Call for British history to be taught in Australian schools sparks "history war"

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A politician's call for British history to become the focus of world history lessons in Australian schools has angered the country's academics.

Tony Abbott, an Opposition frontbencher, had said the history component of a new draft national curriculum failed to give Britain due credit for shaping Australia.

He said Australians were "a product of English-speaking civilisation" and that English history should be at the core of history classes – a claim strongly disputed by the architects of the draft.

"People have got to know where we came from," Mr Abbott said.

"They've got to know about the ideas that shaped the modern world. And in a very significant sense, the modern world has been made in England."

Mr Abbott's comments touched a nerve among Australian historians, who defended the curriculum's emphasis on broader European history.

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