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December 01st 2016 print

Tony Thomas

Teach ‘em Green, Raise ‘em Stupid

According to the latest international comparison, Australian kids are falling further behind, despite ever-larger sums of taxpayer cash being poured into the Chalk-Industrial Complex. One reason we're raising another generation of dolts: propaganda passed off as wisdom

green teacherGreen/Left lobby Cool Australia, backed by Labor’s teacher unions and Bendigo Bank, is achieving massive success in brainwashing school students about the inhumanity of the federal government’s asylum-seeker policies, the evils of capitalism, and our imminent climate peril. The Cool Australia’s teaching templates are now being used by 52,540 teachers in 6,676 primary and high schools (71% of total schools). The courses have  impacted just over a million students via 140,000 lessons downloaded for classes this year alone. Students’ uptake of Cool Australia materials has doubled in the past three years.

Teachers are mostly flummoxed about how to prioritise “sustainability” throughout their primary and secondary school lessons, as required by the national curriculum.[1]  Cool Australia has marshaled a team of 19 professional curriculum writers who offer teachers and pupils easy templates for lessons that  include the sustainability mantra along with green and anti-government propaganda.

Teachers have grasped at the organisation’s labor-saving advantages. As one teacher enthused, “I love the fact they take some of the leg work out of my lessons and allow me to spend more time working on the outdoor gardens etc.” A coordinator (hopefully not of English courses) wrote that the lessons gave her “piece of mind”.

Much of the  Cool material, such as lessons advocating recycling and energy-saving, is largely harmless, even beneficial. But material on hot-button political topics is designed to turn students into green activists and anti-conservative bigots.

Kevin Donnelly: Why Johnny Can’t Count, Spell or Think

On asylum seekers, the basic “text” is the film “Chasing Asylum” by activist Eva Orner, whose intention is to shame Australia and mobilise international pressure against the Pacific solution. At least eleven different lessons for Years 9-10 feature her cinematic agitprop,  billed as a “documentary”. The film hardly conforms to the professed “apolitical” nature of Cool Australia courses.  The film’s descriptor reads:

Chasing Asylum exposes the real impact of Australia’s offshore detention policies and explores how ‘The Lucky Country’ became a country where leaders choose detention over compassion and governments deprive the desperate of their basic human rights. The film features never before seen footage from inside Australia’s offshore detention camps, revealing the personal impact of sending those in search of a safe home to languish in limbo. Chasing Asylum explores the mental, physical and fiscal consequences of Australia’s decision to lock away families in unsanitary conditions hidden from media scrutiny, destroying their lives under the pretext of saving them.

Emphasising that the coalition government is the main target, the film’s trailer plays the Abbott government’s ad featuring Lt-General Angus Campbell and Operation Sovereign Borders.

The title’s introduction says it’s “the film the Australian government doesn’t want you to see” and promises inside inspection to “the places the Australian Government doesn’t want you to go”. The commentary says, “There is sickness, disease, infection. It feels militarized … staff would have to be trained how to use a Hoffman’s knife. The knife would be used to cut people down when they are found hanging.”

A depressed boat person says, “I heard Australia is a safe country, a humane country,  it respects people and refugees”. Another says, “I have to forget my dreams here”  and “Please don’t forget about us, please don’t leave us here”.  A group of boat people chant, “We want our freedom!”. For added music-themed emotional impact, we see children’s drawings of themselves crying behind bars, with commentary: “They are growing up on white phosphate rock in mouldy, damp tents. They have no privacy and no space.”  Director Orner claimed last June that “we are the only people in the world that keeps children in indefinite detention.”

Cool Australia, which boasts that its material is kept up to date, doesn’t enlighten teachers that the number of children detained on Nauru has fallen from 167 in October 2014 to only 45 last October. That sort of data might spoil the narrative. Nor does the lesson explain that the only choice is having the children on Nauru with their parents, or off Nauru without their parents.

Ever politically correct, Cool Australia says teachers should ensure their classes have a safe space before seeing Orner’s confronting propaganda. Teachers should first pre-discuss it with “students, staff, family members and the local community”, and negotiate “classroom agreements” to ensure ownership and agreement that create a safe space for engagement with the learning stimulus and activities.

A whole course for Years 9-10, involving ten lessons,  is devoted to the book “This Changes Everything”, an anti-capitalism, anti-fossil-fuel polemic by Canadian activist Naomi Klein.[2] She advocates populist uprisings – “Blockadia” — against fossil-energy developments, and for gigantic dollar transfers to (mostly corrupt) Third World governments to repay the West’s (mythical) “climate debt”. She attacks even the major green groups such as WWF and Nature Conservancy as sell-outs to the fossil-fuel industry.[3]

One Cool Australia lesson about Klein’s book is titled, Climate Changes vs Capitalism.[4] It decries the impact on the environment of “our economic system’s push for continual growth”  and the “quality of life for all people”.[5] [6] In an unintentionally revealing disclosure, Cool Australia’s Teacher Notes describe the supposed climate crisis as “an opportunity for a new economic model that accounts for both people and the planet in a just and sustainable way…  After all, it will be young people who will inherit the world we have created… and who will reinvent a different future.” (My emphasis). This echoes similar sentiments by Christiana Figueres, when a top UN climate official: “This is  probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.”[7]

It is a shock to realize that 50,000 teachers are taking in their stride this sort of officially-endorsed green loopiness:

“Students will then analyse a proposed plan for wealthy countries to pay Ecuador not to sell its oil, and write arguments to explain their position on the strategy of having wealthy countries compensate poorer countries for not exploiting their oil reserves.”

Worth noting is that Ecuador vainly sought from the West a total $US3.5b to refrain from oil production in the Yasuni basin. Having reneged on various Western loans, Ecuador is now dependent on Chinese aid, to be repaid by stepped-up oil production. Ecuador now risks becoming one of China’s client states. One can only wonder if or how teachers convey such real-world complexities to their 16-year-olds.

To demonstrate the inhumanity of Western capitalism, the course falls back on the Exxon Valdez oil spill of nearly 30 years ago and Shell’s oil exploitation and pollution in the Niger delta.[8] Shell’s worst spill was in fact nearly 50 years ago. The Niger Delta this century has degenerated into civil wars, while most of the oil-spill pollution involves breaking of pipelines to steal oil. The course, however, hectors students with questions like, “How would Australians react if, every year, an Exxon Valdez-worth of oil spilled into waterways in one of their communities? Why do you think so much oil has been allowed to spill in the Niger Delta for more than fifty years?”

Klein, awardee last month of the “tremendous honor” of the lunar-Left’s Sydney Peace Prize, gives Venezuela a big tick for poverty reduction and independence from Western oil barons. Back in the real world, oil-rich but socialist Venezuela is now barely staving off bankruptcy.

Students are served up extracts from the book and tested on how well they have grasped Klein’s message. One case study is Indian villagers’ protests against a new coal-fired power station. Teacher notes include:

Explore alternatives to economic growth that serve human needs and minimise the impact on the environment. Begin by having students read the This Changes Everything book excerpt…List the strategies described in the text.

The notes do not mention that energy poverty chiefly, the lack of cheap and reliable electricity — is the main force consigning the Third World’s poor to destitution. Instead, teachers provide students with Cool’s inane questions. A typical asininity: “How do you think climate change would be affected if the global economy collapsed?” And here’s another leading question:

“What impacts is (sic) coal having on our environment? (Suggested answer: Coal mining activities are having a devastating effect on the Great Barrier Reef, and is affecting food production, water security and communities across the nation.)”

No material contrary to the dark-Green’s shtick is provided, other than several quotes including a supposedly tainted one from a Western Fuels US spokesman.[9]

Similarly, Cool Australia takes pains, despite its profession to “highest-quality” science, to screen out any peer-reviewed science sceptical of the IPCC conclusion that man-made CO2 has caused more than half the past 60 years’ warming, relative to natural forces. One unit indeed is titled, “Who is a climate sceptic?” This lumps sceptic science output with pro-smoking studies, anti-vaccination, vested fossil-fuel interests, creationism, and alien visitors. By posing the issue as accepters versus  non-accepters of “the climate science” Cool Australia disappears the hundreds of peer-reviewed science studies per annum (more than 250 in 2015 alone) rejecting the IPCC’s line.

To ensure students aren’t influenced by several quoted sceptic statements, the lesson gives students two “resources” to consult, the Skeptical Science blog, and The Consensus Project. Both, despite the first’s misleading title, are entities of John  Cook of Queensland University, who runs “myth-busting” courses on how to  combat what he calls Climate Denialism. Cook knows quite a bit more about promoting myths, as he is the man responsible for siring and propagating the furphy that 97% of scientists believe in man-made global warming.

There is no reference in Cool’s lesson on sceptics about what is now the 20-year absence of significant global warming, contrary to almost all orthodox climate models[10]; the steady downgrading in peer-reviewed work of climate sensitivity to CO2; and importance to climate of natural ocean, cloud and solar effects.

The final Klein-based lesson involves students designing and implementing a “community action” project, such as a public screening of This Changes Everything. Parents may not be aware that the national curriculum now wants “young people to design action that will lead to a more equitable, respectful and sustainable future.”

Cool Australia enjoys tax-deductible donations as a charity. [11] Its schools campaigns launched  in 2008 as the brainchild of Jason Kimberley, one of the Just Jeans’ Kimberley family, which grossed $64m from the group’s sale in 2001.

The sustainability requirement is acting as a Trojan Horse for sly green groups like Cool Australia to brainwash pupils. Why conservative state and federal governments have gone along with the conversion of schoolkids to Tiny Trots is a mystery. With half of parents voting conservative, it’s time for their own uprising against Left/green indoctrination in schools. Keep in mind that Cool Australia is just one of at least half a dozen green lobby groups — the Youth Climate Coalition is another peddler of pernicious propaganda — that have acquired carte blanche to harangue the classrooms.

Tony Thomas’s previous essay on Cool Australia is here. His new book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here



[1] Aboriginality and Asian engagement are likewise required as cross-curriculum topics, even in mathematics.

[2] The courses also proffer a film on the topics by Klein’s husband Avi Lewis. The trailer mainly consists of street protests dramas. Nine lessons focus on Tim Flannery’s ridiculous 2006 book, We Are the Weather Makers.

[3] Klein, a Jew, is an avid supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel – a cause she adopted at the height of the Gaza war in 2009. She is now campaigning for international sanctions against the US if Trump dumps the Paris climate accord.

[4] “ Use some of these keywords to initiate conversation (about capitalism): profit, money, private wealth, rich, poor, winners, loser, consumption, stuff, resources, economic systems, private ownership, humans.”

[5] Skeptic blogger Paul Homewood comments on Klein, “In reality, emissions in the West have declined substantially since 1990. Most of the increase she refers to has come from communist China. But it seems that communist emissions are good.”

[6] Klein, asked if one could fight climate change without fighting capitalism, replied, “No, I don’t think there is a way. We’ve been trying that for a long time…So the need for another economic model is urgent, and if the climate justice movement can show that responding to climate change is the best chance for a more just economic system, that creates more and better jobs, greater social equality, more and better social services, public transit, all these things that improve peoples daily lives, people will be ready to fight for those policies.”

[7]  See also,    “Climate policy has almost nothing to do any more with environmental protection. The next world climate summit is actually an economy summit, during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.” Ottmar Edenhofer, IPCC stalwart, 14/11/2010.

[8]Keywords: Climate debt, climate justice, social inequality, legacy of colonialism, economic development, This Changes Everything.”

[9] Klein has an apocalyptic impression of Australia, writing last June: “In recent months, the world’s gaze has landed again and again on a hellish Australian terrain of climate-related disaster.” She views the Pacific solution as a “monstrous” and as a racist attack on black and brown lives.

[10] The IPCC itself says 111 of 114 model runs over-estimated the warming trend.

[11] Prahran-based Cool Australia last year had revenue of $923,000 ($45,000 from government grants)  and posted a $73,000 loss, leading to a net liability of $282,000. It reported having 11 full and part-time workers. It creates a huge national impact for an under $1m organization.

Comments [10]

  1. Bran Dee says:

    “Why conservative state and federal governments have gone along – - -”. An appropriate question posed by Tony Thomas and it could be asked of Conservatives in government during the last 40 years and on many topics.
    Working back from the present time:
    Why did Malcolm Turnbull appoint a Green as an advisor? Why appoint a progressive judge such as James Edelman to the High Court?
    Why did Tony Abbott appoint the former Democrat, Natasha Stott-Despoya? Why did Abbott allow and fund, the [Notso]Safe Schools program? Why does Mike Baird put up with NSW Education Minister Picoli and his gender bending? Why did we not oppose James Spigelman to become Chair of the ABC board in 2012 as he had been an advisor to Whitlam in 1972 when they purged the ABC board of conservatives. Why was Mark Scott, formerly of Fairfax Press, allowed 2 terms of hands-off management in the worker’s collective? Why did Mike Baird appoint him to NSW Education when he has been proven to be shy of conservative reform [remember he was Fairfax compatible? etc.

    • Warty says:

      All very good questions Bran. I might ask further: why have a bunch of deplorables voted for Donald Trump to be their president? Why have 1.7 million Australian voters abandoned the major parties in favour of a few minor parties? Why are there moves afoot in Europe to elect yet more conservative presidents and governments? Why is Francois Hollande on the nose, and Sarkozy cast aside along with Alain Juppe, the latter electing to pursue a ‘business as usual’ course with regards to the problem of Islam, and thereby losing pre-selection to the more decisive Francoise Fillon?
      My feeling is that we have not as yet drunk our fill of the Green bucket of fermented swill; nor have we put aside our tendency towards a ‘she’ll be right’ Australian complacency. But the time will come when it will all be too much to stomach, and our own ‘unwashed’ will want their time at the helm. We simply lack the leader with the degree of vision to lead us out of our own swamp.

    • Rob Brighton says:

      Because we let them.

  2. Bill Martin says:

    Contemplating the effects of the stupefying nature of the school curricula is more than a little alarming. Will the next generation of Australians consist mainly of largely illiterate/innumerate, far-left green freaks? Besides the fact that my advanced years will save me from having to endure such calamity, I am also heartened by my childhood experience of growing up in Hungary under Soviet communist domination. Most of us kids knew from our elders that what we were taught in schools – apart from the three r’s – was simply not true and most often reality was exactly the opposite. I do suspect, however, that the understanding of reality by the adults in that community was probably more robust than it is here in present day Australia. Still, I do hope that it still counts for something.

    • Warty says:

      Oh yes, it does count for something. I fact, I think you’ll have to extend your stay at least another 10 – 20 years Monsieur Bill, just so that you can persuade the adults in Australia that some particularly untoward things are going on under their noses. I have read a few accounts, recently, of life in Hungary during Soviet times, and it was quite a different ‘reality’ altogether.

  3. gray_rm says:

    I can only agree. Last week my daughter had someone come into school and talk to her Year 8 group about how the Barrier Reef is dying because of developments, mining, and man’s impact. Then she had an Aboriginal group talk about how they were dispossessed from their lands, and watched Rabbit Proof Fence to convince them of their guilt.
    It’s brainwashing.
    And the faux-Liberals do not care.
    Where’s our Trump?

  4. Bran Dee says:

    I am thinking Gray that in Australia’s game of chance our trump is Pauline Hanson and One Nation.

  5. Joseph says:

    This sort of thing has been going on for many years, in fact it is safe to say a generation of students has been subject to this nonsense. School library shelves are groaning under the weight of books for teachers and students about climate change, environmental degradation and refugees. Many lessons are spent on projects about endangered animals, renewable energy, recycling. Assemblies regularly feature items in the form of poems, songs, artwork computer presentations that have favourite themes from the Labor/Greens agenda. School newsletters feature similar items from students. Of course most parents are focussing on the achievements of their children and tend to ignore the content as long as it is not too outrageous.
    It happens because most primary teachers have a poor science background and if required to teach science they grab resources like Cool Australia because it will get them through a series of lessons. They avoid teaching physics or chemistry based science because they have no confidence in these areas and so they tend towards the ‘feel good’ biological and environmental science activities. Good attempts have been made to steer teachers toward a more balanced program but supervision is not rigorous and again suffers from poor scientific background knowledge. This is not to say that such teachers lack dedication or commitment it’s just that science comes out second best in the rational process of deciding of what’s doable in the classroom. It’s also true that most teachers are Greens or Labor supporters and they are very sympathetic about things like Cool Australia. Similarly Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth was grabbed with glee and inflicted on students multiple times as they progressed through the grades.
    This material is freely available to schools no matter what government is in power. Conservative governments are either ignorant of what is actually taught in classrooms or are unable or unwilling to confront the bureaucrats who are overseeing these school programs. In fact the same criticism of conservatives in general could be mounted, perhaps they don’t have children! There are a few honourable exceptions, Geoffrey Partington, Kevin Donnelly, Jenny Buckingham come to mind.

  6. mags of Queensland says:

    Primary education should be the starting point of teaching children the basics of literacy and numeracy, a little general history and science to enable students to be able to cope with the expansion of topics once they reach high school. I loved primary school in the fifties because we not only learned how to read and do maths but we also did some Australian history, a little geography and some basic botany and biology. In other words we all got an all round basic knowledge of the type of things we would encounter in high school.Once in high school we were free to enlarge on those topics that would either assist us into a job or prepare us for a university education or TAFE for those who wished to pursue a specific career.

    Our teachers didn’t wail and moan about teaching hours, which were much longer then, or class sizes, which were bigger than today. They got on with the job of teaching us how to learn. We were not subjected to the latest fad in social issues but were encouraged to look outside the box to develop our own ideas on how we saw the world.

    This mania of pushing as much information as possible into young minds, before they have the maturity to understand what they are being told – and from only one perspective- has done nothing but narrow their world, if the examples of many high school leavers and university students is the example of this method.