In a media release today from Scripture Union Queensland about the chaplaincy high court challenge, CEO Tim Mander said that not a single state in Australia agrees with the Plantiff, Mr Williams, that chaplaincy contravenes the "religious test" prohibition in the constitution.Here is the media release from SU QLD:
Today shows the complex constitutional nature of the High Court challenge to school chaplaincy.
Two states, and the commonwealth, support the current school chaplaincy funding model. Four states, while supporting chaplaincy itself, have lined up to argue against the federal government providing funds directly to chaplaincy providers. Instead, they appear supportive of grants being made to states, meaning school chaplaincy could be funded through state governments using federal money.
Interestingly, not a single state agrees with plaintiff, Mr Williams, that chaplaincy contravenes the "religious test" prohibition in the constitution.
Tim Mander, CEO of Scripture Union Qld, the nation’s largest employing authority for chaplains, said the unusual situation highlights the complexity of the case in which chaplaincy has been caught up.
Mr Mander said, "While we know that state governments, educators, parents and the public are in favor of school chaplaincy, the High Court is being asked to consider the power of the Federal Government to fund this program directly, rather than doing so through the states."
"It's the constitutional matter of state and federal government powers that has many of the state governments appearing to support the plaintiff, even though they strongly support the chaplaincy program," said Mr Mander.
"I've had principals and educators contacting me again today affirming the importance of school chaplains, with one writing that 'her work with our young people is invaluable in terms of companioning them through difficult situations'. The nearly 70,000 signed statements of support we've received from the public show strong grassroots support," said Mr Mander.