Jan 31, 2006

Howard Government Fails History Test

Howard Government Fails History Test


31 January 2006

The Howard Government has failed its own history test.

On Australia Day, Queensland’s historic Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine was deservedly added to the National Heritage List.

The Howard Government has, however, covered up the real history of this great icon.

The media release from the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment fails to mention the historic connection of the Tree of Knowledge with trade unions and the Labor Party. It doesn’t suit their version of history.

The Department of the Environment and Heritage is very clear in its advice:

“the 150 year old, ten metre Ghost Gum…symbolises an important time in Australia’s political development as the meeting place for shearers during their unsuccessful strike of 1891. The shearers’ strike…played a crucial role in the historical connection between unions and what eventually became the Australian Labor Party.”

The Howard Government wants to rewrite history.

John Howard’s narrow, pin-striped view of Australia’s history is an imaginary world that conveniently ignores the important connection of the shearer’s strike, the meeting under the Tree of Knowledge and the formation of the Australian Labor Party.

Instead of lecturing Australia’s hardworking history teachers about the importance of accuracy and facts, the Prime Minister should send his MPs back to the classroom.