For release: Friday May 2, 2014

The Australian Christian Lobby is urging the Coalition to reject a Commission of Audit report recommendation to break its election promise on school chaplaincy.

Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the Coalition pledged before the election to continue the National School Chaplaincy Program in Schools to support the emotional wellbeing of students.

“The Commission of Audit has recommended abolishing the National School Chaplaincy Program despite its enormous success and widespread support,” Mr Shelton said.

“A survey of public school principals found that 98 per cent said chaplaincy was a proactive, unique, effective, and important contribution to school morale, and that it should be continued.

“This is in addition to widespread community support for chaplains.”

Mr Shelton said that the Chaplaincy Program costs relatively little for the large impact it has on school children.

“Abolishing national funding for chaplaincy will provide only small savings for the government while removing an important support available to hundreds of thousands of Australian children,” he said.

“Balancing the budget is important, but even more so for community trust in politics are election commitments.

“There is a great expectation in the community that the Coalition’s election commitment on chaplaincy will be kept.”

Mr Shelton noted that the Finance Minister last night said Commission of Audit recommendations that breached election commitments would not be implemented.

However, a Commission of Audit recommendation to de-couple aid from Gross National Income in breach of an election commitment had already been adopted.