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Gillard Government can't be believed on school chaplaincy

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MEDIA RELEASE Gillard Government can’t be believed on school chaplains

The Minister for Schools Peter Garrett promised today that the Government will ensure the school chaplaincy programme continues after the High Court ruled the programme as invalid in its current form, but this promise cannot be believed.

“The Coalition is disappointed with the Court’s decision, as we have always been a strong supporter of the good work chaplains do in our schools,” said Christopher Pyne, Shadow Minister for Education.

“Julia Gillard and Peter Garrett have shown in the past they cannot be trusted on school chaplains as they diluted the Howard Government’s chaplaincy programme, breaking Labor’s 2010 election promise,” Mr Pyne said.

“At the last election after pressure from the Coalition, the Government promised Australians an expanded chaplaincy programme and gave assurances that the programme would not be secularised,” he said.

“Schools should realise from this that Labor cannot be trusted to deliver on their promises.

“Despite assurances to schools today that they won’t lose funding for their chaplains, the Government’s earlier broken promise to chaplains proves that they cannot keep their word.

“The Government has suggested that contingency plans are in place for Commonwealth funding, and that chaplains will continue to be paid and I call on them to release details of these plans as soon as possible.

“If the Government don’t take quick action to save the programme as promised, the Coalition will investigate if a Private Members Bill can be introduced into the Parliament that if supported would allow a version of this programme to be continued.

“Only the Coalition truly recognises and values the work that chaplains do to provide care and support for school students, particularly in disadvantaged areas where access to support services is limited,” Mr Pyne.

June 20, 2012

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