Evonne Paddison, whose organization was paid $675,000 in 2010-2011 from the DEECD, with MP Kevin Andrews

Access Ministries CEO, Evonne Paddison,  posted a retort against the reporting by Stephen Downes in the Sunday Age.

In it, Paddison accuses Downes of being “inaccurate”.  She says that rather than 675K for the 2010, 2011 school year, ACCESS got 150K.

Evonne Paddison has distinguished herself in making statements that are misleading.  FIRIS has documented this many, many times, and it is getting to the point where we are concerned about the integrity of a group purporting to be teaching “values” to children.

It is very hard to pin down what ACCESS values, other than defending its franchise.

Downes report of ACCESS getting 675K from the DEECD was accurate, as this grant shows, however, the money is conveyed in a lump sum that blends SRI & Chaplaincy Services.

Downes would have no way to know what fraction of the $675,oo0 is allocated to which salary, and it is extremely unlikely that the people at ACCESS don’t work as a team on all their objectives in a shared fashion.  So Downes is correct that ACCESS got the amount he said they did – Evonne however says that they only used $150k for SRI.

The truth is that $675,000 went to ACCESS – to pay for its employees.  ACCESS is essentially a state funded parachurch activist group running “schools ministries” in the form of Chaplaincy and SRI programs – and under the current system, it controls about 2-3% of the state school “curriculum” – so Downes reporting is accurate, what Evonne wants to claim is some accounting details that only she has any access to.

Furthermore, Downes reported on the OBSERVATIONS – of a Principal.  As to why this Principal is “unnamed” as Paddison says is because of … wait for it … Paddison’s lobbying effort and the fact that ACCESS claims to have a RIGHT to be in the school!

Paddison neglects to recall that the AEU has a policy calling for the removal of SRI, there are many documented cases of ACCESS forcing its way into schools, threatening Principals and using its “Legislated Right” to maintain its franchise against the wishes of the schools.

If you are a principal and wish to assist FIRIS or if you are a parent and want to speak with your principal to secure his or her support for a policy change that would further endorse the motions of the AEU, and Parents Victoria – who have called for ACCESS to operate programs outside of school hours – please email FIRIS on religionsinschool@gmail.com