The Coalition has supported One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s motion in the Senate to exclude Critical Race Theory from the national curriculum.
The Queensland Senator introduced the motion last Thursday to “ban Critical Race Theory from a national curriculum”. She later adjusted the motion to retract the word “ban” and instead use “reject”.
The Coalition backed One Nation on Monday, passing the motion through the Senate 30 votes to 28. Both the Greens and Labor opposed the motion.
Announcing her intent to move the motion, Senator Hanson took to Facebook on June 16.
“It is from critical race theory we get terms like ‘systemic racism’ and ‘white privilege‘ which radical leftists love to throw around so much,” she wrote.
“It is because of Critical Race Theory Australian children have been forced to stand during assemblies and [be] publicly humiliated for being ‘white’ oppressors.
“Unless we take a stand, the values that make Australia the great nation will continue to die the death of 1,000 cuts. Critical Race Theory has no place in the curriculum of our nation, our children deserve an education, not an indoctrination.”
American lawyer, philosopher and civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw is one of the founding scholars of Critical Race Theory and defines it as “a practice — a way of seeing how the fiction of race has been transformed into concrete racial inequities”.
The theory explores the idea that race is a socially constructed category, how this category has been used to oppress People of Colour, and how this intersects with policy and the law.
On Monday, Liberal Senator for Tasmania Jonathon Duniam addressed the Senate in regards to the motion.
“Critical race theory is predicated on the belief that the laws and institutions of our nation are inherently racist,” he said.
“This theory is patently false, discredited and without any basis in fact. The national curriculum, which is open for consultation, is agreed by consensus between the Commonwealth and all State and Territory Education Ministers.
“The Federal Government will reject any changes to the national curriculum that would give effect to Critical Race Theory within the curriculum.”
Speaking in opposition, NSW Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi said it seemed Senator Hanson had been “watching a little bit too much of Fox News and Sky News lately”.
“It’s hard to imagine she knows much about Critical Race Theory. But know this: we will not stop fighting against systemic racism. We will not stop fighting for people who are marginalised and discriminated against every single day,” Senator Faruqi said.
“No matter how much Murdoch media rubbish you regurgitate here and how much you bring in your petty attacks, you will not stop us. You can jump up and down in here with your hate filled stunts, but out there on the streets, tens of thousands of people are marching against systemic racism.
“Shame on this Government for voting for this motion, because that’s what it looks like it’s going to do. You will be condoning racism and you will be condoning far-right politics. Murdoch media mouthpieces in here will not dampen our anti-racism movement; in fact, it will strengthen it.”
The government can’t claim to be taking far-right hatred seriously when they fall in line behind crap like Pauline Hanson’s motion in the Senate this afternoon.
Critical race theory fear-mongering is no more than a beat-up by Fox News and their local outpost of cranks, Sky News pic.twitter.com/W07zomAsj7
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) June 21, 2021
Labor Senator for the ACT Kay Gallagher spoke in regards to Labor’s decision to oppose the motion.
“It is longstanding practice that the Australian Curriculum — the national curriculum — is developed by education experts, not by Senators and not by motions in the Senate,” she said.
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney reaffirmed Senator Gallagher’s opposition.
“This is nothing more than a divisive culture wars stunt that has been imported from America, and it’s embarrassing for the Government that it would have anything to do with it,” she said.
“Our children deserve a quality world-class education, and that means a curriculum that is developed by the experts, not Senators.”
Greens Senator for Victoria Lidia Thorpe also criticised the Government’s support of Senator Hanson’s motion.
“The Morrison Government has demonstrated time and time again that they don’t care about First Nations people, whether that’s regarding truth-telling and healing, working towards measures such as a Treaty, dealing with the shameful rates of Aboriginal deaths in custody, and the housing, education and health crises facing First Nations people,” said Senator Thorpe.
“The Morrison Government’s support of Pauline Hanson’s racist and hateful stunt is just the latest example of the Morrison Government’s damning track record of indulging far-right politics from Pauline Hanson.
“It is vital that all children know the real history of this country in school, including the racism, genocide and theft of land, not the whitewashed version that racists like Pauline Hanson and the Morrison Government want to portray.”
NIT contacted the Federal Government and Senator Hanson for comment. A Federal Government spokesperson sent the comments made by Senator Duniam on Monday and Senator Hanson did not respond by time of publication.
By Rachael Knowles