Members bullied as Australian Federation of Islamic Council faces investigation
Following claims by current and past staff of the misuse of government funding, the federal government has announced a national audit of schools operated by the Australian Federation of Islamic Council (AFIC).
Unfortunately, these members are now caught in the controversy and subjected to bullying as a result of speaking out.
Colleagues from IEUA-SA have been calling for an investigation of the way in which schools run by the AFIC have been distributing and using their allocated funding.
This concern has now been expanded nationwide with a report in The Australian (2 June 2015) noting that analysis by the federal Education Department “of the schools’ most recent financial data has raised a series of red flags over financial management, identifying a number of unusual adjustments and payments.”
Minister for Education and Training, Christopher Pyne confirmed an audit which will examine the schools compliance with the Australian Education Act 2013, which authorises funding for schools.
The AFIC's Islamic College of Brisbane has been named as one of six schools under investigation.
This comes amidst another report from Nine News (3 June) that the former principal of the college made a formal complaint to police claiming attempts to misappropriate funds by a senior AFIC official and members of the board – saying that “AFIC-run schools were being used as ‘cash cows’ for the organisation”.
The AFIC’s largest school, Malek Fahd, in Sydney has previously come under scrutiny after it was found that $9 million in state funding went to the AFIC instead of the school. It has subsequently been held to account with the money repaid to the NSW government.
Members in South Australia are being supported by IEUA-SA, with South Australian Branch Secretary Glen Seidel calling on the federal government to protect staff who may be called or seek to give evidence as part of the investigation.
Confidentiality clauses in their contracts with AFIC schools mean current and part staff would be in breach of confidentiality should they be called as a witness.
Our union supports these members who are acting in the best interests of our students, schools and sector in protecting the credibility and responsibility all non-government schools have in ensuring the proper financial management of all funding they receive.
For more on how to show your support for these members click here to go to the IEU-SA facebook page.