The Chaplains Program

Posted on August 6, 2011


Devout Anglican Michael Kirby and @revbillcrews are against the $700-million chaplains program.

“It’s simply shameless vote buying at the expense of our kids. And what makes it worse is that many of the so-called ‘chaplains’ are often not ministers or priests at all, but rather young people who’ve received rudimentary training by organisations like Scripture Union Queensland, one of the largest providers of chaplains.

“I’d like to get your views on this, and on the influence of religion in our schools. Do you think the balance has swung too far away from secular education?”

Labor Education Minister Peter Garrett responded to the report by saying he was pleased there were no major problems with the scheme and dismissed the call to act on recommendations.

“The Ombudsman was so concerned the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations would ignore his recommendations — to establish strict guidelines and checks before they spend another $222 million of our money — that he is planning to follow up with a second report in six months. The program is a poorly constructed social experiment that seems to have been set up to appease far-Right Christian groups –who see public schools as godless and lacking in the teaching of values.

@PGarrettMP is a Christian and I am very concerned about his push to spend $700-million on the chaplaincy program.

“probably the most glaring and fundamental flaw the Ombudsman uncovered was that no one knows exactly what chaplains are supposed to be doing.”

Religion is gaining in political power. It makes politics very confusing, and I think they are best kept separate.

In the recent NSW election, the Catholic Church issued a two-page statement signed by 10 bishops:

A friend is very concerned about the chaplaincy program and handing foster care over to Christian organisations, because they are a survivor of abuse in a Salvation Army home.

“There were no checks or balances from the government,” Ms Sheedy from Care Leavers of Australia (CLAN) said. “The governments of this country believed that good Christian people were doing the right thing by us, so nobody was accountable.”

“Do we really want a repeat of this? How will the charities be accountable?”

“Here’s the link to the article about foster children and charitable organisations. Firstly, it seems that cost is put ahead of children’s welfare; secondly, given the criminal acts of abuse of children and of power that far too many religious and charitable organisations are responsible for in the past, is handing foster children over to them the best way to go? Which charities are they? How will they be monitored?”

“Of course the charitable organisations will be paid to do this – no doubt one of the reasons they are interested in taking it on.”

Many children in NSW state schools are not Christian, they come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. If people want a Christian education for their children there are plenty of Catholic and other Christian schools in Australia.

A school counsellor in NSW state schools needs to be a trained teacher, to have completed four years of approved psychology studies, have DEC training and experience.

There are excellent evidence-based programs for emotional education and behaviour management, which could be implemented in schools, yet they operate on shoestring budgets:

KidsMatter aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children, reduce mental health problems amongst children, and achieve greater support for children experiencing mental health difficulties, and their families.

It includes KidsMatter Early Childhood, designed for implementation in preschools and long day care; and KidsMatter Primary, designed for implementation in Australian primary schools.

MindMatters is a national mental health initiative for secondary schools funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

MindMatters is a resource and professional development program supporting Australian secondary schools in promoting and protecting the mental health, and social and emotional wellbeing of all the members of school communities.

Bounce Back

Rock and Water

Should the Chaplains Program be implemented in NSW state schools?

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