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Thread: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    BL is a lawyer, and reserving judgement.


    IANAL and so am going to likely embarrass myself by proffering a view.


    The s.116 argument was shot down almost as quickly as it put its head up over the parapet in Williams I. As BL notes, the DOGS case generally narrowed the scope of s116 compared with the US version. Lots of payments of all kinds are made to other parties to employ chaplains, not to mention all kinds of payments to religious organisations for education purposes. If s116 doesn't stop payments to other parties to employ chaplains it's not clear how it would stop the Commonwealth doing it itself.


    If the much broader US construal of their constitution doesn't prohibit paying chaplains then it is harder still how our narrower construal might have effect.
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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    Teasing out the Goat's point: my understanding is that Chaplains are employed by the ADF similarly to a range of other specialists that the ADF does not consider worthwhile training itself, like lawyers and doctors.


    That is, they train outside and then join, are given training in how to look ADFish and officerish (I have heard the latter referred to as the "knife and fork course" by those promoted inside the ADF to commissioned ranks).


    Incidentally, Tom Frame has an interesting history in this regard:


    https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/austral...ssor-tom-frame


    But I am intrigued to know what he was doing at the school of Astronomy and Astrophysics and ANU!


    Edit: I think he may have been writing a history of the ANU's Mt Stromlo observatory.
    Last edited by wearestardust; 13th June 2017 at 02:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    My non-lawyer two cents worth is that higher courts [eg Supreme or High court] have some discretion in interpreting the meaning of both statute and case law. They also decide which precedent is relevant to a particular case or cases, and that legal principles are often coloured [at least in the application of law] by the political, ideological and religious beliefs or opinions of the jurists concerned.

    In the Tasmanian dam case for example, environmental protections, and indeed international covenants covering good environmental stewardship were trumped by corporations powers.

    I don't see how s116, or indeed any other constitutional or non-constitutional law could be immune from "ideological' tampering. There is a bloody good reason why political parties, both here and the US, pay a lot of attention to which jurists get appointed to the higher courts in particular.

    So a jurist who disagrees with the secular flavour of s116 will try to find some workaround to reduce s116's impact on religious influence in state affairs.

    Depending on whether that impact is minor or major, one would expect that a majority [or a unanimous] finding respectively, could render s116 impotent, or irrelevant for anything worth a damn. This process seems well underway, with chaplains for schools, Military chaplains etc, all deemed to be acceptable and "compatable" with s116!
    Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.

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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    Quote SEG said View Post
    Quote DanDare said View Post
    He didn't say there are no humanist chaplains. He said the Australian Defence force do not have chaplains that are formally humanist chaplains as opposed to christian or muslim etc.
    Sorry, I must be missing something as that is exactly what he said and not what you are saying. Unless there used to be, but there are none now?
    Quote workmx said View Post
    Are ADF chaplains covered by part 118 of the Australian Constitution?

    They currently have no Humanist chaplains.

    Sent from my A1601 using Tapatalk
    "They" in "They currently have no Humanist chaplains." refers to the subject of the previous sentence. "ADF Chaplains" where ADF is The Australian Defence Force. So the full sentence is "The Australian Defence Force chaplains currently have no Humanist chaplains." That sentence does not make any statement about the existence of humanist chaplains outside of the ADF.
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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    Thanks for the clarification DD.

    As I understand it, there are currently three christian streams and a Jewish chaplaincy streams in the ADF.

    Appointment to a role as chaplain requires authorisation from a head of one of these streams. (although it is worth noting that the "Religious Advisory Committee to the Services" now includes an Imam).

    Hence, no head of a humanist stream means no pathway for the recruitment of humanist chaplains (In my opinion, this is indirect discrimination).

    I wonder if that constitutes a "religious test" for a Federal government position. And a violation of s116.
    Last edited by workmx; 16th June 2017 at 11:17 AM.
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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    Apologies for mistaking s116 and s118 in the OP.

    BTW, I have an ADF recruiting place only 20m from my work. I wonder what they would say to this question.
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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    Quote workmx said View Post
    Apologies for mistaking s116 and s118 in the OP.

    BTW, I have an ADF recruiting place only 20m from my work. I wonder what they would say to this question.

    Turn up with your dudeism certificate that you will have bought online and see what they have to say.


    (Actually that would be cruel, the people at the recruiting place aren't responsible for the rules).
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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    I am the Humanist Chaplain at the Canberra Hospital.

    I will be presenting with other Humanist Chaplains about our experiences at a conference in Sydney this Sunday.

    More people than ever (especially the young) are not religious.

    There is a growing need for humanist chaplains in areas that have been dominated by religious groups, IMO.

    I am seriously considering how to take this matter further.
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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    Just emailed the "Religious Advisory Committee to the Services" to find out how their Humanist rep is.
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    Default Re: Legal question: The Constitution and ADF chaplains

    Response from the Religious Advisory Committee or the Affiliated Representative Committee:

    Dear Mr X,

    Thank you for your enquiry.

    There is no Humanist representative on the Religious Advisory Committee or the Affiliated Representative Committee. Furthermore, no member of the ADF has identified themselves with the Humanists in their personal information.

    Yours sincerely,

    Margaret
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