The High Court has ruled against the government’s school chaplaincy program.
The federal government’s school chaplaincy program has been ruled unlawful by the High Court.
The challenge to the program was the second brought by Queensland father Ron Williams, who believes there is no place in secular public schools for religious programs.
The High Court upheld his initial challenge against the program in a landmark decision in 2012 but the previous Labor government quickly passed fresh legislation to keep it going.
The court on Thursday found the Commonwealth has no executive power to fund the program.
“The making of the payments was therefore held to be unlawful,” the court said in a summary judgment.
Coalition government minister Kevin Andrews was the first to respond to the court’s verdict.
He said the coalition had warned Labor that its legislation responding to the court’s first ruling wouldn’t stand up, and that view appeared to have been vindicated.
“The previous government didn’t get it right,” Mr Andrews told Sky News.
The government would now need to assess how to respond to the court’s latest decision.
It’s believed more than 400 other Commonwealth programs could be affected by the decision.
The chaplaincy program was originally introduced by the Howard government in 2006 and extended by Labor.