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Welcome back to the start of a new term. We have a new government, even if it is a vastly diminished one. I have given my analysis of the election and pointed out some affects in this eNews. We now switch from electioneering to governing, first year out of three in the election cy cle. Simon Birmingham continues in his role as the Educ ation Minister. The funding over the next few years seems to be worked out but we don’t have a long term ‘settled’ model. This will remain a vexing political issue.

For Christian schools the biggest issue remains religious freedom. As Paul Kelly commented in The Australian (May 18, 2016), “The exemption from anti-discrimination law for religious institutions and schools allows them to retain their religious character. It is a cornerstone for religious freedom in this country.” Greens policies here and the measure of their influence on this matter and developments in Victoria are the places to watch.

I hope you find the eNews material useful. Martin


Short Updates

The Victorian Government has proceeded with its defiance of the federal government review of the Safe Schools Coalition program stating it will provide the $300,000 shortfall resulting from Malcom Turnbull’s cowardly…

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What are the Implications of the Election for Christian Schools?

Whichever par ty came into government the position of Christian schools was reasonably safe, perhaps with the exception of a Greens-ALP minority government. It is speculative but in such a situation it is likely that the Greens would have extracted concessions regarding…

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Prayers for our Government

As we commence a new term and acknowledge our new government, it is quite appropriate that in assemblies, staff meetings, devotional times – we pray for those charged with task of leading and governing. As Christians…

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Election Analysis

So much has been written about the election. You are probably over it. Here is my summary of the election…

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What we have Learnt from the Election?

Nicholas Reece writes in The Conversation (July 12) about the many lessons learnt from a long campaign. The Australian vote is fragmenting. There has been a significant decline in the vote for the major parties. The vote for minor parties and independents…

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Freedom for Faith One Day Conferences

Freedom for Faith (FFF) is a most helpful Christian legal think-tank that picks up on the difficult and complex legal issues affecting religious freedom…Religious freedom is widely recognised as a fundamental right protected by international human rights…

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National Policy Forum 2016 Presentations

The presentations of most of major presenters at the Christian Schools National Policy Forum are now available on the Christian Schools Australia (CSA) website. Click here for the CSA website.

Christian Schools National Business Conference

Business Managers, Bursars, IT and Marketing people are encouraged to attend this biennial conference, which is designed to equip, inspire and refresh. The conference will be held in Melbourne – September 7 – 9.  

Click here for the CSA website conference information.

Click here for registration details. 

Anti-Discrimination Legislation – Victorian Update

Equal Oppor tunity legislative review is on the cards in Victoria presently. The ALP government has been gearing up for their ‘Inherent Requirements’ adjustments for some time. However…

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Is There a New Australian Conservative Movement Starting?

The Australian (6 July) reports that Cory Bernardi has announced the formation of a new cross-party political movement, the Australian Conservatives, to gather proponents of…

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Manner of the Plebiscite Debate

The ALP attempted to make the holding of a plebiscite on SSM an election issue with Bill Shorten saying that a plebiscite was “a taxpayer-funded platform for…

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Establishing a Religion – Section 116 in the Constitution

Neil Foster writes about a significant legal decision affecting religious freedom in his blog ‘Law and Religion Australia’ (July 7). This issue has some connection to the issues raised in the…

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Swedish Minister Argues that Discussion is Needed – Banning Religious Schools

The Local (Swedish News in English) reports (June 28th) on a particularly worrying understanding of religious freedom and ‘secular’. Parts of the article…

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Great Speech – John Gorton

John Brogden, ex NSW Liberal lea der wrote a great article in The Australian (July 1), ‘when heartfelt oratory gave us a political vis ion to believe in’ about an unknown but brilliant piece of…

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Recruitment and Avoiding an Adverse Action Claim

School Governance (July 14) ran an article that looked at recruitment and complying with anti-discrimination legislation and in particular, avoiding an adverse action claim from a…

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School Fined Following Misuse of Fixed-Term Contracts for Teachers

School Governance (June 16) provided an overview about misusing fixed term contracts. A few relevant paragraphs “A religious school (the School) in Victoria has been fined…”

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Did Gonski get it Right? School Funding and Performance

As the funding debate will continue, the key Coalition critique of Gonski namely the lack of linkage between addressing disadvantage and direct funding will received increased attention. A new study published…

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Celebrating Diversity

This is worthwhile reading. Nepean Christian School (NSW) has made an interesting statement on diversity. Not everyone will agree with the implications for enrolment. In a context where Christian schools are being accused…

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Dawkins – An Unexpected Defender

Christianity Today (Jan 13) notes that well-known atheist Richard Dawkins is now admitting that Christianity has some worthy things to contribute. He admitted that he has ‘mixed feelings’ concerning the decline of Christianity, because…

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Last Instalment of John Collier’s Study

Click here for John Collier’s last instalment (pages 14 – 16) of his Study of Christian Education in Scandinavia and Europe – 2015.

Click here for the full study report if you have missed any of the instalments over the past few issues of eNews. 

The Duty to Cooperate, Consult and Coordinate: Work, Health and Safety and Off-Campus Activities

School Governance (July 17) looked at the issue of overlapping responsibilities. Here are the opening and closing paragraphs, “It isn’t hard to imagine a situation in which multiple people or organisations have the…

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2016 Pay Guides

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has issued the Pay Guides for all modern awards, including the Educ ational Services (Schools) General Staff Award 2010 and the Educ ational Services (Teachers) Award 2010. These can be accessed…

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Queensland New Guidelines for Teachers, Students and Soc ial Media

The Courier-Mail (July 14) reports that Queensland teachers have been advised not to ‘friend’ students on Facebook or engage with them on soc ial media platforms under new guidelines sent to…

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Robots Writing Reports?

The combination of technology, standardisation and heavy administrative burden now brings us online robots producing complied ‘cut and paste’ student report cards. Natasha Bita reports in The Australian…

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Schools Grapple with the New Divide: Screentime or Textbooks

Natasha Bita in The Australian (June 18) asks, “Are smart phones, computers and tablets dumbing down our children?” A few interesting paragraphs from the article…

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One in Five Early Childhood Educ ators Plan to Leave the Profession

The Conversation (June 23) discussed the problem of the high turnover of early educ ation staff. “Of the 1200 early childhood educ ators and degree qualified teachers working in long day care centres and preschools across Australia who were surveyed, around one in five said they planned to leave their job within a year because of low pay, feeling undervalued and increasing time spent on paperwork.”

Click here for full article.

The Dangers of Part y Discipline

Frank Bongiorno writes in The Conversation (June 21) ‘Politicians’ inability to speak freely on issues that matter leaves democracy all the poorer’, about the history and costs of needing to follow the . . .

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Home Schooling Numbers on the Rise

David Roy in The Conversation (July 11) explored why more parents in NSW are choosing to home school their children. “There are now around 10,000 registered children who are home schooled each year in Australia. In NSW, that increased by 10% last year following a trend over the last few years.”

Click here for the full article.

Marriage Redefinition Resource

Have you seen this really clear and well-argued clip on understandings about marriage? This 9 minute clip put out by Marriage Equals is well worth watching.

Click here for the YouTube clip.

Alternative Girls Magazine – Bella Rae

A positive alternative magazine for high school girls has been relaunched this month with a new look and a new name bella rae – (previously Bella), meaning beauty and grace. It’s a fine alternative to the teenage magazines which…

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Anti-Poverty Week

Anti-Poverty Week 2016 runs from 16-22 October, with the United Nations-designated International Anti-Poverty Day taking place on 17 October. Schools can start planning now to hold an event during the week to express their concern about poverty and hardship in Australia and abroad.

Insights of a Former School Principal

In an article in The Educator (July 14) former principal of St Michael’s Grammar School, Simon Gipson, reflects on his experiences and notes: the importance of recognising and accepting failure as part of students’ learning experience that principals need more support to be better business managers; and the value of collaborative learning spaces for both students and the school community.

Click here for the full article.

The Political World is Changing

There is much soul searching happening in both sides of British politics about the Brexit outcome. In this outstanding article Melanie Phillips, (The Times) reprinted in The Australian (June 29) comments on . . .

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Exercise Boosts Kids Brain Power reports that “Allowing children time away from classrooms to exercise and run around boosts their brain power, international experts said.”