Ron Williams
Ron Williams Nelson Lau

Qld man who fought school chaplaincy speaks on govt funding

THE Toowoomba man who won a High Court appeal against the funding of a national school chaplaincy program, Ron Williams, said other similar cases were unlikely.

Mr Williams spoke on Wednesday to a joint parliamentary inquiry looking into a referendum on the constitutional recognition of local government.

In previous hearings, various witnesses, including constitutional law experts, had told the inquiry the success of a referendum this year was threatened by a delay in the decision on Mr Williams' High Court case.

While the case exposed many government funding programs which were not enshrined in law as unconstitutional, the government speedily passed legislation to allow such programs to continue.

On Wednesday, Mr Williams said he thought that while there were some problems with the new laws, he thought new challenges similar to his case were unlikely.

"I would suggest that worthy programs such as Roads to Recovery, are not likely to be challenged by cases like Papes or Williams any time soon," he said.

"The National School Chaplains Program and Roads to Recovery should not be used in the same sentence.

"My reason for challenging the NSC was purely the funding, it wasn't ideological grounds, it was purely about the enormous amount of money that was churned into something that didn't seem to have any purpose."

Mr Williams told the inquiry that since the legislation was passed, within a week of the High Court decision, he saw no issues with any other government funding programs.

The Attorney-General's Department released a statement which said the government had responded swiftly to the case, and the government was satisfied it could continue with such funding programs.
 


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