AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT
SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 188#.
24 JANUARY 2007
JOHN RALSTON SAUL, LEADERS, OPINION MAKERS AND THE
IMPORTANCE OF HISTORY
On September 22 , 2006, John Ralston Saul gave the opening address to the Cornerstones Conference on Public Education. This Conference was held in Sydney Australia and was organised by The Public Education Alliance.
The Public Education organisation connected with this Conference were:
John Ralston Saul is a world famous Canadian speaker and writer. ( Voltaire's Bastards; The Siamese Twins etc.) He is also a supporter of Public Services in a Liberal Democratic State. As the New Right Market theology marches relentlessly forward in its privatisation of public services, he represents the voice of reason . In his Keynote Opening Address, Ralston Saul had some very useful and important things to say. In this Press Release DOGS quote from some of the positive aspects of his address taken from the printed copy provided by the New South Wales Teachers Federation. In the next press Release DOGS indicate Ralson Saul's blank spot on the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the decline of the liberal, democratic State and public education in Australia. In this, of course, he is not alone. DOGS however, have no need to be "politically correct on the subject" (See Press Release 160 www.adogs.info/pr.160.htm and Press Release 161 www.adogs.info/pr.161.htm )
Meanwhile - some useful, positive quotes for supporters of public education:
The Importance of History
Ralston Saul had this to say about the importance of history ( page one):
" I think when we are talking about public education we have to understand how that happened. That is a long and difficult road and it wasn't inevitable, wasn't naturally going to be there, because how that happened is the foundation of the edifice on which we are building today and fiddling wrongly or rightly with that edifice, with that foundation, can have an appalling effect on the stability, the richness and stability of the middle class democracy that Australia has become. And so, it is very important to always be watching...watching the fissures, watching for the cracks that might be indications that one has forgotten what the foundations are and what this prosperity, democracy, egalitarianism is based on."
Later he said: ( page five)
" In general our societies are starting to forget the foundations. They are starting to forget the role of the foundations and therefore they are starting to do things which undermine that stability. Nothing is around for ever. Stability is something you work on. If you make the mistakes, you lose the stability. Make enough mistakes you'll be Argentina and so will Canada. Get it wrong you lose it - everybody else has lost it. I mean the Roman Empire isn't here anymore right? The British Empire has gone. American Empire is having a lot of trouble. They've got a lot of money and they're having a lot of trouble. Why do you think you would be immune to that, that you would be able to make the mistakes and there would be no outcome, of course there would be an outcome - it might take 5 years it might take 25 years, but suddenly you would wake up one day and realise that having been an inclusive middle class society you are suddenly a class society, suddenly there is a critical mass of people not just a small or medium mass of people excluded but a critical mass of people excluded. Suddenly your democracy is in danger...None of us are immune from reaping what we sow."
Further, ( page eight)
"He ( Sir Henry Parkes) got it right, history is actually quite important because it allows you to remember how and why you do things."
Leaders, Opinion Makers and History
Ralston Saul had this to say about the above subject( Page 4)
" The purpose of Parkes' mind of public education was to raise people. 'to a true sense of the dignity of humanity and inspire them of a true love of equality and order combined which is the true foundation of freedom'. It is very interesting when you take these things - these are the people who built the mattress, who built the foundations, whatever their flaws, you take that and you put that into today's debate and you realise just how far off track the people are who say choice means giving money to private schools. The people who believe that have no understanding of their own history, of the history of Australia. They have no understanding of the founders of your democracy of the people who created the foundation makes this country the astonishing and successful country that it is.
You weren't alone, there was a movement throughout the Western democracies as they struggled to become responsible to get responsible governments, to become democratic and so in Canada there were a number of people. Joseph Howell, the first leader of the democratic government in Canada, 1848, ' If you were my brother I would not permit your interest to weigh a feather against a trust so sacred as I believe our public schools system to be.'
Later he said: ( page five)
"They understood and the problem today is leaders who have no understanding of any of that history of where we have come from and what it is supposed to produce."
Further ( page 10)
"Leadership is the capacity to understand your own past, your real foundations and what that means for the use of the peoples will and their power today."
DOGS are looking for educational leaders in Australia who are aware of their liberal democratic past and have the intestinal fortitude to say, with Ralston Saul ( page 10) :
"IF THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS WISH TO EXIST THAT'S FINE AND THEY CAN PAY FOR THEMSELVES, THAT ALL. IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT"
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|Last modified:Thursday, 25 January 2007|