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2013-04-23

Join us in Canberra in May

25th to 28th May inclusive: – 25-26 CEN AGM (for CEN schools only) – 26 AACS AGM and Twilight Reception – 27-28 Christian Schools Policy Forum – 27 Parliament House Dinner These days are strategically very important, a great opportunity for the Christian school movement (in its collective expression) to make a significant impact on both politicians and bureaucrats.

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Gonski Update April

At long last the figures are out! At least, there is a set of figures to look at. This certainly does not mean that they are the final figures on which the model will be rolled out. They are certainly not figures that schools should use to start planning for the future. Rather, they are figures that might minimise the angst that the government will face in the present pre-election climate. It is my understanding that all schools will, by now, have received their own school’s data from their local Aises. On the whole, the Gonski figures released last week are within the tolerances that AACS would have expected. However, AACS is very cautious about the data and believes that schools should be careful not to make public announcements about them at this stage. I have produced a confidential ‘Internal Members Briefing’ paper which needs a few final details inserted...

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Election Support Pack

This is a friendly reminder to all member schools to be taking action now to implement the strategies outlined in the AACS 2013 Federal Election Support Pack that we forwarded to you two weeks ago. As our politicians and candidates are now in the final stages of ‘pre-selection’ activities, you will very shortly know who to approach in each of the electorates impacted by the presence of your school families. The politicians will now be heavily focused on the details of the Gonski modelling that have just come to their notice. They will be on a tight timetable to weigh the arguments for and against the model before legislation is presented to the parliament and budget provisions are finalised. Remember, for Labor, this reform has to be through both houses of the parliament before 27 June – the final sitting session of Parliament before the election campaign officially gets under...

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Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (ACNC)

The 2013 Annual Information Statement We have received several calls asking for advice as to how schools should answer Question 7 from this annual survey. In particular, schools want to know whether they should tick the box to indicate that ‘the charitable purpose of your charity’ is ‘The Advancement of Religion’. The answer to this question is a most definite YES. There are currently 4 standard recognised purposes for which a charity may exist – including ‘the advancement of religion’. In addition, a registered charity may exist for more than one of those four purposes. In the case of AACS schools, most should be declaring that they exist for at least two purposes – ‘the advancement of education’ and ‘the advancement of religion’. In ticking these two boxes, there are no hidden agendas and no potential disadvantages. Our schools are quite plainly about ‘religious formation’ and we should be totally...

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The Introduction of Governance Standards

On July 1 this year, the ACNC’s Governance Standards come into force and all Boards of Corporations will be required to know and to implement these standards in respect of their own governance operations. These are commonsense priorities for all Boards and AACS would urge both Principals and Board Chairs to ensure that the Company Secretary, Public Officer or the Board Chair him/herself is taking responsibility for their implementation at the local level. It is in this connection that the following short ‘challenge’ paper is offered to encourage Boards to see the importance of at least the first two of the ACNC governance standards. This initiative of the ACNC is, in fact, very helpful for the future of our Christian schools in this country.

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Protecting Our Calling Against the Ravages of Change

A well respected observer of organizational change recently commented that the culture of an organization changes significantly every 3 to 5 years. If this is the case, and it certainly rings true for me, who in our schools is charged with the primary responsibility of monitoring those changes? What are some of the critical elements of those change process and who is taking responsibility for managing them? Observations of Christian school movements that have been around for 40 to 50 years or more certainly confirm that change can devastate the Christian character and impact of schools over time. We have seen it in the Netherlands, in North America and here, in strong fair dinkum Christian denominational schools that were established in Australia in the 19th century. The reality is that small incremental changes in culture have the net impact of changing our commitments, our vision and our mission by degrees....

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Current Submissions

AACS is currently preparing submissions for the following inquiries: The Bill to legislate a definition of ‘charity’ The Sex Discrimination Amendment Bill    

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State News

VICTORIA New Association Incorporation Reform Act Requires Action by Schools All AACS schools in Victoria that are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2012 (Vic) that came into force at the end of November 2012 should have by now checked the following: their Statement of Purpose, their Rules and their protocols for presenting Financial Statements CEN schools will receive detailed legal advice relating to these matters. This advice was prepared specifically for CEN member schools. However, non-CEN schools in Victoria need to be aware that they need to be compliant in these matters.  

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