10 MAY 2006




In the 1970s Prime Minister Whitlam and Fraser; in the 1980s, Prime Minister Hawke; in the 1990s Prime Minister Keating; and now - Prime Minister Howard, are under the illusion that they had buried the State Aid issue. Since 2000 the Australian newspaper together with the church school interests are still attempting to bury the issue and, alongside their direct attacks on public education, they are attempting to raise the level of public/taxpayer  support for church schools alongside privatization .

The Australian is still using the same methods employed in the 1960s: misrepresentation; negative labels; untruths; failure to present opposing values etc. etc. In the last month the Australian has been particularly active. Now they have a new church school proponent: Warren Mundine, the federal president of the ALP.

Lets be clear what the latest Australian and Labor party pitch for the private school interest is all about. It is not about Latham. In its editorials and news pages the Australian is using Latham as a stalking horse to criticize those who strongly support public education and oppose aid to private schools as driven by "envy", "hatred", "class war" and, by implication, a vision for the future which is not based on values.

The Australian is willfully blackening the reputation of persons and bodies who support public education and oppose public funding of private schools. They refuse to acknowledge that these persons are motivated by a positive vision with values for both the present and future.

On both the public education and State Aid issue, the Australian has a cavalier regard for the truth. For instance, the paper claims that Latham conducted a war on private school funding. This is outright lie. Latham was a strong supporter of private school funding. His sin was the rather naive view that the Labour Party had a needs policy and, in all fairness should question the fact that 67 wealthy schools should get over $500 million. He greatest sin however, was to question the funding policies and special deals of the hierarchy and bureaucrats of the Roman Catholic system. And didn't he pay the price for questioning this wealthy, powerful church!

The Australian is merely continuing its long running war on public education and public schools while promoting  public funding of the private church sector.

In a cozy relationship the Australian is using private school products, particularly those from the Roman Catholic system or those with family connections in that system. In the last year, the Australian has used, in a mutually convenient campaign, Bill Shorten ( Xavier College Kew); Craig Emerson (St Patricks College Stratified); Bill Ludwig ( Marist Brothers, Ashgrove); Lindsay Tanner ( Gippsland Grammar School).

The latest favoured boy on the block is Warren Mundine.

 Who is Warren Mundine? DOGS have discovered the following pedigree from reading the Australian May 5, 2006 and the Catholic Weekly, 12 March 2006.

He is the new, federal president of the ALP, who claims that Catholicism very much shapes his political views; he was raised a "staunch Catholic"; he attended Catholic schools and went through a good Catholic education. He presently has two children at school. Both attend private Roman Catholic church schools. One attends St Scholasticas in the Glebe and the other attends St. Josephs College, Hunters Hill. He is hoping to enter the Senate in the future.

It is interesting to note that it just so happens that, with the right wing takeover and makeover of the ALP, there are so many old boys of the Roman Catholic church school system in such important positions who are strongly pushing the Roman Catholic position on state aid and public education.

Mundine may be relatively new at the Education game, but, like Kim Beazley, he talks nonsense and promotes the old private school chesnuts in argument.

For instance, when he calls for an end to the "ideologically" driven debate. If the promotion of funding to church schools is not ideologically driven, then what is it? Church schools assert that they promote religion and religion is an ideology!

Or is it only the promotion of the public good and access for all children to a free education promoted by public schools that is  ideological and must be avoided at all costs?

The purpose and function of education is ideologically based.

Mundine was further reported as stating that "We seem to have got into a footy game of public versus private which is a load of rubbish."

The issue of the difference between private and public education is not rubbish. A strong public education system is fundamental to the well being of a cohesive, heterogeneous, liberal, democratic and just society.

Next Mundine is reported as saying that church school parents are paying twice for education for their children and they should receive a rebate.

Apart from the fact that with the billions of dollars of public funding shifting to the private sector, it is public school parents that are paying  twice over, Mundine's arguments merely vary one of the oldest church school arguments which are based upon two untenable and potentially vicious principles. These are the sectional notion of taxation; and the sectional appropriation of taxation.

Taxes in a democratic state are not divided by shares. They are collected from the public for the benefit of the public. There is no such thing as an education tax. Nor is there such a thing as particular Roman Catholic; Anglican; Uniting: Presbyterian; Moslem tax.

Does Warren Mundine propose rebate for those who do not make full use of educational facilities: namely, childless couples, single persons, and elderly citizens, not to mention those who do not attend tertiary institutions.

Kim Beazley Jnr has also been promoting the private church school nonsense invective, particularly when he talks of the "politics of envy". In the last couple of days he connected freedom of conscience in education with taxpayer support. This is also a nonsense argument. In what other area in our democracy do we argue that the exercise of a freedom requires taxpayer support? To exercise freedom of assembly, freedom of the Press, freedom of religion, for instance, are we to complain if these freedoms are not supported by taxpayer funds?

It is time that public school supporters and supporters of a secular, liberal democratic society stood up to the cadre of private school supporters, particularly those of Roman Catholic affiliation who are dictating federal education policy.

They should also condemn the Australian for its continuous and vicious attack on public schools, public education and their biased support of public funding for private, church schools.


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


12.30 p.m. ON SaturdayS.



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Last modified:Wednesday, 10 May 2006