Daniel Andrews introduces a LAW for schools to teach students about white colonisation

Daniel Andrews introduces a LAW instructing schools to teach students about the ‘trauma’ of white colonisation and to mark the day Kevin Rudd said sorry to the Stolen Generation

  • Under new Victorian laws students to learn about ‘trauma’ of white colonisation 
  • Kids of all year levels will also likely participate in events such as ‘Sorry Day’ 
  • The new standards apply to schools and facilities such as hospitals and councils  

Schools will teach kids about the ‘significant trauma’ of white colonisation, commemorate ‘Sorry Day’ and fly the Aboriginal flag under new laws in Victoria. 

Premier Dan Andrews said he expected every school to adopt the reconciliation initiatives and that every year level would take part. 

‘Being reconciled is just that. You can’t be reconciled if you’re not prepared to acknowledge some pretty awful stuff that happened in the past,’ Mr Andrews said on Tuesday.

‘It’s about making sure that everybody feels equal, everybody feels included and everybody feels safe.’

‘I think it might be the whole school and I don’t see anything wrong with that.’ 

Under new Victorian laws backed by Dan Andrews (pictured) schoolchildren of all year levels would take part in reconciliation activities such as commemorating 'Sorry Day'

Under new Victorian laws backed by Dan Andrews (pictured) schoolchildren of all year levels would take part in reconciliation activities such as commemorating ‘Sorry Day’

Victorian Opposition leader Matthew Guy said it was important for kids to learn about history but it must be done carefully not to create division in children. 

‘It is important that they do learn lessons of fact from the past, but that is done respectfully,’ he said.

‘When it involves kids, we’ve got to make sure that we’re not pitting one against the other.’

The new legal standards require that from next term all educational facilities including universities and high schools but also primary schools, kindergartens and childcare centres provide a ‘culturally inclusive’ environment. 

This includes a recognition that will affect teaching frameworks that ‘Australia’s colonial history has caused significant trauma and hurt that individuals, families and communities still feel’.

Days marking significant reconciliation steps will also be commemorated including Close the Gap Day on March 18, Mabo Day on June 3, and Sorry Day on May 26. 

New laws to create an independent authority to oversee Victoria’s treaty negotiations are also set to pass with bipartisan support.

The Victorian coalition initially reserved backing the Treaty Authority Bill after the Andrews government introduced it in state parliament a fortnight ago.

But Opposition Leader Matthew Guy confirmed the Liberals and Nationals would vote for the bill without amendment after a joint partyroom meeting on Tuesday morning.

‘We’ll be supporting the legislation when it comes to parliament tomorrow,’ he told reporters.

‘Reconciliation is a topic that should be around uniting Australians … that’s why this is an important step.’

The Victorian coalition announced its support for treaty negotiations in May after Mr Guy suggested a federal process would ‘make more sense’ before the 2018 state election.

Liberal MP Tim Smith, who will not recontest his seat in November after a drink-driving crash, said he does not support ‘illiberal and divisive tokenism’ and will vote against the legislation.

‘I will be crossing the floor,’ he tweeted.

Shadow Aboriginal affairs minister Peter Walsh would not say if Mr Smith or others spoke out against the bill in the partyroom.

‘Tim, as an individual, is entitled to his opinions,’ he said.

If the legislation passes, as expected, the treaty authority will have legal powers to oversee treaty talks and resolve any disputes between the state government and the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.

It will be led by Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people elected by an independent panel and be grounded in culture, lore and law.


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