I think that we can change the world, starting with Australia, if we are strategic about it and recognize the validity of the concerns of those not yet with us.
There are some who are wedded to the status quo for reasons of their own and who will remain obstacles to change regardless, but more- I think- are involved in education for the good of children and would change, if it provided better outcomes.
Probably all of us here would like to see LOTE as a fully recognized and mandatory part of the National Curriculum. There are plenty of obstacles but the one which can block this all on its own is that the government cannot mandate what it can't supply. There are not enough LOTE teachers, in the right places, to supply every child with a specialist teacher. I've seen a number of deadlines whoosh past for various systems to fully enforce LOTE teaching, deferred because they can't be staffed.
The only way to insist that every Australian child can be guaranteed a chance to be bilingual, and more, is to engage generalist primary teachers in the teaching.They are already in place all over the country, they know how to manage classes, they already teach English, they accept primary teaching conditions and pay AND they model
mainstream values. In addition, they can teach ten mini-lessons/practice sessions a week if they want to, and integrate the learning to create an immersion environment as the class becomes ready. (Farewell, monolingual mindset!)
Australian primary teachers are generally not bilingual and would be afraid to be obliged to learn a new language but, if we are smart and compassionate about this, we can help them deal with this fear. If someone is afraid to dive off the high board at the pool, it's no use yelling them to not to be afraid. It would help to let them use the little board, or the side of the pool first. When they succeed and relax and even enjoy doing it, they'll start looking at that high board differently.
In languages, the side of the pool is Esperanto. With 28 sound-letter combinations, 16 grammar rules with no exceptions, no gender for inanimate objects, and consistently-applicable affixes to construct a large vocabulary from few memes, it is as accessible as language can be. It is a language built for beginners and can be used for real communication with peers in dozens of countries, stimulating curiosity about their world and LOTE.
Imagine if your first year high school kids came to you fluently bilingual, able to use a bilingual dictionary, aware of how to avoid unfamiliar idioms, with personal insights from friends who speak "your" language, but no start in the language itself- just willingness to learn. Couldn't you do more for them then? Do you think that LOTE teaching would attract more teachers then?
I thought of this strategy back in 2007 when the universities were looking for "creative solutions" to the crisis in LOTE education and have spent most of the time since creating a resource kit which enables primary teachers to start teaching, and learning themselves, at the same time so that they and their first class of students become bilingual together. It is no harder to use than any other teachers guide currently in use and provides integrated language teaching methodology and elementary linguistics on the way. You can see Michael Clyne's preface for it here
With the support of people such as yourselves, the minimum entitlement to LOTE education in Australia could be primary bilingualism in the beginner LOTE, Esperanto. Without it, LOTE remains dependent on specialist supply and the minimum entitlement, for those without, will be nothing at all.
I hope that the desire of language teachers to share their linguaphilia (Michael's word) is greater than their desire to remain exclusive. Like a teenager with a face-full of piercings asking why people are stand-offish, we need to clarify our objective and reflect it in our actions. Let's make first bilingualism mainstream, and increase accessibility (both practically and psychologically) of target languages for all our kids, through all their lives.