The leftist agenda in the Australian school system.

A leftist agenda is taking over the Australian school system and conservatives blame it for declining educational standards and many of the nation’s problems.

Is the claim true?

If so, can the leftist agenda be removed?

There is some truth to the statement. Classroom discussions and activities in Australian secondary schools are more likely to favour a left wing world view and the teachers delivering those lessons are also more likely to hold a left wing world view.

Language and Humanities subjects (and even the all encompassing subject of PD/H/PE) contain modules which conservatives would consider left wing, and it is certainly difficult for a student to defend a right wing world view in the classroom, or in a written task, when discussing a social issue.

One specific issue is Transgender people in women’s sport. Arguments exist on both sides of this issue, but it would be very difficult for an Australian student in English, History or PD/H/PE to argue that Transgender people should be banned from women’s sport, despite the fact that students are taught to express (almost) any viewpoint as long as they support the viewpoint with legitimate evidence.

How am I qualified to comment on this issue? I’m a teacher of English and History with many years experience in the Australian school system. Subjects such as English and History invite discussions on social issues and History is famously contentious.

Who makes these claims?

Conservative politicians, conservative media commentators, some academics and, according to an ABC article, One Nation voters.

According to the ABC article:

“One Nation voters are turning on the mainstream education system as conservatives across the country express a deep mistrust of what they say is a “leftist agenda” taking over the classroom.”

Why the ABC devoted an entire article to the thoughts of One Nation voters is probably a more appropriate subject of investigation. One Nation voters, however, are not the only critics of Australian schools and teachers.

One legitimate critic is education expert and former English teacher Kevin Donnelly who points to a “march of the left through the institutions”. His book, “How Political Correctness Is Destroying Australia — Enemies Within and Without” was launched by Tony Abbott and Alan Jones, and includes chapters such as “Thought police screening schoolbooks” and “Culture wars: the left’s university loonies”.

Seemingly extreme, but his classroom experience does add some legitimacy to the claims. On the other hand, the statement makes a number of broad assumptions.

Firstly, it assumes that teenagers listen to teachers long enough to be influenced.

Secondly, it implies that Australia as a nation is moving to the left. This position is difficult to sustain. The Liberal National Party ruled for nine years and became more conservative and right wing under Scott Morrison, and don’t appear to have changed under the leadership of Peter Dutton. Furthermore, that same government oversaw policies which were extremely ‘right wing’ in regards to issues such as the environment, immigration, gender equality and treatment of workers. Even the allocation of educational funding was anything but left wing – stripping funding from public universities and awarding millions of dollars to private schools while public schools remain underfunded. Australians voted them back into power in 2019.

If Australia is as ‘left wing’ as critics claim, why is the country planning to open new coal mines?

Why were we forced into a ‘gas-led recovery’ and why do fossil fuel corporations continue to be subsidised by the government? This would never happen in a country with a ‘leftist agenda’.

In addition, the claim ignores another vital fact. School curricula are created by governments. Education departments, politicians and bureaucrats combine to create the content of school subjects. Teachers deliver the subjects. History is extremely political. A teacher’s natural bias can never be removed from a subject, but as Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates reminds us:

“I think that unfortunately what’s happened in terms of the commentariat is these throwaway lines about the left being dominant in education etcetera — it’s nonsensical,” he said.

“The national curriculum is determined as a collective effort from education ministers, from all the states and territories and the Federal Government.”

Even if it is true that Australian schools carry a leftist agenda, can this be changed?

Yes, it can.

The solution is to increase teacher’s salaries.

Teachers salaries in Australia are famously low compared to other professions. So low in fact that many Australians probably don’t consider teaching a profession, certainly not on par with medicine, law, engineering or architecture.

Low wages mean people enter teaching for altruistic reasons. People who are motivated by altruism are more likely to be open minded and tolerant, to believe in the greater good, to want to contribute to society, to defend the natural environment, the oppressed and the marginalised – characteristics which define a person as left wing.

If anyone enters teaching for the money, they’re in for a rude shock.

Therein lies the solution: pay teachers more.

Raise the standard salary of every school teacher in Australia. This must be done at government level. The LNP could have done it during the nine years they spent in power until the recent federal election. They didn’t. Ironically, the same conservatives who bemoan the leftist agenda in Australian schools could have done something about it. They didn’t.

Raising teachers salaries, substantially and in real terms, will attract young people more motivated by money than pure altruism. It will attract people who prioritise the lifestyle afforded to them by a lucrative salary. These people, motivated more by more than altruism, are more likely to be individualistic, conservative and ‘right wing’.

More ‘right wing’ teachers would offset the influence of ‘left wing’ teachers in Australian schools as they deliver the mandated school curriculum, and restore the perceived imbalance. Conservatives, especially politicians, should stop whinging about a ‘leftist agenda’ and address the issue by raising Australian teachers’ salaries.

Image: Element5Digital

Was it ScoMo or Hanson?

Who is responsible, Scott Morrison or Pauline Hanson?

Which of these Australian politicians is responsible for the destruction of yet more Australian wildlife?

Morrison and Hanson both handled wombats in recent years and now a large proportion of the nation’s wombats suffer from mange. Coincidence?

Mange is one of the biggest killers of wombats. The mange mite buries itself under the wombat’s skin triggering extreme itchiness which makes the wombat scratch, causing open wounds and scabs to form.  These become infected, the wombat loses condition, becomes dehydrated, malnourished and slowly dies. The good news is, it can be treated.

The Wombat Protection Society of Australia is working to eliminate that threat. WPSA is a national non-profit organisation created to raise awareness and money in order to provide wombats with immediate protection from harm. WPSA enhances quality of life, funds projects that develop and protect suitable habitat, and provides sanctuaries for Australian wombats.

Mange is considered to be the major health issue impacting wombat welfare. It is caused by the parasitic mite sarcoptes scabiei, and the society has brought attention and action to this issue by encouraging and supporting research and collaboration in the treatment and prevention of mange in both free living and in-care wombats.

Wombat conservation occurs throughout Australia but is carried out almost exclusively by volunteers. Very little government funding is provided to wombat protection groups, and Morrison and Hanson could change this; Morrison especially. Instead, both politicians exploited wombats for photo opportunities instead of substantially increasing funding for their protection.

The One Nation leader posed for a bizarre photo with a distressed wombat while campaigning. She straddled it before appearing to knee it in the back in a move that’s not even legal in the NRL or Super Rugby. That wombat is likely to be suffering a lot more than mange.

Morrison appears extremely uncomfortable handling the wombat during his photo opp, but one can’t expect a man to offer empathy to an animal if he can’t even offer it to humans.

Morrison and Hanson attract an equal amount of suspicion. Both are populist leaders more capable of slogans and photo opportunities than actual policy formation or genuine action. Both utilise racism and the gullibility of semi-literate Australians to maintain their power, and both have a terrible track record on issues of environmental sustainability during their terms.

So who gave the mange to Australia’s lovable native animals?

Was it Scott Morrison or Pauline Hanson?

Images: AAP, ABC

Tim Paine in high demand after sexting scandal.

Scott Morrison and Clive Palmer are locked in an epic battle to secure the services of Tim Paine after the cricketer was recently sacked for sexting. The prime minister and the leader of the United Australia Party are desperate for the former national captain to run as a candidate for their respective political parties at the next federal election.

“Tim is perfect for contemporary Australian politics,” announced Morrison as he pitched the Coalition to Paine.

“He is adept at scandalous sexting and mistreating women. Furthermore, he managed to keep it hidden for so many years and this is what impressed us the most. He epitomises the behaviour of the modern Liberal Party member, and he is a sporting hero, so Australians will support him no matter what he does.”

Paine was recently sacked as captain of the Australian test cricket team, which is a more important position than that of prime minister according to many Australians. He was caught sexting lewd, consensual messages to a female administrative colleague – before he was made national captain, but while he was married. Ironically, he was appointed captain due to his clean-cut public image, after the ‘sandpapergate’ scandal resulted in the sacking of the previous captain Steve Smith.

Palmer, the leader of the influential fringe party, believes Paine is better suited to his party.

“Tim’s a great Aussie. He’s a great cricketer, he’s a patriot, he wore the baggy green and he loves his country – and that’s what the UAP is all about. We’re making Australia great again and that’s what Tim did. He improved Australia’s international reputation. It was just a bit of harmless flirting on his phone, just like Warney did – and Warney’s a national hero as well.”

“People say my party’s just a bunch of crazy misfits – but Tim will fit right in here. Plus, if he’s caught mistreating women and sexting as a politician, he won’t be sacked, he’ll be promoted.”

Morrison went on to say that Paine should join the LNP because they can actually form government, before Palmer reminded Morrison that it was the UAP which greatly assisted Morrison to win the unwinnable election in 2019.

“Without me, ScoMo’s nothing,” Palmer declared.

Morrison then reminded Palmer that almost every member of the current LNP government has been involved in some form of corruption or scandalous behaviour, and not one of them has been dismissed, so Paine will be protected.

Paine has so far declined to comment on the offers as he has switched off his phone. Rumours also persist that he has received offers from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and Bob Katter.

Image: Getty Images

Australians to be denied lifesaving surgery.

The Australian government has angered the nation after announcing a new policy that will prohibit lifesaving surgery for seriously ill patients.

Australians will be forced to tolerate any illness or disease which threatens their future health or even their lives, and will be prohibited from receiving treatment for illnesses such as cancer.

“There is a prevailing belief that a disease, illness or affliction which harms or kills the host body must be removed or eliminated,” announced federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt.

“This leads to doctors and surgeons removing or eliminating illnesses such as cancer from people’s bodies, so that the patient can survive. It is also the reason for the global effort to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.”

Hunt argued that if this principle was applied to other contexts in day to day life, it would create major implications for the nation. To prove his argument, Hunt cited Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp which are regarded as a cancer on democracy in The US, The UK and Australia.

“Does that mean we have to remove Rupert and NewsCorp from Australia, before it kills the country?”

“That would require actions such as a royal commission into media ownership or some form of regulation of the content produced by NewsCorp on a daily basis,” Hunt explained.

“Without Rupert’s propaganda, there is no way my party will win the next election.”

Hunt then referred to Brumbies in the Australian bush.

“Feral horses, known affectionately as ‘Brumbies’, destroy the ecology of our wilderness, including in our national parks. Some people seem to think that if something is so obviously destructive, it should be eliminated.”

“But these invasive animals are ‘heritage horses’. Aussies hold them up as symbols of our great nation, and people are forgetting that misguided, inaccurate and outdated notions of Australian identity are a cornerstone of our culture.”

Hunt then explained that the flawed thinking of removing that which threatens its host would necessitate much greater regulations on cats, because they are the single most destructive introduced species in Australia, as well as a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“Finally, we would also have to remove from Australia elements such as Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer. They do so much damage to our national institutions, but they proved enormously useful to the Liberal National Coalition in recent years.”

Images: http://www.worldatlas.com, http://www.redlandcitybulletin.com.au