23 October 2006



 DOGS were mistaken and have to apologise for the claim made in Press Release 173, that Kevin Rudd agrees with the Founding Fathers on the separation of Church and State in Australia.

A later article by Kevin Rudd in the Herald Sun, October 16, 2006, page 19, "Libs Make Religious Right Turn" is evidence of our mistake. Kevin Rudd does not agree with the Founding Fathers.In the above mentioned article he wrote

"Australia's Founding Fathers rightly chose to separate church and state by not preferring one denomination or religion over the other."

Rudd's claim represents that of the six majority High Court Judges who also got it very wrong in the DOGS High Court case. In a political decision they accepted the Roman Catholic dominated Church school  view of what they wanted Section 116 to mean. This Church school interpretation represented the position in the period 1830-1860 in most of the Australian colonies when the State supported the major churches without preference.  It did not represent the position at the time of Federation. The Church School interest wanted to take Australia back into the period before 1860, and they have succeeded. But the current preference given to the Church School's version of history is just plain wrong.

 State Aid to religion ceased to exist by the early 1870s in most colonies but in all colonies by Federation. After 1872 and before 1900, State Aid to church schools was also abolished in all colonies. At the time of Federation  the Founding fathers were well aware of a position where aid to religion or religious institutions was abolished. No religion was preferred above any other because no religion was endowed or assisted by taxpayers' money.

Above all the majority High Court judges, considered that they had to continue the funding of Church schools, and they either ignored or were ignorant of what the Founding Fathers were about when they inserted the current Section 116 into the Constitution.

Kevin Rudd's claim  that " Australia's Founding Fathers rightly chose to separate church and state by not preferring one denomination or religion over another, " is a nonsense and absurdity.

One cannot have separation of church and state and at the same time have the State dealing with churches/denominations equally. You can have one or the other, but you cannot have both.

Kevin Rudd, like many other Johnny come latelies like Marion Maddox, Tom Frame, and longer term Roman Catholic proponents like Michael Hogan and J. Puls, should go back to the Convention and the colonial parliamentary debates in the nineteenth century and check original sources. As DOGS stated in a double page Advertisement in the Age, 30 August 1988, in 1981 the majority High Court Judges saw fit to invent Australian Constitutional history. Their interpretation was an insult to the Founding Fathers. Kevin Rudd should be wary of repeating their mistake.

DOGS quote from just one interchange between Reid and Barton at the Constitutional Convention in Melbourne on 2 March 1898, p. 1772.

'REID: I suppose that money could not be paid to any church under this Constitution.

BARTON: No, you have only two powers of spending money and a church could not receive the funds of the Commonwealth under either of them."

DOGS note that Barton did not say, "You can spend money on churches and church schools provided you treat them all equally"

So, how can Rudd claim that non-treatment  means non-preferential treatment? He does so, like many of his contemporaries because they are not prepared to question the billions of dollars of taxpayers money going into church coffers - with preference going to the those who can most effectively work the State Aid funding machine ! And taxpayers should be aware that the new chums are waking up and learning trick from the old masters.

So much for the Separation of Church and State we inherited from our Founding Fathers!

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Last modified:Monday, 23 October 2006