By the late 19th century, all Australian colonies had decreed that education must be compulsory, free and secular. By the middle of the twentieth century, ‘secular’ had gone out of fashion, seeing special religious instruction in all states. Today most primary schools in Australia must allow for special religious instruction.
Was the old legislation insisting on secularity out of touch with modern times, or is it more relevant than ever? Is it possible to teach children about the importance of faith without proselytising, and if so, where should the boundaries be drawn? Does faith-based religious education have a place in public schools?