It appears that blackmail, be it financial or emotional, is the new form of due process by the Australian Federal Government. Much has been said recently about the appalling manipulation the LNP and Scott Morrison displayed when seeking to push the new Asylum Seeker laws through the parliament. What is also true is that this is merely the most vile example of this practice to date.
I have spoken previously about the current governments attempts to force the chaplaincy program into state run schools but it bears mentioning again when you consider how they are going about it. It also bears mentioning the new initiative of this government to fund those who wish to enter the Seminary and study for the priesthood. This is at the same time they are gutting funding to university education and attempting to drive legislation through the parliament that would leave Australians paying up to $100 000.00 for a degree, let alone a Masters or Doctorate.
What I find particularly repugnant [and there is a LOT to chose from] is that this is the same government who has recently been responsible for a number of deaths and the ongoing suffering of asylum seekers. It appears that the concept of Christian charity, totally aside from the Refugee Convention that they have just stripped from Australia’s laws, has degrees of worthiness. After all in a famous interview our PM, a failed seminary student himself, was quoted as saying that ‘Jesus says there is a place for everyone but that doesn’t mean everyone’s place in is Australia.‘ [ABC Q&A]
According to his own accounts of why he left the seminary he felt the modern church had too much care for sinners and found it’s acceptance of modern ideology unsettling [yes you heard me Abbott found the Catholic Church too progressive]. He wished to lead the church back to ‘glory’, a kind of crusade one could say. All that is well and good as everyone is entitled to their beliefs but he does not have the right to use his position as Prime Minister, along with members of his cabinet, to wage this crusade.
The school chaplaincy program is a disgrace. Government schools have been told that if they wish to have student counselors funded by the federal government then they would have to agree to only employ those who had chaplaincy training, not counselling or social work degrees but lay education based around religion as a means of offering comfort and direction for students.
They were told straight out to use Chaplains or lose the $244 million dollar funding if they insist on secular counselors. All this despite the High Courts of Australia finding the program unconstitutional not to mention grave fears of suicide and self harm among students due to lack of understanding and training on behalf of these Chaplains.
They are not even insisting that Chaplains receive formal recognised training in counselling, psychology or social work. [and do you think they would include Islamic, Buddhist etc religious workers in their little WASP church program.] It should also be no surprise that this government ignored the High Court and proceeded to draft the program that would get around the ruling.
Not happy with crossing the line of Church and State for primary and secondary education the Abbott government are now asking Australia taxpayers to fund religious training at a tertiary level as well as vocational and lay training.
Taxpayers would subsidise the training of priests and other religious workers at private colleges for the first time under the Abbott government’s proposed higher education reforms. As well as deregulating university fees and cutting university funding by 20 per cent, the government’s proposed higher education package extends federal funding to students at private universities, TAFES and associate degree programs. Religious teaching, training and vocational institutes would be eligible for a share of $820 million in new Commonwealth funding over three years [courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald Dec 5 2014]
Greens higher education spokesperson, Lee Rhiannon, questions the direction of education in Australia:
Courses that Mr Pyne wants to extend funding to include those teaching prescriptive Christian ideology on sexuality and marriage – is this really the best use of the higher education budget?
I am a little curious to discover just what sort of religious training would be funded. Does this government envisage funding those who wish to follow Islam, Buddhism or Wiccan studies or do they plan for Christians only need apply. Regardless of what they plan it is a violation of the separation of Church and State and NOT the business of secular government. This government seems to want not only blur the line between Church and State, it appears they wish to eradicate it.
Yet it has acted with supreme disregard to the values of Christian charity in regards to those they see as less. Their contempt for our indigenous population, the disabled and those in the lower income bracket, as showcased by their budget, is breathtaking.
Add to that the recent example of emotional blackmail and the using of children currently in detention you come to a divergence of what they say, in regards to Christian charity and belief, and what they do. I shouldn’t be surprised since saying one thing and then proceeding to do another is how this government got elected in the first place.
However I must admit that I find it hard to swallow their crusade in regards to religion and education when it is stacked up against their actions to those who are among the most vulnerable amongst us. At some point I would like them to explain the dichotomy to me and the rest of Australia but I feel that will be a long time coming, if at all.