Breaking News: Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill No. 3 stuck down

The ABC are reporting:

The High Court has upheld a challenge to the National School Chaplaincy Program, ruling the law used to maintain Commonwealth funding for chaplains is unconstitutional.

This is a glorious victory – the legislation was an absolute disgrace and the then Liberal opposition that voted for this legislation should be ashamed of themselves.

Update: Chris Berg in The Age:

… the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No 3) 2012. This bill received almost no press attention. It was supported by all sides of Parliament. The Coalition half-heartedly put up an amendment, but once that was rejected, it backed the bill anyway. The bill was made law in three hours.

Yet it was one of the most undemocratic and scandalous pieces of legislation passed in recent years. Forget the carbon tax. This is what Australia should be most angry about.

The bill authorises the government to spend money on 415 areas of public policy without having to ask Parliament for permission ever again.

Simon Breheny in the SMH:

But more importantly, the transfer of power from the Parliament to the executive under this act is immensely anti-democratic. It means we will not have a parliamentary debate on the school chaplains program, or any of the other 414 programs listed.

The new mechanism allows for spending relating to any regulations that fall under those programs. But regulations are not subject to parliamentary debate, so government now has the power to fund almost limitless activities of federal regulators without any parliamentary scrutiny. Section 32B even allows a minister to delegate their powers to make those regulations to junior bureaucrats.

As Simon predicted:

The act as a whole may be constitutionally invalid. The High Court has a history of striking down legislation designed by governments to brazenly circumvent its decisions. This is clearly such a case.

Let me just re-iterate how disgraceful the Coalition was in supporting this legislation.

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20 Responses to Breaking News: Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill No. 3 stuck down

  1. Token

    Let me just re-iterate how disgraceful the Coalition was in supporting this legislation.

    What a bunch of stupid hacks

  2. .

    This is a good decision. It stops the grubs in local Council getting Federal money outside of the recognition referendum failing.

  3. Infidel Tiger

    The Libs knew they were coming to power and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to rape the taxpayer.

    God Bless the High Court.

  4. Notafan

    So what are the broad implications for funding arrangements alluded to in the open thread?
    Anything that stops government spending taxpayer money sounds good to me.

  5. Bill

    Sounds like all side of Aussie politics are increasingly attempting to use exec power like Obama in the USA. The new EPA regs there have the propensity to almost totally destroy the economy in a short time if the States allow it. Clearly unconstitutional. Lets hope the High Court remains vigilant on these type of subtefuges.

  6. Andrew

    What was the RGR grubiment hoping to achieve from the legislation?

  7. Grigory M

    I have no objection to Government spending monies collected by way of tax – that is one of the main purposes of collecting it in the first place. But the appropriation of monies, for whatever purpose, must go before the Parliament for proper authorization sanctioned by appropriate legislation. Attempts such as this one, to provide carte blanche access to monies without scrutiny, should rightly be struck down as unconstitutional. A very good decision by the High Court IMO.

  8. Snoopy

    What was the RGR grubiment hoping to achieve from the legislation?

    A lasting legacy? :)

  9. Does this ensure the repeal of the entire legislation, and it’s funding of the 415 areas of public policy? Or do the other areas remain in place until they are individually repealed? Let not one ounce of this legislation survive this ruling.

  10. thefrollickingmole

    What IT said, this should never have seen the light of day. There seem to be precious few pollies who can resist having untrammeld powers to spend once they are in power, Libs are supposed to be better than that.

    The design of government is supposed to be slow and unwieldy, that’s a deliberate design feature not a bug.
    RGRs insane spending splurge at the start of the GFC would have looked ridiculous if the mechanism of government had functioned to slow the splurge for a year. Any move to make the ability of government to respond “quicker” is bad.

  11. stackja

    So how come we still have the ALP Chaplaincy Program, called the ABC?

  12. Kaboom

    Bill:

    Sounds like all side of Aussie politics are increasingly attempting to use exec power like Obama in the USA.

    +1,000! This is the slippery slope of fascism, communism, and all other command economies. Eternal vigilance is necessitated.

  13. C.L.

    You’re assuming that the High Court would also strike down a Labor or left-wing program of comparable scope and style. Given the bullshit interpretations (read inventions) of section 51 over the years, I strongly doubt it.

  14. old bloke

    What was the RGR grubiment hoping to achieve from the legislation?

    Federal funding of UN Agenda 21 at local government level, i.e., bypass State Governments.

  15. Yobbo

    You’re assuming that the High Court would also strike down a Labor or left-wing program of comparable scope and style. Given the bullshit interpretations (read inventions) of section 51 over the years, I strongly doubt it.

    Exactly. This is a victory for separation of church and state, but it’s hardly going to be the catalyst for a new era of federal government austerity. Don’t get too excited.

  16. Rabz

    it’s hardly going to be the catalyst for a new era of federal government austerity

    Yes, but it’s still fun to contemplate the possibilities.

  17. DaveA

    My perusal of mainstream media, inc ABC, has the debate framed as “should the government fund school chaplains?”.

  18. I never understood why it had to be federally funded, when it’s for high schools, and they’re a State problem. If the State government wants to fund a chaplaincy program, let it. I can think of better uses for the money, but hey, I usually can.

  19. .

    I’m very excited Yobbo.

    What I said in the other constitution thread is a good idea.

    Taxes, regulation, bogus spending, violated rights?

    We ought to have the High Court bitchslap this crap to the dustbin of history for us where possible.

  20. Grey ghost who walks

    I thought this whole thing was just about school chaplains; not that I was much in favour of that. The RGR machine turns out to be much oilier than first expected.
    So glad the young and naive lawyer and the back of the VW sleeper now have this sorted by the High Court.
    The Liberals also haven’t covered themselves in glory either.

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