Monday 13 January 2014

Christopher Pyne's Review Pushing for More Religion in Australia's Schools

In 2009, Tony Abbott called for all school children to have mandatory classes teaching the bible and Christianity to children.

"I think everyone should have some familiarity with the great texts that are at the core of our civilisation," Mr Abbott said. "That includes, most importantly, the Bible.

"I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity."

Christopher Pyne has recently called for reforms to the national school curriculum, appointing staunch critics of the curriculum. Dr Donnelly, a former chief of staff to Liberal frontbencher Kevin Andrews, has criticised the ''cultural-left nature'' of the education establishment, while Professor Wiltshire has called the curriculum a ''failure''. Donnelly was previously employed by tobacco firm Phillip Morris to design a school program teaching children about peer pressure and decision making that did not discuss the health dangers of smoking.

While Pyne has stated that he wants to weed out "partisan bias" from the curriculum, the ACT Education Minister Joy Burch has questioned the "independence and rigour" of the review, warning  "you could see political bias [becoming] an influence in the Australian curriculum''.

Sydney Atheists is strongly concerned at the history of groups like Access Ministries proselytising against government regulations. While general religious education can help students in a multicultural world understand the perspectives and beliefs held by Australians, it must be in line with world standards like the Quebec curriculum, and not allow the indoctrination of children in public schools.

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