AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE #12.
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SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE:
YOU DO A BETTER JOB IF YOU BELONG TO THE RIGHT RELIGION
D.O.G.S have noted with interest the controversy over the tendering of employment services to religious organisations. This controversy represents a re-run as well as an extension of the State Aid to Church schools and represents a further financing of religions by the State.
Four of Australia's church charities will earn about $700 million from the Government over the next three years from contracts to find jobs for the unemployed. Salvation Army Employment Plus could earn up to $277.6 million and becomes by far the largest job agency in Australia. Mission Australia could earn up to $241.6 million and becomes the second largest player. The Catholic Church's Centacare Australia Ltd could earn up to $86.6 million and Wesley Uniting Employment $82 million.
The contents of the editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald dated January 8, 2000 remind one of one of the age old techniques used by the churchmen and their representatives when their plundering of the State Treasury is opposed by concerned citizens. The cry of "Sectarianism" goes up once again. We quote from the editorial , particularly the response of Mr Abbott, the Federal Minister for Employment Services:
" The problem is that people like Kim Beasley and Natasha Stott Despoja appear to be living in a time warp, a 1950s rime warp. They are guilty, it seems to me, of practising the intolerance of religion which we all thought had died at about the time Bob Menzies gave State aid to Catholic schools."
The editor however, claimed that comments by the Wesley Mission spokesmen raised legitimate concerns about what may happen when religious charities become big business employment agencies. He quote the mission's public religions manager, Mr David Mcgovern as saying:
" Organisations like Wesley Mission have long maintained a policy of having Christian belief as an 'occupational requirement', simply because it has found that Christians make the best staff.. and "Its experience indicates that, overall, those who share a commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ will do their job better."
D.O.G.S. have noted in the discussions on this matter the same dissembling by the Roman Catholic faction which they experienced in the State Aid battle and High Court case.
The Employment Advertisements in the Weekend Australian November 13-14, 1999 page 5 contains an Advertisement for the Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission and Centacare Australia Ltd for a manager GST Implementation Program. Amongst other things the applicant is required to demonstrate :
"..a sound knowledge of the operations of the Catholic Church. An understanding of and commitment to the ethos of the Catholic Church and a commitment to the philosophy and core values of the Commission and Centacare essential."
Two months, and public controversy later, the Roman Catholic faction denied that a "religious test" applied for Centacare employment. The impression was given that the staff generally shared broad Christian values.
D.O.G.S. recall with interest that when the High Court case was finished, the Roman Catholic Church gave the impression that they had never opposed the D.O.G.S. going to the High Court and were content to have the matter heard. A perusal of our story on this website will indicate that the opposite was the case.
In the High Court case it was asserted by the Church School faction that professional staff were selected on professional and not religious tests. A perusal of employment advertisements before, during and after the case indicated otherwise.
The plain fact of the matter is that religious tests can and do apply. The Church faction lobbied for and obtained exemptions from the Equal Opportunity Act.
D.O.G.S. remind readers that the "State Aid" debate will only die if the Church factions in our society destroys our public education system and completely erodes Separation of Church and State.
Teachers who want employment in Church schools and particularly Roman Catholic Schools who do not have a referral from the local parish Priest will tell you about the reality of religious tests in religious schools.
If you have a message for supporters of public education:
Ray Nilsen on
(03) 9326 9277 or Fax: (03) 9326 9180
P.O. BOX 4869
Melbourne Victoria Australia 3001
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|Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005|