30 JULY 2005


A number of DOGS members  attended an address given by Victorian Minister for Education and Training on 20 July at the Trades Hall. The meeting was auspiced by the Australian Fabian Society, the New International Bookshop Co-operative, Arena publications, Overland Publications, the Labour History Society, the Swinburne Institute for Social Research, and the Don Dunstan Foundation, Victoria.

Lynne Kosky was prepared to answer questions from the floor, and skilfully managed to dodge the DOGS questions.

She revealed the time lines for the review and indicated sensitivity to public reaction, most particularly the reaction of religious pressure groups and persons.

For supporters of public education  it was sickening to observe the Minister referring and deferring to officials from the Catholic Education Office, in particular to "Gary" whom DOGS believe to be Gary McClean, the Assistant Director, School Services, Catholic Education Office, Archdiocese of Melbourne. Obviously, she has a bit to do with the private sector because DOGS further note her attendance on 24 June at the farewell to Peter Annett, Deputy Director of Catholic Education for over 20 years. She was accompanied in this exercise by Grant Hehir, Secretary of the Department of Education and Training.

The most significant stance taken by the Minister at the meeting at Trades Hall was her determination to include the principle of parental "choice" together with legislation covering both public and private schooling in the same legislation. It became obvious as the evening progressed that the legislation is a recipe for the covert if not overt legitimisation of the wholesale privatisation of primary and secondary education in Victoria. Ms Kosky is the messenger for Bracks/Brumby private public partnerships and the opening up of educational services to free trade agreements.

There is still more time to fight in this matter, even though DOGS believe that the hidden agenda and detailed plans are already laid down. Kosky is obviously sensitive to public opinion and indicated that there is going to be a second public consultation process. This will involve the publication of a white paper in August. She hopes that by the end of the year a Bill will be presented to parliament. This Bill will lay over for public debate till at least the autumn session of parliament.

It is obvious that high on Ms Kosky's agenda is the wholesale tampering with the principles of genuinely public education i.e. education which is

  • public in purpose

  • public in outcome

  • public in access to all children regardless of their class, creed, colour

  • public in control

  • public in ownership

  • public in funding

  • public in accountability

She appears to be in the thrall of persons whose aim and objectives are the privatisation of Victorian Education.

Finally, it is a matter of grave concern  that the public education pressure groups have not yet mounted a campaign against Ms Kosky's privatisation agenda. It is not enough that they put out a position paper in relation to this fundamental change in the legislative underpinnings of our free, secular and universal public education system.

It is to be hoped that in the coming months they will alert and activate their constituencies, - a constituency which consists of the majority of parents and children in Victorian schools.

Ms Kosky and her private and privatising school advisers are politically sensitive - the time to make them sensitive enough to reverse their hidden agenda is now!





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Last modified:Monday, 08 August 2005