Education and funding
The Secular Party recognises the societal benefits of a well-funded and high-quality education system. This is best provided by teaching based on universal values and principles, and school curricula founded on reason and evidence consistent with academic expertise. Currently, funding is inequitable and fails to properly resource students with complex needs, leading to disadvantage. It also promotes the segregation of students according to their parents’ faiths. To address these issues and in accordance with the overarching principle of evidence-based policy, the Secular Party of Australia would broadly seek to implement the recommendations of the Gonski Review, with some amendments. Firstly, if the financial resources available per student in a private school, including those provided by school fees, exceed the standard resource per student, government funding will be reduced accordingly and used to help bring disadvantaged public schools to the required standard. Secondly, to qualify for government funding a school must teach a secular curriculum, admit students and employ staff regardless of faith, and all religious activity promoted by the school must be voluntary and conducted outside school hours. Thirdly, the Secular Party is opposed to the indoctrination of any student, whereby it is presented that any religion purports to be ‘the one true faith’.
The Secular Party also supports an adequately funded tertiary education sector. The future economic health of the country depends upon investment in education.
Religious instruction in schools
National Schools Chaplaincy Program
It is the policy of the Secular Party that the National Schools Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program be replaced with a single program supporting only qualified counsellors and student welfare officers in schools.