In the run-up to the federal election, teachers and third-party groups are inveigling schoolkids with propaganda about the green/Left independent candidates. In this essay I’ll take a look one such tool of sly persuasion, dark green climate activist Damon Gameau’s latest film, Regenerating Australia, which is heading for authorised mainstream usage in classrooms and spruiks nameless green/Left independents. Then I’ll document half a dozen class-lesson templates about the film, created by Cool Australia which is a Leftist online platform used by 52 per cent of Australian teachers with their reach to 3.2 million students.
Two minutes into Gameau’s film, a fictitious planet-saving independent, “Lucy Jameson”, gets a surprise election win to rapturous acclaim. “The message from the voting public could not be clearer,” says the newsreader, claiming “frustrations with leadership and politics had boiled over”. Set in the future, the film fantasises that demonstrations by two million people led to a poll or referendum of 12 million Australians, with 82 per cent wanting net zero emissions by 2040.
So how is the flick being received? Let’s start with Melbourne’s upmarket Brighton Primary School. The principal, Steve Meade, organised a screening for May 3. There are starring roles for Kerry O’Brien, the leftist ex-ABC icon; the Climate Council’s Tim “Wonthaggi” Flannery (of course), and greenish independent MHR Zali Steggall, who hails the film’s new federal law protecting “30 per cent of Australian native forest and bushland”.
Principal Meade invited along ersatz independent candidate for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel (ex-ABC) and Climate 200’s Svengali, Simon Holmes a Court, for the event’s question-and-answer session. Conservative parents mutinied and the school deleted the invitation and rescheduled the event with no mention of the Daniels/Holmes a Court’s Q&A. Principal Meade justified his stance with the time-honored nonsense about less than ten years to save “our kids and the planet.” 
The Herald Sun quoted one parent, “Political activism has no place in the classroom. I don’t think children in primary school need to be politicised in any way.” Brighton’s Liberal MLA James Newbury quoted outraged Bayside parents, summing up their objections thus: “Our public primary schools should be places of learning not a shopfront for political activism. State Labor is taking advantage of young kids by politicising our schoolyards.” Several other schools in the Goldstein zone had previously featured Zoe Daniels, who is no doubt looking forward to further invitations.
Departmental anti-indoctrination rules vary by state (and are usually ignored). I set them out here last month. For example, SA Education Department policy is, “Members of parliament and candidates are welcome at schools and preschools within their electorates when it will not disrupt normal activities. School and preschool visits must not be for political or campaign purposes.” I doubt the guideline endorses candidate visits a few weeks pre-election.
Gameau’s 17-minute Regenerating “documentary” is heavily supported by WWF-Australia and philanthropist Ian Darling’s Shark Island Foundation. Gameau claims Regenerating is based on a thousand interviews in 2020 with people of diverse views – though the film involves not one iota of doubt about green cure-alls. Set at end of 2029, it’s a prequel to his full-scale futuristic epic 2040 and also fantasises that every green gimmick has worked like a charm. 2040 was seized on by teachers who force-fed it to 1.5 million students and downloaded 2 million copies of the notes.
All this planet-saving has taken its toll on Gameau, as The Guardian reports:
He says that in the wake of the first Lismore floods, he was on a plane when he heard the news about the record heatwave in Antarctica – with temperatures nearly 40 degrees above average – and he “just burst into tears”.
Dry your tears, Damon, momentary spikes in Antarctic temperatures are insignificant and the icy continent hasn’t warmed for 70 years.
I suppose some Gameau emotion is understandable as he couldn’t get back to his home town of Broken Head (Northern Rivers) when the floods hit, and his two daughters had to be rescued by a friend on a longboard. This has zero relevance to CO2 emissions, a fact emphasised by omission. His film doesn’t mention the planet hasn’t warmed for the past seven years and six months, according to the UAH satellite monitoring, and Australia has not warmed since end-2012.
Instead, in a rather sadistic (or sentimental) touch, the film shows in 2029 our last coal-fired power station’s stack, likely to be blown up, but with coal workers’ names first inscribed on it. It’s also rather sadistic for Gameau, circa 2029, to plant mini-forests on what looks like one of the stadiums in East Melbourne’s sports precinct. A lot of balls will get lost in the trees. The scariest scene in the film shows Melbourne’s Luna Park headed for at least 3m of sea rise by 2100 – that’s 4cm a year from now on. Even the alarmist IPCC expects well under a one-metre rise by 2100.
Gameau modestly likens his climate pitch to that of slavery abolitionists and the human rights movements. He finds Australian traditional democracy dissatisfying, and his film introduces some Swiss-style decision-making via on-line voting, restrictions on political donations and “citizen juries”. He claims that the masses are disillusioned with politicians who won’t recognise “the Code Red for humanity, the window is closing, now or never” and their alleged capture by the fossil fuel industry and the (Murdoch) media. Hence the film’s urging for more direct local power for climate activists. Gameau says he has no political ambitions.
Naturally the film reaches a “clear consensus on First Nation’s Sovereignty”, but a kicker is that we also create a “Youth Parliamentary Advisory Council” with teenagers – Heaven help us! – advising parliament. Youthful woman speaks: “We hope to see climate change on the forefront of their (politicians’) minds and really pushing the fight for climate justice.”
Gameau’s shtick is to only terrify schoolkids a little, while claiming they can run around “taking action” to save the planet. “If you’re going to sound the fire alarm, you’ve got to show people where the exits are,” he explains. Kids come up to him crying with relief that the planet can be saved after all. There’s no mention in the film of China and India, with their vast expansions of coal-fired power that will swamp every emission cut by the West.
For the scary stuff he depicts the 2020 bushfires as (bogus) demonstrations of climate change. He has a firefighter saying, “We could hear the screams of people” and a distraught housewife thinking of setting fire to her own house because of her stress. Gameau fantasises that devastating fires later in the 2020s leave “hundreds of Australians dead, and saw any doubts about climate change finally put to rest.” So much for not scaring kids.
But on the plus side, future-Australia has no trouble putting in a three-hour Melbourne-Sydney rail link, implying top speeds of circa 400kph, with an extension to Brisbane in 2032. Clever electricians install a sub-sea power line to Singapore turning us into a renewable energy export superpower, in the fantasy of Nicky Ison of WWF (curiously labelled as with AEMO – Australian Energy Market Operator). A dozen actors in a conference room – many in jeans and sneakers — see Singapore on a screen lighting up with Australia’s green electrons. They leap to their feet waving arms and exchanging high-fives. The price of renewables and batteries has of course “plummeted” and the country runs solely on renewable energy for an entire month. (After which the wind drops and we have blackouts?)
In Gameau’s imagination, we send off hydrogen-powered ships laden with “ammonia and green steel made from our iron ore and renewable energy.” We revel in a billion-dollar seaweed industry and offshore wind farms, while the feds pass a law banning single-use plastics and the Murray-Darling is granted “Rights of Nature” (whatever that might be). Every green triumph creates “thousands of new jobs”. Bikie gangs are so happy with roof gardens and extra street greenery that there is “reduced crime and reduced anti-social behaviour, because we can deal better with the world when we are getting to nature.”
Melbourne’s dark-green Mayor Sally Capp shares filmic fantasies that her electric bus fleet cuts emissions and boosts jobs. Don’t tell her that in Paris in the past month, two electric bus fires caused 150 of them to be taken out of service as a precaution.
Gameau is now winding up an Australia-wide tour of about 70 screenings. The scheduling during the federal election campaign was not intentional, he says.
The screening in Batemans Bay, NSW, seemed more like a revivalist meeting with attendees calling out “yeeeew!” and “boom!” The Guardian enthuses:
A dance troupe from the local Walbunja people of the Yuin nation perform, and when they greet the audience in Dhurga, a blonde-headed girl licking a choc-top yells back “Wallawani” and pumps her hand in the air. As the event ends, one woman walks out of the cinema and stretches her arms up into the night sky. “My God, I so needed that.”
SO NOW to the “curriculum”. Schools have jumped aboard via Cool Australia, the third-party provider of free downloadable prefabricated lessons. The packs are described by Cool as “the Regenerating Australia curriculum”. Cool is adulatory in tone about the cast who “shared their hopes and dreams for the country’s future.” The class brainwashing campaign got under way last February with this spiel:
Calling all teachers in Australia!
You’re invited to a free virtual teacher preview screening of our new short film, Regenerating Australia, ahead of the national release in March!
Join us for a live Q+A with Director Damon Gameau, Cool Australia’s Head of Education, Mark Drummond, and WWF-Australia’s Earth Hour Coordinator, Jasmin Ledger, to learn about the free educational resources we are developing and how schools can get involved in Regenerating Australia!
The Regenerating Australia curriculum has been designed to tune your students into the concepts covered in the film, and deep dive into the solutions presented. The lessons in this unit can be used in isolation or mixed and matched in any sequence that suits your curriculum planning. We recommend that you start the investigation of regeneration with the ‘Watching the Film’ lesson for your year level.
Cool tells teachers to take their classes to cinema screenings (there goes a morning’s real education), or get their own licensed copy and “School Action Toolkit” and “Fact Sheet”.
Here are a few specific lessons of the Gameau curriculum (paywalled, my emphases).
# Sample One:
Subjects: Civics and Citizenship
Year Levels: 9 & 10
Topics: Democracy and politics.
Teaching Time: 180 mins (best taught over two lessons). Yikes!
Have you ever wondered what it might take to rejuvenate Australia’s democracy and get you (sic) adults involved throughout the process? In this lesson, students watch a section of “Regenerating Australia” that explores a rejuvenated and transparent democracy system and begin to unravel truths. Students will research their local MP and find out how they vote on issues, then become active participants in the democratic system by communicating with their local MP about a topic that is important to them. Finally, students will return to the questions asked in the barometer activity to reflect on whether their understanding has changed.
* Students will understand how and why individuals and groups participate in, and contribute to, the democratic process
* Students will recognise some of the challenges to sustaining a resilient democracy
Students will become familiar with ways that the resiliency of the Australian democratic system can be improved.
A characteristic of Australian school education is that kids learn how things “should” be before they learn what they are.
Activity: Regenerating Australia – Watching the Film – English & Geography – Years 9 & 10
Teaching Time: 90 minutes.
In this lesson, students will build an understanding of the concept of ‘regeneration’ and its benefits for our communities and ecosystems. They will complete a 3-2-1- Bridge Visible Thinking Routine and review a set of key terms related to the topic before watching “Regenerating Australia.” Students will be invited to evaluate the content and develop questions about the film’s content. The class with (sic) re-watch snippets of the film to extend their understanding, then work collaboratively to dive deeper into the topic of regeneration in a jigsaw-classroom activity.
Activity: Regenerating Australia – Watching The Film – English, Science and Civics and Citizenship – Years 5 & 6.
Topics: Sustainability, Regenerating Australia
Teaching Time: 90 minutes.
In this lesson, students will work towards understanding the concept of ‘regeneration’ and the impact of regeneration on our communities and ecosystems. They will review their understanding of a set of key terms, then watch the film “Regenerating Australia”. They will make their thinking about the film visible through the See/Think/Wonder tool, then read through a factsheet on regeneration. They will summarise their understanding of regeneration, then extend their understanding through a Gallery Walk activity, before returning to their summaries as a reflection exercise.
* Students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’
* Students will understand the impact of regeneration on our community and ecosystems.
Regenerating Australia – Watching The Film – English, Science and Civics and Citizenship – Years 7 & 8
Topics: Sustainability, Regenerating Australia
Teaching Time: 120 minutes. [That’s half a day’s schooling up the spout].
In this lesson, students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’ and its impact on our communities and ecosystems. The teacher will activate children’s prior knowledge on the topic in a vocabulary matching game, prompt their critical thinking skills using the 5Ws, and invite students to develop questions about the concept of regeneration. They will view “Regenerating Australia”, then return to their questions and summarise the key themes. Students will be invited to explore their school with an open mind and capture spaces that could benefit from regeneration.
* Students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’
* Students will understand that regeneration is something that we can implement in our communities and ecosystems.
Regenerating Australia – Film And Production Analysis – English – Years 9 & 10
Teaching Time: 180 mins (this lesson could be split over a number of teaching periods).
In this lesson, students will view the film “Regenerating Australia” and then watch a video interview with the Writer and Director, Damon Gameau. They will respond to a set of questions that will prompt them to consider the intended impact of the film and the structural and/or visual choices that were made in order to create this impact. Students will use their knowledge on regeneration to create a news report about a real or imagined example of regeneration.
* Understand how cultural perspectives and other texts can influence the construction and interpretation of news reports
* Be aware of how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices
* Know how to create informative texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments.
Activity: Regenerating Australia – Regenerate Your Community – Design and Technology – Years 7 & 8
Topics: Critical and Creative Thinking, Regenerating Australia, design, environment.
Teaching Time: 95 mins.
Quick summary: After watching Regenerating Australia, students will work through an investigation of creative and critical thinking tasks to gain an in-depth understanding of what regeneration and sustainability mean in the context of their local communities and areas.
Teachers say the curriculum is too crowded – but they can always squeeze in some more net-zero propaganda.
Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt
 Cool Australia brags that Teachers Health insurance fund, with its 300,000 clients, is “Our Coolest Partner”. Other funders include various Rich-Listers’ foundations (e.g. the Fox family, Purves, Fairfax, Smorgons), billionaire-run Atlassian, Google and Cisco, plus odds and sods such as the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation.
 Herald Sun April 17, 2022: Brighton Primary School parents furious after political candidate asked to speak. Paywalled.
 The Liberal’s Goldstein MHR, Tim Wilson, was also invited but it’s not clear to which event or both.
 China plans to boost coal capacity by 300 million tonnes this year, from its already-record levels.
 Gameau: “With the NSW Government recently pledging to convert its 8,000 diesel buses to electric by 2030, we are on the way to lighter-touch long distance travelling.”