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<nettime> Schools told to fly flag or lose cash
ben moretti on Wed, 23 Jun 2004 08:21:46 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Schools told to fly flag or lose cash

this is hysterical. what is it with reactionaries and
flags? for americal readers - australians are not
noted for their overt displays of patriotism. it is a
more subtle, character based thing for us.

some other things that could be suggested for schools
to get more public funding

* recreational marching
* saluting competitions 
* bashing homosexuals and ethnic minors
* burning books
* reporting "un-australian" attitudes to the
* joining the howard youth




Schools told to fly flag or lose cash
By Orietta Guerrera
June 23, 2004

Every school in Australia will be required to fly the
national flag from next year to qualify for their
share of the Howard Government's new $31 billion
federal schools package.

Schools will also have to provide at least two hours a
week of physical education as part of a host of new
conditions for receiving their money.

The changes, foreshadowed yesterday by Prime Minister
John Howard and Education Minister Brendan Nelson,
were attacked by the Labor Party and parent and
teacher groups, but won praise from monarchists.

Mr Howard rejected suggestions that the flag
requirement was old-fashioned. "I don't think there's
anything old-fashioned about the display of patriotic
symbols," he said.

He said he would also like to hear the national anthem
sung in schools, but it would not be a funding

The flag move comes after Mr Howard sparked a furore
in January when he blamed a "values-neutral" and
"politically correct" state system for the drift from
public to private schools.

The Opposition has indicated it will pass the
legislation to give schools funding certainty for next
year, but criticised the flag plan, saying most
schools already flew the flag and respected national
symbols. "The thing that John Howard and Brendan
Nelson have completely missed is that schools actually
need great classrooms, lots of teachers, and the
funding to make sure that they have these facilities,"
said Labor education spokeswoman Jenny Macklin.
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In other changes aimed at national consistency,
schools will be required to commit to common outcomes
tests in maths, science, English, civics and
citizenship, and states will have to agree on a common
school starting age by 2010.

Schools will have to provide parents with "plain
language" report cards, and publish information about
their academic results, school leaver destinations,
absentee rates and teachers' qualifications.

And as part of the Government's obesity package to be
announced next week, students from prep to year 10
must have two hours of physical education during or
after school hours each week.

Victoria's acting Education Minister, Jacinta Allan,
said the flag plan was an "election-year stunt" aimed
at covering Canberra's inadequate funding of
government schools.

She said many schools already took pride in flying the
flag, and there were existing requirements for schools
in Victoria to devote a set amount of time to physical

Australian Education Union Victorian branch president
Mary Bluett said the flag plan was "a nonsense" that
would force many schools to divert scarce funding -
close to $20,000 - to build or replace old flagpoles.

The union's federal president, Pat Byrne, said: "It's
a preoccupation with appearances rather than
substance. Issues of civics education are far more
subtle, and far more wide-ranging that whether or not
you have a functioning flagpole."

Andrew Blair of the Victorian Association of State
School Principals said he hoped the flag plan would
not mean "a return to colonial Australia days" and
that it was accompanied by programs recognising "the
multicultural nature of our community".

The national convener of Australians for
Constitutional Monarchy, David Flint, described the
flag plan as an excellent idea, saying that in any
country you would "expect the schools to fly the flag
and the children to see the national symbol in front
of them".

Independent Schools of Victoria chief executive
Michelle Green said a survey had shown that the vast
majority of independent schools already had poles with
Australian flags.

- with Andra Jackson, Shane Green

ben moretti
e: benmoretti {AT} yahoo.com.au
w: http://www.geocities.com/benmoretti
t: +61 0438 822 196

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