AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 84#.
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LETTER TO COMMONWEALTH AUDITOR GENERAL ON
Mr. Patrick Joseph Barret
Commonwealth Auditor General,
Australian National Audit Office,
GPO Box 707,
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Dear Mr. Barrett,
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR FEDERAL FUNDING
INDIVIDUAL CHURCH SCHOOL LEVEL
We are writing to find out whether you can assist the DOGS and Australian taxpayers in our search for accountability for taxpayers funds at the individual church school level or whether you are part of "the joke."
We refer you to a statement made at a Senate Hearing on Tuesday 22 August 2001 reported in the Committee Hansard at EWRSBE 11.
Senator Allison: Does this process need to be ticked off by the Commonwealth government? What are your reporting requirements in terms of the rationale and the actual dollars?
Mrs. Temby (Member, National Catholic Education Commission): It is available for the Commonwealth if they wish to have it. In recent times, they have not asked for the detail.
From the point of view of Australian citizens and taxpayers, the situation regarding public (as opposed to private) accountability for direct grants of Federal money ladled out in billions of dollars to private church schools is a national scandal.
During the early years of Federal per capita State Aid to private church schools there was an annual reporting of both the number of pupils and total amounts given at the both primary and secondary level. If the school had both primary and secondary pupils, the numbers and funding were categorised accordingly. We provide you with a copy of one of the early Federal reports. (Attachment A)
However, when the Schools Commission took control of the report for the first time in 1974, the pupil numbers disappeared. We provide you with an example of this method of reporting (Attachment B). However, for the first 28 years of Federal per capita State Aid, from 1970 to 1997, the public were provided with a public document that revealed total direct funding of each individual school.
Since 1998 however there has been an even more radical decline in public reporting and accountability of expenditure of federal public moneys at the individual school level. In fact there was a revolutionary change. There is now a secret deal existing between Church and State so that the public is no longer aware of what is going on. The decline in public reporting can be illustrated by comparing the 1997 Green Book with that of 1998.
1997 Report: Total number of pages: 92
Pages for individual school in States and Territories: 62
Pages for individual schools in NSW: 20
Pages for individual schools in Victoria: 16
1998 Report: Total number of pages: 26
Pages for individual school in States and Territories: 8
Pages for individual schools in NSW: 1
Pages for individual schools in Victoria: 1
Since 1998 only the severely truncated Green book has been produced.
In passing we note that the lack of public accountability is now spreading to pupil and school statistics.
What is Being Hidden from the Citizen/Taxpayer?
The above dramatic collapse in public accountability and availability of information lies behind a willful concealment of what is really going on. It prevents any possibility of revealing much of the skullduggery, which underlies much of the State Aid going to private schools.
It was no accident that the Schools Commissions first report excluded pupil numbers, and this type of report has continued.
Because if you have both the pupil numbers and money amounts you can work out what the church or churches are allocating per pupil. From this you can work out whether the allocation is made on the basis of "need" or some other criteria. Our analysis in the 1970s and 1980s indicated that funds were not allocated to the most needy schools and that money was being transferred from the primary to the secondary school sector. Yet the money was given for "needy" primary school students.
All Sides of Politics Adopting the "Needs" Rhetoric
Citizen taxpayers need the detailed information provided in 1970 in 2004 to properly assess what has really happened and what is really happening to the so called "needs" policies under both liberal and labour governments.
We are not even aware of any politician with the temerity to demand this information from Mr. Nelson, his predecessors or their church bureaucrat friends.
Do not be Fooled by Reports Issued by Governments:
DOGS want the Commonwealth Auditor Generals Office to provide them with their own Research.
A recent instance of ridiculous figures masquerading as information is a 448-page document, which DOGS obtained on the Internet from the Commonwealth Education Ministers Department.
Much of this document is nonsensical information. We refer you to our following observations.
The Report appears to be a strange statistical creation designed to prevent a proper comparison of individual schools on the basis of the actual funding which occurred in 2003.
Request for Proper Accountability for Billions of Taxpayers Dollars.
It was not too much to ask for a proper accounting for less than $30 million dollars in great detail in 1970. The Government of that day was only too willing to fulfil their obligation to the taxpayers. On the basis of this 1970 precedent DOGS are requesting the Auditor General for the same level of accountability available in 1970 for billions and billions of taxpayers dollars.
Surely this is not too much to ask. Or is It?
We look forward to you reply. This letter will be published on our web site and our members and readers will look forward to your response.
We write this in the hope and trust that your body is not yet part of a very bad "joke."
If you have a message for supporters of public education:
Ray Nilsen on
(03) 9326 9277 or Fax: (03) 9326 9180
P.O. BOX 4869
Melbourne Victoria Australia 3001
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|Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005|