9th September 2012, 08:05 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Big or small matters, Catholics operate by their own rules
my emphasis: I think these folks need a better understanding of conflict of interest. But, then, for an institution that thinks it OK to protect paedophiles, I suppose this is small beer.
The religious education group that used thousands of Canberra schoolchildren to distribute pro-Liberals flyers last month has the brother-in-law of party leader Zed Seselja on its governing board.
It is also alleged that Sports Minister Andrew Barr was prevented, for political reasons, from visiting a Catholic primary school where the principal is the wife of another Liberals MLA and which took part in the letter drop.
The ACT government and education lobbyists hit out at the Catholic Education Commission last week for using school students to distribute election material promoting the Canberra Liberals.
Students were sent home from Canberra's Catholic schools on Thursday, August 30, with a media release endorsing an election promise by Opposition Leader Zed Seselja to increase funding for non- government schools.
But the close family ties between the Canberra Liberals and the Catholic education movement were not disclosed.
The head of the Catholic Education Commission, Daryl Smeaton, told The Canberra Times yesterday that board member Shawn van der Linden did not disclose his family relationship with Mr Seselja before the decision to distribute the flyers.
''I didn't know about that issue and I don't think it has any relevance whatsoever,'' Mr Smeaton said.
''Why would he mention that to me?
''It seems to me that this is implying that there is some sort of bias and I can clearly tell you that that's not the case.
''I don't ask any members of my commission about their familial relationships with anybody because it is absolutely not relevant to the work of my commission.''
Mr Smeaton reiterated his position that the flyers did not constitute support for the Liberals and that they merely ''welcomed'' the policy announcement.
When Mr Seselja was asked yesterday if he believed Mr van der Linden should have declared a family relationship between the two men, the Liberals leader released a statement that read:
''This [the policy] is a great promise for Canberra families, I am proud to make that commitment, and I'm glad the CEC sent that release home.
''The process they follow to do that is a matter for them.''
Mr van der Linden did not respond to several requests for an interview yesterday.
Meantime, conflicting accounts have emerged over the cancellation of a school sports event, scheduled for the day after the policy announcement and mail-out.
Maree Winmill, of the Canberra's Physical Activity Foundation, told The Canberra Times that she had arranged a visit by Mr Barr to Watson's Rosary Primary, where Maureen Doszpot, wife of Liberals education spokesman Steve Doszpot, is principal.
But Ms Winmill said the visit was cancelled on Thursday, the day the flyers were sent home with the children, at the behest of the school.
''The school made the decision with the Catholic Education Office because of the principal's conflict of interest,'' Ms Winmill told The Canberra Times.
Tim Smith, spokesman for the Catholic Education Office, which is affiliated with the Catholic Education Commission said that it was the Physical Activity Foundation, and not the school or the office, who made the decision to cancel the trip.
''Rosary Primary School was contact by the activity challenge program manager, she was asking if it would be possible for Andrew Barr to come and visit the school on Friday morning,'' Mr Smith said.
''We said yes, that would be fine, but was she aware that the principal of the school was married to one of the other candidates?
''We said, he [Mr Barr] would be most welcome and the lady said that she would go back to the minister's office and explain the situation and if she didn't get back to us, then she would organise something else.''
Mr Smith said when his office heard nothing further they concluded the visit was off.
Mr Barr's office declined to answer questions yesterday.
Originally Posted by Loki
"Scientism". The plaintive cries of those upset others don't accept unevidenced supernatural assertions without question.