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The Sunday Age October 7, p. 16 contained two articles which, on the surface are distinct, but in fact, are closely related. The Article "Investing in the Australian Dream" points out that the year 1967 may have been the most egalitarian in Australia's history. We are told by the Editor, that Simon Kelly, of the University of Canberra, in a paper entitled Trends in Australian Wealth- New Estimates for the 1990s, says it was the year when the top 20 % of the population owned 54% of the nation's wealth. There is now evidence of an ever widening wealth gap, evidenced by the inability of many to afford housing.


Next to this editorial is an article by Terry Lane entitled "The Class War we ought to Have". He criticises the attack on the Labor Party by elite school headmasters who are "writing to parents predicting huge fee increases if the bolsheviks win the federal election."

He continues:

" The headmasters of the posh schools are entitled to defend their privileges, even if there is something deliciously hypocritical about the anti-socialist upper crust going to bat for their richly state-funded school system. You would think, given their ideological position, that they would be morally repelled by the very idea of state funding for their schools, as they are by the notion of state funding for hospitals or public transport or whatever. But they easily rationalise the ideological paradox and live with the duplicity.

Is it proper for headmasters of state schools to write to parents advising them to vote Labor/ The answer is clearly no.

The state system is part of a dream of a nation in which all children can attend a first-rate school with no educational apartheid based on wealth. The way their parents vote is irrelevant."

However, Terry Lane is one of the few courageous journalists who points out the picking off the rich private schools is no longer good enough. The whole sorry state of educational funding of private schools in Australia is ready for investigation.

The DOGS could not agree more.

It is significant that the distribution of wealth in this so-called egalitarian society has become less and less equal since 1967.




Because in 1964 Federal State Aid to private schools in the various states commenced. It started as a trickle with science grants. In 1967 Bolte in Victoria gave the first recurrent funding to church schools. In 1969 the Federal Liberal Government announced per capita funding for church schools in 1970,. In 1973 the Labor party, through the Interim Schools Commission set up the so-called "Needs" policy which swiftly degenerated into a "Greeds" policy and open the flood gates for the Roman Catholic system. Those flood gates have now released a torrent for all manner of religious schools. This is a policy of dollars for division, with children separated on the basis of Old World sectarian and class division. We are looking down the barrel of all the divisions of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. God help us, for the religious men will not.

If Australia is to return to its egalitarian dreaming it will be only be able to do so with a strong public school system, open to all children. And that public system will only be strong if it is public in purpose, benefit, access, ownership, control accountability, and funding - and if it is the only system which is publicly funded.

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Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005