Is Roz Ward standing in your ward? The revolutionary Trotskyist and founder of the so-called “Safe Schools” program has decided to try her hand at electoral politics by standing under the “Victorian Socialists” ticket in the upcoming local elections for the South Central ward of the inner northern Melbourne municipality of Darebin.
Naturally this self appointed representative of the working class isn’t actually standing in a working class area. The South Central ward targeted by Ward takes in most of the suburb of Thornbury as well as the southern tip of Preston and the northern tip of Northcote. Those suburbs were once working class to be sure, but certainly aren’t anymore. The area, once home first to thriving Irish Catholic and then post-war Mediterranean immigrant communities has rapidly gentrified into a Greens voting middle-class wasteland.
The contrast with the early 1990s when areas like Northcote were considered well below the average on the Australian socio-economic scale is stark. Today 46% of Northcote residents have a bachelor’s degree or above compared to just 14% in 1996. In Thornbury the percentage with a bachelor’s degree or higher is only slightly lower at 40% (compared to 22% for the Australian population as a whole). An area that was for over a century dominated by poor migrants, first the Irish (Preston was originally called “Irishtown”) then later Greeks, Italians and Macedonians is now a cul-de-sac of deracinated bien-pensant hipsters with a weekly income significantly above the Australian average. Northcote at the State level was the area that first elected now Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe. At the Federal level it was one of the target seats of the Victorian Socialists at the last national poll.
When the French invented the concept of the BoBo (bourgeois-bohemian) this was the sort of area they had in mind.
Northcote is also one of the areas where Roz Ward rolled out the first stages of the “Safe Schools” project, initially as a part of Ward’s earlier organisation the “Rainbow Network”. Then Labor education minister Bronwyn Pike announced $80,000 in seed funding to help set up “Safe Schools” in October 2010. Pike of course never publicly mentioned that her son Paul Coats was (and still is) an organiser with Socialist Alternative, the same revolutionary Trotskyist group Roz Ward represents.
A year later, the newly elected state Coalition government announced further funding of $416,000 and the federal Labor government then lent its support in 2013 when Senator Penny Wong, who is gay, unveiled $8 million over four years to “help stop homophobia and create more inclusive school communities”.
The Safe Schools Coalition program was eventually rolled out to more than 500 schools with the backing of the Australian Secondary Principals Association and the Australian Education Union. Nobody bothered to point out that the woman behind it all was fairly open and honest in her belief that gender education in schools should be tailored to best suit the interests of a future Soviet style revolution. Another ALP Education Minister James Merlino (a self described “devout Catholic”) even had his picture taken with Ms Ward at a gay pride march.
It wasn’t until June 2016 when Ms Ward posted on Facebook that after having the gay pride flag flying above Victorian Parliament all that remained for her to do for her “work to be done” was to have the “racist” Australian flag removed and replaced with the red flag of communism that some people started to twig. Former Victorian Liberal premier Jeff Kennett who in his position as chairman of the mental health charity BeyondBlue had overseen the donation of over $600,000 to the “Safe Schools” program without ever looking into the extremist running it suddenly declared that Ward had to go. Ward’s employers at La Trobe University suspended her but had to make a humiliating backdown after Ward threatened to sue them and was backed to the hilt by NTEU boss Jeannie Rea. It’s perhaps not surprising that Rea would consider Marxism to be an entirely appropriate belief system for an educator, considering that she herself had been a featured speaker at Marxist conferences dating back as far back as 1995. Ward was reinstated and received a cheering NTEU guard of honour upon her return to the Bundoora La Trobe campus.
Nonetheless the damage was done, by December the ALP State government under increasing public pressure cut ties with the program. Members of Sydney’s Chinese community lodged a petition containing more than 17,000 signatures against the program. The chairman of the Confederation of Indian Australian Associations said, “It should not be given that platform in the school lessons, the majority of Indians feel … school is not an appropriate place to bring this subject up.” Former Prime Minister John Howard weighed in, echoing the thoughts of millions of right of centre Australian when he stated: “What’s disappointed me is an issue like Safe Schools. When that emerged it should have been hit on the head by centre-right governments at federal and state level”.
The people behind the Safe Schools program simply re-branded and moved on, but there was no doubt that a re-brand was needed. Roz Ward’s obvious extremism had made open a part of their agenda that they had preferred to be secret. By November 2017 the number of schools professing to teach the program had sunk from a high of 545 to a desultory 52. Parents had become informed as to just what academics like Ward had in mind for their children and their revolt had pushed her and her ilk back under the rock they had crawled out from under.
Ward’s comrades on the extreme left were furious and when the Australian Christian Lobby attempted to hold events in Melbourne and Sydney to educate parents on what was really being taught to their children mobs of leftists, some masked in the now familiar “Antifa” fashion, attempted to block the entrances to the events and attack attendees. The organisers of the violent mob in Sydney were the “Community Action Against Homophobia” group. This is of course the same Marxist front group that plans to protest next month against Mark Latham’s proposed legislation that would give the power to parents, rather than educators like Ward, to teach their children about subjects such as sex and gender.
Roz Ward is only one of nineteen candidates Socialist Alternative is running under the “Victorian Socialists” banner at next months election. In a weird piece of continuity the VicSoc candidate for Melbourne Lord Mayor Kath Larkin (famous for gurning like a mental patient at Jordan Peterson on the ABC) began her activist career at Northcote High School, one of the first 11 schools chosen by Ms Ward to roll out the prototype of the “Safe Schools” project. Ms Larkin first met and was groomed into a Marxist activist by Ms Ward as part of the latter’s taxpayer funded work at the school setting up gay activist groups amongst the students.
Which is a fact rather more important than a council election that Ward is unlikely to win (she’s running against the current Darebin Mayor, a former Greens member). The more important fact is probably that an obvious extremist was allowed to craft an educational program for Australian students, was gifted vast sums of taxpayer funds to do it, and was even from the start using said program to recruit underage children not only as adherents to her extremist ideology but as actual members for her revolutionary Trotskyist organisation. And further that until she actually came out and publicly implied support for overthrowing the government she was working for nobody thought it was odd either that a) she was in this position, or that b) the initial taxpayer funds for her project came from a government minister with a son in the same extremist organisation as her.
Maybe Ms. Ward had a point when she said all that was left was for the Victorian State Parliament to openly raise the Soviet red flag.