How did this bias piece of Catholic education advertising get into this website?

This man who is a CEO of a private business claims private education deserves tax payers dollars!  I'd like to ask which other private enterprises around Australia blatantly demand their right to that which they haven't earned.  A few points from his article:

  • Catholic funding per student as taken from the MySchool data is not accurate as private education providers (catholic/independent) pressured the govt to include only common regular income ie student fee, govt contributions.  It does not include private donations or money gained from bank interest. As he says: "The Catholic sector in Australia is a big and genuinely national enterprise"
  • The writer, Ron Dullard, demands further tax funds ie taking it away from funding public hospital, paying for police, nurse and doctors eg: "Equally non-government schools require a proportionate share of increased funding."
  • Lastly the man also takes credit for the quality of his teachers.  I would like to point out that the quality of those teachers was forged in public education.  The private sector has a long history of poaching experienced teachers from the public sector.  They don't invest the time or effort in providing the training or experience to create quality teachers, they just cherry pick them.
I feel really disgusted at the way private education institutions believe that they should be provided any semblance of equal funding with public school.  They are elitist money grabbing organisations that have actively contributed to undermining public education and the guarantee of free quality education for all.

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Comment by John William Tapscott on November 8, 2011 at 20:23
I knew about the case with Finland but was not aware about the Netherlands. It is clear that these two countries see education as an investment rather than a cost with no return. My teaching experience over the last 40 odd years has all been in Australia, mostly in public schools. Many decisions made with respect to public schools are based on cost effectiveness rather than educational benefit. The decision to make cost savings is then followed by specious educational arguments in support of the change. More change is driven by political considerations than by educational imperatives.
Comment by Andrew Bleach on November 8, 2011 at 13:35
Interesting that you should mention this premise John, research that has just come out has shown that Australia is an anomaly in the western world in regards to private education.  The study showed that in relation to other western countries Australia has an large and out of proportion private education sector.  In regards to Gross National Product Vs Public Vs educational outcomes Finland is seen as the  world leader in the western world.  It has an predominantly public education system.  The Netherlands are also seen as a world leader and is also predominantly public.  If there was a correlation between private education and being the best providers of education one would think that Australia would be the number 1 western world country in this respect but this is not so.
Comment by John William Tapscott on November 7, 2011 at 18:40
I think the problem being discussed here depends upon which side of the ledger education spending is placed. One way to look at it is as a cost to the taxpayer. Viewed like that it becomes a liability. Another perspective is that of an investment. That is money spent with aview to providing benefits in the future. A simple way to test these propositions would be to examine the national income accounts of different countries. Calculate the percentage of GNP spent on public education, then compare the educational results of these countries to see if there is any correlation. I have stated the case simplistically recognising a number of other factors need to be accounted for. Nevertheless the exercise ought to be doable.
Comment by Andrew Bleach on July 12, 2011 at 17:30

Lets just dissect what you have said:

Toll users get a rebate?..... no not all road users, and in fact corporate entities would write fees such toll fees as a business expense and so would not be eligible for a rebate.  Casual private individual users are unlikely to able to source a rebate should one exist either. 

NSW and Vic pay for QLD, TAS and SA. (one could ask why you didn't include WA and NT into your equation).  What a egocentric and unrealistic myth you seek to propagate.  The nations wealth doesn't come from individuals income tax as you are trying to suggest.  90% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from agriculture and resource extraction. WA alone provides 75% of GDP.  Without the wealth generated from these states NSW and Vic would not be able to provide the level of services that the currently do.  I've met many people who have a narrow view that the two largest states in terms of population pay for everyone else.  In fact the reverse is true. 

tax dollars assisting private companies!!!! Yes assist they do, start-up costs, some running cost assisance eg offsets for apprentices, maybe assist to the tune of 25%..... except in private education where they unjustly demand equal funding ie 90plus% .

Lastly, the taxpayer chooses where the funds go? Thats pretty naive.  The current funding arrangement dates back over ten years and was put in place by John Howard as an attempt to privatise all education by boosting funding to the private sector.  Or in other words the artificial funding syndrome that you have now is the legacy of a long gone government and has no part in the current electrol process.  If this issue went to a referendum, with over 60% of school students in the public system, I seriously doubt that the parents of these children would vote to support a private business at the expense of funding that could be diverted to the schooling of their own children.  So in short, just so you get the point, no electorate ever made a choice to support equal funding for private education ....... unless I'm mistaken and I failed to vote.


Comment by Katrina Smith on July 11, 2011 at 15:01

In Queensland you may not be getting all the information you require to make an informed statement about taxes funding private companies. In NSW, the taxpayers pay the tolls of toll-road users by way of a rebate. They have done so for about 16 years. In Australia, the taxpayers of NSW and Victoria subsidise QLD, TAS and SA and have done so for decades. Child care institutions are supported by rebates which are tax dollars helping keep private companies in business because they provide a service that the various Governments can't. There are literally thousands of examples of tax dollars assisting private companies all across Australia for the good of the nation. We do get to choose where our tax dollars are spent every three years. You'll see that in action in a couple of years time when the Carbon Taxers are bundled out of office.


The notion that taxpayers' money should only be spent on Government owned projects is a  view that I, and both major political parties, don't subscribe to. Who "deserves tax payers dollars" should and is determined by the electorate. The electorate has decided that private school students deserve equal funding, which they get.

Comment by Andrew Bleach on July 11, 2011 at 0:04

Sorry to be repetitive Katrina, but you really don't get the point.  Private businesses don't deserve tax payers dollars, that is, unless they work for the Government.  Private educational institutions are not subcontractors to the government and do not work for the government. ie how do they deserve to be propped up with tax payers funds.  That they are is an artificial situation as in a real world level playing field it would not be economic to set up and run so many private educational institutions.  So in short, I don't believe the private sector deserves any tax payers funds.  The tax paid by the parents is irrelevant as once paid they just like I have no control on where or how it is used. 

You stating that the taxes paid by private school parents is more than others eg the public school parents is both misleading and biased toward a false perception that the demands of private education that they deserve equal funding is a fair and equitable !  Your logic is more than what does the reference to centerlink benefits mean ....????

You seem to predominate on the theme that parents should have a choice, and that the rest of the country should have to pay for their choices, this is a little egotiscial and pretty much what I would expect from someone involved in the private system.  So Katrina I'll ask one question:  In Queensland, and other places in Australia, there are toll roads.  It is the drivers choice to use such roads, and they pay for that privilige.  The money earned from the toll road goes to a private company and boosts their profits.  Do you think that the government should pay for every user of these toll roads?  Should taxpayers who will never use that road or have any relationship with that organisation have to contribute to its upkeep.  If you have any sense of what is fair you'd say no.  Now replace the words "toll road" with private education.

Now one last point, Katrina, I do not choose to pick which position that suits me.  I provide information to directly refute your biased and narrow allegations that support a unfair and inequitable system ie private education receiving public funds.  The way you support this a system with such spin and dis-information one could almost believe you are employed by the private sector to spruik their benefits.  Remember, you wouldn't want to pay for someone else's toll road, would you?

Comment by Katrina Smith on July 7, 2011 at 22:04
Seriously Andrew? Your maths could do with a little work. You fail to take into account such variables as Centerlink benefit recipients (10.8% of Public education users, less than 1% of private education users), dual income earners and the average income of $68K, and the relationship of these variables as they populate both private and public schooling.

First off, all private school parents were tax dodging billionaires, now they're paying the same tax as public school parents. You seem to adopt whichever position suits your assertions that private school students shouldn't receive funding because the institution their parents choose for them is not owned by the Government. The purpose of education funding is to support the education of students not to ensure that the Government monopolises the sector using the taxes from taxpayers who don't even use it.
Comment by Andrew Bleach on July 6, 2011 at 18:55

I'm sorry Katrina are you saying that your generalization that private school parents pay at least twice as much tax as those parents from the public education system is even remotely accurate?  We can work this out mathematically: a low income earner is of 50K they pay 21% tax the tax bracket nearest to double this is the 48% bracket that is reserved for people who earn in excess of 150K.  150K is hardly a middle income wage! I think you need to be realistic and admit that an exclusive elitist organization that is geared towards a profit margin is a private business and is not deserving of tax payers dollars.  I would love to see how much money they have stashed away accruing interest.  When the day comes when these private sector organizations are open and transparent in their finances then perhaps a subsidy model could be put in place.  At the moment though I feel they are just fleecing the system for all they can get.

I do like Citizen90 's  comment though and feel that such a system could have merit.

Comment by Katrina Smith on July 6, 2011 at 13:38
"The bottom 50% of wage earners in Australia pay 80% of all tax income from wages" is  misleading, disputed and not relevant to what I have claimed. Private school parents are mostly middle income earners who make up the bulk of the income tax earnings of the Federal Gov't. An audit of private school parents as a whole would reveal that they pay at least twice as much income tax as public school parents, as a whole. Alan Bond and the tax evasion tactics of the rich and famous don't apply to 99.9% of the private school parent body's tax burden. Most of them are Australians who feel that the  Government system is not capable of providing the outcomes they desire for their children and their tax dollars. I haven't seen any billionaires showing up at my local Catholic school. Has anyone?
Comment by Andrew Bleach on July 6, 2011 at 13:22

You are right, nearly half of the school students are in private education. However when you add to the public sector the TAFE students, the share that private education holds drops dramatically ie 28%. I would point out to you that the public purse ie taxes currently fund the private sector on a equal basis as public schooling and TAFE combined. ie 50% for Private 50% for public plus TAFE. This is unfair.  Most importantly, and I will remind you, private education is a business. Which other national private businesses receive such tax payer funding to prop them up?  Lets make it fair,  the user should pay for their choice not the taxpayer. No monopoly .... parents have the choice and can use their wallet to make their choices happen.

I would also like to dispute your comment: "private school parents are paying at least twice as much income tax as public school parents".  Research has shown that increased wealth does not equal increased tax burden. In fact quite the opposite. A good case in point would be the multi millionaire Alan Bond. At the height of career and wealth his daughter attended university with a austudy subsidy.  It seems that Alan had written off all his assets.  This is something only the wealthy can do .... the poor don't have assets, or investments to write off.  The bottom 50% of wage earners in Australia pay 80% of all tax income from wages.  So the assertion that private school parents pay double the tax and deserve more money for private education is false and unjustified.  

A final point, I believe the growth in government funding for private education over the past 15 yrs has been responsible for the growth in this sector.  This represents a unrealistic systems that without continued government funding would collapse overnight. Or in other words the current position we find ourselves in with inequitable funding to the private education sector is a result of previous governments policy.  Had that funding over the years been directed into public education there would be no shortage of schools or teachers.  The artificial support for the private business that is the private education sector needs to cease in order to do away with the elitist two tier education system that we are creating.

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