15 August 2006





 The failure of the ABC and The Age in Melbourne to cover the State Aid to Church Schools issue has been highlighted in the last week.

Once again, the Sydney Morning Herald has raised vital issues in relation to State Aid to Church Schools, accountability, and Church/State entanglement, but there has not been a word in the Age or a syllable on the ABC 774 on the am dial . The silence is deafening.

The Sydney Morning Herald last week (  August 9, 11 ) raised the vital matter of an inquiry into Federal church school funding, noting the exclusion of public school representatives. The Federal Government has decided that, for a quiet life, the inquiry is going to be between themselves and the private church school operators ( see News Release 163, )

This inquiry is not about a few hundred thousand dollars, but involves the overwhelming proportion of federal expenditure on church schools which is expected to reach $6.967 billion in the year 2009/2010. The Sydney Morning Herald has highlighted the fact that the public  will be excluded from an inquiry which will consider the expenditure of over $20 billion in the next four years.

The failure of the ABC and The Age to cover vital issues relating to public education and church/state entanglement is just not a recent phenomenon. The virtual media blanket on these issues started in Melbourne in the 1960s.

D.O.G.S. virtually gave up on ABC programs such as AM and PM in the 1970s. D.O.G.S. were one of the first group to note the "rat pack/opinion leaders in parliamentary press galleries, with their self censorship on vital questions in public education, aid to church schools and the D.O.G.S. High Court case.

Ray Nilsen met with Graeme Perkin and a few others in the late 1960s or early 1970s when Graeme Perkin indicated that he was not going to give much if any oxygen to issues such as State Aid.

It is not surprising then that the D.O.G.S. had great difficulty with the Age and staff writing on the education question. The media censorship on D.O.G.S. and the State Aid issue go right back to Michelle Grattan, Iola Matthews, Barry Hill, Geoff Maslen etc. etc.

In our naivety we sought the assistance of the Press Council to pull the Age into line. That exercise was an even bigger joke ! Given the personnel on the Press Council and our reception we were not surprised that they failed our complaint. After all, it was there that we met another Age luminary - Creighton Burns. He was content to defend the indefensible.

Evidence of our failure to get a run in the daily Melbourne newspapers is our paid Advertisements in the Press. No-one is silly enough to spend tens of thousands in the daily newspapers if you can get a fair go with your news. The overwhelming majority of the content in these Advertisements would not have seen the light of day if it was not contained in these very expensive Advertisements. For instance, see an incomplete list of our paid Advertisements in our Advertisement in The Age of 27 March 2006. ( ) Our problem with the news blanket with the ABC and the Age extends to the Parliamentary Press Gallery, Canberra.

The failure of the D.O.G.S. to get any air play on the ABC on 774 AM and not a word or interview or follow up from the Age as a result of our full page Advertisement in the Age 27 March 2006, is just another episode in the refusal to inform the public on this vital issue stretching back to the 1960s.

We have not dealt  with the other  newspapers sold in Melbourne in this News Release. However, we constantly run into the same problem. For years The Australian has been viciously anti-public education and pro-State Aid, pro-Church Schools  and more lately, pro privatisation of the public sector. Evidence of their blatant partisanship can be discovered in both the news pages and opinion writers.

Failure of the Age and the ABC in Melbourne to air the State Aid and related public education issues is magnified by the failure of the secular pressure groups ( Teachers, Principals, academics)  as well as religious groups to promote public education and the separation of church and state. Even worse is the fact that not one of over 50 leading State Education bureaucrats, when asked, would declare that they are committed in word and deed to public education. Worse still, private school fellow travellers are right in the midst of both the State Education pressure groups and its bureaucracy.


Yes, Michelle Grattan, proclaim that politicians should be accountable, but the D.O.G.S. suggest to you that the Press should also take responsibility for accountability. The above failures of the Press and the politicians indicates that there is a cancer in the body politic and a State within a State.


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Last modified:Tuesday, 15 August 2006