Saturday, 20 October 2018

Catholics give their (our) money to their rich schools

The former NSW education minister and ex-Nationals MP, Adrian Piccoli, has accused the Catholic Church of "hoodwinking and bullying" federal politicians into giving its schools more money, and warned his old party the deal left country schools short-changed.

In a letter to NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro, Professor Piccoli urged his one-time colleagues to resist church pressure to sign off on the federal government's $4.6 billion private school funding deal.

NSW Catholic Schools rejected Dr Piccoli's comments as "offensive and unjustified" and offered to debate him on the issue in the Nationals' party room.

"While the Catholic Church has managed to hoodwink and bully the Commonwealth Government into offering this new deal, I urge you not to succumb to the same tactics," Dr Piccoli said in the letter, sent last week.

"The church is not as influential as its operators claim. Countless Catholic parishioners have lost faith in the church in the face of various scandals and as a result they don't listen to or trust the church to the same extent as in the past."

Dr Piccoli, who is now the director of the Gonski Institute for Education at the University of NSW, warned the church would give more money to rich city schools than needier schools in country electorates.

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