Ignoring Australia’s achievements

Dear Reader,

Recently, I found myself glued to the television watching history in the making: the coronation of King Charles III. No one does pomp and pageantry better than the British, but it was the solemn parts of the ceremony that filled me with curious pride and gratitude for Australia’s British heritage.

Switching between news channels, I chanced upon the commentary on the ABC accompanying the coronation, where activists were rehashing the same old tired and biased tropes about colonisation. Missing from the commentary was any acknowledgement of all the things that Australians – including these privileged activists – have gained from our Western heritage, including the right to criticise constitutional monarchy on the day of the coronation.

Relentlessly negative commentary such as this only drives the IPA’s determination to promote the incredible achievements of our nation and the absolute good fortune of anyone who calls Australia home.

That is the core mission of the IPA’s Class Action program, and our latest curriculum material for Year 9 students that I am going to share with you in this email is the perfect antidote to the naysayers.

One & Free extended to Year 9

Last year, the IPA published the booklet One & Free – How Australia Was Made, which is a short guide to the ten most significant events and achievements that make us proud to be Australian. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with many IPA members ordering bundles of copies to share with friends and family.

That gave us an idea – why not extend the booklet into a practical classroom resource that can be taught as a part of History, Civics and Citizenship curriculum for Year 9 students?

I delighted to share this new curriculum unit with you.

History – One and Free

The booklet is now accompanied with classroom resources that will help Year 9 teachers discuss the 10 events and achievements listed in it. Significantly, it will aid a classroom discussion about how the modern rights, norms and standards we enjoy in Australia – from equality under the law and universal right to vote to running a sporting club and welcoming migrants – can be linked back to these events.

The teacher package includes the booklet, lesson plans, curriculum markers for compliance, student worksheets and PowerPoint visual support.

I want to acknowledge IPA Senior Fellow John Roskam’s part in this project. John initiated the production of the booklet One & Free – How Australian Was Made and published it through the Centre for the Australian Way of Life.

Class Action, now in South Australia

In another piece of good news, I am delighted to share that the South Australian History Teachers Association has also approved all our current curriculum units and will share Class Action resources with its 2,000 members. The association is the second in Australia to do so. As I had shared in my previous newsletter, the first was the Victorian History Teachers Association.

These associations are independent, non-political bodies that review curriculum materials submitted to them, and choose to accept or reject them. It doesn’t endorse curriculum materials, but once accepted, the materials are shared with all their members as teacher resources.

I want to thank both the South Australian and the Victorian associations for accepting the IPA’s curriculum material for dissemination.

Spreading the message

Since my last email to you, I have spoken about ideological bias in our schools and National Curriculum across various media.

First, I wrote an article in The Spectator Australia celebrating the 253rd anniversary of Captain Cook’s landing in Australia. I used it as an opportunity to share how the National Curriculum is failing to acknowledge this Australian hero. [Read here]

The Achievements Of Captain James Cook Are A Story for The Ages

I was also invited as a guest on the Australian podcast Philtered to talk about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and how it is being used to smuggle in a host of bad ideas – such as critical race theory and identity politics – into Australian schools and workplaces. [Listen here]

Finally, I spoke at the book launch of School Sucks: A Report on the State of Education in the Politically Correct Era by Professor Mark Lopez. Published by Connor Court Publishing, the book is an analysis and critique of what is wrong with the education system and what needs to be done to improve it.

These invitations and collaborations show the growing reach of the Class Action program.

How politics enters classrooms

Have you ever wondered how negativity about Australia got embedded in our curriculum? Who are the people promoting and encouraging it in our schools?

It enters classrooms through organisations such as Cool Australia.

Founded by Jason Kimberley, co-founder of the clothing brand Just Jeans, Cool Australia ostensibly provides lesson plans aimed at ‘the importance of economic, environmental and social sustainability’.

One of the activities it promotes for Year 10 English class is about connecting our national symbols such as our national anthem and flag to ‘white’ privilege. In fact, the lesson plan actively asks students to consider refusing to stand for the national anthem as an effective tool for challenging ‘white’ privilege. It encourages them to think how they can get more mileage out of the gesture by sharing their refusal on social media or inviting others to refuse as well.

I know it is hard to believe which is why I recommend downloading the curriculum material and judging for yourselves. You can download the document for free. [Download the lesson plan here]

Activity: The Final Quarter – Symbols Of Privilege – English – Year 10

Support the IPA

Cool Australia is a registered charity and is supported by partners such as Volkswagon, the Sydney Swans, Westpac, The Myer Foundation and more.

This should give you a sense of the challenge before the IPA’s Class Action program. However, the steady growth of our curriculum materials, connections and collaborations, and media presence, shows that there is an appetite for positive conversations about Australia as well.

Your support of the IPA is critical to keeping up the momentum on Class Action. We can only do what we do because of your support. The IPA neither seeks nor receives any government funding.

If you have already made a donation to the IPA’s End of Financial Year Appeal, thank you!

If you have not, please consider making an online tax-deductible donation to the IPA’s appeal. [Donate here]

IPA End Of Financial Year Appeal 2023

You can also make a donation by calling the IPA office at 03 9600 4744 during office hours and speaking to Claire Peter-Budge.

If you are a Melbourne-based teacher…

As a former teacher and education consultant, I feel that policy makers ask everyone but the teachers what would help them deliver good, balanced education to children in an environment conducive to learning.

To this end, on Thursday 1 June, I have invited teachers subscribed to this newsletter for a casual get together at the IPA office to network and freely discuss issues in education. If you are a teacher living in Melbourne and are interested in attending, please RSVP by replying to this email with your name, email address and phone number. I can send you the details of the event.

If you know any teachers who share your values, please share this opportunity with them.

Before I end...

An IPA member recently shared the inspiring story of a friend of his, Irene Gleeson, who went to Northern Uganda as an Australian mission teacher and started her school in a caravan under a Mulga Tree. She went on to build three schools, a church, a hospital, a technology school, a university and a radio station. I want to share a quote by Irene because I think it speaks for Class Action and the IPA.

Building boys and girls is easier than mending men and women.

Indeed, that is why Class Action exists – to build Australian boys and girls who are a credit to themselves, their communities and the nation.

Best regards


Colleen Harkin

National Manager, Class Action Program and Research Fellow