Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson has spoken out against left-wing policy approaches to criminal justice, health and schooling, which he argues have partly underpinned the crime wave in Alice Springs.

The academic and passionate advocate for back-to-basics teaching used a speech at the Canberra Education Conference to promote a clear teaching approach that requires clear direction from teachers in student-led learning.

Noel Pearson has criticized left-wing policy approaches to criminal justice, health and education,credit:Dominic Lorimer

Pearson and other critics argue that the approach is more traditional than the modern forms of teaching that have been pushed by progressive thinkers in the education establishment.

“My general rule of thumb in deciding the right policies, [which is] “It’s almost the opposite of what progressive thinking says we should do,” said Voice to Parliament’s chief advocate.

“In all areas — criminal justice, education, health, welfare reform, economic development — do almost the opposite of what progressive thinking should say, and you’ll get it about right.”


Pearson argued that poor and disadvantaged children—whose poor learning outcomes were highlighted in a recent Grattan Institute report—and Report of the Productivity Commission Showing up to billions of dollars in funding had little impact – particularly frustrated by the lack of clear reading guidance.

“What do you think is happening in Alice Springs? That is a product of failed education, which is a product of failed teaching in the communities that those children come from. And there is no solution,” he said.

“Yes, the middle-class kids, they’re fine. They pass, they go to university. But I’m worried about the kids, the underclass kids.

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