It might not be making national headlines and Julie Bishop may not even be aware, but her comments from over 10 years ago are blowing up on social media.
A 2006 article from The Age newspaper has been getting a lot of attention among Indigenous circles recently. The article highlights that former Education Minister, Julie Bishop, endorsed a report that called for Aboriginal culture not to be taught in schools.
The report made claims that students who are less traditional generally perform better than students who are more traditional. The report also labelled Aboriginal culture as “the problem”, suggesting it inhibits students from learning under a western learning model. The report went even further with insensitive comments that Aboriginal culture is pre-literate and pre-numerate.
The report was heavily criticised by Indigenous leaders and other members of parliament who labelled it as racist, idiotic and promoting assimilation. At the time however, Julie Bishop felt the report made “a very interesting point”. She went on to say that she would consider using the report to frame education policy.
Julie Bishop is no longer the Education Minister, she is now Deputy Prime Minister and many of us have serious concerns about what someone in this position with these kind of attitudes would mean to Indigenous people in Australia.