”, and helium repeated his concerns connected Friday.

“Anzac Day should not beryllium a contested idea. It is the astir ineffable time successful the Australian calendar,” helium said.

Tudge's comments prompted authorities acquisition ministers to instrumentality their national counterpart to task.

“When it comes to the curriculum, Australian students merit amended than ham-fisted civilization wars rubbish from blimpish politicians,” Victoria’s acquisition minister, James Merlino, told Guardian Australia.

“The past of our federation is some inspiring and incredibly challenging, and it’s important that young Australians larn astir it from a assortment of perspectives to guarantee we’re producing empathic, thoughtful and arrogant Australians of the future.”

James Merlino
Victoria’s acquisition curate James Merlino says it’s important that students larn astir Australian past from ‘a assortment of perspectives’. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The draught program is being considered by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

Queensland’s acquisition curate Grace Grace said it was not adjuvant for Tudge to marque specified comments portion the Acara reappraisal was inactive successful process.

“I respect the independency of Acara undertaking the reappraisal and I don’t deliberation it helps to supply a idiosyncratic moving commentary connected the teaching of Australian past and immoderate different taxable matters.”

Grace said the last draught was yet to beryllium enactment to acquisition ministers, and that she looked guardant to discussing the caller program astatine a gathering of the national and authorities acquisition ministers successful November.

The national opposition’s concern relations spokesperson, Tony Burke, told reporters successful Canberra that Tudge’s comments astir the program teaching a “negative view” of past were “a spot weird”.

Burke said past is “not analyzable – it should beryllium the survey of what happened”. “Some of that volition beryllium good, immoderate of that won’t be, immoderate of that volition beryllium further facts.”

Tudge, erstwhile asked connected Friday whether helium had inaccurately represented what the program said astir Anzac Day during his months-long run against elements of the document, said: “No, I don’t judge so.”

He said that contented had not travel up successful the caller briefings with his section and Acara.

Acara’s draught program didn’t usage specified connection astir “Anzac Day” per se, and had a broader notation to the archetypal satellite war.

In the proposed caller curriculum, a information of twelvemonth 9 past includes “the commemoration of the archetypal satellite war, including antithetic humanities interpretations and contested debates astir the quality and value of the Anzac fable and the war”.

The contented whitethorn see “debating the quality betwixt commemoration and solemnisation of war”.

The nationalist program volition yet request to beryllium agreed by authorities and territory acquisition ministers.

– further reporting by Paul Karp