The legacy of the Williams case: less pork-barrelling?

1 Ron Williams won a pyrrhic victory with his success in the High Court over Commonwealth funding of chaplains in state schools. Yes, he won the case — but is unlikely to see the back of chaplains in his children’s schools. The greatest legacy of the case may lie in another channel: a dampening of pork-barrelling, with politicians more likely to be forced to funnel pre-election money through properly legislated and overseen programs.

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Also see The High Court school chaplains case and what it means for Commonwealth funding 2 Today, the High Court of Australia dramatically altered the previously understood scope of the Commonwealth’s power to spend money and enter into contracts. This decision has immediate repercussions for many Commonwealth funding agreements, many of which will require quick restructuring to be saved.

Keep reading …

Also see Graeme Orr’s excellent article A pyrrhic victory for federalists?, which contains an excellent overview of Australian federalism in the wake of the Williams decision in the High Court.


  1. University of Sydney’s Anne Twomey on Wednesday’s High Court decision re school chaplaincy program[]
  2. Gabrielle Appleby[]

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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