AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE #19.
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|SUBMISSION TO SENATE COMMITTEE RE STATE AID TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS|
SUBMISSION TO SENATE EMPLOYMENT WORKPLACE RELATIONS, SMALL BUSINESS AND EDUCATION LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
(PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ASSISTANCE) BILL 2000
The Australian Council for the Defence of Government Schools wishes to make the following submission:
The Committee should recommend:
Recommendations in Detail:
We refer the Committee to Statements made by the Australian Education Union and ACSSO and their affiliates.We will not discuss this aspect in much detail as we intend to provide more detail on the remaining three recommendations.
We note that the "myth" of the poor parish school has run its course and that it is becoming blatantly obvious to Public (State and government) School supporters that the poor relations in Australian education are our public schools.
An immediate injection of public funding is required for our deprived and impoverished systems of public education. Public school parents are weary of paying double taxation for education: taxation for a public system open to all which is discriminated against, and heavy taxation for a wealthy publicly funded private system which discriminates on the basis of religion, tribal affiliation (ethnicity and colour), and ability to pay. On top of this they are then expected to be tax collectors themselves, raising private funding for basic educational requirements.
2.1 State Aid is Bad Public Policy a Cancer in the Body Politic
Since its inception, the Australian Council for the Defence of Government Schools has declared that State Aid is bad public policy because
In summary, State Aid to private schools defies the lessons of logic and history for any democratic, heterogeneous, peaceful society.
2.2 The DOGS have been proved right!
We do not intend to expand upon all these points in this Submission. For the purposes of this Submission we will confine ourselves to those aspects dealt with below.
First of all, State Aid degrades public education both in terms of percentage share of the public purse; percentage share of pupil population, and the mix of pupils from different backgrounds which enables it to carry out its important political, social and cultural function of uniting rather than dividing our children.
2.3 Decline in Public School Percentage Share of Pupil Population
State Aid has brought about the decline of the percentage share of pupils in the public systems throughout Australia as it was intended to do by the major beneficiary.
Below is a table, by decades of the percentage share of public education of school children. (1901-1999)
PUBLIC SCHOOL PERCENTAGE SHARE OF TOTAL SCHOOL ENROLMENTS IN AUSTRALIA (BY DECADES)
If one peruses the individual yearly figures that make up the above table, the effect of State Aid to Private Schools on public education is far more apparent. However, it should be noted that it has taken extensive inefficient and uneconomic duplication of public school facilities together with at least four billion dollars of direct grants for 2001 (the indirect grants of the State Aid iceberg are ignored to the peril of the common good)
In 1963 in the year before State Aid was introduced, public schools percentage share of pupil population was 76.2%. This rose to 78.9% in 1977. But since then the massive injection of public funding into private education has taken its toll. For the first time in the twentieth century, the percentage share of pupil population in 1984 went below 75.0%.
Public school percentage share of population has declined in every year since 1984 and for the first time since the "free, secular and compulsory" acts of the last century public education fell below 70% for the first time. In 1999 the figure had declined to 69.9%.
That is, in just over twenty years, the public education pupil share has declined 9 percentage points.
If we are to accept the Federal Ministers Second Reading Speech of the Education Bill the public school percentage share of pupil population will decline at a far greater rate. It is clear from the Ministers Second reading Speech that it is envisaged that the contents of this Bill are to be the most vicious attack upon public education ever devised upon public education by any politician in Australian history with the blessing of the major beneficiary, the Roman Catholic Church and those religious bodies that have hitched their wagon to the State Aid auction.
Any provision for State Aid in this Bill should be opposed outright.
As predicted by the D.O.G.S. the percentage share of federal funding received by public education has declined significantly. The following table clearly indicates that in the first year of federal funding public education received 73.7% of federal funding whereas if this Bill is passed, it is predicted that in the year 2003/2004 public school percentage share of federal funding will decline to 32.2%. One should remember that the percentage share of pupil population for 1999 was 69.9%.
DECLINE OF PERCENTAGE SHARE OF FEDERAL FUNDING FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
From the above table one can see that if this Bill is passed in its present form, the Federal Liberal/National Party Coalition intends to cut the share of funding going to public education by 9.9%.
2.5 Massive Increase in Federal Funding to Private Church Schools
State Aid was re-introduced as a result of political blackmail. Whatever was given in one year was a prelude to the demands for the next year and following years. A little whetted the appetite for much more. In the opening phases, modest amounts were sought. Deference became preference and now preference has become near monopoly. The Church has truly invaded the Public Treasury. Public funds are open to plunder. The group with the most supporters, the largest political lobby, and the greatest political power, has and will be best able to exploit the public treasury for what it chooses to call education.
In the past year Brother Kelvin Canavan, Director of Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Sydney made the following revealing statement:
" There is a realization that the arrangements in Australia are better than those existing in most if not all other countries. "
Even more revealing is the following statement by Professor Tannock
The kind of State Aid system which has emerged in Australia according to Tannock "by world standards is amazing. 80% of public funding is received with virtually no conditions."
Australia should be contrasted with Italy which is 90% Roman Catholic but where up to at least 1998, Roman Catholic schools did not receive State Aid.
Italian taxpayers are fortunate. State Aid to church schools is a bottomless pit.
GROWTH OF DIRECT FEDERAL FUNDING PRIVATE SCHOOLS
These figures are astonishing. If we include an estimate for State Funding, Direct State Aid to private schools in Australia will exceed $5 billion in 2003-2004. This figure does not include the many indirect sources of government subsidy. Any Government Education Committee worth its salt would be calculating the full bill in direct and indirect subsidies from the taxpayers of Australia.
It should be noted that it has taken 30 years to get to 1.86 Billion dollars in direct federal funding. Whereas it will only take eight years under the Liberal National Party to add another $1.97 Billion to the Federal State Aid Bill.
This is another reason why this Bill should be rejected outright!
Before State Aid was introduced again in the Twentieth Century, the opponents of State Aid declared that "public money to private schools encourages division amongst children based on social, economic, class, and particularisms such as colour, country, ethnicity, and creed. It was clearly stated that the increase in State Aid would divide children along the lines of divisions in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Children have been divided by colour and within colour.
The following table illustrates, by studying the number and type of Church schools that were in existence in 1964 and then in 1985 and finally 1999 this ongoing division in our community:
NUMBER AND TYPE OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS FUNDED TO DIVIDE AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN
Once again the D.O.G.S. have been proved right!
This Bill should be rejected because State Aid to Church schools corrodes and has corroded the democratic government of Australia.
The rationale behind Section 116 of the Australian Constitution, the
Church/State separation and freedom of religion Clause inserted by Church State
separationists at the Federal Convention in 1901, was based upon reason and experience.
The Founding Fathers were aware that the union of government and religion tends to destroy
government and degrade religion. Church/State entanglement undermines the integrity of the
three arms of government: - the Executive; the legislature and the judiciary. It distorts
the workings of democracy and the free press.
Opponents of Aid to private schools, knowing both through their history and logic were able to predict what has in fact occurred.
3.1 Massive Gains in State Aid are the result of Private Dealings between Clerics and Members or Agents of the Executive.
The following are a few examples:
The legislature should reject the Bill because members of the Australian electorate are starting to realize and resent the power of the Church in matters of State.
The legislature should also reject the Bill because they would be rejecting the latest deal done between the executive and the clerical pressure group.
Because of their fear of the powerful Church School lobby, our politicians have abdicated their responsibility to protect the interests of the taxpayers. Without the support from politicians some bureaucrats and administrators have followed their natural tendency to avoid confrontation with church school interests at all costs. Unfortunately, some of the bureaucrats have been too closely identified with or allied with the Church School interests.
4.1 Bottom of the School Yard Schemes
Very early in the State Aid grab, the major beneficiary of State Aid, the Roman Catholic Church, woke up to the lamentable weakness of those who were supposed to protect the public interest. For instance, they recognized the financial benefit of keeping needy schools needy; withholding of moneys ; switching of categories of schools; and using frontier groups to set up further "needy schools.
D.O.G.S. do not have to quote themselves in the 1970s and 1980s, but only need to point to some statements of people involved in the Schools Commission.
5.1 The Cornerstone of our Society
The cornerstone of Public Education is the cornerstone of a liberal, heterogeneous, democratic Australian society. The weakening of public education is the weakening of the very foundation and fabric of the society we have inherited. The peaceful, and until recently, egalitarian society we have enjoyed in Australia is the result of the public system which has served us so well.
The questions we need to raise about Public (government) School education are among the most important questions that can be raised about our society. We are getting at the heart of the kind of society we want to live in, and the kind of society we want our children to live in.
The great issues surrounding Public (Government) School education are really the greatest issues of public policy.
The role of education is so central to the making of a free, liberal, democratic government that education is the most important business in civil society and universal accessibility to education is fundamental to success in this endeavour.
5.2 A Viable and Just Community
Public (Government) School education stands for and assists in achieving a viable and just community. Public (Government) school education is needed for us to continue to have a viable, democratic, heterogeneous community. Let no one doubt that if there is to be a twilight of the "liberal Public (Government, school and public (Government) Education Systems, that twilight will also be the twilight of the modern "liberal democratic State whose values are freedom equality, justice, fraternity, the working of popular consent and the personal obligation for the public good.
For the benefit of the reader, we enclose copies of Section 7 of the 1969 Act (Attachment 1) together with a copy p 53 of the Annual Report of 1971. (Attachment 2)
This Committee should seek an explanation for why there has been a change to the reporting requirements of the Minister from 1997 to 1998. The information contained in the Ministers Report for 1997 is somewhat similar to the Reports from about 1973. So, for over twenty years the Report contained detailed information on each private school receiving public moneys. At least we had an idea how much the individual schools were alleged to have received.
The 1997 Report contained 92 pages whereas that produced as the Ministers report for 1998 contained 26 pages. Moreover, in the 1997 Report, there were 62 pages of information about money going to individual schools in the States and Territories. This has been reduced to 8 pages in the1998 Report. This is a disgraceful cover up of what is actually going on.
For instance, it is not good enough for the information on the funding of New South Wales private schools being reduced from 20 pages to one page and for Victoria from 16 pages to one page. Sixty two pages reduced to 8 pages is not taking seriously the accountability requirements.
Has this been done to conceal what is actually happening?
Remember what Dr. McKinnon said and he was the Head of the Schools Commission resoponsibility for a minimal accounting for public funding.
Public utilities are constantly burdened with statistical requirements while receiving less and less funding, while Church bureaucracies are relieved from accounting requirements while receiving every increasing gifts from the public treasury.
What is going on in this democracy of ours?
Is the Committee going to roll over on this one too?
If you have a message for supporters of public education:
Ray Nilsen on
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P.O. BOX 4869
Melbourne Victoria Australia 3001
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|Last modified:Monday, 25 August 2008|