AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 26#.
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|OPEN LETTER TO PRESS AND POLITICIANS ON LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY FOR STATE AID TO CHURCH SCHOOL|
OPEN LETTER TO PRESS AND POLITICIANS:
PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY IN RELATION TO
STATE AID TO CHURCH SCHOOLS:
STATES GRANTS (PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ASSISTANCE) BILL 2000
This is the first of a number of submissions in relation to this Bill and the State Aid to Church Schools that it involves. We have not bothered to circulate information to federal politicians and the Press since the 1980s.
Instead we have put our information over the community radio network and the Internet. We note that our message, which has not changed since our inception in the 1960s, is now falling on fertile ground. This is not surprising. Our predictions have come true.
We are consequently involving ourselves once again in the political and media process. We note that many in both the daily and specialist Press can see that the public system and our democratic society, not to mention the future of our children are in grave jeopardy from aid to church schools. Church schools always were and always will be a cancer in the body politic.
Just look at the effect the religious pressure groups have had on the political process and media since the 1960s!
DEMAND FOR PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY
Since the Conservative coalition returned to power in 1998 there has been a dramatic decline in public financial accountability of Federal State Aid expenditure. This should be noted at a time when it has taken 30 years for direct federal state aid to get to $1.86 billion and in the next eight years under the Conservative Government another $1.97 billion will be added to the federal State Aid bill. Please not that this figure does not take account of the hidden iceberg of indirect subsidies and taxation exemptions for church schools.
This increase in funding is in inverse proportion to accountability for this massive funding. Since the inception of per capita federal State Aid in 1970, until the publication of the Ministers Report of 1998, the Ministerial Report commonly known as the green book contained information regarding the funding of each individual private/church school.
In 1998 there was a dramatic change in the information published and provided to the public. The Green Book in 1997 contained 92 pages whereas that produced in 1998 contained only 26 pages. In addition, in the 1997 Report there were 62 pages of information about money going to individual schools in the states and territories. This has been reduced to 8 pages in the 1998 report. This reduction is a gross abdication and abnegation of parliamentary responsibility and accountability.
This is a disgraceful cover up of what is actually going on. For instance, the information on the funding of New South Wales private schools was reduced from 20 pages to 1 page. For Victoria, it was reduced from 16 pages to 1 page. To reduce in the green book 62 pages to 8 pages is not taking seriously the accountability requirements.
Has this been done to conceal what is actually happening?
In the 1970s and the 1980s DOGS used this information to show that
We demand that
The present Section 116 allows the Minister complete discretion in detailed information provided. Parliament should not allow the Executive to treat either themselves or the public with such complete contempt. Perhaps politicians should be treated with contempt, but we, as members of the public object strongly to this outrage. After all, these billions of dollars are OUR TAXES!
Section 116 (2) States Grants (Primary and Secondary Education Assistance) Bill 2000 reads:
"As soon as practicable after 30 June next following year, the Minister must cause a report dealing with the following to be laid before each House of the parliament:
This Section which only requires minimal information is in stark contrast to the provision in the first federal per capita State Aid Act: States Grants (Independent Schools) Act (No. 89) 1969, Section 7
"As soon as practicable after the end of each year, the Minister shall cause a statement to be laid before each House of the parliament setting out
FEDERAL STATE AID MONEY DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SPENT ON EDUCATION:
Federal recurrent State Aid money can be used to pay for the building of churches, payment of priests, real estate investments and Church political activities. This has been the case for many years.
All that is required in the present Act, according to Section 22 (1) is
"(1) A section 18 agreement must require the relevant authority:
Thus, federal per capita state aid (our taxes at work) could be used to directly pay for the building of a cathedral, or the purpose of shares, or real estate investment, or subsidization of the Democratic Labour Party . Etc. etc.
TAXPAYERS MUST NOT BE TAKEN FOR A RIDE
It is imperative in the area of aid to private schools that there must be strict accountability laid down by Parliament. One of the inherent problems created by Church schools is that it creates States within States and dual loyalties of citizens. Taxpayers cannot be sure to whom the bureaucrats owe their first loyalty. This problem is further magnified by the fear created in the politicians by the Church School lobby.
In a DOGS Advertisement in The Age December 2 1977, we clearly stated this problem. Because of the fear of the sectarian Church lobby politicians have abdicated their responsibility to protect the interest of the taxpayers.
Without support from politicians, bureaucrats and administrators in the Schools Commission have followed their natural tendency to avoid confrontation with Church School interests at all costs.
Witness the present groveling of both the conservative and labour party politicians as they sell out the public school system, taxpayers, and their own raison dÍtre. But then, once State Aid was given to Church Schools, this was all inevitable. DOGS predicted it, and here it is upon us.
IF YOU HAVE DOUBTS ON THIS SCORE WE SUGGEST YOU READ SOME OF THE ADVERTISEMENTS WHICH DOGS INSERTED IN VARIOUS PAPERS REGARDING AID TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND ITS CANCEROUS EFFECT ON OUR DEMOCRATIC CIVIL SOCIETY. PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR MEMBERS GAVE SACRIFICALLY FOR PAYMENT FOR THESE ADVERTISEMENTS BECAUSE THE PRESS WOULD NOT PRINT THE MATERIAL IN THE FIRST PLACE:
If you have a message for supporters of public education:
Ray Nilsen on
(03) 9326 9277 or Fax: (03) 9326 9180
P.O. BOX 4869
Melbourne Victoria Australia 3001
Or complete our feedback form.
|Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005|