4 MAY 2006






Kim Beazley Jnr, in his address to the National Press Club on 3 May 2006, announced another Labor Party "needs" Policy. He said:

"Labor will fund all schools on the basis of real needs!"

His father attempted a similar policy in 1973. Another similarity to the original Labor Party policy is the compromise on the funding of the richest church schools, thus making a nonsense of the "basis of real needs".

Who can forget Senator Button in the Senate on 14 September 1977 when he said:

" The philosophical assumptions which underlay the establishment of the Karmel Committee and the establishment of the Schools Commission were the priority of needs and the concern to get rid of the debate in Australia over the funding of non-government schools. "

On the same date, Senator Susan Ryan, the past Executive Secretary of the Australian Council of State School Organisations said:

"The whole purpose of the Needs based approach to the funding of education in Australia, instituted under the Labor Government was to remove that sectarian division."

Under the old "needs" policy taxpayers were well and truly taken for a ride. We quote from a full page DOGS Advertisement in the Age dated 24 February, 1983, page 15 entitled: "State Aid: Billion Dollar Manipulation":

"Manipulation of the Needs Policy:

From the beginning of the Federal "Needs" policy, the major beneficiary of State Aid, the Roman Catholic Church, woke up to the lamentable weakness of the politicians and their servants, both of whom were supposed to protect the public interest. The skilful church school cadre turned needs into self created demands by recognising the financial benefit of keeping "needy" schools  "needy" or making them more "needy" whilst at the same time creating further "needy" schools. They tailored their bureaucracy to maximize the benefits of the "needs" policy.

The Needs Policy is the "bottom of the church school yard" approach to State Aid funding. Much of the church school activity gaining maximum Federal State Aid is like tax avoidance - money making but not illegal.

Needs Policy a Farce"

The three Roman Catholic schools in the most prestigious suburb, Toorak, Victoria are classified as "Most Needy Poor parish Schools" for recurrent funding purposes.

In 1982 only 7 out of 1671 Roman Catholic Schools in the whole of Australia were not classified as "Most Needy Poor Parish Schools" for recurrent funding purposes.

St. Kevin's Toorak, Victoria, is classified by the Schools Commission as "most needy", yet is able to advertise for a rowing master.

Church schools, when they want pupils sell first class education, but when they want money they sell the government third class education."

Needs Policy a Money Making Scheme:

Schools have been switched from one category to another higher paying category. In 1974, 140 Roman Catholic Schools in Australia were outside the highest paying category. However, in 1982, there were only seven schools outside the highest paying category for federal funding.

The Roman Catholic Church has opened only "New Needy" systemic poor parish type schools since the inception of the Needs Policy.

Switching from non-systemic to systemic enables the Roman Catholic Church to derive the highest amount of funding. Roman Catholic, non-systemic school numbers have declined from 456 in 1974 to 224 in 1982.

Minimum Church resources have been put into the Roman Catholic school system to obtain maximum subsidies from the taxpayer.

Needs Policy a Sham.

The major beneficiary of the Federal Recurrent "needs Policy" approach was supposed to be the show piece so called "poor parish" Roman Catholic inner suburban poor parish schools.....

In Victoria the Needs Policy is an administrative tool to satisfy the desires, plans and policies of the Roman Catholic School faction. There is no reason to supposed that the Roman Catholic School faction is any less skilful elsewhere in Australia.


DOGS predicted as early as 1973 that State Aid and the Needs Policy would lead to the continued and continuing downgrading of the public school system. Unfortunately, they have been proved correct.

If the ALP are successful in the next election and gain the Federal Government benches, will be a mere variation on the history of the original sham. The ALP have neither the backbone, intestinal fortitude or intellectual integrity to stand up to the manipulative church school faction. They appear incapable of giving primary obligation to public education and proper democratic accountability for expenditure of public money.

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


12.30 p.m. next Saturday.

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