If I’ve been quiet about the 2014 Budget, it’s only because the wrong was so obvious. Today, however, The Daughter alerted me to something that seems to have slipped past in the general furor – chaplains.
There is currently a High Court challenge regarding the legitimacy of the Commonwealth funding chaplains at all. Let me rephrase that – according to the constitution, the Federal Government did not have the right to fund chaplains in schools. To read more about the background to this challenge follow the link below :
One of the things you will find on that website is this :
“Within the LNP coalition budget announced on 13 May 2014, in spite of overall cuts to education funding, the top school spending outlay was $245 million to finance the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) across four years to commence in 2015. This brings the total amount expended upon, or committed to the NSCP since 2007 to $670,000,000.” That is perilously close to one billion dollars.
Let me put those numbers into some kind of context – the disabled will be put on NewStart to ‘encourage’ them to find work. This will free up quite a bit of money. Quite a big chunk of money will then be handed out to religious bodies – despite the fact that said funding is not allowed by the constitution.
Excuse me? Did I just land in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party?
Now I know that a lot of parents are religious. Those parents probably don’t see anything wrong with the government funding the Chaplaincy program.
But the devil is always in the detail. You see these chaplains don’t represent every religious body in Australia. As far as I know, they do not include Rabbi’s, or Imams, or Buddhist monks, or priests of the Greek Orthodox Church, or Hindu priests or any of the lesser known religions. So if your kids belong to any of these religions then you’re out of luck because the Chaplaincy program doesn’t give two hoots about your kids.
But wait, there’s more. The Chaplaincy program also doesn’t give two hoots about kids who fall into the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans] category either. In fact, such kids are seen as evil. The Chaplains believe they must be rooted out, or ‘cured’. That is their definition of caring for these kids.
Has a light bulb gone off in any heads yet? <<heavy sarcasm>>
Yes, this is exactly how anti-gay sentiments are propagated in the US. This is exactly how non-LGBT kids are encouraged to bully the ‘bad seeds’ in their midst. This is exactly how the most vulnerable of our youth are pushed to the point of suicide.
And guess what? We’re paying for it all.
Joe Hockey wants us to tighten our belts for the common good, but he and Tony Abbott are the ones who define that common good. Apparently it’s good for Australia to fund paid maternity leave for upper middle class mums who can already afford not to work for six months. And it’s also good for Australia to fund a Chaplaincy Program that excludes huge parts of our population, and is patently against the constitution. But apparently uni students, pensioners and the disabled are parasites who just suck the life out of the country.
Really? Well that is a version of Australia I refuse to accept. We’re better than that.