23 Jan | '2024

Angie Bell MP
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education
Shadow Minister for Youth
Federal Member for Moncrieff



23 January 2024

Subjects: Invasion Day being taught in early childhood education centres; Australia Day


The Aus debate continues and you know, we were talking to Nic Hayes from Media Stable earlier this morning and he said, ‘You know, when is this merry go round gonna finish? And when are we going to stop having this debate? We need to change the date just so we can stop having the argument.’ Well, to me that’s not a good enough reason. But maybe the way we stop this debate is by stop indoctrinating our kids so that eventually we end up with a generation that doesn’t hate Australia.

Well, now turns out that in early childhood education settings, they’re teaching kids about invasion day. I mean, it’s just extraordinary. You know, remember when we were kids in preschool, we were allowed to be kids and play with Lego or might in my case, it was Mobilo was the big thing when I was a preschool. Do they still make Mobilo?

Angie Bell is the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and joins us now. Angie, when is this madness going to stop?

Good morning Stephen, thanks for having me. Teaching our children to be proud of our country and to love all things Australian is just so important. And childcare centres are a place for education, not indoctrination. That is how it should be.

Our nation is rich in history and culture with our Indigenous Australians and the multicultural migration of so many who now call Australia home, especially on Australia Day. Indigenous culture should be celebrated and it is included in the National Quality Standard for early learning within the National Quality Framework, but the use of the term ‘invasion day’ has no place in early childhood settings.

I would say that none of it does because the reality is I would argue that even a primary school kid would struggle with these concepts. And that this is the kind of thing that maybe, yeah, high school kid should be possibly having these discussions in the classroom about whether or not it was an invasion. And you know, a dictionary will sort of sort that out for them pretty quickly, but you know, I mean, let kids be kids.

I couldn’t agree more. Let kids be kids. Some educators are taking it upon themselves to politicise this and indoctrinate children. I’ve written to several large providers, asking them how they’re celebrating Australia day this week, and I look forward to hearing back from those. But like many parents and grandparents as well, I’m really concerned that educators are just imposing their personal political agenda on children.

On that note, I guess what are the guidelines and what are the parameters that early childhood education settings have to adhere to because obviously, when we get to primary and secondary school, there is actually curriculum. Does that exist at the earliest stages?

Yes it does, in the National Quality Framework, and the National Quality Standard for early learning includes teaching of Indigenous culture. It should also comprise of the other parts of Australia, which is of course our multicultural communities and our proud colonial history as well. It is included as part of the curriculum, and many centres around the country do welcome to countries and they learn Indigenous languages, and that’s fine. But this is crossing the line when it comes to a politicising early learning for children under five. Indoctrination, not education.

So does there need to be further regulation to prevent this or is it just a matter of these operators waking up to themselves?

Look, I think Australians need to reflect on Australia Day. It’s a proud national day for many thousands of people, for children who should be learning to be proud of our nation and what we’ve achieved thus far. It’s also a day, and I think people have forgotten this, where we pay tribute to those who continue to give back to their community and to honour their service with AM’s and OAM’s, with the Australia Day Honours List. For those people, Australia Day is the most important day of the year. So, we should continue to be proud Australians together with Indigenous Australians as well.

It’s interesting you say that because there used to be the argument pushed by the, I call them the flag changes, and they used to say that the Australian flag doesn’t represent the multicultural society that we’ve become. Yet those that emigrate from other parts of the world seem to disagree with that. It’s only those that were born here that want to change the flag. But I think it’s an important point that Australia Day is so important to so many Australians from varied backgrounds, that we often forget, we seem to think that we’re targeting a jingoistic yobbo bunch, but a lot of people get caught up in this net, when we attack the very things that represent what this country stands for.

Well, that’s right and on Australia Day, many non-Australians will become Australians, and citizenship ceremonies will be conducted in councils across the country…interrupted

Just not in Victoria.

Well 91 local governments now have chosen not to do that. I’ll be standing with the Gold Coast community on Australia Day, proudly singing the national anthem for those new Australians.

Well said. Angie good to talk to you this morning.

Thank you.



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