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Teachers accused of anti-US bias

John Garnaut, Geesche Jacobsen and Just Us | 22.08.2005 00:39 | Anti-militarism | Culture | Repression | World

The NSW Teachers Federation condemned costello's comments as "absolute nonsense". Its senior vice-president, Angelo Gavrielatos, said: "The constant denegration of teachers isn't good for the country."

But who owns the problem?
But who owns the problem?

costello: "problems with
American power and
differences in policy
were far outweighed
by benefits."

Since when? And for who?
[file photo's] (Rooters)

AUSTRALIA: The fascist federal treasurer has drawn a rebuke from teachers for warning them against spreading anti-Americanism in schools and suggesting it could mutate into anti-Westernism and terrorist attacks against Australia.

But who owns the problem?

Venturing outside his usual economic territory, peter costello the funny little pastor said many teachers were carrying left-wing ideological baggage from the 1970s.

But nothing about the current state of affairs right pete?

costello: "If your teacher's carrying that bias it tends to get passed on," he said yesterday. "...Anti-Americanism can easily morph into anti-Westernism. Particularly you've seen that with terrorists. They don't really draw distinctions between Americans or Britons or Australians; they just like to hit anybody who they consider to be part of the West."

But if your teacher is telling the truth then that bias has substance and the people who own the problem and the bad habbits ought to fix the problem I would have thought! Something called getting insight into your offending behaviour could actually be a good lesson.

costello's comments followed a lengthy critique of the US-Australia relationship at the Australian American Leadership Dialogue on Saturday night.

The NSW Teachers Federation condemned costello's comments as "absolute nonsense". Its senior vice-president, Angelo Gavrielatos, said: "The constant denegration of teachers isn't good for the country."

US accused of despotism

In his first public speech on foreign policy since becoming treasurer almost 10 years ago, pastor costello, the funny little fellow, acknowledged the existence of problems with American power, such as its success in exporting "distasteful" views on sex and violence through the mass media.

"Unfortunately, America has found it much easier to spread its mass culture than to spread its high principles," he said.

What high principals are those?

Observers said costello had used the speech to inject nuance into the Australia-US relationship, and contrasted it with comments made by some cabinet colleagues.

costello said Australia's regional interests would frequently diverge from America's, as he had made clear in his approaches to international trade, to Indonesia during the Asian economic crisis and more recently to China, when the United States was pushing for it to revalue its currency.

"Australia views this [revaluation] issue through the lens of regional economic stability," he said. "The United States views it in the context of bilateral trade."

costello also contrasted Australia's tolerance of democratic diversity with the utopian values often associated with neoconservatives in the Bush Administration.

"The United States believes it has a 'manifest destiny' to take its view of human rights to the world," he said.

Allan Gyngell, executive director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, said Mr Costello had "defined Australian policy in the tradition of British empiricism rather than American idealism".

costello said problems with American power and differences in policy were far outweighed by benefits.

"If the world is to have a hegemon, the modern United States is the kind of hegemon we would like to have: democratic, respectful of human rights, with strong and genuine belief in individual liberty," he said.

But Sharon Canty, spokeswoman for the Parents and Citizens Federation, suggested Mr Costello was more interested in media and leadership than policy.

"Evidence of successful education in NSW could be a student's ability to recognise a grab for leadership and media time when they see one," she said.


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John Garnaut, Geesche Jacobsen and Just Us
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