This paper explains recent High Court decisions on the constitutional validity of a funding agreement under the Commonwealth's National School Chaplaincy Program.
In July 2012 the NSW Parliamentary Research Service published an e-brief on the High Court’s decision in the first School Chaplains case – Williams v Commonwealth of Australia. That case concerned the constitutional validity of a funding agreement under the Commonwealth's National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP), specifically an agreement between the Commonwealth and Scripture Union Queensland (SUQ) for the provision of chaplaincy services at a State school in Queensland. The funding for the NSCP was not provided under specific legislation or further to s 96 of the Constitution. Rather, the funding was made under a series of funding arrangements administered by the Commonwealth and only authorised by the relevant Appropriations Acts.
The purpose of this e-brief is to update the position by reference to the second School Chaplains case - Williams v Commonwealth of Australia– the decision in which was handed down on 19 June 2014.