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Monday, 17 September 1973
Page: 1033

The Petition of the undersigned respectively showeth that your Petitioners oppose the proposed reduction of Commonwealth per capita grants to independent schools on the following grounds:

1.   Your petitioners believe in the principle that every Australian child, irrespective of the school he attends, is entitled to economic support for his basic educational needs from the funds placed at the disposal of the Australian government through taxation. Further, they believe that this economic support should be in the form of per capita grants which are directly related to the cost of educating an Australian child in a government school.

2.   Your petitioners believe that in addition to this basic per capita grant additional assistance should be provided in case of educational disadvantage, but they believe that the appropriate instruments for reducing economic inequalities are taxation and social welfare systems which deal with individuals and families and not with schools.

3.   The reduction of the existing per capita grants will impose great hardships on many parents who have chosen, at considerable personal sacrifice to send their sons and daughters to independent schools. Indeed the curtailment of the said grants will create divisions in the community.

4.   Some independent schools have been encouraged to lower standards in order that their parents may continue to receive per capita grants.

5.   Some independent schools of high educational standard will be forced to close with the consequence that children attending those schools will have to attend government schools already over taxed and under staffed.

6.   Parents should be encouraged to exercise freedom of choice of the type of school they wish for their children. The proposed legislation will penalise parents who try to exercise this choice, and discourage them from making a vital financial contribution to Australian education over and above what they contribute through taxation.

7.   Students in independent schools are part of the community in which they live and study with benefits to the community but will be deprived of their rightful share of public monies allocated for education for which the community will ultimately suffer.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled should acknowledge the right of every Australian child to equal per capita grants of government money spent on education.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound will ever pray: by Mr Jarman.

Petition received.

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