Chaplaincy challenge to go ahead
A Queensland man has won his right to continue his challenge of the Federal Government’s School Chaplaincy Program in the High Court.
The challenge to the High Court will see the decision over:
- the Commonwealth has the executive power under the Constitution to provide the National School Chaplaincy Program;
- the funds used to pay for the program have been properly appropriated in the annual budget legislation; and
- funding the program amounts to a breach of the “religious test” limb of section 116 of the Constitution, which states
no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
Toowoomba father Ron Williams will continue his challenge to the program, which he argues is unconstitutional on grounds that Commonwealth officers must pass a religious test.
Mr Williams took the challenge to the High Court on the grounds that the program breaches religious freedom protections in the constitution and that it exceeds Commonwealth funding powers.
The High Court ruled unanimously against the argument that the scheme would impact on religious freedom, but found that it did represent an overextension of Commonwealth funding authority.