Comment on Donnelly-Wiltshire review; Anzac and children

Justine Ferrari article in The Australian (paywall: extract below) includes comments from Honest History secretary, David Stephens. David Stephens has an article in Independent Australia on whether Anzac is a danger to our children.

16 October 2014

The review’s critique of the history curriculum was also challenged yesterday by a coalition of historians calling itself Honest History, headed by eminent military historian professor Peter Stanley.

Honest History secretary David Stephens said the report failed to make a strong case that the curriculum was deficient, relying on “dog whistle” terms to call for the greater ­inclusion of the role of western civilisation and the Judaeo-Christian heritage in the formation of Australia.

“It suggests there’s a single view of history but there isn’t; history is a contest between ­evidence-based interpretations,” he said. “That’s a weak, narrow, unimaginative view of Australian history; there are other things that are important than western civilisation and Judaeo-Christianity.”

Dr Stephens said western civilisation was an elusive concept that seemed to run in a single thread from Moses through Jesus Christ to William the Conqueror, to Anzac Day and John Howard, yet this version omitted the contribution of other cultures, such as Islam with its development of maths and science.