Speech by Tony Thomas of Quadrant at the launch of Dr Mark Lopez’s book School Sucks (Connor Court) at Carlton Victoria, May 1, 2023.
Hi everyone, I’ve read Mark’s School Sucks book with great interest because it gets right into the grassroots of what is being taught in our schools.
The Institute of Public Affairs does a great job investigating green-slanted State and federal school curricula. But my interest is in how third-party institutions are encouraged to also push the green/left messaging into classrooms, and how they do it. The big -daddy of them all is Cool Australia, founded and run by Jason Kimberley of the Just Jeans family ($64m in 2002). He jets round the world on adventure travel but net-zero doesn’t apply to him. I’ll get to Cool Australia last.
Here’s a short list of intruders:
Australian Academy of Science – It came out with material for schools a few years back with such questions as
♦ “Ask students if they have ever taken action or advocated for a cause.”
♦ “Lesson outcomes: At the end of this activity students will … appreciate the need to lobby at all levels of government to ignite and lead change – even if it is unpopular with the voters.”
♦ “If you were concerned about Earth’s sustainability, who would you vote for?”
♦ Could we do without [mining? Would you work for a mining company?”
Mercifully, the Academy deleted this course, but just last August was lobbying to get the tech giants to censor and harass on-line sites promoting what it insultingly called “climate denialism misinformation”.
As for the Academy’s influence, teachers downloaded 600,000 Academy lessons and resources just in 2021.
Another third party brainwashing schoolkids is Reconciliation Australia, run by Karen Mundine.
There are 750 early learning centres signed on to Reconciliation Action Plans, and something close to 10,000 schools. All these centres have pledged to promote the Aboriginal grievance industry. Needless to say this involves campaigning for the Yes vote in the referendum, along with treaties and reparations.
- Education Services Australia (ESA), a company set up by federal-state education ministers to provide free supplementary online materials for teachers (“Scootle”). On a test drive I did, Scootle gives Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating 17 hits, virtually all laudatory; Labor PM Gough Whitlam gets 56 hits, and most laudatory, none hostile , BUT the Liberal’s PM John Howard gets more than 20 hits, none laudatory and most hostile.
- Primary English Teaching Association of Australia —A climate-change manual for 5-14yo’sby the says,
- Chapter 9 is a call for action. Without students taking personal action to mitigate climate change, there is no point to this boo
- It urges schools to get kids chanting
- an Earth-focused school or class ‘anthem’ at assemblies. (This) is a great way to build emotional attachment to the planet.
Another effective lobby is the Youth Climate Coalition, which ran the School Strikes for Climate behind the scenes, using idealistic kids as their foot soldiers.
Damon Gameau and his green propaganda movies: very effective because emotion/music/imagery/editing not facts
2040 and Regenerating Australia (set in 2030).
The future setting allows the film-makers to show off the astounding successes of their green wet dreams for Australia. All difficulties and impossibilities are swept aside. Impresisonable kids can reach green heaven on earth if they just get with the net-zero program.
Clever electricians install a sub-sea power line to Singapore turning us into a renewable energy export superpower . 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. In fact the $35b Sun Cable project in NT went bust in January and is in voluntary administration. But kids wont be told that.
Gameau closes his 2040 film showing how One white-clad 20-yo maiden grows from her shoulder-blades giant butterfly wings that actually flap. This must be the cheesiest movie clip ever made or even imaginable.
Regenerating – 17 minutes set in 2030: 37,000 students and 2500 “schools action plans” created.
In a rather sadistic (or sentimental) touch, the film shows in 2029 our last coal-fired power station’s stack, to be blown up, but with coal workers’ names first inscribed on it.
There was a mutiny of parents at Brighton Primary a year ago, when the principal wanted to screen the film and invited Teal candidate Zoe Daniel and her money-man, Simon Holmes a Court, for questions and answers.
Gameau and his films work hand in glove with Jason Kimberley’s Cool Australia.
2040: 31 Cool lessons plus 7 for at-home.
You won’t believe this but I found one Cool Australia lesson devoted to getting kids to stay sitting down during the national anthem, in protest against colonialism. It took the form of a swot analysis
♦ Anyone who witnesses the national anthem can do it.
♦ Non-violent [that’s a relief!]
♦ Easy – doesn’t cost money or require organisation
♦ May (sic) not get a chance to share reasons for sitting down
♦ Doesn’t necessarily change any other people’s (sic) behaviour
♦ On the national flag – “Suggested answers – Union Jack is a symbol of the colonisers…Celebrates colonisation and erases the colonisers’ violent history towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples…
Cool even raises the ogre of heterosexual privilege
Cool Australia is aware its anti-Australian claptrap might make some kids uneasy or upset. , so Cool warns teachers
“It is important that teachers subtly monitor the welfare and wellbeing of students during this lesson [specifically, on “Invasion Day/Survival Day”]and for a couple of weeks afterward to make sure they are feeling safe and able to cope with the content raised in this lesson.”
Years ago I found that Cool had partnered with the Canadian anti-capitalist far-leftist Naomi Klein to push anti-capitalism to Aussie kids. The material is still there online when I looked today. A whole course for Years 9-10, involving ten lessons, is devoted to Klein’s book This Changes Everything.
Here’s the data about Cool Australia – believe it or not
- The Australian Education Union has said Cool is rivalled only by UNICEF in penetration into schools.
- 16m kids taught by Cool to date. Cool materials are used by 9000 schools (more than 90% of all schools).
- 3m Aussie students engaged last year, using 207,000 teachers. 340,000 lessons downloaded and taught last year.
Each lesson shared with two other teachers, used in more than two classes, and taught to 22 kids per class. In other words, each Cool lesson downloaded, gets to 120 kids. Teachers love downloading Cool lessons, since about 45 per cent of them are teaching outside their expertise and three-quarters complain of unmanageable workloads.
Cool’s ambition is for 1m teachers enrolled by 2025, and 100m kids educated by 2030. And all this is done on a budget of only $2m and a dozen full-time staff. (They contract out a lot of lesson-writing). The cost per student is under one half of one cent.
The renewables material is farcical – solar energy is supposed to be pollution free (it isn’t), and wind power is always blowing somewhere handy (it doesn’t). Kids are even told that wind turbines hardly ever kill birds, and the main problem with turbines is people saying they’re ugly. Nuclear power is out because of nuclear waste and atomic bombs, it tells kids.
Students will investigate the relationship between seaweed farming, the health benefits of eating seaweed and climate change. They will use this info to develop an infographic that uses numbers to convince their peers to eat more seaweed.
Can we surmise Cool Australia founder Jason Kimberley does his bit by lunching on kelp and algae? Somehow I doubt it
UK 1996 legislation requiring non-politically partisan teaching –
- “Political” there refers not merely to political parties but to all politically contentious themes and materials such as Black Lives Matter, #metoo and Britain’s recent imperial history. By law, UK teachers must treat such issues with a “balanced presentation of opposing views”.
- Victoria– only bans party-political teaching and obscene type material. . Kids with unorthodox views are supposed to be given alternative material.
- Objections based solely on the grounds that the teaching and learning resources are alleged to be educationally unsound or aesthetically unsound do not warrant action in relation to these guidelines but should be managed in accordance with the school’s general complaints policy.
- I would conclude Victoria permits principals or teachers to brush off any parent complaint about brainwashing, with parents having no legal recourse.
- Australian education is in a sorry state and I hope my talk has helped explain why.