26 JANUARY  2007





There has been much talk in 2006 of "Values" in Australian Education. Politicians and Press in thrall to wealthy, powerful,  religious men have bleated about the superior "Values " of private church schools.


In the values debate, on the basis of its fundamental worth,  public education wins hands down.

There is no comparison between the value and values inherent in a public education system, and those which underlie private, church school interests. Hierarchical churches in particular have traditionally been antithetical to public education which was and is the cornerstone of a healthy democratic state. Hierarchical churches are the basis of authoritarian rule, and undermine democratic values.


The following is a collection of Statements which illustrate the fundamental political purpose and value of Public Education for a liberal democratic State. The values of a Public Education system are far superior to any so-called "values" of private schools. 2007 should be the year that Public Education supporters trumpet the virtue and potential of the Public system, particularly in the present climate where there is a retreat from public service funding, a glorification of the market place and individual choice- at taxpayer's expense, and privatism which negates the public good.

A Public Education system is the bulwark protecting the educational interest of the disorganised majority against the single minded, narrow based, particularist factions.

  • The Public School is the major institution for the continuous creation of a viable, caring, harmonious, heterogeneous and just society. The overwhelming majority of citizens have neither the time, energy or resources to compete and fight with particularist, selfish interests.

  • Australia's democratic destiny is best served by public schools.

  • The future of public education represents the future of Australian society.

  • Public Schools help to build a political community which is democratic.

  • In a society compromised of diverse peoples divided along religious, racial, economic, cultural, and social class lines public schools achieve a sense of community over and above that of particular interests.

  • The role of public education is so central to the existence of a viable, heterogeneous and democratic society that it is the most important business in a civil society.

  • Public Education helps to create a sense of community and assists citizens acquire the common values of a democratic society.

  • Achieving a sense of community is the essential purpose of public education. In building a cohesive, viable, democratic, heterogeneous and just community there is no alternative to public education.

  • Public schools have a commitment to elevate the public goal of unity over the particularist goals of special and self serving interests in society.

  • The agency for promoting cohesion and community among a heterogeneous, democratic people, the most persuasive means for promoting a common destiny public schools are the training ground in the habits of community.

  • The undermining of public education is tantamount to undermining our free society.

  • The destruction of public education represents the fragmentation of society.

  • The Public Good is something more than the sum of the total of each person seeking after his or her private good. ( education for the first class ticket to heaven or the good job.)

  • A viable community is not produced by a collection of groups, each occupying its own turf and each doing its own thing.

  • Public schools maximise the possibility of mutual respect and understanding in the community.

  • Public Education is the system that makes the parts of a civil society coherent and the whole more than the sum of its parts.

  • One must defend the local Public School, the community school, because one does not want and cannot accept the alternative. The local Public School is the very foundation of our future.

  • Public Education is not just like any consumer good. It is a Public Good like Defence preparedness.

  • If society's religious, ethnic, cultural and intellectual threads are to be woven into a harmonious, viable, communal tapestry, there is no substitute for the local community public school. For this reason we cannot accept and must defeat privatisation in all its guises.

  • The most vital function of the local public school and the public system is its socio-political function. In the public school children achieve a sense of community and acquire common values: the common bonds of a democratic and just society.

  • The twilight of the liberal, public education system will be the twilight of the liberal, democratic state.

  • The local public school is the training ground for the habits of community for the children, and is reinforced in adulthood as parents of children at the local public school. As the sense of community is weakened, community interests will more and more be overridden by powerful, particular interests.

  • We can no more dismantle the local public school and the public education system or even erode them, than we can dismantle our democratic government or the courts or our free Press. As citizens, we must mobilise to prevent the attack on public education and promote its worth.

It is important that when we refer to public education, public schools, and public education systems, we are referring to an 8 fold, historic, Australian definition. The Public Education we are referring to is one that is:

  • Public in purpose

  • Public in benefit

  • Public in access ( for pupils, teachers, administrators and citizens etc.)

  • Public in control

  • Public in ownership

  • Public in provision

  • Public in accountability and

Since private church schools are none of the above, only genuinely public schools should be:

  • Public in funding






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Last modified:Tuesday, 06 February 2007