I had lunch with High Court Challenge litigant Ron Williams last week. Over a meal of fish and chips, we chatted about his long battle against the Commonwealth and Scripture Union Queensland over Federal funding for the chaplaincy program at his children’s Toowoomba school.
Ron and I talked about the history of the program, its political context and the political purposes it served. We agreed that school chaplaincy – for politicians and for the parachurch agencies which supply chaplains – has very little to do with the real welfare and mental health needs of children.
We also talked about the skullduggery of the government in keeping this program alive, despite two High Court rulings that the Commonwealth has illegally expended close to half a billion tax payers’ dollars on a program they had no authority to fund.
The threat of legal sanctions for this kind of behaviour was easily solved – the government simply changed the law!
Over lunch, Ron confided that he is now pushing for a Senate inquiry into what he calls “possibly the most outrageous political stunt ever foisted upon the taxpayers of Australia”. Whistleblowers are already lining up to testify.
Today, The King’s Tribune has published an extensive article (written by me in consultation with Ron Williams), about the political motivations which underlie bipartisan support for the program and the reasons why there must be a Senate inquiry into this travesty of justice, democracy and public accountability.
To accompany the article, Ron has substantially updated his video detailing the history of his four year battle against the National School Chaplaincy Program, adding his personal appeal for a Senate inquiry,
Help the cause. Write to your local Senator today and demand an inquiry. Maybe send them a link to The King’s Tribune article and Ron’s video.
Half a million dollars? Or is it half a billion dollars?
Still in hospital Chrys Good sensible approach – G;en ________________________________________
I don’t think I’m particularly prone to hyperbole, but I found your article in The King’s Tribune quite thrilling! Perhaps it’s the smell of blood in the water…? 🙂
What is never stressed is the irony of these non-tax paying Christian organisations getting tax payers money from taxpayers which include 22.3% non-believing & 7.2% non christian taxpayers.
I believe that the chaplaincy program is part of a John Howard plan to provide the Liberals with a future right-wing leaning electorate. The other part of this plan includes the dumbing down of the population by reduced funding to Government run schools and by putting tertiary education out of reach of the general population.
As studies are showing “Those with lower ability — reasoning skills, processing speed, and so forth — prefer simple and predictable answers, because that is what they are capable of processing. Any uncertainty is threatening, and they respond to such threats by trying to preserve what is familiar and safe, the status quo.”
Some supporters claim chaplains are the go because they are perceived as low-cost compared to people who are actually qualified to guide and assist young children, but I wonder how much extra the government laid out in training fees to get those unqualified or under-qualified chaplains up to the minimum standard after they were introduced by Garrett. Also, what has the real cost of the chaplaincy program when you consider that chaplains are offered tax-reducing fringe benefits salary packaging options? They contribute less tax to the public purse and the shortfall has to be made up by the non-religious tax payers, individual and corporate. I assume these costs are over and above the appropriated allocations…?
Another common assertion is how most of the chaplains are well-qualified, but how many have been exempted from the minimum standards because they were in the areas designated as regional, which seemed to be only a stone’s throw from state capitals and a couple of larger regional centres?! So many unanswered questions!
Writing to Senators now…
Your *King’s Tribune* article states:
Williams is in receipt of a legal opinion which suggests that, in acting to allow the continued funding of a program ruled invalid by the High Court, Mr Cormann may have breached the *Commonwealth* *Securities and Companies Act *(1997) – an offence which carries a maximum custodial sentence of 5 years. It would have to be tested in court, of course, but it’s an interesting question for the Senate to mull over.
However, I cannot find such an act. Please check and, if this is wrong, I suggest that it be quickly corrected.
All the best – Iain
Iain, the opinion comes from a reputable law firm. The breach, if it has occurred, relates to Section 26 of that Act. I trust my source.
Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 vs Commonwealth Securities and Companies Act (1997)?