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Youth & Education
  16. Education – freedom to teach
  17. Christian religious education
  18. Law & order – youth rehabilitation
   


Youth & Education

16. Education – freedom to teach

The South Australian Non-Government Schools Registration Board recently caused avoidable controversy by drafting guidelines to explicitly prevent the teaching of creationism in school science classes. The guidelines were later withdrawn. Will your Party ensure that the Victorian Regulations and Qualifications Authority respects the independence of faith-based schools to teach from a Christian perspective across all subject areas?

Liberal National Coalition
Liberal National Coalition [View responses to all questions from the Liberal National Coalition]
  • A Liberal-Nationals Coalition government will respect the independence of faith based schools to teach from a religious perspective in all subject areas.


Democratic Labour Party of Australia
Democratic Labour Party of Australia [View responses to all questions from the Democratic Labour Party of Australia]

Yes.



Family First
Family First [View responses to all questions from the Family First]
  • Family First acknowledges the diverse beliefs, traditions and values of families and defends parents’ rights to choose schools that uphold those values.
  • Therefore, Family First supports non-Government schools being able to teach curriculum from the perspective of their own beliefs, traditions, and values.


Australian Greens
Australian Greens [View responses to all questions from the Australian Greens]
  • We would carefully examine any proposal, but would not support faith based schools teaching creationism in science classes or instead of science.


Christian Democratic Party
Christian Democratic Party [View responses to all questions from the Christian Democratic Party]
  • The Christian Democratic Party highly respects and supports the right of Christian schools to teach Christianly – that is the purpose for their existence.
  • Part of the education of a student in a Christian school, of course, is to be made aware of how the non-Christian world thinks and why.
  • More importantly, the Christian perspective on all subjects, as an antidote to godless concepts, is the rationale of Christian education.


Australian Labor Party of Victoria [View responses to all questions from the Australian Labor Party of Victoria]

A re-elected Brumby Labor Government will maintain its position that all schools, including faith-based schools, can teach in accordance with their beliefs, as long as they address the nationally agreed eight key learning areas.

The Victorian Essential Learning Standards describe what is essential for Victorian students to achieve from Prep to Year 10 – these Standards allow students to develop core skills that can be transferred to new and different contexts.

Labor will ensure the VRQA respects the independence of faith-based schools to teach from various religious perspectives, as part of their overall learning program, in accordance with the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.  

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17. Christian religious education

The provision of Christian religious education in Victorian Government schools is provided for under section 2.2.11 Special religious instruction of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. Does your party support the on-going provision of Christian religious education for students in Victorian public schools?

Liberal National Coalition
Liberal National Coalition [View responses to all questions from the Liberal National Coalition]
  • Yes.


Democratic Labour Party of Australia
Democratic Labour Party of Australia [View responses to all questions from the Democratic Labour Party of Australia]

The DLP is concerned that most teachers in Victorian Government Schools are so negative about Christianity that many of them will take any chance to teach students about religion to demean Christianity in the eyes of their students. Opportunities for teaching religion in schools therefore should be restricted to experts in the subject who represent mainstream Christianity.



Family First
Family First [View responses to all questions from the Family First]
  • Yes, Family First supports the ongoing provision of this program.


Australian Greens
Australian Greens [View responses to all questions from the Australian Greens]
  • The Victorian Greens have no policy that seeks to take Religious Education (RE) from schools.
  • While RE is in state schools, we would always want there to be an “opt out” or “opt in” structure for families to use in relation to religious education. For children of families of other faiths or no faith, there must be no compulsion to attend.
  • The propagation of religious belief is not the responsibility of state schools. If families want to have their children learn about the Christian faith, then really, that should be done in different settings: the home, the church, and private religious schools.

The Greens believe in the separate of church and state. Traditionally Christianity has been one of the majority religions in Australia. Does that give it the right to use the institutions of the state to propagate its values and beliefs? Or should the church be a voice speaking into society without using the institutions of society to show bias towards itself? These are hotly debated questions that can’t be resolved in 200 words.



Christian Democratic Party
Christian Democratic Party [View responses to all questions from the Christian Democratic Party]
  • Not only does the Christian Democratic Party strongly support CRE but a number of its members participate in its delivery.
  • We are very thankful for the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 and its precursor legislation, for giving a multitude of primary school children a splendid opportunity to be taught the Christian Gospel.
  • No child is forced to receive this instruction in that any parent may withdraw their child from a CRE class.


Australian Labor Party of Victoria [View responses to all questions from the Australian Labor Party of Victoria]

Labor supports the ongoing provision of religious instruction in Victorian Government schools, as provided for in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.

ACCESS Ministries (representing 12 Christian denominations) is one of two major organisations engaged by the Victorian Education Department to accredit religious instructors to instruct in Victorian government schools.

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18. Law & order – youth rehabilitation

The report, 'Youth Justice in Victoria: The benefits of Victoria's Youth Justice System and the challenges ahead' details that there is a more than 60% chance young offenders will re-offend after release, most within 6 months of their release. What will your Party do to more effectively rehabilitate young offenders back into the community, and reduce the high rate of recidivism?

Liberal National Coalition
Liberal National Coalition [View responses to all questions from the Liberal National Coalition]
  • A Liberal-Nationals Coalition government will improve exit planning processes to ensure that young people leaving youth justice facilities have appropriate support.
  • We will also seek to prevent young people entering the youth justice system through better and earlier availability of mental health and drug treatment services.

A recent Ombudsman’s report into conditions at the Melbourne Youth Justice Precinct found a litany of failures from unacceptable health and safety conditions, breaches of human rights, failures to obtain working with children checks, failures to respond adequately to improper conduct, failures to respond to alleged assaults, failures to restrict contraband from entering the premises, alleged theft by staff, inadequate supervision by night staff and the provision of inadequate care for detainees with mental health issues.

The report also described the condition of the precinct as “disgraceful”.

This analysis follows on from a report entitled “Youth Justice: Health Service Review” completed for the government on December 2007. This report found, amongst other things that there was inadequate mental health treatment services and inadequate ‘exit planning’.

The Coalition is committed to improving exit planning processes to ensure that young people leaving youth justice facilities have appropriate accommodation facilities and access to mental health, alcohol and drug treatment programs. This position will help young people access support and stem the cycle of recidivism.

The Coalition also seeks to prevent young people from entering the youth justice system in the first place. Mental health and drug treatment services need to be readily available not just to young people already in the system but more broadly, to ensure early intervention for emerging problems can be undertaken.

We believe that if we can ensure ready and high quality support and treatment options to vulnerable young people we can help to stem the tide of youth incarceration.

Additional measures will be announced in the coming weeks.



Democratic Labour Party of Australia
Democratic Labour Party of Australia [View responses to all questions from the Democratic Labour Party of Australia]

First, the DLP has a policy of effectively tackling illegal drugs (the actual cause of much youth crime) and a key ingredient of recidivism.  Second, we generally are not enthusiastic about putting young people in jail in the first place if this can be avoided.  Third, we see a potential role for religion and faith-based organisations to help steer young people away from a culture of crime and anti-social behaviour.



Family First
Family First [View responses to all questions from the Family First]
  • Family First believes we must be tough on serious offences but that we should also have alternative punishment for people convicted of minor offences.
  • Family First will call for an investigation into a system of restorative justice, where, in appropriate situations, a criminal who has injured or damaged a victim must work to pay back the victim. This system has been successful in New Zealand and makes the offender realise the consequences of their actions. It also ensures some compensation to the victim.
  • Family First further wants to see a reduction in alcohol fueled violence on our streets, thereby reducing youth crime and youth imprisonment. Family First would like to see a ban on takeaway bottle shops selling liquor between midnight and 7am, and a removal of the link between alcohol advertising and sport which is encouraging a culture of binge drinking in our youth.


Australian Greens
Australian Greens [View responses to all questions from the Australian Greens]
  • Preventation needs to be the primary work with young people, whether that be making sure they are free from violence in the home, are able to attend school, work or training and/or receive mental health support services.
  • Postcode is a determinant of a young person’s likely involvement in the criminal justice system.  Governments must make sure that services that will prevent this are fully funded and inequity in our community is addressed.
  • The need for support and ongoing care doesn’t end when a young person leaves state care or detention. Many of these young people have been severly traumatised by their backgrounds and need individualised, ongoing support to reengage them in the community and stop them reoffending or entering into the adult criminal justice system.
  • Detention of young people should be avoided and only used in exceptional circumstances.
  • The Greens want full funding of community legal service centres and legal aid in both civil and criminal jurisdictions, to ensure access to justice for all who require it in Victoria.
  • The Greens want a criminal justice system that is modern, and based on principles of restorative justice and respect for the rights of victims, accused and offenders.

The Australian Greens Victoria will work towards establishing a wide range of non-custodial civil penalty and criminal sentencing options aimed at rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders. The need for support and ongoing care doesn’t end when a young person leaves state care or detention. Many of these young people have been severly traumatised by their backgrounds and need individualised, ongoing support to reengage them in the community and stop them reoffending or entering into the adult criminal justice system.

We want to ensure that there is adequate funding of legal aid services, community legal centers, tribunals and courts (including specialist tribunals), victim compensation and rehabilitation services, and offender rehabilitation and reintegration support services.

The Greens also want to revert all privatized prisons to public ownership and control, consistently with existing contractual obligations and establishing justice reinvestment strategies where it is cost-effective to prevent crime and reduce imprisonment. Privatized prisons do not offer the same amount of rehabilitation programs as state run prisons can offer. State run prisons are not there to make a financial profit: more resources can be directed to state prisons to help young offenders get training and skills to help them not reoffend. Private run prisons are less keen to spend from their profit margin on more programs to help fight recidivism. 



Christian Democratic Party
Christian Democratic Party [View responses to all questions from the Christian Democratic Party]
  • In association with other Christian organisations e.g. Prison Fellowship, CDP will seek to bolster Christian instruction to the youth in our state’s prisons. Yet we must not forget that the purpose of a justice system ought to be punishment first, then rehabilitation.
  • CRE (see above) can be readily seen to be a prophylactic, instructing the youngest children in our government schools in upright, godly living.
  • Incorporation of released youth offenders into follow-up Christian programs e.g. Youth for Christ is highly desirable.


Australian Labor Party of Victoria [View responses to all questions from the Australian Labor Party of Victoria]
  • Group Conferencing to help young people avoid more serious offending by facing their victims, strengthening their family and community supports and restoring the harm caused by their offences.
  • Statewide Supervised Bail pilot to provide judges with more options and to prevent young offenders being exposed to prison culture.
  • Youth Court Diversion program for first-time offenders focussed on what can benefit the victim, the community and the offender, based on the principles of restorative justice.

If re-elected, Labor’s Vulnerable Youth Framework would provide the overarching guide to Labor’s investments over the coming ten years. The Framework is designed to identify our most vulnerable youth and ensure they don't fall through the gaps.

While in Government, Labor has delivered a post-release service for young offenders and their families to ensure a sensible transition back into the community, and also to monitor and counsel their behaviour away from re-offending following a custodial sentence. Labor has also funded Whitelion, a service for young people involved in the Youth Justice System or at risk of involvement that provides role modelling, mentoring, employment and indigenous programs and outreach services.

Additionally, Labor has already committed to the appointment of 55 additional youth workers to support vulnerable young people by increasing their community engagement and directing them away from bad influences and towards appropriate supports.

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