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Ray Nilsen, the President of the Australian Council for the Defence of Government Schools said today:


A close study of the latest Federal Budget Papers and reports published since the Coalition gained power in 1996 reveals that the priest is far more powerful than the professor and poor man in the competition for funds and favours in the corridors of power.

Unfortunately the Australian media has failed to reveal the enormity of this problem. The powerful political church cadre has achieved success at the expense of the public good.

The effect of their selfish pursuit can be gleaned from a consideration of federal expenditure not only in education, but also in other areas of federal expenditure and responsibility. The extent of their success in education is illustrated in the expenditure increases between 1996 and 2004/5.

In 1996 direct federal funding to private schools was $2,067.7 per pupil whereas that to public schools it was $614.6 per pupil. In 2000-2001 private school per pupil funding it is $3349.5 to the public school per pupil funding of $861.6. It is projected that in 2004 – 2005 private school per pupil funding will rise to $4474.6 whilst public pupils will be worth only $1,037.4. This represents an increase in the next four years of $1125.1 per private school pupil and a miserable $175. 8 per public school pupil.

At no stage has the federal government admitted to the enormous indirect subsidies granted to religious institutions. So they have never been calculated. They only surfaced, for a time, with their extensive GST exemptions.

Clearly in the education stakes private church schools win hands down. Over the next four years private religious schools have obtained a 33. 5% increase in funding whereas vocational education has obtained a 20.7% increase; public schools 20.3%; higher education 10.7% and student assistance 6.6%.

The first class ticket to heaven and the old boy job network takes precedence over the common good.

Greedy church schools have elbowed aside the poor, the sick and the underprivileged in our society. The Church school increase of 33.5% beats the increases to medical services and benefits of 22.6%; health care agreements of 24.9%; and health assistance to the aged of 13.1%. In the area of social security and welfare the underprivileged are no match for religious lobbyists. Increase in assistance for people with disabilities increase is 23.4%; families with children 14.3%; to the aged 10.3%. There is a decrease of assistance to the unemployed and the sick of 0. 5%; and transport and communications a decrease of 10.7%.

Even the defence force with a 24.2% increase has fallen behind the church school faction.

State Aid to Church schools has always been and always will be bad public policy. It corrodes and distorts the precarious democratic processes and priorities. It finally destroys the workings of popular consent and makes a mockery of our liberal, heterogeneous, democratic state.























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Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005