For many years, students at Victorian public schools (primary and secondary) have been able to seek advice and counsel from qualified Christian chaplains.
However, Fiona Patten, Reason Party leader, has recently introduced a Bill in the Upper House which will effectively prevent public schools from engaging Christian chaplains. This would deny students with spiritual concerns the right to access vital support.
We invite you to write to Members of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council today and ask them not to support the Bill.
The effects of Ms Patten’s Bill
The Education and Training Reform Amendment (School Employment) Bill 2020 will prohibit school councils from employing non-teaching staff via third party providers.
The Bill is a brazen attack on Christian chaplaincy.
The Bill is targeted at preventing schools from sourcing chaplains from providers that only offer chaplains of the Christian faith. Schools would be forced to hire chaplains directly, which means that they would be unable to purposefully hire chaplains of a particular faith because of anti-discrimination legislation.
Ms Patten stated in the second reading speech that “there is no place for religious discrimination in school staffing”. However, her Bill does just that, by discriminating against Christian chaplaincy.
Removing Christian chaplains will prevent children from accessing spiritual support in public schools.
Depression and anxiety in young people are at the highest levels we've seen in a very long time.
Christian chaplains play a vital role in providing holistic and spiritual support to children. They invest in school communities and provide connection, relationship and engagement.
Students should have the right to access that support.
As COVID-19 presents extreme financial, social and personal pressures, we need our Christian chaplains now more than ever.
Ms Patten did not consult with school principals, parents or chaplaincy providers before introducing her Bill.
Take action today to keep Christian chaplains at schools.
Please email the Members of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council to tell them that we need Christian chaplains in schools and ask them not to support the Bill.
Take action today
Using the form below, please write an urgent letter to your local MPs – it will only take a couple of minutes. Be concise and respectful.
The salutation at the start and your name at the end will both be appended automatically. Please don't add these to the letter below, eg please do not address the email “Dear MP's name”.
When you complete your name and address in the box below, your letter will be directed to your local Legislative Assembly MP and relevant Legislative Council MPs.