STOP School Chaplaincy Program

There are a number of organisations who are working towards stopping government funding of Chaplains in our public schools.  When Chaplains express beliefs such as “being LGBTI is a sin” or “non-Christians will go to hell”, we don’t believe that the government should be funding them to ‘counsel’ young Australians as part of a government funded secular education system.

See more news stories about the Chaplaincy Program on our Education News page


The federal government have now announced that they will pass funding for the Chaplaincy program onto State and Territory governments to continue to administer the Chaplaincy program in public schools.

Ron Williams has taken the illegal federal funding of the National School Chaplaincy Program to the High Court twice and won both times.  Yet the federal government persist in funding the program.

We encourage you to write to your local member of parliament and;
1. call for a Senate Inquiry and;
2. ask the states and territories to refuse the Chaplaincy program funding.

  • Read more about Ron Williams calls for a Senate Inquiry:
    High Court Challenge
  • Read a letter sent by The Rationalist Society:
    Victorian Govt should not accept tainted money …
  • Read a letter sent by the Humanist Society of Victoria: Dear Prime Minister – National School Chaplaincy
  • Find email address for Senators, State parliamentarians and the Media on Reason Road website:
    National Campaign: STOP the National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP)


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Please take the time to donate and sign petitions supporting this campaign.

  • School welfare workers should be employed based on the quality of support they provide to our kids, not their religion – See, Sign & Share Petition
  • End the National School Chaplaincy Program – See, Sign & Share Petition
  • Help raise the alarm and stop taxes from being spent to bully vulnerable teens – See, Sign & Share Petition
  • Stop the changes to the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Programme – See, Sign & Share Petition

Ron Williams and his team won the ‘Stop the School Chaplains’ High Court Decision on the National School Chaplaincy Program funding

Queensland father Ron Williams went to the High Court twice, and historically he won twice (2012 & 2014), to stop the Federal Government funding the NSCP; the High Court judging the NSCP funding as illegal.

Some of the initiators of this illegally funded, unconstitutional and anti-secular program are still in parliament:

  • The Hon Tony Abbott MP – Prime Minister of Australia
  • The Hon Julie Bishop MP – Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • The Hon Greg Hunt MP – Federal Member for Flinders
  • Mr Andrew Laming MP – Federal Member for Bowman

You can send an email to Tony AbbottJulie BishopGreg Hunt and Andrew Laming to express your concerns about their program.

JOIN the Nationwide Campaign to STOP the National School Chaplaincy Program

  • Reason Road Campaign page on the NSCP
  • See Senator Louise Pratt’s speech regarding the NSCP
  • Stop the National Schools Chaplaincy Program! website
  • Launceston Skeptics Media Release on the NSCP
  • Atheist Foundation Media Release
  • Australian Education Union Media Release no longer available
    Chaplaincy funding should be redirected immediately to
    support student needs
  • If you want religion, then go to church | Letters to The Age
  • Serious concerns raised about National School Chaplaincy Program as government reaffirms commitment to initiative |
  • So what’s the problem with government-funded chaplains in state schools?
    Peter Sherlock | Vice-Chancellor at University of Divinity
  • Commonwealth left scrambling by school chaplaincy decision
    Gabrielle Appleby | Senior Lecturer, Adelaide Law School at University of Adelaide
  • Read the story of Hugh Harris, a concerned parent living in Queensland: School is for Teaching Not Preaching


The Australian National School Chaplaincy Program

Birth of the National School Chaplaincy Program
The National School Chaplaincy Program was launched in September 2006 by the Howard Government.  In June 2006 The Age reported that “a full-time chaplain would cost schools about $70,000 a year to provide.”  John Howard told the ABC that “students need the guidance of chaplains, rather than just counsellors.”

“… since the commencement of the NSCP in 2007, previous federal governments have already outsourced the provision of school chaplaincy to organisations whose extreme evangelical worldviews do not reflect those of even the majority of Australian Christians, let alone the 40% or so of our citizenry who are either non-religious, or adherents of other faiths
Subsequently, students are increasingly at risk of being exposed to an uncompromising, fundamentalist ideology …”
“ target=” – Jaye Christie & Rod Bower – Article no longer available
In November 2013 The Courier Mail reported that “Queensland school chaplains’ job description includes converting students to Christianity, but education department says they can’t.”

Kevin Rudd followed Howard by enthusiastically continuing to fund the National School Chaplaincy stating that the first 3 years of the program had provided funding to 2,700 schools in Australia.

When in office, Julia Gillard expanded the NSCP to include an additional 1,000 schools and extended the terms of the program to include secular welfare counsellors.

In June 2012 the federal government funded at least 160 providers of school chaplaincy and welfare counsellors in schools around Australia.
Here are 6 of the major providers of School Chaplaincy in Australia:

The High Court Challenge
In August 2011, Ron Williams challenged the constitutional legitimacy of the National School Chaplaincy Program in the High Court of Australia.
On the 20th June 2012 a decision of six to one in favour was handed down by the full bench.

The Government had violated the Australian Constitution.

“The High Court decision that government funding of chaplaincy in Queensland schools is invalid is only “a technicality” and will not mean the end of the program.”
Jim Wallace, head of the Australian Christian Lobby

The Federal Government at the time were only too keen to find a legislative ‘cure‘ to the High Court decision, which was found only 5 days after the high court decision was handed down.  The National School Chaplaincy Program would remain.

The Federal Government were determined to undermine the legal battle fought to regain secular schooling.

“This Bill, in a bald-faced manner, rejects the fundamental propositions put by the High Court in the Williams case.
The Commonwealth is clearly asking for another clobbering by the Court.”
Senator George Brandis

In August 2013 Ron Williams launched his second case against the National School Chaplaincy Program.  All six states support the high court decision against school chaplaincy and disagree with the federal government measures to continue the program.  This second high court challenge was heard in Canberra in May 2014.

Please consider making a donation to support Ron Williams in his high court challenge against the constitutional validity of the National School Chaplaincy Program. High Court Challenge 2

Secular Welfare Funding Removed – Chaplains ONLY
The recent federal government budget, May 2014, has brought more bad news for secular schooling in Australia announcing that secular welfare counsellors will no longer be funded by the National School Chaplaincy Program, that the Howard government plans were originally to provide Chaplains to schools – not secular welfare workers.

“Education Minister Christopher Pyne revealed Tuesday that a total of $243.8 million will be made available over four years for around 2900 schools to engage a chaplain.”
Christian Today

Gay News Network highlights the particular concern for LGBTQI school students who may want to seek out counselling during their school years.

James Findlay, Rachel Cook
“Several organisations running chaplaincy programs in Australian schools have connections to homophobic campaigning and will benefit from the funding allocated in the Government’s proposed budget, MCV has revealed.”

“Tony Abbott’s Coalition has allocated nearly $250 million to Chaplaincy Programs over four years in the latest budget, which offers schools up to $24,000 per year to pay for a chaplain approximately two days a week.”

“ACCESS Ministries is one of the providers of chaplains in Victoria, providing approximately 330 schools with Special Religious Instructors, and came under scrutiny in February when it was revealed one of their educators was distributing homophobic materials.”

For LGBTQI school students who are being bullied the last thing they need is to be ‘counselled’ by a homophobic chaplain who says that being gay is a disease and you need to be cured.

“Scott Hedges, co-founder of Fairness in Religions in School, said the push to protect gay pupils, who are up to six times more likely to contemplate suicide than their straight peers, was irreconcilable with the chaplaincy scheme.”
Jill Stark

Please take the time to donate and sign petitions supporting this campaign.

  • School welfare workers should be employed based on the quality of support they provide to our kids, not their religion – Petition no longer available
  • End the National School Chaplaincy Program – See, Sign & Share Petition
  • Help raise the alarm and stop taxes from being spent to bully vulnerable teens – See, Sign & Share Petition
  • Stop the changes to the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Programme – See, Sign & Share Petition