THE Catholic education system has weighed into the Melbourne byelection, warning parents not to vote for the Greens.
Catholic Education has written to hundreds of parents across the electorate ahead of Saturday's byelection, warning that the Greens are planning to slash funding for Catholic education and restrict local decision-making in Catholic schools.
The letter, sent by Catholic Education chief executive Stephen Elder, appears to endorse the Labor candidate, Jennifer Kanis, saying ''only the ALP has committed to fair funding'' for Catholic schools.
''If the Australian Greens were to implement their policy for education funding, it would put dramatic pressure on Catholic education,'' it says. ''Large fee increases would be required, schools may have to close and Catholic schools would struggle to welcome disadvantaged students and families.''
With Labor and the Greens in a close battle, the intervention comes as a blow for Greens candidate Cathy Oke.
Census data shows that 27 per cent of voters in the federal seat of Melbourne - which roughly overlaps with the state division - identify as Catholic.
The claims provoked a furious reaction from the Greens. Acting leader Adam Bandt, who won the federal seat of Melbourne in the 2010 election, called the accusations an ''outrageous and highly misleading intervention''. He said Catholic schools in the electorate deserved a funding boost.