31 MAY  2007






 If a body known as the Public Education Alliance produced a document entitled "Making Federalism Work for Schools: Due Process, Transparency; Informed Consent" ( A Report by Lyndsay Connors) supporters of Public Education might expect DOGS to be jumping for joy.

Sorry. It is the knowledgeable private school operators within their skilful cadres who are the ones jumping for joy. DOGS have read enough of this 156 page report to realise that the public schools have been dudded once again.

We should have realised this as soon as we looked at the Heading. After all, public schools are not referred to. Only the generic term "schools" is used, referring to both public and private together.

This Press Release is an initial discussion.  DOGS finds alarming the promotion of a Ruddite style shared facilities/integrated system of education. It spells the total destruction of public education as we know it. Our public systems can survive State Aid to church schools. They cannot survive the corruption and inevitable takeover by the private system through their "integration" into that sector. For make no mistake. The  "integrated" system is a one way street down the dark alleys of privatisation.

Dr. Lyndsay Connors is an ex-member of the School Commission. This Federal administration for channeling State Aid to church schools was abandoned after State School representatives woke up in 1984 to the fact that  Public Schools had been  taken for a long, long ride. In fact public schools were dudded from the very beginning in 1973. Please note that Dr. Lyndsay Connors never wrote any dissenting report to the key Schools Commission Report.

Dr. Lyndsay Connors has also worked over the years for various governments. Unfortunately this latest report incorporates and promotes the disastrous mistakes experienced by the public systems from the 1970s until the present.

Unless readers are aware of the true public school account of what happened in the last forty years, they will not be aware of the "End Game" plan which could be put into action by an incoming Federal Labor party. The only thing that has ever mattered to the Labor Party is to shut down the State Aid issue. In order to do this, they are prepared to shut down the public system by "integrating" it into the private system.

  • If there is no strong public system,

  • If they are privatised by stealth through "integration

  • VOILA ! there is no State Aid issue any more.

DOGS  consider it a sick joke for Dr. Lyndsay Connors to talk about "due process", "transparency'", and "informed consent". DOGS have never experienced any of these when it comes to Governments or their apparatchiks dealing with the funding of private church schools.

One of the lessons of history is that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion. That has been the Australian experience over the last 40 years in this country. DOGS have proved this again and again and again. But very few people are aware of it because there has been a corruption of the information highways by private school networks. Just read back into our Press Releases and look at our experience in the High Court case.

The 156 page report is too long and detailed to provide a comprehensive response in one news release

Just a few fundamental points:

  • The Report fails at its core. It does not have the strengthening or promotion of the eightfold definition of public education: namely an education which is public in purpose; outcome; access; ownership; control; sole funding; accountability and provision.

  • Lyndsay Connors' entry in the "Australian Women's Biographical Entry " reads in part: 'Lyndsay Connors was one of the many whose lives were enriched by the philosophy of Jean Blackburn". So what was Jean Blackburn saying in 1976?

  • "This 'needs' approach at present overrides all other considerations. The end-point contemplated is a redefinition of public schooling in which a variety of schools having different sponsorship and philosophies, fully supported by government funds and of comparable standards, will constitute a free public system, itself diverse. " This of course is the "integrated" system.

  • Jean Blackburn revealed the end game as early as 1976. Member of the "soft left" like Jean Blackburn  were never prepared to take on the churches, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. The ALP's  so-called "needs" policy never worked and was never intended to work. The Ruddites are only following the "Greeds" policy to the end game for public education.

  • To obtain some initial understanding of the person behind the report together with her philosophy and recommendations DOGS suggest readers consider the following letter from Van Davy, one of the writers of the Dissenting Report from the Schools Commission to the Canberra Times, 8 June 1988.

Van Davy, a Part-time member of the Commonwealth Schools Commission 1983-1988 wrote the following letter to the Editor, Canberra Times, which appeared on 8 June 1988.

The Political Albatross:

Lindsay Connor's account ( Canberra Times May 3 - "Schools Commission was fated to become a political albatross") maintains an approving view of the commission's majority report of 1984 and implies that the minority reports led to the commission's demise.

No doubt, a credible history of the Schools Commission will be written following consultation with, but not by, the central characters themselves. Additional points worth considering by future historians should include:

1.   The majority report's purpose was to lock in the Government to huge support for a rapidly multiplying system of poor church schools, socially separatist and ethnic-based schools, and increasingly wealthy private schools.

2.   As a consequence the special-purpose programs for disadvantaged groups, which attracted support for the commission from government schools, were exposed as vulnerable to the onslaught of deficit-cutting money-ministers who proceeded to cut a swathe through them.

3.   The commission's commitment to government schools was too small, and lacking in purpose, to attract offsetting political or bureaucratic support.

4.   It was the majority report which was overwhelmingly condemned by most of those associated with the 75 per cent of students in government schools. The commission was doomed the moment the majority report was made public.

5.   The main architects of the majority report ( Peter Tannock, who now heads the Western Australian Catholic Education Commission, and Jim McMorrow, now a senior officer of the National Catholic Education Commission) needed the support of the central political figure appointed from the government-school sector in order to make the plan stick enough to gain government approval. That crucial alliance with Lindsay Connors was established early in the processes leading to the majority report.

6.   The claims of the Brown/Davy minority reports subsequently proved correct as events unfolded to the great disadvantage of government schools.

7.   The "hostility" reported by Ms Connors was not a trivial clash of personalities involving Tannock and me but was persistent opposition to the policies and procedures adopted by those pursuing sectional and sectarian interests at the expense of a societal unity, democratic principles, and the public school system.

Finally, I will not pine for the Schools Commission. It had two major flaws.

First, its role was never connected to the pursuit of national economic and social objectives. its attention was directed to the resource needs of schools, not the needs of the nation and the common good. Thus the issue of state aid dominated the agenda, rather than being a sub-item consequential to the resolution of curriculum policies linking national education objectives to national social and economic policy.

Second, the commission would always need reconstructing as soon as the forces for social unity and democracy insisted on the "primary objective to government schools" as strongly as the forces for social separatism and exclusiveness had insisted on the "prior right of parents". The Schools Commission set the scene for this medieval dog-fight, unhappily diverting many of us away from the focus of our life's work.

Van Davy

Part -time Member of the Commonwealth Schools Commission 1983-1988)

Balmain, NSW. )


The New South Wales Teachers Federation and other Public Education Groups Must not Abandon Their Historic Opposition to Non-State Aid and the Integrated School System.

DOGS reminds readers of the time in the early 1980s when Jennie George, then head of the New South Wales Teachers Federation worked together with DOGS, Lyle Schunter from the Queensland Teachers Union and Ross Butler from the Tasmanian Teachers Federation worked to defeat  the "integration" proposal at the annual Meeting of the Australian Teachers Federation.

The New South Wales Teachers Federation should not endorse any plan from Lyndsay Connors or anyone else to destroy the "No State Aid", " No Integration position".

To endorse the Lyndsay Connors proposals would be tantamount to set in train the destruction of public education on behalf of its long term enemies.

DOGS will consider further this "End Game plan in future contributions to this site.





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Last modified:Sunday, 03 June 2007