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Articles on School chaplains

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The Abbott government’s Emissions Reduction Fund could be vulnerable to a future constitutional challenge in the wake of recent High Court decisions. AAP/Lukas Coch

Explainer: is Direct Action constitutionally valid?

Late last week, the Senate passed the Abbott government’s controversial A$2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of its Direct Action Plan to combat climate change. Its passage has been…
Recent debate about the government’s school chaplaincy program has been informed by deficient understandings of what ‘secular’ is. AAP/Alan Porritt

School chaplaincy debate ignores what ‘secular’ actually is

Despite recent calls for its elimination and the High Court (again) finding that it was funded unconstitutionally, the Abbott government announced this week that it would continue its school chaplaincy…
Are Queensland’s cassowaries being let down by Canberra’s officialdom?. Dave Kimble/Wikimedia Commons

Cassowaries and chaplains: how to avoid Canberra’s conservation overreach

What do school chaplains and cassowaries have in common? Both highlight the degree to which federal governments struggle to devolve quality public decision-making to the right level. Our schools and our…
Tony Abbott’s support for funding religious chaplains in schools violates the principle of government religious neutrality. AAP/Lukas Coch

Remake school chaplaincy as a proper welfare program or scrap it

The High Court of Australia, for the second time, recently found that the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program (NSCSWP) is funded unconstitutionally, and so is invalid in its current…
Services can now be expanded to include drug and relationship counselling, sports coaching, as well as stress reduction and meditation. Flickr/US Department of Education

School chaplaincy decision: lessons for a beneficial scheme

The High Court of Australia has declared federal funding of the school chaplains program unconstitutional, largely because it doesn’t meet the legal criteria for authorising such payments. But this lack…
The High Court has unanimously re-endorsed its decision in a successful 2012 challenge to the government funding the National Schools Chaplaincy Program. AAP/Lukas Coch

Commonwealth left scrambling by school chaplaincy decision

The High Court has again put the future of the federal government’s school chaplaincy program in jeopardy, confirming its 2012 decision that the Commonwealth’s spending programs must be supported by valid…
Queensland farmer Ron Williams has won his High Court case against the school chaplaincy program. AAP/Alan Porritt

High Court torpedoes chaplaincy program – for the second time

The High Court has again ruled unconstitutional the federal funding for school chaplains, casting doubt over the future of a program to which the Abbott government is deeply committed. Queensland father…
The High Court has given the Commonwealth two serious warnings that it needs to review its extensive spending program since 2009, but these have gone largely unheard. AAP/Lukas Coch

Commonwealth spending back in the High Court’s sights

This week, the High Court heard Toowoomba man Ron Williams’ second challenge to the constitutionality of the Commonwealth’s funding of the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program. While…
The High Court landmark decision in the school chaplaincy case is an opportunity for reform. Flickr/petelawley

School chaplaincy case: a missed opportunity for secular education

The historic majority Australian High Court ruling that the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) is “invalid” is a gift to the argument for secular public education. Secular statutes (for example…
Attorney General Nicola Roxon and Minister for School Education Peter Garrett respond to the Williams High Court decision. AAP Image/Penny Bradfield

The High Court school chaplains case and what it means for Commonwealth funding

Today, the High Court of Australia dramatically altered the previously understood scope of the Commonwealth’s power to spend money and enter into contracts. This decision has immediate repercussions for…

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