Julia Gillard left-wing and as guilty as Rudd
27th June 2010

Below is a second article commenting on Julia Gillard, the first article was published a week or two ago, before she became Prime Minister.

Time for a reality check.  Julia Gillardís backers and ALP spin masters are portraying the new Prime Minister as a fresh face, a safe pair of hands and a middle of the road politician in touch with Australian families and battlers.

In her first speech as Prime Minister, Julia Gillard exuded reassurance and humility, referring to her humble working class origins, her commitment to hard work, getting up early in the morning and rewarding effort.

Judged by the media coverage, the public could be forgiven for thinking that Gillard, as Deputy Leader, second in charge to Prime Minister Rudd and member of the gang of four, has nothing to do the failed pink bats program, the billions wasted on the Building the Education Revolution and the fact that the ALP has squandered the surplus and left the nation with a third world debt.

Whether the Australian electorate will fall for the ALPís rebranded image and the Prime Ministerís make over is yet to be seen but, based on her origins in the ALP, speeches over the last couple of years and her track record as Deputy Leader and Minister for Education there is every reason for voters to be concerned.

As a university student, Gillard was heavily involved with the radical Australian Union of Students and the Socialist Forum.  In her first speech on being elected to parliament, Gillard repeated the socialist mantra that the education system reinforced inequality and class division and that it was the role of government to provide equality for all.

No wonder, in the same speech, that Gillard acknowledged Joan Kirner as her mentor.  The same Joan Kirner who, as one time Premier and Minister for Education destroyed the then Year 12 Higher School Certificate in her quest for equality of outcomes and a system where everyone, regardless of ability or merit, achieved success.

Itís also revealing that Julia Gillard acknowledged the inspirational influence of one of Britainís leading socialist members of parliament during the early part of the 20th Century, Nye Bevan.   Bevan made no secret of his socialist ideals, fighting on a number of fronts to radically reshape British society, including introducing the government controlled, inefficient and costly National Health System.

While never attracting the same media attention as her work as Minister for Education, Julia Gillardís role as Minister for Social Inclusion also reveals her ideological commitment to the left.  A commitment based on big government, centralised control and a view of society based on what she terms the collective.
The way the ALPís education revolution was shaped and implemented under Julia Gillardís control provides a clear illustration of her left-wing leanings and belief that governments can remedy all.

During her time as Minister for Education, the Australian education system was transformed from one of local control and flexibility to one characterised by a centralised, bureaucratic and statist approach.

Australian schools now face a national curriculum, national testing and assessment, a national teacher registration and certification system and a national data centre that, like big brother, will monitor and control what schools do and how they are judged.
Catholic and independent schools are especially at risk as, under Gillard inspired policies, such schools will no longer have the freedom to employ staff committed to faith-based values, they will lose control over who they enrol as students and they will be forced to teach a secular curriculum.

All roads lead to Canberra and all schools, government, independent and Catholic, as a condition of funding, have to conform the ALPís governmentís politically correct agenda.  In one speech, Julia Gillard acknowledges that her approach is copied from the UK under Blair and the US under Clinton, itís a pity that experience tells us that overseas approaches have failed to raise standards or redress inequality.

Evidence of the new Prime Ministerís commitment to left-wing, ideologically driven values is also found in her decision to reshape the way students are selected for tertiary study.  Instead of merit and ability, under a quota system based on positive discrimination, so-called victim groups will get a free ticket, with entry no longer decided by competition or academic ability Ė so much for rewarding hard work.

The new national curriculum developed during Gillardís time as Minister for Education also betrays a left-wing, politically correct view of the world.  The overwhelming majority of Australiaís describe themselves as Christians and much of what we have inherited, in terms of language, culture and legal and political institutions, we owe to Western civilisation.

Not only does the national history curriculum ignore Christianity and the importance of Western culture, but also every subject has to be interpreted from politically correct Asian, indigenous and environmental perspectives.

While not as blatant as Mark Lathamís hit list of non-government schools, a policy taken to the 2004 federal election, itís also clear that Julia Gillard is antagonistic to Catholic and independent schools.  In her maiden speech to parliament, Gillard portrays non-government schools as wealthy and privileged and suggests that eastern suburban families are lazy and lack community spirit.

On recently announcing a review of school funding, Gillard failed to guarantee that future funding will be indexed on an annual basis, as currently occurs.  In a 2008 interview, Gillard also implies that the current favourable treatment received by non-government schools will only apply to the quadrennium 2009-2012.

On being asked whether the governmentís commitment to properly funding non-government schools would be on-going, Gillard replied, ďNo, no, our commitment Tony was very, very clear.  It is for the next schools funding quadrennium, for the next four yearly agreementĒ.

That the forthcoming review of funding will financially penalise non-government schools is more than likely, given that two of those appointed to the review committee, Ken Boston and Carmen Lawrence, have publicly stated their opposition to the existing funding model and argue that government schools deserve a greater share.

As John Howard understood during his time as Prime Minister, education is a barbeque stopper and a vote changer, especially amongst the so-called battlers in marginal seats, where elections are won and lost.  The explosion in the number of faith-based schools and the decline in government school enrolments prove that parents value school choice and a curriculum free of left-wing, ideological bias.

To win the next election, Prime Minister Gillard will have to convince voters that the ALP is safe and that the old style politics of the left no longer control the agenda.  Based on her record as Minister for Education and her experience as a left-wing apparatchik over many years, the public has every right to be sceptical.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is Director of Education Standards Institute  and author of Australiaís Education Revolution.  In 2004 he worked for the Commonwealth Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews.


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27th June 2010

Below is a second article commenting on Julia Gillard, the first article was published a week or two ago, before she became Prime Minister.Time for a reality check.  Julia Gillardís backers and...
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