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Chaplaincy funding unconstitutional

The update provided in June’s eNews is now out of date as this morning the High Court ruling on the Chaplaincy program was handed down. The sad news is that the 2012 legislation which provided for continued direct federal funding for Chaplaincy and 100’s of other federal projects (which the current government called a ‘bandaid’ whilst in opposition), has also been ruled unconstitutional. That’s a pity, though not the end of the Chaplaincy program. In the light of their very strong declaration of support the government will need to find a new legally sound mechanism to fund the program, probably through state grants.

In 2012 the High Court ruled that the program was unconstitutional because it not supported by specific legislation passed by parliament. This time it is because each program must ‘connect’ to a source of Commonwealth legislative power. Technical legal stuff. Schools are encouraged not to be alarmed about this decision as this is more about constitutional legal wrangling than about a lack of political will for the program. It is probably best just to wait and see what the government decides to do over the coming days. Therefore, there’s no need just yet to contact your local member.