18 DECEMBER   2008  






The most blatant example of the corruption of both Church and State in Australia occurred in Canberra on December 3, 2008.

 Church and State blatantly used each other for mutual benefit:

The Church schools used the State to obtain over $2 billion payments of moneys in January 2009 and $28 billion in the next four years.

The Australian federal Government obtained the passing of their prized target, the passage of the so-called Schools Assistance Bill, 2008.

Church State Media Event

The Federal Education Minister, and Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, staged a News Conference commencing at 10.17 am on December 3, 2008 in the Prime Minister's Blue Room. Bill Daniels, representing the Independent Schools Council of Australia and Bill Griffiths, representing the National Catholic Education Commission (The National body created and controlled by the Roman Catholic clergy of Australia) were shepherded into the blue room in front of Julia Gillard. This was a Media event worth $28 billion of taxpayers' money for religious enterprises which, according to some of their apologists are commercial in confidence',

Julia Gillard announced the purpose of the Conference:

'Both Bill Daniels and Bill Griffiths have joined me to talk to-day about the need for the Parliament  to pass the Schools Assistance Bill .

Annabel Crabb. a  journalist from the Brisbane Times 4 December 2008 described the Media event as follows:

Both hostages looked slightly on edge, as you would expect.

The deputy PM introduced them in turn, and announced calmly that Bill and Bill were going to outline their love and support for her bill.

She also explained that she was going to have to leave in eight minutes,.

Bill and Bill stared straight ahead.

Why the Need for this Church/State Media Event?

This media event was the first part of a two-pronged Church and State manoeuvre for the ALP to get their legislation passed and the church bureaucracies and schools to get their money. This two-pronged attack was required because the Liberal National Party and Senator Fielding were going to vote the legislation down. The opposition education spokesman declared on December 3, 2008 that 'they were not going to budge'. Neither was Senator Fielding.

The purpose of the Media Conference was to let the Australian nation know that, if the recalcitrants did not budge, the church's schools would not get the down payment which they could also let out for interest on January 1, 2009. Disaster might strike the church schools which are now almost completely dependent on taxpayer funding.

Further Corruption of Church/State: Gillard's Email Letter to Church Schools:

Gillard did not reveal in her Media Conference, the second prong of the entanglement of the State with the Church on 3 December. In a reply to a Dorothy Dix question from Mr Georganas at about 2. 54 p. on 3 December in the Federal House of Representatives Julia Gillard declared:

I thank Bill Griffiths and Bill Daniels for appearing at that Media Event. I also thank them for facilitating me sending, as this Parliament sits, a letter to every non-government school in the country, and that will be received by email in the next few hours. (Hansard 3 December 2008)

Julia Gillard then went on to declare her strategy:

I table that letter. It may assist members of Parliament, particularly members of the Liberal Party, who get phone calls from non-government schools to-day asking them why it is that they are holding up funding to non-government schools.

Australian citizen/taxpayers are faced with another first in the on-going entanglement between Church and State in this country. The Church interest has permitted a couple of thousand of their email sites to be used for a government to directly lobby church schools throughout Australia. This was not just any email. It was a blatant, partisan, political letter with the Church and State using each other for their mutual benefit,

Partizan, Political Letter Sent to Church Schools:

The email consisted of over three hundred words. It was clearly political in nature and context. It was issued under the signature of Julia Gillard. Her first line is a lie with total lack of transparency. Her letter commences:

To all schools and school communities: Schools Assistance Bill.

This leading sentence does not refer to over 70% of the schools in Australia, namely public schools. The plain fact of the matter is that the only 'schools' recognised in this Bill are private church schools. Funding for public schools has got lost in the COAG negotiations, deliberately separated out in a blatant reduction of parliamentary and ministerial transparency and accountability.

In her speech to Parliament Julia Gillard was at least honest about the purpose of her letter. She quoted from the last two paragraphs of the letter as follows:

The Independent Schools Council of Australia and the National Catholic Education Commission have supported the Bill. Unfortunately the Senate has not passed the Bill.

In these circumstances, the Government will continue to urge the Senate to pass the Bill. We will continue to do everything we can to give funding certainty and consistent accountability to non-government schools for the year ahead.

Politicians Collapse under Church/State Pressure

The two-pronged Church /State attack on the liberal/National Party succeeded. The opposition collapsed the next day with Bill Daniels, Executive Director of the Independent Schools Council of Australia declaring:

ISCA acknowledges the leadership of The Hon. Julia Gillard in achieving this outcome. It is pleasing that members and senators have listened to our concerns and have decided to pass the Bill so that funding can flow to independent schools for the New Year. 

But readers should note that the New Year deal has been a special deal for years. It is not one given to public schools. Church schools receive 50% of their recurrent funds in the first month of the calendar year and can obtain interest immediately on this amount. However the federal government only doles out one eleventh of the public school funds in January of the calendar year and pays further amounts of a monthly basis. This disparity in methods of payments adds up to many millions of State Aid extra.

 It would be interesting to know whether the Church bureaucracies have invested taxpayers funding with financial institutions like UBS ( Union Bank of Switzerland) or Madoff!

Taxpayers and Public Education Pay for Church/State Deal

Deals will be struck behind closed doors as a result of the Love-in between Church Schools and the ALP Government. Many deals have occurred behind closed doors in the past. Julia Gillard's Statement at the Conference in the Blue Room reveals at least one such deal not generally known to the public. She said:

We have worked with independent schools and Catholic schools on the National Curriculum process, including the makeup of the National Curriculum Board, and both the independent schools and Catholic school organisations have expressed their satisfaction with that process.

Readers should note that the process referred to by Julia Gillard resulted in public education representatives being excluded from the National Curriculum Board.

Clearly, deals have been foreshadowed for the future. DOGS referred to the Media Statement of Bill Daniels on December 4, 2008, where he said:

Now that this funding has been secured, we are confident that we can continue to work constructively with the Government in implementing the legislation.

It should be noted that there is absolute silence from the National Catholic Education Commission website. However, Ian Baker, Acting Director of the New South Wales Catholic Education Commission was reported on 7 December 2008 as saying that

The Schools Assistance Bill provides for and is actually dependent upon the development of a number of regulations under the Bill, and the draft of those regulations also needs to be made available. (The Catholic Weekly, 7 December 2008)

Duet Places Accountability and Transparency regarding Expenditure of Public Money Further Away

When Church and State meet at the Treasury, the taxpayers have real reason to be concerned. This has been the experience for the Australian taxpayer since the 1960s when State Aid was re-introduced. Gillard's rhetoric about accountability' and ' transparency' is a sick joke. If anybody thinks there will be proper public accountability let alone Ministerial or Parliamentary accountability, they must have rocks in their head.





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Last modified:Wednesday, 17 December 2008