Catholic education seeks clarity from parties on election priorities

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) is callin g on the major parties and a number of
candidates in key seats to respond on policy matters in the leadup to the federal election.

The NCEC is the peak body representing over 785,000 students from 465,000 families and employ ing
ove r 102,000 school staff in 1,755 Catholic schools. This represent s around three quarters of a million
voters.

NCEC Executive Director Jacinta Collins said the responses will be used to inform parents and staff
ahead of the 21 May election.

“E very federal election we ask the major parties and some independent candidates to outline their policy
positions on a range of issues that are important to our Catholic community,” Ms Collins said. ” We
communicate them to our parents, staff and other stakeholde rs so they can make an informed choice on
election day. ”

Ms Collins said the Catholic education sector is seeking assurances that parents will continue to have a
genuine choice of schooling and affordable access to a faith – based education.

” Choice in the education of one’s child is one of the most important decisions a parent will make,” she
said. ” That’s why ensuring our children’s scho ols are properly funded and supported by the g overnment is
a critical issue for Catholic families across the country.

“Ensuring appropriate legislation to protect the rights of parents to choose a faith – based education for their
children is a key pr iority and we will be seeking the support of the major parties to finalise the Religious
Discrimination legislation that passed the House of Re p resentatives, within the first 100 days of the new
Australian Parliament.

“Both major parties have previously acknowledged the importance of our schools maintaining their
religious ethos thro ugh t heir support for the protections proposed in the Religious Discrimination Bill, ” Ms
Col lins said.

” We thank the many M embers of Parliament who highlighted the importance of their local Catholic schools
through out the debate.

“This important legislation realises Australia’s international responsibility to protect religious freedom
including establishing religious schools and the rights of parents to ensure the education of their children
in line with their religious beliefs and values.

“We support further work occurring with the Sex Discrimination Act to ensure an appropriate balance
of protections, and at the same time, ensuring that faith – based schools are able to operate within their
religious ethos, ” s he said.

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