AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT
SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 194#.
16 FEBRUARY 2007
CATHOLIC WORLD YOUTH DAY SYDNEY 2008
PLAN TO TAKE OVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The New South Wales Teachers Federation has strongly objected to the Morris Iemma Government plan to house 30,000 Roman Catholic pilgrims in public schools during the second week of the July vacation in 2008.
According to the NSWTF Journal Education 12 February 2007, the housing plan is in support of the World Youth Day Sydney 2008, a week of events organised by the Church. Federation has been briefed by the Department of Education and Training on the plan to use public schools for dormitory-style accommodation.
World Youth Day is to be held in Sydney from July 15-20 2008 and will include a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.
On December 20, 2006, the NSWTF wrote to Federation representatives and principals in the metropolitan schools advising them of Federation concerns about what is essentially a "Catholic Church" event.
Federation has objected strongly to under-funded public schools being subject to cost and disruption of a religious event and said that Catholic schools, churches and church halls would be more appropriate.
DOGS also note that since the 1850s the Roman Catholic Church has been only too happy to vilify and label public schools as "Godless" yet, when it suits the Church they wish to not only divert public funds into their own church system but then use the under funded facilities of the public system as it suits their particular religious purposes. The Federal and New South Wales State Government are already pouring tens of millions of taxpayer funds into this specifically religious event. Over the past forty years our Governments have also poured billions of dollars into the privately owned facilities of the various Christian Churches and protected them further with taxation exemptions.
DOGS further note that Premier Iemma is a committed member of the Roman Catholic Church and according to the Sydney Morning Herald has been "spooked" by implacable Catholic opposition and "rolled over to Catholic doctrine" on the stem cell research debate. The same paper claimed that discussion at cabinet level centered not on legal issues but on the "political pragmatism" quelling opposition by that Church in the run up to the 2007 State election.
Is the handing of of the New South Wales public schools to the Church for their religious purposes "political pragmatism" or something else? Citizen taxpayers have a right to know.
Whatever the answer to the above, the use of public schools for overtly religious purposes in this manner contravenes the principles of separation of church and state and represents an undermining of the secular State and its public schools.
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|Last modified:Sunday, 18 February 2007|