AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 85#.
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THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S "VALUES ROAD SHOW"
In his budget speech Peter Costello confirmed expenditure of $32 billion on private church and government schools over four years. Of this only $9.8 billion represents ongoing expenditure on government schools.
Public school supporters are not only questioning the government's education policy on the grounds of
public accountability, ( a national scandal) and
efficiency. (gross duplication of public school facilities by sectarian institutions)
They are outraged by Howard and Nelson's claims that public schools are "values-neutral" and "politically correct". They can only be amused by Brendan Nelson's statement that
"Australian parents more than ever are expecting schools to foster values such as tolerance, trust, mutual respect, courage, compassion, honesty, courtesy, and doing one's best." (The Australian, 12 May 2004).
So. claiming that such values are being fostered, while demanding more and more control over curriculum and testing in public schools (payment by results), the Federal Government are spending $35 million on a travelling roadshow. And what is this "roadshow" really about?
It is a show pushing a "tough on drugs message"! And it will be visiting private church schools too!
Given that it costs money to buy drugs, it will not take a prophet or the son of a prophet to work out which schools will benefit most from the travelling roadshow.
DOGS suggest that public funding of the private church sector should be abandoned and sole public funding be provided for public education - if only on the basis of their superior values. For it is only the public schools which foster values such as tolerance, trust, mutual respect, courage, compassion, honesty, courtesy and doing one's best" in deeds as well as words. It is only the public schools which are
public in access ( regardless of creed, colour, class, and ability to pay)
public in purpose
public in outcome
public in funding
public in accountability
public in ownership
public in control
As for basic honesty, consider the following story - an interesting one which has filtered through the media to public scrutiny.
According to the Central Coast Herald in NSW, the fundamentalist Gosford Christian School is being investigated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission because several parents and the Principal are wondering where the money's gone.
The school received $3.7 million from federal and state government sources in 2004 but the Principal, Mr Cam Stewart, began to question the rental payments of $24,000 per annum to the church for use of the school hall. And then there was the small matter of the $200,000 increase in "support services costs".
"No wonder the school's profit is down," Mr. Stewart wrote in a letter to the Board. The Gosford Christian Centre, which runs the school board recently left its Australian affiliates and joined the "World Breakthrough Network" and its spiritual base, the Elijah Centre, in Trinidad.
Needless to say, Mr Stewart was sacked by the Board. Many prayers are currently being offered on the Central Coast for a "Back to Basics" Christianity of honesty, integrity etc.
DOGS note that with a small fundamentalist school ( or should we say corporate profit making enterprise) like this it is possible to enlist the assistance of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
There is no such possibility with the biggest financial scandals surrounding the movement of public moneys around the largest centralized bureaucracy in Australia - the Catholic Education system. Why? Because it is centralized in a church hierarchy' whose affairs are shrouded in the strictest secrecy. DOGS scratched the surface of this scandal in the High Court. in 1979. Evidence was given of the use of church school facilities and public moneys for non-educational religious purposes. Since then, it is almost impossible to obtain up to date credible figures on the billions of funds pouring into church coffers through public funding of "independent" education, health, and community services. They are not independent of taxpayer funding but they sure are independent of public scrutiny and accountability.
So much for honesty and trust! Mr. Howard and Mr Nelson should be reminded that those in Glass Houses should not throw Stones!
So much too for separation of Church and State!
State Aid to Church Schools in Australia has led to the erosion of our democratic processes and degeneration of religion into corporate corruption and greed
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|