Release type: Transcript

Date:

2GB interview on the Chris Smith Show

Ministers:

The Hon Alan Tudge MP
Minister for Education and Youth

Subjects: Melbourne Uni Lecturer calling on ‘English’ subject to be changed to ‘Language Arts’

CHRIS SMITH:

I’ll return to COVID-19 shortly, but it seems this year our education system has been under attack by the PC brigade like never before. The school curriculum now seems to be dominated by woke activists who are hell-bent on pushing our children gently towards a very culturally left interpretation of the world. And now there’s yet another example. A leading education authority is calling for the name ‘English’ to be scrapped from the curriculum, not the subject just the name. Former Queensland schoolteacher and University of Melbourne Senior lecturer Dr Melitta Hogarth has described the use of the name ‘English’ as an act of assimilation. Really? Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge joins me on the line, Minister welcome.

ALAN TUDGE:

G’day Chris

CHRIS SMITH:

The English language has been evolving for 1,400 years and we’ve managed quite well calling it by that name for most of that time. What is this rubbish about?

ALAN TUDGE:

Chris it is just absolute nonsense! You called it out correctly, it is rubbish. I certainly won’t be supporting such suggestions and we need to just reject it for what it is. Absolute garbage which shouldn’t be part of our school system.  It wasn’t just wanting to change the name. She went on to say that English was about maintaining power and privilege and asserting the besieged sovereignty of the colonial state. This is a woman who is in the Education Faculty of our number one ranked University. She’s an Assistant Dean no less, teaching our future teachers and it’s this sort of nonsense which she’s espousing. That’s what makes me really cross, Chris. Because it’s not just about some silly idea, it’s about the fact that she’s training our future teachers at a time when English language standards have declined, we know internationally we’ve fallen off a cliff and this is the type of nonsense which she is prosecuting at their National Conference to talk about the teaching of English.

CHRIS SMITH:

Almost like as if it’s been some kind of conspiracy, political conspiracy from the get-go. What are her alternatives to the word ‘English’?

ALAN TUDGE:

So, she wanted to call it ‘Language Arts’ because ‘English’ was seen as too much of a colonial word, an assimilatory word.  Anyway, it is what it is.

CHRIS SMITH:

But she has power, right? As you point out, she’s got power in a number of sectors in education.

ALAN TUDGE:

Well she does. She’s an Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne. So, she’s part of the training of our future teachers and this is what makes me really concerned about these particular views. Not just the fact that they’re nonsense, we can reject those from the curriculum, but the fact is she’s teaching our future teachers. And our teachers need to be taught the best evidence-based practices, so that our kids can have the best hope at reading to the best of their ability, doing their maths and their other subjects to the best of their ability.

CHRIS SMITH:

Stop looking for victimisation or the politics of education. Dr Hogarth goes on further to say she intends to disrupt and scrutinise the role, subject English played in maintaining the status quo and asserting the besieged sovereignty of the colonial state. She needs to go and join the Greens!

ALAN TUDGE:

Well maybe she already has. It needs to be rejected, but it’s deeply concerning that these types of views infect our Universities and infect the training of our future teachers. That’s what’s most concerning about all of this Chris.

CHRIS SMITH:

Not over your dead body as long as your Education Minister, I hope?

ALAN TUDGE:

Absolutely, not Chris! Absolutely not.

CHRIS SMITH:

Okay, I appreciate your time this morning. Thank you for that.

ALAN TUDGE:

Thanks very much Chris.

CHRIS SMITH:

Okay Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge. Thankfully, we’ve got an Education Minister that sees this for what it is, utter garbage!