Scripture Union Queensland (SU QLD) has thanked both the Federal Government and Opposition for their immediate and emphatic support of school chaplaincy, after Wednesday’s High Court decision.
Incoming CEO Peter James said the ruling that the current Federal Government funding model was unconstitutional has produced a massive outpouring of support for school chaplaincy from across the nation.
“Chaplains provide such an important role to so many school communities, and while the court’s decision is a speed bump, it is also an opportunity for the public to understand more about chaplaincy,” he explained.
Attorney General Nicola Roxon, Education Minister Peter Garrett, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Opposition Education Spokesperson Christopher Pyne are among a host of MPs from both sides of parliament that have voiced their support for the National School Chaplaincy Program and their determination to resolve the funding issue quickly.
However Mr James pointed to the groundswell of public support as the most pleasing result of the decision.
“People are calling talkback radio sharing stories of how their kids have been helped by their local ‘chappy’ and many are making the point that they are not religious themselves.”
“This is a vote of confidence in the professionalism of our chaplains who focus on the welfare of all children and youth irrespective of background or beliefs.”
Mr James said some people still believe that chaplains are involved in religious education but this is not correct. “The Federal Government’s guidelines are crystal clear about that.
“Those that have seen the results of chaplaincy first-hand, really understand and appreciate their support role,” he said.
Mr James said all chaplains were encouraged by the commitment of the Federal Government and Opposition to work together and also by the support of State Government MPs including Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
“We now need the political process to happen quickly so we can settle any uncertainty.”