We are finding our feet in our new roles with AACS, and have loved catching a glimpse of the great work happening among all of you. Annette enjoyed visiting some schools in Queensland last week and Erik is soon be in WA to connect with our members there. We look forward to continuing to get to know more of you in the weeks and months ahead.
The Federal Government has been in winter recess for the last month. Parties have been focussed on the bi-elections that took place on the weekend. You will have probably seen in the news that education funding was one of the hot-button issues for those bi-elections with Catholic schools in the Longman electorate delivering a letter to parents that criticised the Liberals’ school funding policy. The Prime Minister is now intervening on the issue.
We continue to advocate for the Government to stay firm on its commitment to the fundamental elements of Gonski 2.0 and have also expressed our support for an SES funding model that is based on actual parental income levels rather than approximate regional wealth.
We are anticipating the release of the Ruddock Review which is expected to come out in the next few weeks. Religious freedom, and the specific items of legislation that are implicated under that umbrella, are likely to be AACS’s key issues for the next 12 months and beyond, as Australian are rapidly identifying as non-religious rather than Christian. You will see in this newsletter that one specific push is currently underway in WA to remove the freedom we would have to discriminate on the basis of faith when employing teachers. This is unlikely to gain any traction in the short term, but it is indicative of the cultural shifts that are occurring. We will be working with our WA schools to ensure they are equipped to respond to this issue.
As we settle into these roles we are humbled by the privilege we have to speak on behalf of AACS members. We sense that this is an important time for the Church and for Christian schools. Please continue to pray for us, as we pray for you—that we may all be salt and light in the areas where we work and live.
Erik, Annette and Wendy
P.S. For those of you needing a reminder about how to log on to see the newsletter material, the user and pass-word are both: aacsnewsletter