Wednesday 20th of June 2018




Australia’s high court has upheld a legal challenge against federal government funding arrangements for the national school chaplaincy program.

Payments by the federal government to chaplain provider Scripture Union Queensland to deliver chaplaincy services in Queensland schools were unlawful, the court decided on Thursday.

It unanimously decided legislation passed by the federal parliament – intended to provide commonwealth with authority to making funding agreements and payments – was “invalid in its operation with respect to a funding agreement between the Commonwealth and Scripture Union Queensland”.

It is not yet clear whether the ruling will have broader implications for other commonwealth schemes.

The judgment is the latest instalment in the long-running battle waged by a Queensland father, Ron Williams, against commonwealth funding arrangements for the national school chaplaincy program. He is opposed to religious chaplains in secular state schools.

In 2012 Williams secured a high court ruling that payments by the federal government to chaplain provider Scripture Union Queensland pursuant to the Darling Heights Funding Agreement were beyond the executive power of the Commonwealth under section 61 of the Constitution.


relentlessly proselytising through "grants"...

School chaplain program funding 'can continue'

The national body for school chaplains says it believes the program will survive despite the court ruling, saying the payments could continue as state and territory grants.

"While the High Court has ruled against the current [funding] model, the court has acknowledged federal funding can continue for chaplaincy through state/territory grants," the National School Chaplaincy Association said in a statement after the ruling.

"In 2012, the High Court ruled unanimously that, funding model aside, there is no constitutional problem with chaplains serving in government schools.

"Therefore we hope the Federal Government will again act swiftly to protect this vital and beneficial program for students."

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the Government will examine ways to ensure the program continues.

we don't need chaplaincy in this country...


12:04 PM on 19/06/2014


I must say another thank you to Mr Williams for persevering with this issue. It is tempting to see this descision as a victory for common sense but it remains to be seen how long it will last before the religious right find a way around it. I can only hope that it will help strengthen the position of a separation between church and state. This current government seems to have an unstated policy of introducing religion by stealth, hopefully this will slow their progress. Having counsellors in schools cannot be a bad thing but they don't need to be chaplains, you don't need much of a brain to work out what a chaplain's raison d'etre is, no matter what they say or what rules are supposedly imposed on them. Teach our kids about religions by all means but do not teach religion in state schools, it should be that simple. All around the world at this time (as ever) religion based conflicts are causing death and misery on an industrial scale, we could do worse in this country than to acknowledge that everyone has a right to their view and to practise whatever they choose in their own space as long as it's not hurting anyone else but schools are for learning facts, for (insert deity of choice) sake. A bit of tolerance brethren, because isn't it funny that it's the religious among us, who profess to tolerance and respect and good ol judeo christian values, whatever that means, are the ones who are always at each other? We don't need that in this country.




Gus: some people argue that chaplains are doing some "secular" work but the main game of chapaincy is definitively to proselytise:


fusion politics in australia follows the tea party in the usa...

Michael Tanner recently—but before the shocker primary in suburban Richmond—lamented that the tea party’s influence was waning because it had strayed from its core mission:

Sparked by outrage over the Wall Street bailouts, the original Tea Party was motivated by an opposition to Big Government. The motto of the Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest and most influential groups, was “fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.” The Tea Party’s core issues were the skyrocketing national debt and opposition to Obamacare.

Social issues were not part of the platform. In fact, Jenny Beth Martin, leader of the Tea Party Patriots told the New York Times, “When people ask about [social issues], we say, ‘Go get involved in other organizations that already deal with social issues very well.’ We have to be diligent and stay on message.”

Tanner is one of an unfortunate many who took the tea party at face value. As I’ve been arguing for years, economic issues, for tea partiers, are inseparable from social ones. It’s the (largely) Protestant version of the seamless garment: capitalism is part of God’s blueprint for human society, just like traditional marriage and heteronormativity. Ironically echoing the atheist Ayn Rand, this worldview values capitalism not merely as an instrumental good, a man’s-estate-reliever, but as a moral imperative.

Research by David E. Campbell and Robert Putnam and long-form reporting by Jill Lepore have lent empirical weight to my intuition that the tea party is a religious movement by proxy. Ed Kilgore put it bluntly: “scratch a ‘fiscal conservative’ and you’ll find a culture-warrior of one sort or another right under the surface.”

Along comes David Brat, professor of economics and slayer of the dragon Rep. Eric Cantor, to bring the argument into sharp relief. The parsing of Brat’s academic writings and theological-economic beliefs has become a cottage industry. The Washington Post called Brat’s primary election an indication of a “rise in the crossroads of religion and economics.”


This religious/economic fusion is what the Abbott regime's rabid right-wing-buts are trying to do in Australia, starting with proselytising in schools and climbing on soap boxes to preach religious morality, while lying through their teeth...

They mix religion and bad economic principles, doing a crummy job at it as well. Joe's budget was the worse in this country history, not because it needed to be so, but because these "Christians" are mean, nasty and idiotic.

"Forgive them father, they don't know what they are doing.." (Luke 23:34). Despite being crucified by their budget, I am not Jesus Christ and I do not beg Godot to forgive these idiots. Hit them with a lightning strike (not Bolt, please)...

flexible reverend on the religious bouncy floor...

Our constitution does not allow for an established church but neither does it rigidly separate “church and state”. NSW public school education has allowed both for “general religion” and for voluntary “special religion” from representatives of churches. Secularist public schools are one cause of a growing proportion of students going to private schools. 

The HSC subject Studies in Religion should be encouraged. In a well-educated Australia, as well as awareness of indigenous riches we should all have some knowledge of our primary cultural inheritance. However, in a world endangered by fear, fundamentalism and fanaticism, we also need not only some appreciation of the best in other cultures represented in modern Australia but, very importantly, some elementary knowledge of other religions, especially of Islam. 

Reverend John Bunyan Campbelltown

Read more:

Gus: let me be a cynic for a few minutes... " Secularist public schools are one cause of a growing proportion of students going to private schools."??? I believe the reverend is a clown for the Great Godot Cirkus in his spare time.
The critical study of religion is okay by me as an option in PUBLIC schools, as long as the emphasis is on the world CRITICAL.

tony's narrow reactionary views in attacking states...


The Abbott government’s decision to rein in health and education funding to the states reflects a “reactionary, hyper-literal interpretation” of the constitution, Bill Shorten has argued.

The opposition leader used a speech to the Committee for Economic Development on Monday to mount a strongly worded attack on the prime minister’s “alarmingly narrow view of the role and responsibility of the commonwealth”.

In an address focused on the state of the federation, Shorten castigated the government for launching a “surprise attack on the state governments of Australia” through the $80bn in long-term budget savings, which represented “a dramatic and reckless destabilising of our federation”.

The government has argued states and territories have primary responsibility for running and funding public hospitals and schools. In its budget overview document the government said its decision to adopt “sensible indexation arrangements for schools from 2018, and hospitals from 2017-18, and removing funding guarantees for public hospitals” would achieve “cumulative savings of over $80bn by 2024-25”.

It also announced plans to “reduce or terminate some commonwealth payments that are ineffective or duplicate state responsibilities” including national partnership agreements on preventive health, improving public hospital services and certain concessions for pensioners and seniors card holders.

The moves provoked a backlash from state and territory leaders, including those from the Coalition side of politics, and the government subsequently downplayed the impact by insisting that the raw amount of funding continued to increase each year.

read more:


destroying the word public in public school...


The Abbott government is pushing ahead with a religious-only school chaplaincy scheme following a cabinet debate over whether secular welfare workers should be included in the program.

The government was forced to redesign the $244 million scheme after the High Court ruled it invalid in June for the second time in two years. The court found the Commonwealth had over-reached its funding powers by providing direct payments to chaplain providers.

In a bid to prevent another High Court challenge, the federal government will provide funding to state and territory governments to administer the scheme. This new arrangement strengthens the hand of the states and could see some demand an option for secular welfare workers or tougher qualification standards.

In a cabinet meeting on Monday, Abbott government ministers explored options to extend the scheme to include funding for secular welfare workers. This would have reversed the government's existing policy that funding should be restricted to religious chaplains.   During the cabinet discussion, Mr Abbott argued that the government should stand by its existing policy. Mr Abbott argued the scheme's original intent was supporting pastoral care in schools and that should remain its focus. The chaplaincy scheme was also raised in the Coalition party room on Tuesday, where at least two government members argued the scheme should be broadened to include funding for secular workers.

The chaplaincy scheme was introduced by the Howard government in 2006. Labor expanded the scheme to include funding for secular welfare workers in 2011 – an option the government scrapped in this year's budget.

Both challenges in the High Court were brought forward by Toowoomba father Ron Williams, a secularist opposed to public funding for religious workers in public schools.

Read more:

Can someone stop this rabid ning nong that some people call our prime minister?... This morning Pyne was reassuring himself (not me) that the Abbott regime never said that they would cut research after having clearly said that they would cut research should their "ghastly" education policy be rejected in the senate... He harped on about how it was fair for asking student to pay at least 50 per cent of their education (which he got for nothing — his idiocy proving that free education does not work) without mentioning that of course elite university will be able to charge far more than what is capped now. This of course is to set an elite conservative fiefdom and throw the rest to the wolves of "cheaper" education... 
But pushing ahead with something that is obviously illegal (unconstitutional) by devious means such as giving the cash to the states to do the rotten deed is beyond the pale. Turd Tony should be exposed like a turd should be... and scraped off one's shoe.



See preacher Turd Tony at top.

some bizarre kind of game of whack a mole...

Ron Williams, the Queensland father who fought and won both High Court challenges against the school chaplaincy program, says he may challenge the program for a third time now the Federal Government has tweaked its approach to the funding.

The Government has asked the states and territories to administer the $244 million scheme, after the High Court ruled it was unconstitutional for the Commonwealth to continue funding it.

Mr Williams has slammed the moves to reroute the funding and is calling for a senate inquiry into the program.

"I think it's all pretty disgraceful, the callous arrogance being displayed by the Federal Government on this," he told AM.

"They seem to regard it as some bizarre kind of game of whack a mole or something that every time the High Court makes a decision, the next part in the game is to try to circumvent it."

Mr Williams wants to see the detail of the funding arrangements, but he says if he can see a way, he will challenge the program for a third time.

It's time to whack a Turdy Tony... His arrogance and hypocrisy seem to have no bound...

devious proselytising in newcastle, australia

The fight for secular schooling is not over



Religious institutions are continuing to push religion into public schools – in all sorts of devious ways - despite the high court rulings against the Australian Government's placement of chaplains in schools as replacements for counsellors.

Recently in Newcastle, a scripture group called "Scripture at School" filmed children at Newcastle East State School without their parents’ consent. The footage clearly showed students’ faces. Notable statements from one 11-year-old boy included: "[I am] blessed because my family are Christian and I have been brought up to love and know Jesus. Unfortunately, it is a very different story for most of my friends. With the help of Scripture at School I hope that can change.”

Of course it transpires that this boy is actually not a student. Whilst the Department of Education for Newcastle has asked for the video to be taken down, it has been able to be viewed up to the point of writing of this article.

Darrin Morgan of Human Rights Watch Australia called the video unethical and disturbing, for its use of children in filming, and also criticized the Department of Education for not doing enough to protect children from being exposed to such content.

While there is no connection between the group and the distribution of religious material at Newcastle East, the group does distribute religious videos to other schools. As per their website, they also offer "spiritual sponsors" who pray on behalf of a class they are assigned to, and "will have the opportunity to send the children greetings at special times, such as Christmas" without their parents immediate consent, due to religious classes in schools unfortunately often being ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’. There is no word as to if these ‘sponsors’ are given proper 'Working with Children' police checks.

Scripture at School’s website also contains other disturbing material regarding their goals for indoctrination, claiming to be "a catalyst, bringing churches and schools together, to see Australian children taught about God", along with videos depicting fighting between "Israelites" and "Philistines". A bible quote excerpt from one of their lessons stated that one should "Trust in the Lord and don't depend on your own understanding"! Very scary.

This controversy comes on the back of the distribution of a "Bible Zine" in a Victorian primary school in Tourquey, which told kids that homosexuality, sex before marriage and masturbation were sins, and that females who wore immodest clothing were inviting sexual assault. It also promoted the idea that "safe sex" was a myth and that condoms condone promiscuity, and compared females not being "pure" as akin to having dog poop put into a cake mix. This zine was given to the impressionable children as a graduation present at the end of a Christian education program, run by Access Ministries, the government accredited provider of religious instruction in Victorian schools. The zine itself was produced by America’s largest Christian publishing company, Nelson Bibles, who also own News Corp*.

Such backward, misogynistic, religious beliefs should hold no place in a secular schooling system. Young boys and girls are going through a sensitive and impressionable period of their development. Instead of religious moralising, preaching and judgement, they should expect the school to offer a secular education, factual information and a sympathetic ear. To be taught that men are too weak to resist women wearing "skimpy" clothing, and to assume that women lack the agency to understand what they want to do with their bodies, is not conjunctive to a healthy mental headspace for kids. 

It is disgraceful.

read more:


*Please note that News Corp (Rupert Murdoch outfit) owns Nelson Bibles through its Harper Collins division, not the other way around.

Disgraceful, dangerous, despicable, nonetheless.

See toon at top.


abbott's illegal chaplaincy

A group of progressive Christians is calling for a fundamental reshaping of the government-funded Chaplaincy Program in state schools. This is no minor issue for up to $700 million has been spent or earmarked for the program.

Firstly, that any funding to facilitate the social and personal welfare of students in public schools is to be used to support tertiary trained counsellors with no religious test required for applicants.

This would respect the spirit of Section 116 of the Australian Constitution, which reads, in part:

'…no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.'

Professor Maddox noted how the federal government channelled the money, and commented that: 

'This effectively laundered public money because, ironically, it went through a religious organisation.'  

Secondly, that competent non-religious counsellors should be welcomed and not barred from  providing their services in a Chaplaincy Program.

Thirdly, if religious chaplaincy is to be continued, it needs to be administered by widely representative ecumenical religious groups. Ecumenical groups such as the National Council of Churches of Australia would be far more representative of churches in Australia than the very narrowly defined religious groups such as Access Ministries in Victoria or Scripture Union in Queensland.

Fourthly, complaints from parents or other carers of children in regard to breaches of guidelines by program staff need to be adjudicated by an independent body, clearly separate from the employing agencies.

read more:,7124


Fifthly: WE DON'T NEED THE CHAPLAINCY PROGRAM IN PUBLIC SCHOOL. If students need counselling, then there could be a roving or permanent "counsellor" at hand with NO RELIGIOUS INCLINATION nor religious markings. Gus

Note it is quite uncanny that the financial cuts at the ABC amount EXACTLY  to the ILLEGAL CHAPLAINCY program of the zealot Abbott regime...

the abbott is a zealot religious nut


More than 500 of Australia's 2,300 school chaplains may not be funded under the Federal Government's new chaplaincy program that begins next year, because they are not religious.

Under the Abbott Government's new policy guidelines a chaplain must be recognised by "religious qualifications or endorsements by a recognised or accepted religious institution".

Those currently working as secular, student welfare officers may soon be out of a job and replaced by people of faith.

Martin Grigg, CEO of Onpsych, an Australian company which trains people to work as psychologists and social workers in schools, said he hoped to find a way around the new exclusions by approaching religious institutions to endorse secular staff.

"They'll need to be well qualified, they'll need to have very good experience and have the support of the school," Mr Grigg said.

"We will need to see references and CVs but given all that, we hope that we can find a religious institution that will back us and back those workers and give the schools the choices I think they need."

The previous Labor Government gave schools the choice of religious or secular staff to work as school chaplains, and Mr Grigg said some religious schools chose secular staff to work as chaplains.

read more:

Time to kick the Abbott in his religious nuts... Stop this zealot madness. See toon and articles from top.


meanwhile in california...

A California court has ruled that yoga classes taught at an elementary school do not violate students' right to religious freedom, after parents complained Hindu and Buddhist doctrines were being promoted.

The parents of two students at an Encinitas district school near San Diego said the yoga classes, which were taught as part of the school's physical education curriculum, infringed on their children's constitutional rights.

The First Amendment bans school-sponsored religious promotion and prayer.

After a years-long court battle, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Diego has ruled the courses are not faith-based.

"We conclude that the program is secular in purpose, does not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion and does not excessively entangle the school district in religion," Justice Cynthia Aaron wrote.

read more:


See story and toon at top...

destroying public education...

The average public school student could receive up to $100 less a year in state and federal government funding than a similar independent school student by 2020 without the final two years of Gonski reforms, a new report has revealed.

The "Private school, public cost" report, due to be released on Friday by the former president of the NSW Secondary Principals Council, Chris Bonnor, and education researcher Bernie Shepherd, has found that state and federal government funding for nearly half of the nation's independent schools could outstrip public funding for the average public school within the next five years. 

The reports authors also found that public funding for up to 75 per cent of Catholic schools across the country would outstrip funding for similar public schools by 2016.

Read more:

See Toon at top...

back in 1965...

sciences in school..

The fear of the believers in Eve and Adam screws the world... Which came first? the egg or the chook?... Read from top. Time to get rid of Tony Abbott's chaplaincy in public schools.

breach of the education department's policy...

Parents at a NSW public school say they have been left "horrified" after students were repeatedly placed in scripture classes against their parents' wishes and told they needed to have an interview with a deputy principal before they could attend non-scripture classes.

The NSW Department of Education is making inquiries into a letter sent to parents by the principal of Maclean High School in northern NSW, which strongly advocates for scripture classes and appears to breach the department's policy on religious education in several instances.

Parents also said students with written permission to attend non-scripture had been repeatedly put into scripture classes at the start of every year and parents were told to provide new notes, in breach of the department's policy.

"Updated permission is required each year for your child to access this arrangement [non-scripture]," states a form attached to the principal's letter, dated February 1, 2018.

"In addition, each student wishing to be exempt from SRE [special religious education] must arrange an interview with a deputy principal to discuss the above arrangements.

Read more:


Read from top...

criminal discrimination...

A group of humanist societies has demanded that the Australian Human Rights Commission review the $60m-a-year school chaplains program, claiming it harms freedom of religion.

The secular and atheist groups wrote to the AHRC president, Rosalind Croucher, requesting a review on the basis that only religious people can be hired for the roles despite the fact that pastoral care is non-religious.

The Rationalist Society of Australia president, Meredith Doig, told Guardian Australia the program is “blatantly discriminatory” and the group had mobilised after a push by Luke Howarth and dozens of other Coalition MPs to expand the program.

The chaplains program was introduced by John Howard, continued by Labor governments, and was granted $245m in the 2014 budget by the Abbott government.

Howarth wants the program at least extended in the 2018 budget but ideally expanded, citing the fact that chaplains only receive $20,000 a year compared with the minimum wage of $45,000. Chaplains generally work part-time or schools fundraise to extend their hours.

Howarth told Guardian Australia he has asked the treasurer and education minister for a 25% pay increase to $25,000 a year because the 800 chaplains in Queensland doing “a fantastic job” have not had a pay rise since the program’s inception.

The humanist societies have asked Croucher to set up an inquiry into the program on the basis it “may be inconsistent with or contrary to” a human right. The complaint argues the program “interferes with the right to religious freedom and involves religious discrimination in hiring decisions”.


Read more:


Read from top.