Private Schools or Global Investment Companies?

Press Release 526



20 September 2013

Citizens, taxpayers, and even private school parents are concerned at the blatant profiteering behaviour and lack of accountability in the private education sector.
A number of glaring instances of real estate development have recently gained media coverage. They indicate the top of a largely unexplored pot of private funding for religious schools.
It should be noted that these glimpses into the private funding pot only occur when there is a falling out amongst the profiteers themselves. Sometimes, as in these cases, neighbouring residents object to real estate development.
Two such ‘glimpses’ deal with
• Wesley College, Mount Waverley, Melbourne

• Scots College, Knox College and others in Sydney.
DOGS note that the veil drawn over that holy of holies — the global investment of the Catholic Church—is very rarely, if ever, drawn back.
Wesley College Mount Waverley
Last December, the school, which has an annual income of more than $70 million, was accused by Monash councillor Geoff Lake of ''adopting the approach of a hard-nosed, profit-obsessed developer'' over plans to build 84 apartments on the Glen Waverley campus.
The Victorian College for the Deaf also opposes Wesley's plans to buy Crown land on St Kilda Road currently occupied by the deaf college's primary school and vegetable garden. And a group called Wesley Parents and Former Students for Governance Reform, convened by parent Dr Simon Smith, has launched the website The group of about 75 Wesley families says the school's governance falls short of what the community expects for a large business that charges such high fees.
The Council rejected the proposal and Wesley did not take the matter to VCAT but decided to sell the land instead. ''Wesley paid about $400,000 for this piece of land back in the mid '90s when they acquired it from VicRoads - they are now seeking to develop it for upwards of $30 million,'' Cr Lake said. ''Here is a private school that has basically been given a gift by the Victorian taxpayer and they are now wanting to turn that gift into significant profit.” more:
In Sydney a number of elite private schools expanding their grounds into the city’s most prestigious neighbourhoods has drawn in local governments and angered residents.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Scots College wants approval for a further increase in the size of its business studies centre on Victoria Road. It is opposed by the Concerned Scots Neighbours group, which has accused the school of concealing its growth in enrolments to push through building projects.
The resident group's spokesman Paul Blanket says it will consider legal action against Scots if the council does not address the school's compliance issues. ''What we're now seeing is a lot of these institutions move from what they were - local schools - to be almost global businesses,'' he said.
The MySchool website says the school has 1783 students, but Mr Blanket says it may be as high as 1920. Both figures are in breach of a cap of 1120 students for its Victoria Road senior campus and 500 for its Mansion Road junior school.
Helen Proctor from Sydney University's faculty of education and social work says newer private schools are the source of the real growth in student numbers, but elite schools operate on a regime of building and expansion.
''It's like a sort of arms race where if Knox gets a new fabulous business studies centre then its competitor up the road, Barker, will go, 'I'll raise you one business studies centre and we'll have an incredible arts complex','' Dr Proctor said. ''It's very much fuelled by government funding'' because this frees up funds that would otherwise be used for tuition.
Knox Grammar has also taken issue with Ku-ring-gai Council's proposed rezoning and heritage conservation area. It says it will limit its ability to use surrounding properties for ''educational use'', and work to the detriment of the ''distinctive and dominant character'' of its school.
Ravenswood's principal Vicki Steer says the school is concerned its right to redevelop properties worth millions of dollars may not be adequately protected if consideration is not made in new planning laws.
Neighbours of another north shore school, Roseville College, were alarmed by two purchases totalling almost $7.4 million on Bancroft Avenue.The school says it has taken ''significant measures'' to preserve the heritage qualities of one purchase, and is not seeking to expand student numbers. But it has not ruled out buying more properties.
Read more:

Some of the comments on the Sydney Morning Herald of 13 September 2013 Report are of interest:

• And these insidious institutions are receiving billions of dollars of tax payer money to operate. It is a national disgrace that these parasitic establishments are getting one cent of public money when the majority of our children go without the basics in our government schools. To the Christian religious variety we can also add hypocrisy as they preach charity and practice avarice.

• I agree. It's an extraordinary imbalance in favour of the wealthy sector of our society. If people with money want to send their children to private schools for a "better education" (my caveat being that this so called better education obviously excludes exposure to the greater society & therefore the ability to interact with those "less fortunate" . . . Tony Abbott & his Riverview mates are a case in point) that's fine, but I don't want to pay for it. I am very happy for my tax payer dollars to go to schools that need improving & particularly those that have special needs but subsidising kids cadet parades & exchange programmes to Paris to improve French language skills really gives me the S@#$% . . . . apologies, I was better educated than that . . . . really annoys me!

• Another case of greed not need....get ready for more from the new government

• I only wish the other GPS and CAS schools could be more like The Kings School. By that I mean own the whole suburb. That way you can keep the riff raff from getting too close.


Citizens, taxpayers, and even private school parents are concerned at the blatant profiteering behaviour and lack of accountability in the private education sector.

A number of glaring instances of real estate development have recently gained media coverage. They indicate the top of a largely unexplored pot of private funding for religious schools.

Citizens, taxpayers, and even private school parents are concerned at the blatant profiteering behaviour and lack of accountability in the private education sector.

A number of glaring instances of real estate development have recently gained media coverage. They indicate the top of a largely unexplored pot of private funding for religious schools.

Fiji, Denominational Education and Separation of Church and State

Press Release 525

Australia has elected a Coalition Government with a Prime Minister who has declared that his Party has ‘Private (religious) schools “in their DNA!” This means that Australia can expect to be taken backwards in its historical development to a denominational system dominated by Mr Abbott’s church.

Denominational Systems of Education: Fiji

Even Fiji is attempting to remedy the lessons of entanglement of religion with the State. In that country the Methodist Church dominates the State and its educational system. The result of their denominational system – as Australia discovered in the nineteenth century – is to leave the majority under-educated, while providing the minority with sectarian schooling.

Federal Election 2013: State Aid Auction: Catholic Education Clear Winner (15.08.2013)

Press Release 522

The Catholic Education sector has been handsomely reimbursed for signing up to the federal Government’s education reforms.

Their ‘bad behaviour’ and blatant lack of accountability has been generously rewarded.

· On top of the increasing billions in : basic funding grants; capital grants; taxation exemptions - not to mention SES overpayments to weathy schools - The Catholic system is expected to receive $1.6 billion of extra funding over the next six years. $1 billion comes from the federal government.

Abandoned Public Schools Occupied by Muslim Schools

Press Release 521

As public schools are starved of funds and abandoned, aggressive religious groups are happy to take them over.

There are two obvious examples: One in Mernda, Victoria, the other in Spence, Canberra.


Press Release 520

As the Catholic Education system becomes more and more centralised and ramps up its lobbying expertise at public expense, so attacks on the nerve systems of our public education systems continues apace. Where central public education administrations have not been taken over by private school advocates, they will be dispersed. Madness!
Both parties, Liberal and Labour, are committed to the isolation of public schools from a centralised support system. They are turning them into ‘independent schools.’ This represents the death knell for our proud systems of public education which have distributed educational opportunities to so many disadvantaged children in so many far flung places.

How the Religious State Operates within the Australian Secular State ( 10.07.2013)

Press Release 519



10 July 2013
The new Federal Education Minister is Bill Shorten.
What is his Educational Background?
Bill Shorten was born in Melbourne, where his father was a waterside worker and union official. His mother was a lawyer and university academic. He was educated at Xavier College and Monash University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. Wikipedia
So Bill Shorten, like Abbott and Pyne will be able to use his old boy Jesuit networks to get around the snags surrounding the Gonski reforms.The State Aid auction is on again.
Bill Shorten and Kevin Rudd are entering into the usual Catholic backroom deals. The majority suffer to appease the minority.
Already the Catholic system has gained the ability to move money around within their school system and the Gonski idea of education funding following a disadvantaged student wherever they attend school will not be adhered to in the Catholic system. They will also receive about $3 billion extra over the next six years. ( AFR 4 July 2013) This means that any hope of a a transparent, equitable system based on individual need has gone-ski.
The Catholic Church has become an imperium in imperio – a State within a State – holding governments to ransom.
The Catholic Church and the Needs Policy
DOGS have followed the Catholic ‘management’ of ‘Needs’ policies of all government since the Whitlam Govenrment’s Karmel Committee fiasco in 1973. Perhaps the most extraordinary was the deal they struck with Howard’s SES system.
For the Catholic Church ‘the poor will always be with us’ but they can be the responsibility of the public system.

In 2013, forty years after the State Aid floodgates opened, the ‘needs’ of the institution known as the Catholic church must be met before any funding can flow to disadvantaged children in the public sector.
What is surprising is that journalists are finally prepared to remark upon it. Consider the article by Tim Dodd in the Australian Financial Review of Monday 8 July 2013.
He notes that the Catholic system provides a lesson to governments on how to run an efficient education system on $8000 a student in public subsidy. He leaves out the indirect and capital grants that are also taxpayer funded but notes that ‘you also need to bear in mind that, unlike public schools, Catholic schools do not have to accept all children who apply, which does make a difference to school performance.’
How has the Catholic church system got to its favoured position, with at least 77% public funding, when other religious schools allegedly only receive 45% of their income from governments? he asks.
The way the Catholic school system has got to the influencial position it has today is a study in successful political manoeuvring.
Until 1970, no non-government schools received recurrent funding in Australia. But the tap was opened fully when the Whitlam government introduced needs-based funding. Since then, the Catholic church has negotiated skilfully, notably in a deal with the Howard government in 2004.
The growth in government funding for Catholic schools over the past four decades has enabled them to move away from a non-professional teaching staff mainly composed of nuns and brothers to the professional system they have today.
Now, as federal Labor negotiates its Better Schools plan ( formerly known as Gonski) the Catholics are an objectlesson. They are not going public, as are the groups representing other independent shools,. But they are quietly negotiating, as they always have, with a keen eye for political opportunity.
Once the Church is involved, you can forget about
• Accountability, honesty and openness
• Genuine Christian concern for the disadvantaged in the community unless there is money in it
• Democratic procedures.
Once the church, the State within a State is involved, you can forget about ‘reforms’ to public funding in Australia. You are only looking at ‘deforms’. You are looking at ‘deals’ done behind closed doors in the corridors of power

Private Schools and Sweet Charity : Education a Right or a Charity?

Press Release 518

The hidden ‘State Aid’ to private schools in Australia, the cash which provides ever more opulent resources to enhance their market profile, is gained through ‘CHARITABLE’ TAXATION EXEMPTIONS .

This is made possible by the mediaeval view taken in Charities law that education, is a ‘charity’ not a ‘right.’

A cashed-up private school like Geelong Grammar a charity case? you ask. Well — Yes.

Do Church Schools Really Need Government Money? (07.06.2013)

Press Release 517

Australian churches are supported by the taxpayer though tax-exemptions as “charities” and their tax-exempt schools also receive substantial direct grants from the taxation citizens pay: a double whammy. The church schools always want more, but the churches themselves are not prepared to reveal their accounts to show that additional public funds are in fact needed. Author of The Purple Economy, Dr Max Wallace* reveals what is known about this murky situation and suggests a way to clear up the financial secrecy.