The VPC, originally known as the Parents and Friends Federation of Victoria, was established in 1959 by a group of Catholic school parents concerned with the lack of government support for Catholic schools. Within a short time, a ground swell of support from parents led to the VPC extending its interests to all independent schools.
Its objectives were to safeguard the rights of parents and children and to improve the standard of education in Australia, and to foster and promote the following principles:
- That as stated in the UN Declaration of Human Rights parents have the prior right to choose the most appropriate form of education for their children
- That all parents are entitled to exercise that right without financial disability being imposed on them by the State
- That the primary purpose of education is the physical, mental spiritual and moral development of children
- To achieve for all parents and children equity in the distribution of public funding for education
Through the 1960s and 70s the VPC held a number of public meetings in Melbourne which attracted thousands of concerned parents. Opposition came from various state school organisations and the Council for the Defence of Government Schools (DOGS) which attempted to challenge, unsuccessfully, state aid as unconstitutional. Gradually governments of both persuasions accepted the argument that all children deserve a level of support from government regardless of where they attend school.