Geoffrey Blainey: Controversial Australian conservative to sit on history panel

Historians in the News

HISTORIAN Geoffrey Blainey will sit on a panel of commentators who will work out the best way to teach Australian history to year 9 and 10 students.

Professor Blainey — the conservative heavyweight who in 1993 coined the phrase "black armband view of history" to describe the portrayal of European colonisation as shameful — will be joined by Sydney Institute director Gerard Henderson, NSW Board of Studies inspector Jennifer Lawless and Australian National University senior fellow Nicholas Brown.

As the Government moves towards demanding a uniform national curriculum, Education Minister Julie Bishop said the group's advice and recommendations would form the basis of the model curriculum for year 9 and 10 students.

The panel will continue the work of Monash University's Professor Tony Taylor, who was commissioned by the Government to develop a model history curriculum framework for the years 3 to 10, following the Australian history summit in Canberra last year. An associate professor of history at La Trobe University, Richard Broome, said time would tell if the reference group was too conservative.

But he said it was important to make the teaching of Australian history "contested and contestable".

University of Melbourne historian Stuart McIntyre said that although half of the panel members were conservative, the composition appeared balanced.

"I think what the minister has done is to attempt some balance," he said. "It means that it is not a stacked committee."

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Lorraine Paul - 6/27/2007

All it needs now is Geoffrey Blainey and we have a 'full-hand'!