FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 228 #.
15 NOVEMBER 2007
HOWARD'S $6.3 BILLION TAX REBATE A FRAUD
AND DISASTER FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
AND DISASTER FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
PRIVATE SCHOOLS GLEEFUL
PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPPORTERS VOTE GREENS / DEMOCRATS AND PUT LIB/LABS LAST
$6.3 Billion Tax Rebate a Fraud:
Media commentators have failed to reveal that Howard's claim that his tax rebate will be available to all families with children at school is a lie. What did John Howard declare?
He said that the tax rebate, subject to legislation, would enable parents to claim it for the first time in their tax returns from July 2008; a coalition government would deliver all parents up to $800 a child in tax rebates to help cover the cost of school expenses, including fees. Julie Bishop, the federal Minister for Education added further:
'This is for all students in every school across Australia....the policy was about supporting all parents irrespective of income or their choice of school, with meeting their children's education costs.'
Untrue: an Impossibility:
The impression given by Coalition politicians that the tax rebate scheme is available to all parents of school children cannot be true because it is impossible. The scheme requires a tax return. The poorest families who live on welfare payments are not required to submit a tax return, and have no reason to do so. The overwhelming majority of the poorest families attend public schools. Many public school users are therefore excluded from Howard's scheme.
The poor are also excluded from the scheme because, before parents can claim a rebate, they need to spend the money in advance. That is what a rebate means. many poor families have no such money to spend after paying for rent, food, clothing etc.
Clearly, the scheme has been set up to favour private school parents who have a taxable income and resources for up front expenditures.
Howard deliberately included the item of school fees to bribe the wavering private school voter.
Why have media commentators failed to pick up this obvious fact in this instance of blatant middle and upper class welfare?
Just Another Opportunity for Private Schools to Increase their Fees
Past experience indicates that if there is another opportunity for private schools to increase their fees and select and protect their exclusive sectional and sectarian clientele, they will do so.
There is no free market in education. For private schools it is a sellers market for educational opportunities. They have never been interested in educating all of the children regardless of their class, creed or colour. They are incapable of doing so. They have always been sectional and sectarian.
Remember David Kemp and his massive increases to the private sector, particularly those in the wealthier sector? He claimed that our taxpayer's money poured into the church school coffers would either reduce or keep fees on hold.
What happened? Fees have skyrocketed?
Condemnation by Public School Supporters
1. FEDERAL - AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION UNION
The Federal AEU have issued a News release with the following heading: Not a Cent for Public Schools from Howard Government Campaign Launch. On November 12, the Deputy Federal President, Angelo Gavrielatos said:
'Howard's announcement today provides no additional funding for public education.
The key role for the Federal Government should be to ensure every child has access to a public school of the highest quality in every community.
Instead they have chosen to subsidise private school fees and further entrench the disadvantage created by 11 years of unfair funding policies.
Public schools are now receiving a smaller share of federal funding than ever before.
The first choice every parent should have is for their child to receive a high quality free education at a public school in their community.
But the Howard Government's funding policies are taking this choice away.''
2. NSW TEACHERS FEDERATION
The NSW Teachers Federation issued a Press Release entitled Howard's Tax Rebate for School Fees Aimed at Destroying Public Education. DOGS quote:
'The announcement by Prime Minister Howard to extend a tax rebate for private school fees is aimed at achieving the destruction of free, secular public education - the cornerstone of our democratic Australian society.
It is the responsibility of all governments to use revenue raised from their citizens through tax to provide a public school of the highest quality in every community across Australia for all students.
Subsidising private choice is not in the public interest
Statistics show that students enrolled in private schools are from better-off families. Today's announcement will further extend privilege to the already privileged.
We are fast approaching a situation where parental wealth will be the greatest distinguishing factor with respect to the quality of education one receives.
Today's announcement represents the further commodification of education in the interest of private profit in contrast to the values of public education which stands for individual excellence for the common good.'
3. AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF STATE SCHOOL ORGANISATIONS (ACSSO)
The President of ACSSO, Jenny Branch ( which represents public school parents) issued a Press Release and said that Coalition policy:
'would be devastating for the public education system..Not everyone has choice. Some people can only afford to go to the local government school. This is a cash-in-hand payment to people already going to private schools and will do nothing to make public education better. The money would have been better invested if it was spent directly on our schools, teachers, and resources.'
Terry Aulich, the executive officer of ACSSO said that:
'The move represents a worrying shift in education funding. It sets in place mechanisms which in the future could very well lead to the whole restructuring of education. It will be privatised to the point where it will be like health, where the default mechanism is to be in Medicare and if you go into public health then, at the end of the day you will pay a punitive tax of being there if you earn a certain amount.'
4. New South Wales Federation of Parents and Citizens Association
Sharon - Roni Biggs, the spokeswoman for the NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens Association said that:
'It was irresponsible to put a tax rebate ahead of better funding of public schools..the coalition's rebate is targeted at private school parents......and wont go far enough to help parents of children in government schools. '
DOGS THANK THE ABOVE ORGANISATIONS FOR THE REALISATION THAT OUR PUBLIC SYSTEMS ARE UNDER DIRECT ATTACK FROM THOSE ADHERING TO A PRIVATISATION IDEOLOGY.
DOGS also remind public school supporters that we have been predicting what is now occurring to our precious public school systems since the 1960s. it is never too late to fight for a good idea.
Private School Parents Gleeful
1. Australian Parents Council
The Australian Parents Council which represents private school parents said:
'We welcome the fact that parents are able to access the tax benefit in respect to school uniforms and school fees.
2. The Independent Schools Council of Australia
Mr Daniels, from the Independent Schools Council of Australia welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement that a Coalition government would offset family contributions to education with tax rebates. He added:
'Parents would welcome the flexibility of the Coalition's policy, which allows them to claim on a range of education expenditures.''
3. Christian Schools Australia
The CSA welcomes the Coalition policy initiative (tax rebates)...It will provide a welcome relief to low and middle income families facing pressure to meet school expenses, including fees in non-government schools. They said
'This is genuine reform, it is quite historic and will be most welcome....we have 58,000 students who will benefit from this change, which does set a precedent, and in every sense is a revolutionary move.'
4. The Association of Independent Schools New South Wales
The executive director of the NSW Association of Independent Schools Geoff Newcombe, said that the policy was
'ground breaking. It will be welcomed by parents in the Independent sector. We all pay tax and we all get to benefit...'
5. Queensland Catholic Education Commission
Mr Mike Byrne , executive director of the Queensland Catholic Education Commission said:
'The Catholic Education sector has welcomed today's Coalition announcement of tax rebates for education expenses for families, but it is disappointed there was no commitment to increased funding to operate and maintain its schools.
It represents clear recognition of the right of families to choose a Catholic education for their children....I commend the government on the wide scope of the rebate to include school fees.
Should the government be re-elected we will be seeking greater funding to help with rising costs of running our schools...''
CHURCH INSTITUTIONS ARE NEVER SATISFIED ONCE THEY ARE INTO THE PUBLIC TREASURY!
HOWARD'S SPIRITUAL AND POLITICAL HOME IS WITH THE PRIVATE NOT THE PUBLIC SECTOR
The Coalition's tax rebate scheme is not only a fraud. It is a last minute historic, destructive action to garner votes from the basically selfish and self centred private school voters. It is the act of a desperate man who has forgotten where the majority of voter's interest really do lie.
Howard knew that the ALP tax rebate scheme was worth $2.3 billion. In a me-tooism gesture, he multiplied the ALP offer in the State Aid auction with a $6.3 billion tax rebate ( at least) which includes private school fees.
Howard, in his election launch declared his support of freedom of choice and the private system. No-one should be deceived by his claim that he attended and sent his children to public schools at the primary level. He has long left any concept of the common good he learnt at Canterbury High. He has never promoted public education or looked after it.
His values and support lie where his children went at the secondary level.
In an article in The Australian, November 14, 2007 headed PM Stages his own Education Revolution, Paul Kelly revealed Howard's long record of favouritism towards the church sector:
'It is not widely known that inside the liberal Party a young Howard, more than a decade before he entered politics, was one of the few advocates of the pro-State Aid policy breakthrough that Robert Menzies announced in the 1963 platform, leading to Menzies final election victory. Howard is proud of his vision on that occasion.
Kelly understands the situation. Like the public school supporters listed above, he understands that Howard's proposal is about changing the nation.
'It embodies three Howard philosophies: the pivotal notion that the State should not only fund schools, but offer parents tax breaks for the cost of school education; ( such rewarding of parental costs is another incentive for private schooling); the universality of the rebate kills the idea that public education is free, promotes more levies in the government sector, and further opens the door to private funding in the private sector: thirdly, the Howard ideology of individual choice becomes supreme and justifies the absence of means testing along with the inequitable consequences of the refund.....these are far reaching steps.. Howard offers parents in public education a direct benefit while offending the ideology of many of them.'
NO PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPPORTER OR CITIZEN INTERESTED IN THE COMMON GOOD CAN VOTE FOR HOWARD OR RUDD. THEY MUST GIVE THEIR FIRST PREFERENCES TO THE GREENS , WITH PREFERENCES TO THE DEMOCRATS OR VICE VERSA.
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AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
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|Last modified:Thursday, 15 November 2007|