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It is that time of year again when final year secondary school results are being paraded as part of a brazen private church school advertising campaign.

Yet, even on the outmoded C19 "payment by results" scale, public schools have done remarkably well. In Victoria for example, Melbourne Boys High and MacRobertson Girls High are still streets ahead of the most exclusive private church schools. But then, they are about education and learning to learn, not to mention the preparation of citizens for an enlightened, civic, liberal democracy. They are not   about that first class ticket to heaven  the good job and citizens for a self serving plutocracy.

The "outcome" of extensive taxpayer subsidy of exclusive religious schools is becoming more and more obvious - to those who can read behind their false rheotirc.

As  Dennis Glover, an erstwhile speechwriter to Mark Latham and author of Orwell's Australia (2003) points out in his Age article of December 16, 2004,


It might be a bit late, but at least he has finally got to the conclusion which DOGS reached as early as 1964 . How did he get there, albeit forty years on?

The "top " private schools have put up their fees - again. This in spite of  Howard's return to power and their further State Aid hand outs under his iniquitous SES policy.

Dennis Glover view expressed in his article is based on experience: He noted that the headmaster of Melbourne Grammar, Paul Sheahan, led the attack in Melbourne on labor's educational policy before the 2004 election. He claimed, in the Age on September 15, that labor's policies would result in parents being forced to pay higher fees, making the schools more exclusive. He claimed that Labor was "making arbitrary judgements about schools that were irrationallyh based."

Yet within two months of the election, new private school fee tables have been released. Year 12 fees at Melbourne Grammar in 2005will be $16,140.00 up from $14,940 in 2004, an increase of 8%. In 2001 the school charged $12,380.00 so this is a rise of 30.4% in four years. So Sheahan and headmasters like him are succeeding in raising fees and keeping their schools exclusive, without a Labor Government.

Glover points out:

"There is a good reason for this, as I discovered when I was invited to meet the headmaster of an elite school in Brighton. It was before the 2001 federal election, and at the time I was Kim Beazley's education adviser. labor's policy was similar to that in 2004, and the headmaster asked him why Labor was penalizing his school when its facilities ( but not fees) were less than those offered by other schools serving families of Brighton.  asked him a simple question in reply:' If we relented, and let you keep your high level of public funding, would you lower your fees to let in less-wealthy students?"

His reply astonished Glover because it was so brazen. He indicated that he "pitched to a certain market segment" and needed the extra funding to keep up with the facilities offered by their rivals. Marketers call it the 'MERCEDES-BENZ SEGMENT'. These schools know what the Mercedes-Benz segment, with its enormous gains in wealth over the past decade can afford to pay. Their logic and rationality is geared to the free market - and the devil  and public system can take the wage earners, the poor and the hindmost.

So, when the AGE gave these elite private schools further free advertisement with pictures of happy Melbourne University scholarship winners from the elite schools, the circle for the redistribution of more money from the poor to the rich - robbing Paul to pay Peter - diverting public money from public to private education - is closed. These schools scooped that scholarship pool and other public schools students - if they decide to burden themselves with a HECS debt, are left begging.

Glover concludes:

"The whole thing was a hustle. Ordinary aspirational families were duped. The elite kept their taxpayer funding, and got the prestige univ ersity places and the scholarships.Its a wonderfully instructive  illustration of the big, new story of modern Australia: how the elite use false egalitarian arguments to con low and middle-income earners into making the rich even richer. Something to reflect on as we enter a time of hope and goodwill to all."

Glover should be encouraged to go just the next step further - who first blackmailed the Australian people with closures of so called poor parish schools and opened the State Aid floodgates?  Which enormous and growing church bureaucracy scoops ever growing billions of dollars out of the federal and state Treasuries? Where did all this false egalitarian talk start with demands for "equality of opportunity" while public money was channeled systematically from poor parish schools to wealthy secondary church colleges?

Keep going with your investigative journalism  Mr Glover, and DOGS can promise you that the State Aid scandal can only get worse.


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Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005