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The appointment of Archbishop Hollingworth as Governor General designate has opened once more the question of separation of Church and State in Australia.

DOGS is in a unique position to comment on this issue. We feel that the appointment is symbolic of what has happened to the entanglement of Church and State in Australia since the DOGS High Court case in 1981.

We wish to make it clear that we have always and always will support the separation of Church and State. One of our two objectives has always been to keep the Church and State separate in relation to education. Naturally, this extends to all areas of Church and State activities.

We find many comments of Press, politicians, priests and pastors since the announcement of the appointment of Archbishop Hollingworth inane and ridiculous.

Much has been written and spoken by instant scribblers and experts on the topic. We do not have the time, patience or space in this news release to comment on the rubbish written and spoken by establishment academics, churchmen and Press on the question of Church/State separation in Australia. What the Founding Fathers intended, and what, after the DOGS case in 1981 has occurred, are two quite different things.

Our readers might be interested to know that, since he left the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence, he has joined the exclusive "Melbourne Club." This has not been mentioned as far as we can see by the mainstream Press. He went to same school as Mr Kennett- Scotch College, Melbourne. He has also been appointed by Mr Howard to a number of committees in recent years.

In truth, this appointment fits in with the activities of the Coalition government since 1996. The Coalition have favoured  Church Schools; the big end of town; and hived off many of the social and employment functions of government to religious groups. The appointment of  Archbishop Hollingworth fits with all these activities. Politicians and Churchmen have been able to entangle Church and State in this way because in 1981 the High Court read the Church State Separation clause of Section 116 of the Australian Constitution down - and out. If the High Court honestly applied the 1981 decision they would turn the Constitutional protection from a shield into a sword.

Where does Archbishop Hollingworth stand in relation to  the 70% of  Australians who support public school education. Does he, or can he represent them?

Archbishop Hollingworth's last reported speech to the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia contained insults to government schools and their students. He referred to private schools as "our schools" and recommended that his listeners should be "conscious, though not defensive of criticism being applied to independent schools with reference to increases (in) Commonwealth funds." parents and children of public schools. This drew a reaction from Mary Crooks in an article in the Age Tuesday 24 April 2001. She said :

"The Anglican archbishop subsequently named as Australia's next governor-general, was reported as saying:"If there is any single reason why parents make huge sacrifices in sending student to fee-paying schools, it is not only to ensure that their children are formed within a disciplined framework but that they also receive clear teaching about values and ethics.

I am sick of the way advocates of fee-paying schools assume the high ground on values and ethics. The archbishop seem to presuppose that it is only "independent schools" that offer disciplined frameworks and the clear teaching of values and ethics. I cant decide whether this is naive arrogance on his part, or wishful thinking. As if Christians have a monopoly here!

Given some of the press lately, my initial response to the archbishop's comments was facetious. After all, we have weekly reminders of the endless puerility of an old Geelong Grammarian co-hosting a footy show; the recent comic irony of a bullying ex-premier providing character references for private schoolboys who bashed up other private schoolkids in the early hours of the morning; and the further drama of a Sydney Anglican boys' school where woodwork classes were part of what appeared to be a culture of bullying and sexual assault. ...

..Those who believe in the role and importance of public education to Australia need to let the governor-general-designate know that if he seeks to represent the needs of all Australians, he needs to champion the cause of public education and its important orle in achieving a relatively fair, prosperous and democratic nation. "

Similarly Kenneth Davidson in his article in the Age 26 April 2001 commenting on Archbishop Hollingworth noted that he was amongst a group who "seek to sanctify education exclusiveness and inequality behind phoney appeals to Christian values."

The appointment has opened once again that can of worms- Church State Separation. It is the perennial problem and in spite of Whitlam and Hawke who believed they had buried the issue , it is alive and well. If you wish to find out more about it, we suggest that you go to the "high Court Case' and other sections on our site.

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Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005