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World Youth Day

16 January 2008

Last July, I wrote to my NSW State Member of Parliament, Greg Smith, to complain about the public funding of World Youth Day, along the following lines:

“I was more than a little horrified last week to read that the NSW Government is seriously considering compensating Randwick Racecourse for its use for World Youth Day.  The figure being discussed was up to $50m.  While I of course can understand the need for compensation to be paid for loss of earnings for what I believe will be a 10 week period, the last time I heard the Catholic Church was not particularly short of a bob or two, so I have no idea why they cannot fund their own festival.  I don’t remember any mention of this “compensation” before the election earlier in the year and object most strongly to being forced in effect to donate something like $10 to the Catholic Church, on top of the other moneys I’m equally forced to donate to their, and other religious organisation’s, schools.  Would this compensation system apply to other religions who wished to hold recruitment drives in this city? ”

I wrote twice, actually, as I didn’t receive a reply to the first email.  I didn’t receive a reply to the second email either.  However, I did bump into Greg Smith on Federal Election Day.  He denied having heard from me and in fact stated that he had received no correspondence at all on this subject.  He also said that he thought I was probably by myself in objecting to this money being spent in this way.  When I asked him if he believed that any other religious organisations would be able to similarly benefit from the State’s largess, he quite categorically stated “No”.

There surely is somebody else out there who doesn’t agree with this use of public money.  If so, PLEASE write to Greg Smith (State MP for Epping), John Watkins (Chair of the committee doling out this money) or your own State MP.  It won’t make a blind bit of difference but I would like them to know that they haven’t got 100% support and that we like to make individual choices about which charities and religious organisations we want to receive our donations. 

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