Australian PM's 'white' history under fire

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Historians are divided over whether Prime Minister John Howard's blueprint for how history should be taught adequately covers the nation's past.

Bond University history lecturer Shirleene Robinson described the guide as narrow and selective, whitewashing away the worst aspects of Australia's history, especially its sometimes racist past.

"I think in many ways it's a very white perspective," Dr Robinson said.

She said the guide appeared to underplay early conflict between Aborigines and Europeans, the removal of Aboriginal children from their families and the "White Australia Policy".

"It is an unfortunate fact that racism was a major motivating fact behind Federation and this does not appear to be covered at all," she said.

Australian History Teachers Association Queensland President Ros Korkatzis said it was worrying that northern Australia hardly rated any attention, while Australian National University historian Dr Tim Rowse was concerned that the guide addressed only the history of Australia, ignoring its place in the world.

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