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Dear Colleagues, I trust that term two is going well and that you’re keeping abreast of political news in the lead-up to the election. As of last Thursday, according to the Australian Electoral Commission, 1.4 million people have cast their vote in pre-polling. This month’s edition of AACS news will focus on election matters and try to con solidate all the information we have on all the major issues affecting our schools . . .

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International Transforming Education Conference, Adelaide, July 2019

A reminder to register for the upcoming ITEC conference in Adelaide (15 – 17 July) . . .

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Human Resources Outlook

AACS is keenly aware of the need for our schools to have robust staff relations materials, Constitutions and Statements.

Whilst AACS is an advocacy body, we are currently exploring ways in which we can help schools obtain all the necessary information that they need, given the intrinsic link to what our religious freedoms may be in the future.

ValuEd Voices

You will have noticed the campaign material sent for distribution within your school communities under the ValuEd Voices name. This is a coalition of Christian school organisations who over that last few weeks have invested in focus groups, telepolling and the subsequent development of material that . . .

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AACS and ValuEd Voices Facebook pages

Just a reminder to search for both these pages online, like and invite anyone you think would like it to click ‘like’. The first thing that political staffers do when a stakeholder comes to visit is a Google search. The more likes they see us having on our page, the more they’ll take us seriously (no jo ke).

The ValuEd Voices is the main campaign page and the AACS one is running some additional posts too.

Unfortunately, Facebook pages can easily attract trolling, but if you do decide to respond to the ‘haters’– be sure it is becoming of our organisation and blessing readers.

Religious Freedom Polling

National polling we commissioned with other Christian school groups has clearly demonstrated the widespread support for the rights of Christian schools to employ Christian staff and for religious freedom more broadly. The polling, reported in The Australian, is a genuinely representative National poll with a sample size about double that of Newspoll. The precise questions and National responses are as follows . . .

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Election Questionnaires

General education summary

The Independent Schools Council of Australia has prepared a summary of the major parties policies on education, which can be accessed here.

 AACS election questionnaire

AACS wrote to all major and minor parties with our questionnaire and only had responses from the Democratic Labor Party, the Australian Conservatives and the Liberal Party (in order of receipt).

Please find links to the Democratic Labor Party, Australian Conservatives and Liberal Party responses, below:

DLP answers to AACS questionnaire

DLP Constitution Articles 5 to 20

Australian Conservatives answers to AACS questionnaire

Liberal Party answers to AACS questionnaire

The Freedom For Faith Christian think-tank also surveyed parties, and they received responses from the Labor and Liberal parties, which can be found here.

Who said what?

A quick snapshot of some recent education lines in the public domain . . .

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Australian Law Reform Commission Referral

The referral of recommendations from the Ruddock Review on Religious Freedom to the Australian Law Reform Commission was made on 10 April, the day before the election was called. We are very grateful that this process is now . . .

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ACT Discrimination Act Changes

The Discrimination Amendment Act 2018 (ACT) which amends the Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT) came into effect on 29 April. A copy of the information sent to schools from the ACT Department of Education can be found . . .

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Tasmanian Discrimination Act Changes

The Justice and Related Legislation (Marriage Amendments) Bill 2018 passed both houses and became law on 10 April. Tasmania’s changes dealt with broader issues than those in the ACT, but both are concerning. You may remember . . .

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Distance Education Funding

A reminder that the Regulation for the ten per cent increase of the Student Resource Standard for distance education students was not tabled in time before caretaker mode. Information obtained from the Department indicates that there may need to be some further consultation with stakeholders, but the intention is still that once the amendment to the Regulation is in place, funding will be backdated from 1 January 2019.

We will be following this up again for our schools post-election. Given schools would have budgeted for the increase in income this year, it is frustrating that the funding has not yet been received and we are aware of this.

‘Overcoming the odds’: Disadvantaged schools punching above their weight

An interesting report was released earlier this year by Blaise Joseph from the Centre for Independent Studies on what made nine disadvantaged, but high-performing schools succeed . . .

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