Federal Labor frontbencher, Mark Latham, on Friday accused the Catholic Church of agreeing to mute criticism of the GST in return for an extra $100 million of funding for its education system.
    But at the same time, he says, the church actually missed out on $140 million because it refused to sacrifice some of its autonomy and join the government's new funding system.
    Chairman of the National Catholic Education Commission Dr Peter Tannock reacted by dismissing Mr Latham's allegations as "absolutely outrageous" and the work of a "politician being silly".
    He told ABC Radio's 'The World Today': "I don't mind politicians point scoring, but all I want to say is that firstly the National Catholic Education Commission acted, in my view, with great integrity and at all times with the needs of the Catholic school systems and individual Catholic schools in Australia in mind, as we have with every government as long as I can remember. We argued the case. We negotiated what we regarded was a satisfactory outcome, and it is a very satisfactory outcome for us.
    "And, secondly, and you know, I mean he knows the process. The second thing I want to say is to even suggest that there was some kind of trade off between whatever he thinks was the official church attitude to the GST and this funding scheme is just a joke. And a bad one."
4 Sep 00

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