THE head of Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion in Vic­to­ria has dra­mat­i­cally in­ter­vened in the Bat­man by-elec­tion, at­tack­ing the Turn­bull Govern­ment in a let­ter to the par­ents of ev­ery child at Catholic schools in the seat.

In a move set to send a chill down the spine of Coali­tion MPs, Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Stephen El­der has writ­ten to Catholic school par­ents in Bat­man en­dors­ing La­bor’s prom­ise to re­store fund­ing it says has been cut by the Turn­bull Govern­ment.

While the Lib­eral Party is not run­ning a can­di­date in the Bat­man by-elec­tion — a Greens-La­bor fight — the let­ter shows Catholic angst at the Turn­bull Govern­ment’s changes to ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing will be a big fac­tor at the next fed­eral elec­tion.

This month, Bill Shorten wrote to Catholic Arch­bishop of Mel­bourne Denis Hart, promis­ing to re­store $250 mil­lion in Catholic school fund­ing, and bil­lions more over the next decade.

The Op­po­si­tion Leader said La­bor stood “shoul­der to shoul­der” with the Catholic Church on schools fund­ing.

Mr El­der’s let­ter to par­ents quotes Mr Shorten’s state­ment that “the ALP strongly be­lieves that low-fee Catholic schools make a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to school­ing in Aus­tralia” and says of the par­ties run­ning on Satur­day “only the ALP ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy” sup­ports the sys­tem’s ob­jec­tives.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2016 cen­sus, one in four chil­dren in Bat­man at­tends one of 15 Catholic schools in the seat. Mr El­der told the Her­ald

Sun Mal­colm Turn­bull and Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Si­mon Birm­ing­ham “are giv­ing them a belt­ing”. “That’s why we’ve asked Bat­man can­di­dates if they will be cham­pi­ons for Catholic ed­u­ca­tion and stand up for these school com­mu­ni­ties — and passed on the re­sults to par­ents,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.