AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE 424
April 14, 2011
MARTIN DIXON MINISTER FOR EDUCATION:
SETTING THE FOX TO LOOK OVER THE CHICKENS
Would the Collingwood Football Club Appoint the Head of Hawthorn to Lead it?
Yet a Minister with obvious sectarian commitment has been appointed to look after Victorian Public Education.
Since the 1970s the DOGS have questioned the commitment to public education of the leaders of the public education bureaucracy. Since the appointment of Kevin Collins as Director of public education in the early 1980s no administrator of public education has been prepared to give the DOGS a public statement in writing of commitment to public education. Yet a commitment to the ideological or sectarian beliefs of the private sector is demanded of any employee or administrator in those systems.
If anything, over the last few decades, any employee of the public sector prepared to fight for the free, secular and universal objectives of the public system has left, been sidelined, or learnt to be ‘risk-averse.’
The open, takeover of the public sector from above has now been accomplished. The new Minister for Education in Victoria, Martin Dixon, is evidence of this.
The following information on Martin Dixon was provided by Farrah Tomazin in an article in the Sunday Age, April 10, 2011. It illustrates, not only his background and commitments, but his determination to ‘flex’ his conservative muscles. DOGS quote:
Minister’s rise from Catholic roots
Before he entered politics in 1996, Martin Dixon spent most of his life in Catholic education. He went to two Catholic schools, attended Australian Catholic University, worked at five Catholic primary schools – including three as principal-and joined the Catholic Education Office which oversees the sector.
But Dixon says his aim is to advance education for all students, with more collaboration between government and non-government schools. He is one of two ministers covering education. National MP Peter Hall[i] is responsible for teachers and their new wage deal, sparking opposition taunts that Dixon is the ‘junior minister’ in the team.
But with a portfolio that covers almost 900,000 students and nearly 2800 schools, he’s got his hands full.
Dixon also chairs the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs – the policy-making round-table of state and federal education ministers – which he says is ready for a shake-up.
‘There’s a new paradigm now. We’ve got three conservative states on board… and we’re large states with a lot of clout. So I want to change the role of the council, which was almost treated as a department of the federal government rather than a council of states and territories.’
DOGS wonder what ‘more collaboration between government and non-government schools’ means. More captured public schools through shared facilities? More privatisation through private/public partnerships?
Meanwhile, supporters of public education should watch Dixon carefully. They should constantly watch the fox that has been set to watch over the chickens.
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[i] Peter Hall is MLC National Party for the Eastern Victorian region. He attended Castlemaine High School where he was the head prefect in 1969 and was a secondary school teacher in Traralgon.