I’m a Labor voter. I’ve always been a Labor person long before I was eligible to vote. It’s how I was brought up. To believe in the greatest good for the greatest number. To believe that an egalitarian approach to life in general is the right and proper way to go. To believe that capital, in the main, is wielded as a weapon by those who hold it, that the privileged & wealthy only look to themselves, seek to actively increase their own wealth & status at the expense of their fellow human beings and rarely give consideration to those whose labour is, in actuality, their capital.
I believe the State has an obligation to educate and care for its citizens. In the case of the former, education should be freely available to all comers, from all levels of society, to all levels of education including Tertiary. Sadly, this is no longer the case. It is beginning to look as though Primary & Secondary education will be next on the list. This is but one example of why I hold hard to my most solid philosophical belief – that Conservatism is a cancer on the modern, progressive society. Conservatism fosters class warfare through precisely the ethos contained within that linked article. To claim that private schools are under-done by government administered public funding is at best a vague obfuscation of fact, at worst a barefaced lie. The claim also plays on the differential between what is declared as ‘private’ and ‘independent/non-government’ by way of educational institutions. A great many of the former category are religiously based, high socio-economic score institutions, which is to say they are cabals of the wealthy, inherently conservative sectors of society. I question the need for government, as recommended within the somewhat obtuse language of the Gonski Report, to increase public funding of such institutions.
Indeed, there are independently run, special needs institutions which fulfil a sorely needed niche within our society between the fully government funded public schooling regime, and the upper echelon privileged class institutions wherein disabled or special needs students are simply not adequately catered for. That such institutions actually have a place in our society is a damning indictment on our society in my view, however that is how events have unfolded over time and we cannot seemingly reverse that course. Equally, I find the need for indigenous schooling institutions anathema to the idea that all children should have access to education at the behest of the public purse. Black, white or brindle, skin colour and genetic heritage should have zero bearing in need or delivery of education outcomes. Only socio-economic status is the determinate in terms of funding necessity in my view. All other considerations pale.
To put it plainly, those who can pay, should pay. Those who can’t should be assisted. Education should be freely available, supported wholly by the State in State-funded institutions. Public Schools. For those who choose, for whatever reasons, to send their off-spring to non-government schools there ought to be no assistance on the proviso that education curriculum be identical across the board and it’s delivery as efficient and thorough as possible, also across the board. If you choose to send your loinfruit to a Christian Brothers College, a Church of England school or similarly elitist education institution when the government funded alternative is equally as effective, then you pay for it. You pay for it ALL. You have no right to dip your hand into the public purse as you pander to your own niche foibles. In my experience, private or independent schools don’t turn out a better end product on any measurable level. More often than not, the end product is deficient in character and less socially capable. Bottom line – my taxes are MY taxes. I won’t have them wasted on those who can afford to pay but won’t.