Received today from the High Court Challenge team:
Ron Williams v. Commonwealth of Australia
Queensland parent challenges constitutional validity of Commonwealth funded National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) in the High Court
A Queensland parent has issued writs in the High Court against the Commonwealth Government and Scripture Union Queensland, alleging the Government has breached the Australian Constitution through its funding of a chaplain at his children’s school.
Mr Ron Williams, the father of four children attending a public school in Toowoomba, argues that Commonwealth funding of the school’s chaplain breaches sections 54 and 116 of the Constitution.
The chaplain is funded under the National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP), which has provided places for 2700 chaplains in schools throughout Australia.
Mr Williams argues that the Commonwealth Government failed to follow the proper constitutional requirements in funding the NSCP, and in its agreement with Scripture Union to place a chaplain at his children’s school.
The Government failed to provide the necessary legislative appropriation provisions required by section 54 of the Constitution.
Mr Williams also argues that the NSCP requires those appointed to the public office of school chaplain at his children’s school are subject to the requirement to a religious test.
That is, they must be practising Christians, regulated and trained by Scripture Union. This, he says, breaches section 116 of the Constitution which states that ‘no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public test under the Commonwealth’.
Counsel retained by Horowitz and Bilinsky to represent Mr. Williams are Mr. Bret Walker SC and Mr. Gerald Ng.
This solo constitutional challenge by Mr. Williams is receiving financial support via a public appeal to individuals at his High Court Challenge website: highcourtchallenge.com.
Related Posts on this Blog:
Related Posts (Elsewhere)
David Marr (2011), Chaplains in schools are ‘inadequately supervised’, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 January
With God by their Side, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 2010
Jim Campbell (2010), Dad fights chaplaincy program, Queensland Times, 28 October
Compass (2010), Challenging the Chaplains (video), ABC Television, 24 October
Michael Bachelard (2010), Chaplains in Schools Challenged, The Age, 5 September
Cannold, Leslie (2010), Why are we robbing our littlies to preach Paul?, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 August
Kate Dennehy (2010), ‘God botherers’ infiltrate Brisbane high school, Brisbane Times, 15 August
Caroline Overington (2008), Genesis of a Complaint, The Australia, 5 December
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Please note that this case is being financed by the Williams family and by public subscription. Monies paid towards the High Court Challenge will go into a trust set aside expressly for the payment of the considerable legal fees associated with a case of this kind. If you are able to donate, please visit the High Court Challenge website. Donations, whether small or large, can be made by cheque or money order, direct deposit, or by PayPal using the link on the website.