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Estimates: School Chaplaincy Program

Penny Wright 18 Oct 2012

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee
Thursday 18 October 2012

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

Senator WRIGHT: These questions are in relation to the National Schools Chaplaincy program, which I think is program 2.3.

Can you tell me, please, under this program, what are the key responsibilities and functions of chaplains? For instance, what role are they intended to fulfil in schools?

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Schools response shows why alternatives to chaplains are justified

Figures released today show around 200 schools across the country have chosen to hire people other than chaplains since the federal government gave them the choice in September 2011, the Australian Greens said.

"We applaud the fact that Australian schools are exercising their right to choose whether or not they want a chaplain or someone from a secular background," Greens' youth affairs spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Schools finally given choice with revamped chaplains programme

The federal government has at last let schools decide who they want to counsel their students, and ensure they have appropriate training, the Australian Greens said today.

"We welcome this announcement after taking this much-needed expansion to the 2010 election," Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens' spokesperson for youth affairs, said.

"The Greens have been saying for years a major problem with the programme was it forced schools into getting only a chaplain, rather than someone with basic qualifications.

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Greens hope High Court challenge to chaplains programme succeeds

The Australian Greens say they hope a High Court challenge to the National School Chaplaincy Programme, which began today, will succeed and lead to an overhaul of the scheme.

"This is of course a programme where Australian taxpayers spend hundreds of millions of dollars on staff to support students who can do so without appropriate qualifications," Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens' spokesperson for youth affairs, said.

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New report buttresses Greens’ concerns about school chaplains programme

The Australian Greens say the Commonwealth Ombudsman's investigation into the National School Chaplaincy Programme has buttressed the party's concerns about the absence of minimum qualifications required for participants.

"This report reinforces what we've always said -- there's a lot of taxpayers' money being spent on this programme which does not require minimum basic standards for chaplains," Greens' youth affairs spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young.

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New revelations raise questions about school chaplains programme

New revelations about the problems within the National School Chaplaincy Programme by ABC-TV's 7:30 last night reinforce the need for the scheme to be overhauled, the Australian Greens said today.

"The Greens want to see the chaplaincy programme replaced with a student support programme using people with relevant qualifications to meet the needs of students," Greens' education spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Greens concerned about possible school chaplaincy guidelines breach

The Australian Greens are concerned by reports a ministry in Victoria may have breached federal guidelines covering the chaplaincy programme in public schools.Access Ministries has been accused of trying to convert students into "disciples", contrary to federal regulations.

"We await the review of Access Ministries by the Federal Education Department, something Peter Garrett has indicated will happen because the federal guidelines as 'crystal clear' on proselytising in schools," the Greens' education spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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