“A new Victorian government bill could take away parents’ right to decide their child’s moral education,” FamilyVoice Victoria director Peter Stevens said today.
Two days before Christmas, new Victorian education minister James Merlino introduced draft legislation to regulate funding for non-government schools – including Christian schools.
The Education and Training Reform Amendment (Funding of Non-Government Schools) Bill 2014 says its aim is to provide a “transparent” mechanism for funding these schools.
“But its provisions are far from transparent,” Peter Stevens said.
“Section 2.7.6 of the draft bill says the Education Minister may give different amounts of funding according to the perceived needs of the students. The Minister must be advised about these needs by the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council, all of whose members are chosen by the government. Section 2.7.7 says the Minister may impose any ‘reasonable conditions’ on the provision of funding, following advice from the Council.
“This vague wording may seem fine – until you consider what could happen. The government may be preparing the way to remove funding from any school that does not join the controversial Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, or does not teach socialist or humanist ideology in areas such as history, science or literature. Similar moves in the UK are causing great concern,” Peter Stevens said.
“Parents have the right to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in accord with their beliefs: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 18(4).
“I call on Minister James Merlino to reconsider this potentially damaging bill,” Peter Stevens said.
- Family and parenthood