Peter Dutton, history cannot be rewritten to suit your warped sense of what should be taught in the national history curriculum (Rick Morton, “ ‘Pushing bullshit’: Leaked docs reveal Dutton’s education farce”, July 9-15). Historians use evidence, not fairy stories, to record and analyse the past. Parents and children deserve a history curriculum that has been designed by educators and historians. It must cease to be a contested political matter.
– Helen Penrose, Newport, Vic
There can be no more glaring example of the Coalition’s primitive, half-baked world view than its persistent denial and misrepresentation of the need to act more urgently on climate change. Except that this now seems to be merely symptomatic of a wider and more insidious malaise. As Rick Morton tells it, the Coalition’s reactionary attitude seems perpetually afraid of the general public becoming sufficiently well informed to see beyond the mirage. Everything will be okay if we just rewrite history; let’s start with the school curriculum, we need more balance. Back in the Middle Ages, that was how the churches kept control of their flock. Totalitarian regimes have followed suit. We need only look at Trump’s America and his stacked Supreme Court to see how easy it is to go backwards.
– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic
The opposition leader’s desperate membership drive masquerading as education reform provides Australia with a unique opportunity to finally reckon with its future national identity. Any future curriculum revision should seek to cultivate pride and self-respect towards the acceptance and recognition of our colonial transgressions and our unifying successes towards truth-telling and reconciliation of our history. Anything less only sustains our lazy cultural intuition to valorise our shame, absence and avoidance as the hallmarks of our identity, and our education system. Reject the Liberals’ proposed flat-earth curriculum drive as proof of our commitment to heal our educated future.
– Andrew Barnum, Meroo Meadow, NSW
There are parallels between the “curriculum wars” in the United States and Australia. In 2015, Donald Trump tweeted: “The elites want Common Core so they can take education out of parental control.” Now Peter Dutton claims “there is a lot of non-core curriculum that is being driven by unions and by other activists that parents are concerned about” (John Hewson, “Flat-earth politics”, July 2-8). As Hewson observes, Dutton “doesn’t want children of today to be concerned with truth-telling on issues such as Indigenous recognition and climate.” Climate change is finally being adopted in the new US national science standards. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer summed it up nicely: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Surely now, under a new government, Australia has entered the third stage and Dutton and his ideological mates are irrelevant.
– Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
The prosecution of Bernard Collaery may have come to an end but the damage lingers. The charade of a politicised kangaroo court justified on national security concerns is a slap in the face to Australians. From the outset, senior government officials who approved of the illegal spying to steal from our war-torn neighbour, Timor-Leste, for their corporate masters, should hang their heads in shame for such wrongdoing. They will be well advised to revisit the contribution the Timorese people made in supporting our troops against the expanding Japanese army during World War II. Kieran Pender (“On trial for telling the truth”, July 9-15) reminds us of the equally dire plight facing Richard Boyle, a former Australian Taxation Office employee, and David McBride, who blew the whistle on potential war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan. They remain on trial alongside the world’s most prominent whistleblower, Julian Assange. Their prosecutions must come to an end. Whistleblowers exist because government secrets exist. If we value our democracy to function with credibility, whistleblower protection must be enshrined in law.
– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic
Cut the rorts
Thanks to Mike Seccombe (“Greg Hunt’s $400 million ‘secret deal’ ”, July 9-15) for his unravelling of some of the complexities of the cost of our health system. He says, “There is no love lost between the device makers and the insurers. Each accuses the other of profiteering and each argues the other needs to be reformed. Perhaps both are right.” If Labor is going to cut out the rorts of the previous government, Mike has identified a couple more areas that need to be added to the list.
– John Walsh, Watsonia, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on July 16, 2022.
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