AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT
SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 214 #.
19 JULY 2007
"A HISTORY OF STATE AID TO NON-GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS IN AUSTRALIA"
Accountability Missing from Index
One symbolic omission from the Official History of State Aid is the failure to mention the word "accountability" in the Index of this publication. DOGS find this omission merely a reflection of the ongoing lack of accountability for taxpayer's money in the history of State Aid to religious schools in this country.
This lack of accountability for billions of dollars of public money illustrates the effect of State Aid on the democratic processes in this country. State Aid to religious institutions have proved a cancer in the Body Politic. It is merely a variation of what DOGS proved in relation to the High Court case from 1957 to 1981. As the United State Supreme Court stated in Engel v Vitale and Abington v Schempp
"A union of Government and Religion tends to destroy Government and to degrade Religion."
Is the Absence of the word Accountability in the Index of this Official History Surprising?
In a word, No.
Since the 1960s DOGS have been calling, through Press Releases, paid Advertisements, Letters to Parliament, and the Press for accountability for public money (State Aid) to religious schools. We refer you to our Press Releases on Accountability and the corruption of the political process at Press Releases 69, 76, 84, 90, and 162.
Accountability for State Aid : Caesar's Wife Reporting to Caesar
The problem with accountability for State Aid in Australia is that there is no public accountability because the showering of billions of dollars of State Aid on church schools is an exercise in internal networks at all levels of the financial food chain.
Church School operatives reporting to the bureaucratic arms of government containing church school operatives and persons influenced by them in turn report, only if they think it appropriate, to the political arm of government populated by church school interests. DOGS noted the following interchange at a Senate Enquiry on 22 August 2001 when Senator Allison from the Democrats indicated concern about accountability for public moneys.
Senator Allison (Democrats): Does this process need to be ticked off by the Commonwealth government? What are your reporting requirements in terms of the rationale and the actual dollars?
Mrs. Temby (Member, National Catholic Education Commission): It is available for the Commonwealth if they wish to have it. In recent times, they have not asked for the detail.
What You Will Not Find in the Official History of State Aid about Public Accountability
Not unsurprisingly, readers will not find the kind of information about accountability outlined below in the Federal Government's official History of State Aid.
This official history largely draws upon select secondary sources. Primary source material was available but completely ignored. For example, consider the following DOGS paid Advertisements on the Failure of Accountability going back to the early 1970s.
Advertisement The Age 12 July 1973
In particular DOGS refer readers to an Advertisement in The Age, 12 July 1973, when the accountability rot commenced in earnest under the Karmel Committee.
This Advertisement was headed "State Aid and the Interim Report on Education." The DOGS put this Advertisement in The Age because the media then, as now, provided a one sided view of the State Aid debate. There had been eight Press Releases issued by the DOGS in Victoria. Not one word of these Press Releases was published in The Age.
We refer you to a few quotes from this Advertisement which indicate that DOGS were correct in their predictions even at this stage of the State Aid debacle.
We quote from this 1973 Advertisement:
"Proposals on Public Accountability of Church Schools Totally Inadequate:
Too much can be hidden by any sort of group responsibility suggested. It is ridiculous that the church schools continue to provide their own auditors...reject the part accounting being suggested...without full and complete account6ing the public does not know...taxpayers you are being taken for a ride.
The Public should not be fooled by the Needs Approach used by the Interim Commission. At no stage did the Interim Committee assess the real financial position of church schools...
In this Advertisement DOGS also pointed out that the Needs approach adopted by the Committee in 1973 would encourage Church authorities to spend as little as they could on their schools in order to attract the most from the taxpayer's pocket.
Advertisement The Age December 2, 1977.
This Advertisement was entitled "State Schools Get the Chop." It exposed the shortcomings of the Schools Commission and its failure to protect the public schools and public interest. It also exposed the Needs policy as the Greeds policy. We quote:
Under the heading
Taxpayers Well and Truly Taken for a Ride:
Because of the fear of the sectarian Church School lobby politicians
have abdicated their responsibility to protect the taxpayer's interest.
Without support from politicians, bureaucrats and administrators in the
Schools Commission have followed their natural tendency to avoid
confrontation with church school interests at all costs. Accountability
for public money spent on church schools has been and is merely nominal.
There is no real check on how churches spend the money allocated to
them. There is no public audit. They employ their own accountants and
their financial transactions are not available for public scrutiny.
Under the heading:
Schools Commission Independence a Myth
The real purpose of the Schools Commission and the Needs policy has been recently exposed. This body never was and is not independent. Nor was it ever meant to be. It has been nothing more than the faithful servant of politicians carrying out its concealed purpose - that is, to bury the State Aid issue and make respectable the diversion of hundreds of millions of public money into church coffers.
Senator Button, on the 14 September 1977 in the Senate said:
'The philosophical assumptions which underlay the establishment of the Karmel Committee and the establishment of the Schools Commission were the priorities of needs and the concern to get rid of the debate in Australia over the funding of non-government schools'
This was earlier confirmed in the Senate by Susan Ryan and Senator Wreidt, the then ALP Shadow Minister for Education.
One of the methods used to conceal rather than reveal where the hundreds of millions, later billions of State Aid was really going, was to drop the pupil numbers from each school from the Schools Commission Report ( known as the Green Report) This occurred in 1974 when the Schools Commission took control of the Report. This enabled the Schools Commission to conceal from the public what was really going on.
Howard's SES "needs" policy was just more of the same. There has never been any proper accountability and the rich get richer while the poor public system goes begging. You cant have any public accountability while Caesar's wife reports to Caesar, and Caesar's wife is above question.
In the 1970s DOGS were not aware of the powerful church school networks within the bureaucracies in both the Federal and State Governments. Since that time, through bitter experience DOGS have also discovered the prevalence of these networks in the interstices of the legal system.
DOGS and supporters of public education are now becoming more and more aware of a network within academic circles and the right wing think tanks.
DOGS believe that this official history is directly or indirectly a result of proponents and friends of the church school system.
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|Last modified:Sunday, 29 July 2007|