The Ballarat Independent.

Time out, Mr Howard

Author: Mike Stiuchbery Categories: Issues, Stories, Politics, Education You are in:Home > Stories > Issues

Time out, Mr Howard
Mike Stuchbery

 As a teacher, it's my number one responsibility not to teach students the knowledge and skills that they will need to get by in the increasingly complex 21st century world, but to instill a creeping, gnawing dread deep within their hearts. It is my calling to convince students that unless we recycle everything within reach and maintain the Carbon Tax, the seas will rise and hurricanes will lash our cities, killing thousands. I serve not my students, nor the DEECD but Mother Gaia.

Hail, Mother Gaia! Soon we will purge the man-virus from the Earth! Ia Ia Cthulhu Fthagn!

At least, that seems to be former PM John Howard's point of view. The goose.

Why else would he go and launch a book by Professor Ian Plimer called How to Get Expelled from School: A Guide to Climate Change for Pupils, Parents and Punters?

The book, which the Herald-Sun says has been billed as an ‘anti-warmist manual' gives a bunch of ‘questions' to throw at teachers. Plimer states that if teachers can't answer them, 'it shows that our schools have been captured'.

Right. By what? Shape shifting Space Lizards? Illuminati Jihadists? Gays? Greens?

Plimer's colleagues within the scientific community have been quick to review the work and funnily enough, found it riddled with errors, contradictions and blatant falsehoods. Professor Chris Turney of the Climate Change Research Centre states that ‘the author has learnt lessons from the creationists and applied the same cherry-picking approach to climate change‘. Professor Ian Enting of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems says ‘in many cases Plimer explicitly misrepresents the content of his cited references' and that ‘in many other cases the references that are cited do not in fact support his claims‘.

It is, to put it charitably, a work whose intrinsic value and informational validity can be robustly debated. To put it uncharitably, it reeks.

I guess it's not surprising that Mr Howard would be happy to launch Plimer's book. He's got form. Throughout the nineties he spent a lot of time belting history teachers over the head for daring to suggest that we've got stuff in our history that we might be ashamed of. He obviously has the sense that our teachers don't take up their jobs because they're genuinely passionate about the subject matter, but rather they're bitter agent provocateurs dedicated to undermining the confidence of the young and ushering in the fall of Western Civilization.

Still, it's disappointing to see a former leader of any political stripe trumpeting any book designed to be used as a tool to undermine teachers and remove confidence in what is a pretty damned balanced education system. We have enough on our plates ushering through the next generation without wondering whether little Peter is going to accuse us of being a ‘Leftist Warmist' for not being able to answer a question about precipitation that he probably doesn't even understand himself.

Poor showing, Mr Howard. If you're so starved for relevance, go give an interview or three and stop taking it out on schools.

This story appeared originally on and reproduced here with permission. Mike Stuchbery is a teacher, writer, speaker and activist from Melbourne, Australia. He is determined to help make the world a better place. He writes and speaks on a variety of topics, with a focus on politics, media, youth and public policy.