Fund youth workers, not faith workers, in public schools!

Fund youth workers, not faith workers, in public schools!

20,582 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!

Why this petition matters

Started by Fiona Newton

We’re calling on the federal government to fund youth workers, NOT faith-based chaplains, in our public schools!

As parents of kids in public schools right across Australia, we want our kids to have access to the best available wellbeing support.

Young people face a lot of issues as they move through childhood. On top of the personal and family problems they may face at home, and relationship or bullying issues at school, they’re worried about the impacts of the climate crisis on the planet and the global pandemic. They deserve to have access to the best-qualified youth workers to support them.

Children in our public schools come from a wide variety of religious, spiritual and non-religious backgrounds. Yet, under the federal government-funded National School Chaplaincy program, these youth worker/wellbeing support roles are available ONLY to religious people. The Morrison government gives more than $60 million each year to put religious workers – overwhelmingly Christian – in our public schools. 

This practice discriminates against non-religious people who, otherwise, may be suitably qualified and well-experienced in youth work and wellbeing support. It also discriminates against non-religious children from accessing the secular support they need.

In the lead-up to the next federal election, we’re calling for the major political parties to commit to funding an expanded program that provides the best wellbeing support possible for our kids.

We believe that the next government – whichever party is in power – should remove the religious requirement to ensure that the best available people fill these roles.

Appointments to these roles should be done directly by schools, NOT third-party religious providers, and should be made on the basis of the experience and qualifications of the candidates, NOT their religious affiliation. Just like every other job in a public school!

If you care about the wellbeing of Australian kids, please sign and share this petition. If you have children in public schools please share it with other parents and carers at your school, and talk to your principal about this important issue.

You can follow this petition and get useful resources from our Facebook page: ‘Fund youth workers, not faith workers, in public schools’


Fiona Newton, Victoria
David Friandana, Western Australia
Melinda Dodds, Queensland
Dan Goodsir, New South Wales
Mark Davies, South Australia


20,582 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!