The High Court of Australia has ruled that, although the way in
which the Commonwealth Government is currently funding chaplains in
state schools is constitutionally invalid, it does not contravene
freedom of religion. A father from Queensland had brought the
case to secure a secular education for his six children.
The decision means that the programme will be able to continue,
although the government will need to find a different method for
funding. About 2700 schools have received financial assistance for
chaplaincy appointments since the former government, under John
Howard, introduced the National School Chaplaincy Program in 2007.
The current government, led by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard,
has made a commitment to extending it.