New Labor Education Minister in Australia says the country was settled not invaded

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INCOMING education minister Julia Gillard yesterday backed the traditional interpretation of the nation's history, saying she believed Australia was "settled", rather than "invaded".

In a sign that she will adopt an orthodox approach to overseeing Labor's education policies, including the creation of a national schools curriculum, Ms Gillard supported students being exposed to different interpretations of Australian history and reaching their own conclusions.

She also reiterated that Labor would focus very strongly on the basic skills of maths, reading and writing in the development of the curriculum.

Asked yesterday if Australia was settled or invaded, Ms Gillard said it depended on one's perspective.

"I would say Australia was settled," she told the Ten Network's Meet the Press program. "I can understand that many indigenous Australians would say that it was invaded and I think for senior students who study history in our secondary schools, one of the things they would consider is the conflict of views."

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