Dad fights chaplaincy program

TOOWOOMBA father of six Ron Williams is preparing for a David and Goliath style showdown with the Federal Government in the highest court in the land.

Mr Williams is challenging the legality of the Federal Government’s funding of the National School Chaplaincy Program.

He has enlisted top Sydney barrister Bret Walker, SC, and said his legal team had constructed a strong case in support of his High Court challenge.

Mr Williams said he began the long process because he had expected his children to enjoy a public education in a secular state school.

But he said that since 2006 the federally funded National School Chaplaincy Program had intervened.

“We’re not about trying to get rid of chaplains. The court case is about challenging the legality of the program,” Mr Williams said.

“It concerns all Australians, of all faiths and none, who support the secular wall of separation concept concerning church and state.”

His quest has attracted national media attention, including a half-hour report on ABC’s Compass program, which aired on Sunday.

And Mr Williams said since the announcement of his High Court challenge, both moral and monetary support had poured in from people across the country.

A trust account has even been established, through for supporters to make donations to help fund the costly venture.

“We have had an enormous amount of public support from all over Australia,” Mr Williams said.

“I’ve had lots and lots of emails from parents all over Australia, saying ‘we have had the same problems at our school, but we thought we were alone’.”

Mr Williams said he expected the writ would be served on the Federal Government within the next two months.


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