Australia is a secular, multicultural state. We do not have a ‘state religion’. It is absolutely inappropriate for the government to be funding religious services in our public schools.
The Liberal Party’s $250 million school chaplains program is not about helping struggling kids. If it were about helping kids, they wouldn’t have banned secular social workers from participating. Chaplains are not necessarily trained and qualified to help vulnerable, struggling kids, and are especially unprepared for helping with kids from minority cultures who are the most likely to be in need of help.
The policy is little more than the Liberal Party scratching the backs of their friends in the church, who see this as a prime opportunity to indoctrinate and recruit some ‘young blood’ to their aging institutions.
Why exactly the Liberal Party believe it is a good idea to give preachers special access to our school kids, I’m unsure. Even the Liberal Party’s own ‘Commission of Audit’ disagreed with the notion.
Personally I think it absurd to put ‘Chaplains’ in public schools, and here’s 5 reasons why:
- I genuine worry about the damage preachers may do to a gay child who is being bullied, or a kid who thinks s/he might have an STD, or a girl who has gotten pregnant as the result of a rape. All of which are situations that DO occur in high schools.
- Chaplains are not trained or qualified to provide the level of professional help often required by vulnerable children presenting to a schools’ social worker.
- It is incredibly insensitive to ALL non-Christian groups in Australia, particularly Indigenous kids, and others with strong faith.
- It is not ‘Christian’ children who tend to struggle the most at schools.
- The $250 million would be far better spent employing professional, qualified Social Workers and Aboriginal & Islander Education Officers.
Lets stick with being a secular country, and provide secular assistance to people of all religions, if religious guidance is needed they can consult their pastor, sheikh, rabbi, guru, elder or other relevant figure.
It’s so contradictory for the Liberal Party to support this policy, given their general objection monopolies and also to government funding of social services. Yet they’re happy to hand over $250 million to the Church and give them exclusive rights to profit from ‘helping’ needy kids in our public school system.
In fact we shouldn’t be giving public money for kids to go to private religious schools either. Our taxes are spent to guarantee our kids get an equal opportunity at education, yet while many public schools lack resources, government funding still pours into opulent, cash-flushed private schools.
It’s all about playing favourites and ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ deals when it comes to the Liberal Party, and it’s these kinds of ridiculous policies which reveal it.
Bring on a Double Dissolution, Tony, I dare you.
(Yes, before you message me about it, I know that is wishful thinking.)