30 October 2006






 John Howard, at the weekend of 28/29 October 2006, pledged $90 million for school chaplains in government and private church schools over three years.

Bob Carr, the former premier of New South Wales, correctly called this proposal a retrograde and divisive threat to the separation of Church and State. Prime Minister John Howard has denied that his proposal blurs the line between Church and State. In support of his ignorant comment he stated:


" Those who say this is blurring the distinction ( between Church and State) are therefore saying that paying assistance to independent schools is blurring the distinction. Plainly neither is."

He further denied that :

"the plan changed in any way the secular nature of Australian society! I think we are a secular society in the sense that we don't have an established religion. "

John Howard is wrong on both accounts. The proposal unites Church and State at the Treasury. Taxpayers money to private church schools, now in excess of at least $5 billion per annum is a definite combining of Church and State at the Public Treasury. It is not even blurring the distinction between the two. It is a blinding connection. As for a secular state, John Howard, by proposing to finance religion in every Australian school, is destroying the basis on which the Australian secular society is built, namely a public education system which is open to all and offensive to none. The free, secular and universal system created in the nineteenth century as the result of the secular settlement which separated church and state at the Treasury, has been consistently and constantly undermined by Mr. Howard and the Coalition . It also represents another step in the unwritten agenda for the destruction of our free secular and universal public education systems throughout Australia.

The bad news for Australia is that Howard is also supported by the federal ALP. The Opposition education spokeswoman, Jenny Macklin, said that the Labor Party supported the Chaplaincy program, but said that :

"...any new chaplaincy program must be flexible to take into account the diversity of religious beliefs in our school systems."

However,  Mr. Carr is reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of 30 October 2006 as saying that:

"..the chaplain plan should be abandoned, as it breached the church-and-state principle, and would require taxpayers to finance religious activities, and would fuel religious disputes in schools.

Congratulations are in order for Mr. Carr because one of the reasons for the abandonment of  denominational in favour of the free secular and universal public system was to prevent religious disputes within the schools in our education systems. Mr. Carr further pointed out that there were about 50 Sydney schools with a predominantly Islamic school enrolment. He asked:

"What would happen if a pro-jihad imam was appointed ( as chaplain)?" He added " There will be a steady diet of anti-discrimination actions as a result of this piece of federal government policy. "

With the prospect of  debates over chaplain appointments between Roman Catholics and Protestants; Islamic and Jewish; etc. etc. Carr correctly stated:

" means plunging parent bodies into disputes over religion. I could not think of a more retrograde policy decision. "

Bob Carr , unlike current Federal Labor Party politicians understands the value of separation of church and state and the secular society which goes with it when he says:

" One of the sunniest facts about modern Australia is the tolerance which arises from living in a secular society".

DOGS calls on the Press, the professors, the pastors, and the politicians to preserve our most valuable inheritance.

on this topic DOGS refer readers to our earlier press release 153.

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Last modified:Monday, 30 October 2006