Gillard cannot hide her socialist past
In the comment piece below and on the ABC's The Drum Unleashed I argue Julia Gillard is a Fabian socialist when it comes to education.
Once again, in her campaign launch as she did in her first speech as Prime Minister, Julia Gillard touts herself as Australia's education saviour and argues she is a passionate advocate of hard work, rewarding effort and striving to do one's best. Noble ideals, but when it comes to her record as minister for education it's clear that Gillard's words are empty rhetoric and political spin.
While mouthing cliches about excellence and giving all students a chance to succeed the reality is that the Prime Minister is an un-reconstructed Fabian socialist of the old guard. Take Gillard's action, when minister for education, to embrace equality of outcomes and social engineering in relation to tertiary entry.
Instead of merit, academic ability and hard work determining who succeeds, those students the ALP government defines as belonging to victim-groups will be put at the head of the queue. While approximately 16 per cent of tertiary students are now from disadvantaged backgrounds, Gillard has committed million of taxpayers dollars and introduced quotas to ensure that the figure rises to 20 per cent by 2020. As a result and mirroring events in England, from where the Rudd/Gillard education revolution has been copied, students guilty of having educated parents, of living in affluent suburbs and attending non-government schools will be discriminated against.
Gillard's preference for pushing equality of outcomes is understandable given her undergraduate years in the radical Australian Union of Students and her involvement in the Socialist Forum. It should not surprise that two of Gillard's mentors are Joan Kirner (aka mother Russia and ex-premier of Victoria) and the Welsh radical Aneurin Bevan, responsible for socialising health in the UK. Further evidence of the real Gillard is found in her parliamentary maiden speech and speeches while in opposition.
Before the race to the middle ground and electoral safety, Gillard made no secret of her belief that non-government schools only serve the wealthy and privileged and that the left must engage in the culture wars and win the battle against the conservatives. Gillard's dislike of non-government schools is proven by her refusal to guarantee, if re-elected, that under any new funding model payments to schools will be indexed on an annual basis and that government funding will not be reduced to take into account monies raised locally.
Attempts to disguise her Fabian contempt for non-government schools during the campaign by agreeing to keep the current funding model for one more year and postponing any decisions about a future model until 2011 should only add to misgivings felt by non-government school parents. Similar to the Greens, and its policy to force non-government schools to implement its radical, left-of-centre social agenda, ALP state and federal governments during Gillard's time as minister for education have conspired to take away the rights of non-government schools in areas like curriculum, enrolments and staffing.
Whereas Australian schools once had the freedom to implement the state mandated curriculum or equivalent, the new ALP designed ideologically driven, secular curriculum will be mandatory for all schools, government and non-government. While sounding innocuous, the statement in the Melbourne Declaration (the blueprint that all Australian schools must follow) that schools must provide an education "free from discrimination based on gender, language, sexual orientation, pregnancy, culture, ethnicity, religion, health or disability, socioeconomic background or geographic location" forces all schools to conform to the ALP's policies in areas like homosexuality, gay marriage and undermining Christianity and the importance of Western civilisation.
Non-government schools currently have the right to discriminate in relation to staffing and enrolments; if the ALP is re-elected and forms an alliance with the Greens in the Senate, expect such freedoms to be lost. Such an outcome is even more certain given the fact that Gillard's education revolution forces schools to implement the ALP's left-of-centre, education agenda by linking funding to implementation.
While so far escaping close analysis, Australia's new national curriculum clearly demonstrates how successful Gillard has been in disguising her true intentions and soothing public doubts about her radical past by appearing as an educational conservative. All subjects must be taught from Indigenous, Asian and environmental perspectives and subjects like history and English ignore Australia's debt to Western civilisation and our Judeo-Christian heritage. At a time of international terrorism represented by radical Islam and jihad there is no attempt to teach students about the liberal, democratic institutions and values that ensure Australia's stability and peace.
The national curriculum documents are awash with platitudes and politically correct statements about embracing diversity and difference on the mistaken belief that all cultures are of equal value and worth. Christianity barley rates a mention and ignored is that there are some cultural practices that are un-Australian and abhorrent to our way of life and that values like tolerance, civility and a commitment to freedom are a characteristic of Western, liberal democracies.
Journalists, by focusing on Gillard's so-called back-to-basics approach and the My School website, are blind to the fact that the Rudd/Gillard education revolution is centralised, bureaucratic and statist in its approach. All roads lead to Canberra and like the command and control economies of the old eastern bloc and soviet Russia, the result is an inflexible, inefficient and doctrinaire model of education - best illustrated by the implementation of the much-maligned Building the Education Revolution program.
In their rush to celebrate Gillard, journalists have also missed three Abbott-led Coalition policy initiatives that represent a true education revolution and that have the potential to raise standards and to better support schools, teachers and students. The disability credit (much like the voucher system in the US) gives parents choice as the money follows the child to whatever school is attended - government or non-government.
The Coalition's decision to empower principals and school communities at the local level in areas like staffing and budgets, a policy Gillard ignored during her three years as minister for education, is also innovative and at the cutting edge of school reform.
Once again, best illustrated by the BER, if school communities are forced to jump to the demands of head office, waste and mismanagement follow.
Unlike Gillard and the federal Minister for Education, Simon Crean, who refuse to endorse the current socioeconomic status (SES) funding model, the Abbott-led Coalition has also promised to continue the SES model and to ensure that Catholic and independent schools receive the funding support they deserve. Unlike Gillard and the ALP, the Coalition supports the principles of autonomy, diversity and choice in education.
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In the comment piece below and on the ABC's The Drum Unleashed I argue Julia Gillard is a Fabian socialist when it comes to education.Once again, in her campaign launch as she did in her first speec...
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