• First Nations artist Isaiah Firebrace presents his petition to teach Aboriginal history in schools to Labor MPs outside Parliament House on 24 November 2021. (Nic Holas)Source: Nic Holas
The Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara man's petition for students to learn First Nations history in Australian classrooms was tabled in parliament hours after he delivered it.
By
Nadine Silva

Source:
NITV News
25 Nov 2021 - 1:48 PM  UPDATED 25 Nov 2021 - 1:54 PM

Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara artist Isaiah Firebrace flew to Canberra on Wednesday to hand-deliver a petition to the federal government calling for Aboriginal history to be taught in schools around the country.

The petition, which has gathered more than 290,000 signatures, was presented on the lawns of Parliament House to shadow education minister Tanya Plibersek, Labor MPs Linda Burney and Graham Perrett, and Greens senator Lidia Thorpe.

Mr Firebrace told NITV News he was proud to celebrate the moment with his father and brother beside him. 

“Educating our country on our culture gives First Nations people value and the respect we deserve,” Mr Firebrace said.

“Not only to keep the culture alive, but to provide better understanding, recognition, relationships, and respect to Australia’s First Nations people... This will help us to come together.”

The 21-year-old's campaign follows the comments last month from federal education minister Alan Tudge, who said the new national draft curriculum, which was more inclusive of Indigenous perspectives, painted "a negative view of history".

Mr Firebrace's petition was tabled in parliament just hours after it was delivered.

“It’s heartening to see more than 290,000 Australians sign petitions calling for an authentic history of Australia to be taught in schools,” Change.org Australia Country Director Nic Holas said.

“We’re so proud to support Isaiah with his petition as he uses his platform to bring people together with this urgent issue."

Isaiah Firebrace emerged as a pop star after winning X-Factor in 2016, appearing on The Masked Singer, the Melbourne Fashion Week runway and becoming a regular host of a program exploring Tik Tok culture on iHeartRadio.

He’s also been selected to represent Australia on the Eurovision stage in Turin next year.

But when he isn’t on tour, Mr Firebrace travels to regional communities to deliver music workshops to school-aged children.

He said it was those trips that made him realise how important it is to teach Aboriginal history in schools.

A recent report by the NSW Department of Education found that cultural connection at school drives Aboriginal students to complete their Higher School Certificate.

“We need more education around Aboriginal history and cultures, and what my people have been through,” Mr Firebrace said.

“Change starts with education."

Cultural connection in schools driving Aboriginal students to complete HSC, report finds
The study analysed the data of almost 40,000 high school students across New South Wales including 3,686 who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.