AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE 306
BRACKS/BRUMBY LABOR GOVERNMENT HAS
CONTINUED KENNET’S RUN-DOWN OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
In spite of all the hope and rhetoric of the Victorian Lab or government, Bracks and Brumby have in fact merely continued the running down of public education in Victoria. Not only has the current Minister for Education refrained from promoting a public Education Week. She has continued the Kennett government practice of appointing top bureaucrats to the Education Department who are no friends to public education.
DOGS have been unable to date to discover any leading administrator who is prepared to admit to being a supporter of public education.
But it is in the continued and continuing closure of public schools alongside the opening of duplication public education facilities by the private religious systems that should cause alarm. Even the conservative opposition is questioning the Labor government’s closure of schools.
The closure of public schools and the lack of new public schools in developing areas like Mernda mean that parents are denied the choice of a free, secular and universal education for their children.
Here are some facts and figures which DOGS quote from the Victorian Hansard.
Mr HALL (Eastern Victoria) – I move:
That this house –
(1) Notes the Brumby government’s extreme hypocrisy in its criticism of the previous government’s rationalisation of schools across the state, when it has itself closed or merged more than 135 primary and secondary schools since 1999, including –
a) 21 schools closed or merged in the Loddon Mallee region since 2000;
b) 19 schools closed or merged in the Barwon South Western region since 2000;
c) 13 schools closed or merged in the Eastern Metropolitan region since 2003;
d) 11 schools closed or merged in the Northern Metropolitan region since 2002
e) 15 schools closed or merged in the Southern Metropolitan region since 1999;
f) 19 schools closed or me4rged in the Western Metropolitan region since 2000;
g) 16 schools closed or merged in the Hume region since 2000;
h) 15 schools closed or merged in the Grampians region since 2000; and
i) 6 schools closed or merged in the Gippsland region since 2005 and
(2) Further notes the Brumby government has gagged school principals from speaking on mergers, closures and school infrastructure issues.
DOGS note that Australian education stands at the crossroads. Either we have a quality genuine public education system which enjoys sole public funding together with a genuinely independent system in which those who wish to opt out are prepared to put their money where their beliefs lie. Or we will run down and lose our most valuable asset in favour of an expensive, sectarian system of religious and/or corporate schools which divide our children on the basis of class, creed and culture.
DOGS predicted in 1964 that once State Aid was given to religious schools our public systems would be run down and out in favour of the denominational system; our society would become fragmented and the disadvantaged in our society would be further marginalised. The floodgates of “State Aid” were opened by the Labor Government in 1973 to the tune of “Needs, Needs, and Needs!” The needs have long since become greeds and the ranks of the disadvantaged have only increased.
We take no pleasure in being proved correct.
The time to act is now.
DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION AND STOP STATE AID TO PRIVATE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS.
Listen to the DOGS program
3CR, 855 on the A.M. dial
12 Noon Saturdays