Earlier this week Senator Bob Brown announced the Greens new proposed policy to "increase the number of teachers and student support" and get rid of nationally funded chaplains, which were put in by the Howard government, which would be replaced by counsellors and community liaison officers.
A second part of their new policy would be to give scholarships to university students studying teaching so long as they agree to teach several years at public schools.
I don't have much to say about this except that the idea sounds like a very good one and makes me a very happy monkey indeed. You can read more details here and here.
The benefits this policy would provide would be far-reaching. Firstly, the removal of chaplains in favour of counsellors and community liason officers would mean public schools would return to being more religiously neutral, as they should be, given that everyone's money is going to pay for them, not just Christians. Second, having trained counsellors and community liason officers would mean that children at the schools would get much appreciated help if they need it, rather than whatever it is that the chaplains were supposed to do*. Finally, encouraging and helping university students become public school teachers would help improve education levels, which benefits everyone in society in so many ways that I hope are too obvious to bear mentioning**.
I sincerely hope that the Greens manage to get this proposal seriously considered by the current government, or indeed the future one, whether they themselves get voted in or not.
* Best case, the same help counsellors would give. Worst case, made up fairy tales that cause harm and distract from real solutions.
** But here are some anyway, smarter population, meaning smarter politicians and public servants, a stronger economy, better research, etc...