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A Question Of Morality.

4 February 2011

The story so far:

All Australian schools must provide Religious Studies’ classes once a week (I think that’s the rule) although parents are allowed to exclude their children from these classes. HOWEVER, it was illegal in New South Wales to provide those excluded children with an alternative class so they just read, did homework, watched films etc. 

Last year, under pressure, the NSW Government introduced Ethics classes as an alternative.  The churches didn’t approve of this; in the beginning because they felt it was usurping their role but this was later changed to a complaint that the children in THEIR classes were excluded from the Ethics classes (which obviously run simultaneously).  I’d presumed that the children in the Religious Studies classes were being taught ethics too but, hell, what do I know?  The churches also found that the numbers in their classes were dropping because parents were choosing Ethics over Religion.

The leader of the Liberal Party, Barry O’Farrell is I believe a Catholic, along with half of his Ministers and a great number of the Labour front bench, including the Premier. After the March State election, it’s widely believed that he will be Premier.  He promised church leaders a few months ago that if he were elected, he would put a stop to the Ethics classes.

He has now changed his mind on this one and says that the Ethics classes will stay, and these church leaders are pretty horrified that he isn’t a man who keeps his word.  (Note to said church leaders:  He’s a POLITICIAN.)

Please discuss:  Is it unethical for a politician to make a promise about Ethics classes and then break it?   

And supplementary question:  Why is the right-wing conservative party in Australia called the Liberal Party?  Who thought that one up? 

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One comment

  1. I remember having to provide a written request so that my children did not have to attend Scripture. They sat in the library and read. I would have jumped at the opportunity for them to attend an Ethics class instead.

    Years later I discovered that one boy was attending C of E scripture classes at high school. I asked him why, and he replied that they gave out chocolates. I said, How long do you stay? Predictably, he said Until the chocolates run out.

    Mr O’Farrell is a politician, they can change their mind when they see which way the wind is blowing.



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