7 JUNE  2007





Private School graduate, activist and sympathiser, Julie Bishop, the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training has launched another attack on public education. On 6 June she launched a "Corporate School Sponsorship Proposal".

The eightfold definition of Public Education namely, Education which is

  • Public in purpose

  • Public in outcome

  • Public in access ( for pupils, parents, teachers, education workers cleaners etc. regardless of geographical area )

  • Public in ownership

  • Public in control

  • Public accountability

  • Public in provision

  • Public in funding ( there should be sole government funding for public education for the above reasons)

Julie Bishop's latest proposal represents an attack on the concepts of "Public in Funding" ; " Public in Purpose "; and "Public in Provision. "


The historic concept of funding in relation to public education has two aspects:

  1.     Sole public funding for public education

     2.        Funding of Public education from public /government sources.

The concept of public funding for public education has a firm historical basis in both the lessons of history and the firm belief that the education of children is a right, not a charity. This is now under attack.

Public education should not be based on the goodwill, generosity and altruism  of benefactors whether they be religious corporations or secular corporations.  This makes educational opportunities for our children  a charity, not a right.

Companies and businesses, like other taxpayers, have a duty to contribute to the common good through their taxes, not through voluntary giving. They benefit from both the public education system and the harmonious community created by the public system. It is for the elected representatives of the people to determine how and where taxes should be spent. 


The political purpose of public education is for a fundamental public good, not just a narrow economic or private profiteering purpose.

Education a Right not a Charity

Are the educational rights and opportunities our Australian children going to be sacrificed to the ambitions of religious hierarchies  and the profiteering of corporate barons?

Privateers from both  the religious and corporate sector are a destructive influence in public education.

Public Education was once supported by the contributions of the well meaning and/or the well heeled. In the 19th Century those wishing to educate ALL the children, rather than a select few, quickly discovered the destructive influence of private sponsorship. In the period 1848-1855 the National and Denominational system both failed miserably because they substantially depended upon the voluntary altruism and time of local priests and patrons. Many of the local patrons were local gentry and/or local workers who had limited time and expertise. Many of the small National schools were torn irretrievably by the antics of the local patrons  and/or opponents from the religious sector. For example, Irish Catholic priests and others were only too happy to attack the "morals" of the local National teachers in their attempt to bring the local national school into disrepute. Some local patrons were prominent members of the landed classes . A study of the second half of the nineteenth century, particularly in New South Wales reveals many local boards which demanded the taking over of responsibility for their local school by the central administration. They believed that the funding for their local State schools should come from the Treasury, and should not rely upon the generosity of local people. Our forebears were successful and several generations of their offspring have been the beneficiaries of their battle for this fundamental right.

He who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune

It is one of the iron laws of politics that,  at the end of the day, the person who pays the piper calls the tune. Corporate sponsorship cannot and will not come without strings attached. Bishop's corporate sponsorship proposal, if not stopped, will provide illustrations of the above.

DOGS remind readers of the use of special pleading. For example, the initial special pleading put forward for Federal State Aid to Church Schools via  Science Blocks in the 1964. Who could forget the "Sputnik" argument for State Aid for Church Schools? Look where that had led us.

The Use of Special Pleading

Bishop's current "special pleading" for corporate sponsorship  is of particular interest in this regard. We quote:

" We need to reflect on our notion of schooling and how it relates to the way we live, the way businesses operate, and the demands of a global economy.

We need to rethink our approach and, in doing so, bring schooling in Australia into the future. That is exactly what this Government is committed to doing.

Engaging business in schools through corporate partnerships and other programs brings new resources to support school innovation and capability and reduces the isolation from which many school suffer"

As we have found with our Universities, Julie Bishop is using the thin end of the wedge argument to get private funding for public schools to replace the government funding which has been diverted to church schools.

The corporate sponsorship proposal must be defeated. DOGS congratulate the Federal AEU for rejecting it. Their News Release is well worth your consideration: www.aeufederal.org.au. Media Release 6 June 2007 "Schools Funding is a Government Responsibility". In particular, they note that:

"Corporate sponsorship of our schools will lead to a compromised education system and further inequity between schools"


"We also urge caution in regard to the Minister's proposal for 'charter schools' established by particular industries which would then influence what was taught."


Julie Bishop makes the outrageous claim that "It is beyond the capability of government to adequately resource schools">

This is a statement of political will, not reality. Either the Howard Government is prepared to educate the children this nation or it is not prepared to do so. Parents, Teachers and Students should call the bluff immediately and tell Howard and his Minister for Education that  if they are not prepared to do their job then they should resign.

How can any current Federal Government of this country declare that it is beyond any one Government to properly resources schools when Australia has an $11 billion budget surplus?

Instead of cutting personal and company income rates taxes should be either constant or increased. Both Federal and State government should stop slashing business and corporate taxes and expect them to contribute to the common good of this nation. Education should be free, secular, compulsory, universal and public in every sense of that word.


In a speech to the Schools Business Dialogue set up by the Federal Government, Ms Bishop proposed a national system of work experience for students, questioned why principals needed to be former teachers and raised the option of public/private partnerships to build schools.

Public/Private partnerships have not worked in the United Kingdom. Why should Australia insist on  repeating their mistakes?







12.30 p.m. ON Saturdays.


If you have a message for supporters of public education:

Please Contact:
Ray Nilsen  on
(03) 9326 9277 or (03) 9329 8483
Postal address:
P.O. BOX 4869
Melbourne Victoria Australia 3001
E-mail: adogs@adogs.info
Or complete our feedback form.
Last modified:Thursday, 07 June 2007