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With only a few weeks away until the federal election this newsletter brings you up-to-date with the matters that are of concern to Christian schools. However, if you are a little tired of the election ‘comings and goings’ there is still a variety of other matters to look at. My two top stories in this edition are Tim Wilson’s talk on religious freedom (if you weren’t at the Canberra National Policy Forum, then definitely read this transcript) and Greg Sheridan’s opinion piece on the demise of the church’s influence – both great reads. By next month the election will be all over and we will be into the ‘first 100 days’ (a key time patch for new governments).

Also, we should note that Australia has a mechanism for ensuring that political comments are reasonable and can be followed up, if necessary. All election commentary needs to be attributed to someone along with where they can be found. All election commentary in this newsletter is authorised by Martin Hanscamp, AACS Executive Officer of 836 Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa, NSW, 2745 where the AACS national office is located.

Enjoy this issue of eNews, Martin.


Short Updates

Christian schools as ‘Not-For-Profit’ organisations cannot endorse any particular par ty. Lobby groups that can only appeal to one side of politics move from the effective advocacy of a lobby group to being a client group, a little like…

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AACS – Election Advocacy

In the bigger context of 23 million Australian voices and the well-funded and powerful lobby groups (which frequently drown out other voices in the public debate), the small voice of Christian schools can…

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Don’t Cross the Line

Christian schools are ‘not for profits’ and as such it is necessary that they comply with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) guidelines regarding charities and political…

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AACS – The Election Campaign

The AACS election campaign Parts 1 & 2 are summarised here…

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Four Key Issues – Seeking Commitments from Candidates

In meetings or corresponding with candidates we have been seeking commitments across four key areas affecting Christian schools. We are requesting candidates to commit to…

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Also Chaplaincy and Safe Schools Coalition

Two further important issues are also worth voicing opinion about: The National Chaplaincy Program and The Safe Schools Coalition (SSC) Controversy…

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Responding to the Safe Schools Coalition (SSCA)

Doug Peck, Principal of Plenty Valley Christian College (PVCC), recently wrote this fine contribution in response to what PVCC was doing about the SSCA invitation to join. Doug writes…

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Religion Lessons ‘Not for Activists’

The Safe Schools Coalition (SSC) debate has been a running controversy for most of the year. It is hard to keep up with all the claims and counter-claims. It is quite likely to be a…

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Greens Make Religious Liberty an Issue

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, wrote an excellent opinion piece in The Australian (May 21) critiquing the Greens policy on discrimination and religious freedom. The article is worthy…

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Exemptions in Discrimination Laws

In Neil Foster’s blog ‘Law and Religion Australia’, he provides some detailed legal and political opinion about the way in which exemptions apply to religious institutions, which includes Christian schools. He concludes…

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Nationally Consistent Coll ection of Data (NCCD) Informing SWD Funding

Schools will be receiving information about this year’s coll ection and reporting data on Students with Disability. The data will be coll ected on August 5th, the same day as the Commonwealth Government census for Independent Schools. AACS assumes…

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Possible Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act Review

It is most interesting that Tasmanian Premier, Will Hodgman, has announced that his Government was considering changing the State’s Anti-Discrimination Act in order to provide freedom of expression of different views in the upcoming…

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Queensland Review of Religious Educ ation

A media storm has erupted in Queensland after a school principal cancelled the usual Religious Instruction classes because he allegedly discovered that the lessons involved…

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Comment Co de of Conduct

Ethos is the EA (Evangelical Alliance) Centre for Christianity and Society. Ethos goes beyond an ethics of dilemmas, decisions and doing to one of character, culture and community, centred in Jesus Christ. The sentiments expressed in the Ethos’ commentary…

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Funding Adjustments – Low SES and ELP Loadings

Australian Government DET has informed all schools that they are using updated data for the calculation of the Low Socio Economic Status (SES) and English Language Proficiency (ELP) loadings as a part of the school’s funding entitlement…

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Conference on Identity – 7th or 10th September, 2016

Dr Mark Yarhouse is speaking at this one day conference on 7th or 10th September in Sydney. His recent book ‘Understanding Gender Dysphoria” has provided a very helpful framework for understanding a Christian response…

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Tim Wilson’s (ex-Human Rights Commissioner) on Religious Fre edom

At the recent Christian Schools National Policy Forum in Canberra (May 23) Tim Wilson, the liberal candidate for the Victorian seat of Goldstein, appealed to both sides of contentious debates…

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PC Conformity

Commentator Michael Sexton wrote an interesting article on the Politically Correct Class (PCC). Sexton says the PCC “bears many similarities to an evangelical religious movement” and, “like many religious movements in history, it considers that anyone who rejects even one of these doctrines is not merely misguided but part of an evil conspiracy and deserving of suppression.”

Click here for the full article.

Por nography – Your Choicez

At the May National Policy Forum David and Katie Kobler from Your Choicez spoke on their work with young people and schools. I give them a hearty endorsement and recommend their services if you haven’t already picked up an effective program…

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Duty of Care Before and After School Hours: Who is Responsible?

School Governance (June 9) covered this topic recently reminding schools that they have a “duty of care for any student who is on the premises before or after school, if there is a knowledge of the student’s presence.” Did you know that?

Click here for the full article.

Christian Churches Drifting Too Far From the Marketplace of Ideas

Conservative Catholic journalist Greg Sheridan, the Australian’s Foreign Editor writes (June 4) a brilliant and challenging piece about the dying influence of the church within a highly secularised…

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Catholic Bishops Speak Out

In an unusual move Australia’s most senior Catholic bishops released a 2016 election statement in regards to the marriage debate. The group “rarely comments on federal politics and is fiercely non-partisan…

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Catholic Bishops May Speak – But is Anyone Listening?

Anglican academic, Muriel Porter, reflects on a similar theme (the voice of the church) to that of Greg Sheridan in The Conversation (May 19). A most insightful article about the church’s diminishing political influence and the…

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John Hattie – How to Improve the Quality of Educ ation in Australian Schools?

The “new four-part ABC documentary series Revolution School, looks at what the research tells us about what works in educ ation – and what doesn’t. It tells the story of how…

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What Works Best and What Doesn’t Work in Educ ation

Click here for more of the wonderful research and insights from Prof John Hattie, ‘What Works Best & What Doesn’t Work in Educ ation’.

NSW AIS Research into Academic Achievement

A recently released report Academic Achievement in NSW Independent Schools challenges the notion that educ ational outcomes are most significantly determined by low SES. Chair of the AISNSW Institute, Bill Daniels, said…

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ACER Report Examines Five Major Challenges Facing Schools

ACER Chief Executive, Geoff Masters, vents some of his frustration at the lack of a non-political serious focus on what we should be doing. He says, “While governments and political parties disagree over school funding, the Australian Council for…

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Schools Operating as Incorporated Associations – WA, NSW, SA and TAS

School Governance (June 2) ran a helpful overview of reforms and reporting obligations for these states. “As many non-government schools are incorporated associations, and often registered as charities as well, these reforms will be good news to schools as they aim to cut red tape – albeit in varying degrees depending on which state your school is in.”

Click here for the full article.


Why be a School Principal?

School Governance (May 26) provides some general insights into life in the fast lane. Once you get through the first few laboured paragraphs the rest reads well and might leave you inspired or depressed. If you ever have to prepare a talk on ‘why’ or ‘why not’ this is a helpful starter.

Click here for the full article.

Female Student at Catholic School Wins to Wear Pants for Sport

The Age (May 16) reports that the mother of the female student launched a petition claiming that her daughter wanted to wear the pants because she was uncomfortable playing sport in a heavy school tunic and stockings. The petition received 9000 signatures in three days. The school has stated that it will review its uniform policy and allow the student to switch uniforms.

Click here for the full article.

US Government Issues Trans gender Restroom Guidance to Schools

The ABC (May 14) reports that “US President Barack Obama’s administration has written to schools across America telling them…

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Nature (Genetics) or Nurture?

Fairfax ran a very interesting story on a study that will fuel the ‘nature vs nurture’ debate. An international project has identified 74 genetic variants that are linked to a person’s educ ational outcome, or the number of years of formal…

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NAIDOC – Songlines: The Living Narrative of our Nation

NAIDOC Week (July 3-10) celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Click here for more information about how to celebrate NAIDOC week. See also the resources on the DIDUNO website ‘NAIDOC and the Christian connection’.

What Research Says About Pros and Cons of Popular Parenting Styles

The Conversation (May 26) has been running a series on major changes in family and relationships, and how that might in turn reshape law, policy and our idea of ourselves. The series opens with…

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