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Friday, 25 September 2015

Conservative booklet is a cause for national shame

This one's easy. In a Guardian story posted online this morning we learn of a new brochure for distribution in schools (in an "anti-radicalisation kit") that the government thinks is going to help Australia remain free of "violent extremism" and "radicalisation". To be helpful, the brochure includes case studies including one on a person they call "Karen" who gets involved in a bit of environmental activism in preference to completing her university studies.

You can hear the jackboots approaching in this case study. This is what happens when governments that are violently extremist in their conservative ideology lose sight of the universal values that reflect the best of our civilisation. Things, they suggest, that are indelibly associated with the left of politics and which therefore cannot be trusted. You come across the same kind of illogical ranting when you watch Andrew Bolt's TV program on Channel Ten. The right just cannot make sense because, well, they are just freakish ideologues enamoured of the narrow set of special interests they like to push down the throats of the broader community.

The person responsible for the school brochure is Michael Keenan but presumably - considering the speed with which this toxic little production emerged following the Liberal party-room spill early last week - someone else was in charge of putting the document together. Someone in the Abbott government. Which is hardly a surprise.

What can you say? Should we be retrospectively classifying Rosa Parks - the American civil rights era activist - or Mary Lee - the Australian suffragette - as "violent extremists" and censuring them? Surely the problem is with radical Islam and not Greenpeace? I have friends in this organisation and I can heartily say that they are dedicated to doing good in the world, even if that means ruffling the feathers of a recalcitrant global corporation or two.

Shame on the Coalition for bringing this kind of poisonous, deranged and dangerous material into our schools. What kind of example does this set for children, let alone teachers - the case of the Texan schoolboy who brought a homemade clock into the classroom a few weeks ago comes to mind. This booklet should be recalled and pulped immediately. It has nothing to do with what Australians in every generation have fought and died for. Shame!

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