30 August 2005




One of the promising results of the Muslim Leaders Summit called by John Howard was the discussion and occasionally the promotion of Australia as a secular State and the value of secularism.

Peter Costello, the Treasurer, declared that
"Australia has a secular State and anybody who teaches to the contrary doesn't know Australia , and anybody who cant accept that, cant accept something that is fundamental to the nature of our society."


"This is a country which has a Constitution. Under its Constitution the State is secular......Australia expects its citizens to abide by core beliefs."

At the same time it was indicated that the Howard Government would overhaul its policy of multiculturalism with a new emphasis on shared values and secularism.

Dr. Nelson, on the other hand, together with some Muslim leaders promoted views contrary to secularism, the secular State, and the separation of Church and State. Dr. Nelson offered government aid for universities to set up local programs to train Australian born imams. Muslim leaders welcomed the idea of government money to train imams steeped in Australian values.

According to Dr. Ameer Ali, the summit would address inflammatory religious literature, proper religious training of imams, and a proposed migration restriction on radical overseas clerics.

Mr. Adem Somyurek MLC Victoria indicated that Australian Governments must modify their secular stance and get involved with the Muslim community.

DOGS calls upon all liberal democratic persons to support the re-discovery, promotion,  and defence of the values laid down for Australia in the nineteenth century. These values were hammered out during the American, French, English and Scottish Enlightenment but transported and translated into the Australian milieu.

It is pleasing that Peter Costello and others have inherited some insight into this valuable, enlightened inheritance - the separation of church and state with emphasis upon the secularity of the State as laid down in our Constitution.

Unfortunately, however, our politicians are unable to go the next step and apply the principle of separation of church and state in education.

Secularists in the nineteenth century believed that the affairs of Church and State should be separated. The State should not aid Churches or Church Schools. In the second half of the nineteenth century the argument was that the principles of individual liberty and political equality required that the churches should have no special aid from the State nor special rights in education. These people argued not only for separation of Church and State but for State intervention to assist economic and social improvement.

The battle for the eight hour day and  the vote  were also fought - and won- in the same period by men of the English and Scottish enlightenment. This movement was so successful that Australia was considered ahead of the rest of the world with its "socialisme without doctrine" by De Tocqueville.

It is also interesting to note that the Harvester decision which gave some protection to the workers,  was made by Justice Higgins in the early days of the Federation. Higgins was the same Constitutional Convention member who moved the inclusion of Section 116 in the Australian Constitution.

It is time those who have some understanding of our enlightened inheritance got out and fought for the public education system and separation of Church and State.

Public School supporters should heed the warning put out by Justice Lionel Murphy over twenty years ago :

 "The Public Education System is under attack throughout Australia and parents need to know that they should fight for the preservation of the system."

The same applies to those who support the separation of Church and State for it too has been thoroughly undermined by the Roman Catholic Church School faction. There is now a very real danger that they will be joined by supporters of  Islamic theocracy who do not believe in the Separation of Church and State. 

For further discussion on these matters, listen to 3CR, 855 on the am dial


12.30 p.m. next Saturday.

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Last modified:Wednesday, 31 August 2005