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We are sending this appeal to at least the following persons:

Jack Waterford; Laurie Oakes; Paul Kelly, Paul Bongiorno; Fia Cuming; Peter Cole-Adams; Michelle Grattan; and Margo Kingston.

We are open to further suggestions about persons to add to this list.

We have not appealed to the political media persons before even though DOGS has been involved since the 1960s. As you are no doubt aware, the State Aid issue is the longest standing political issue in Australian history. Many attempts have been made to bury it since the 1960s by the Press, politicians and leading journalists but even a concerted conspiracy of silence cannot get rid of it.

Leading journalists have a particular obligation placed on them to inform the public and comment on this issue. In a democratic society the Press exists to supply the information needed by the public in the making of political decisions. It is even more important because of the historic fact that in Australia the entanglement of government and religion tends to destroy both democratic government and degrade religion. Church/State entanglement tends to undermine the three arms of government: the judiciary; the executive and the legislature. It creates States within State. This is the lesson of history. Australia is now repeating it.

Unfortunately for Australians, the civic and religious leaders have been of poor quality. The pastors, the journalists, the legislature, academics and lawyers have all let Australia down in relation to problems created by State Aid to Church Schools.

Recipients of this letter know where many of the bodies are buried in this matter. They have chosen to leave them buried. Leading Pressmen should not make the mistake of the leading Parisians in the Second World War. D.Pryce Jones in "Paris in the Third Reich" said it of them:

" People did not think of themselves as having moral choices to make – they had careers and ambitions, and so on. "

The role of leading journalists is even more crucial in the area of State Aid because the problem of the creation of States within States, the pillaring of society, negates the possibility of checks and balances. Church school interests are in all of them. One of the dangers of Church schools is that they create a peculiar commitment to those who are involved in their administrative and educational enterprise. There is closure rather than exposure in many.

The DOGS have always recognized the Church school interest as a very skilful political cadre. They had first hand experience in the conduct of the DOGS High Court Case. No more fundamental comment about the Church operators than that from one of their own. Professor Patrick O’Farrell in his "Vanishing Kingdoms: Irish in Australia and New Zealand" (1990) commented on the relationship between the Roman Catholic hierarchy and "the movement", particularly in New South Wales. According to O’Farrell, the lay leaders of the "movement" were naively unprepared for the ecclesiastical unscrupulousness, which they encountered. In O’Farrell’s words:

" Political ploys, pre-arranged motions, secret arrangements, disinformation, deviousness generally."

It is blatantly obvious, if they used these approaches against their own, then the hierarchy will use it for their own benefit. Any outsiders who contest with them can expect no less.

Leading commentators who know about the political machinations of the Church hierarchy, particularly in New South Wales and Australia, will know of the name: Archbishop Jim Carroll. DOGS would acknowledge him as a great political strategist and manipulator. When asked about writing his biography he replied that ""No one would believe it" DOGS would respond: Try us, we already know it all!"

In recent times there has been management of the media by the Church school faction. Many are ignorant of this because they are not informed of it.

In 1983, for instance, the Church stated that " because it was DOGS they would not want to say anything". It is interesting to note that in spite of questioning by Mark Latham in Parliament and Davidson in the Age, as well as teachers unions, Church bureaucrats are silent as the grave about Kemp’s funding fracas.

Leading political journalists should involve themselves in this question, because there is no doubt that the Roman Catholic Church in particular is manipulating the political debate behind the scenes.

We are reminded of a couple of articles in the Catholic Weekly in January 2000. Brother Kelvin Canavan , Director of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Sydney said:

"In order to maintain widespread community support for non-government school funding the leadership of Catholic Education has to manage skilfully the occasional debate in the Press on the funding of non-government schools. "

The policy espoused by Bro. Canavan is being presently applied. The Roman Catholic Church is withholding from the public debate even though strong aspersions are being cast on its behind the scenes deals done with politicians.

It is for the media to expose the grievous break down of the checks and balances in our democratic society and political system.

It is imperative that any journalists, who call themselves liberal in the true sense of the term, should be involved in the debate because public schools and the survival of this underpinning of a liberal democratic state are inextricably bound up. Let no-one doubt that if there is to be a twilight of the liberal democratic society and its public school system, that will also be the twilight of the modern democratic state whose values are freedom, equality, justice, fraternity, the working of popular consent and the personal obligation for the public good. We urge leading journalists to consider the following submission on public accountability.

As you will glean from this attachment, we intend to write to you on several issues in relation to State Aid to Church Schools.

Where do you stand, as a journalist? How will history judge you and your performance in this matter?

Will you be like the Parisian literati? Or will you confront the fundamental issues, as Kenneth Davidson has done (The Age 23 November 2000)?




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Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005