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17 Nov 2014
In order to vote according to your OWN VALUES, you need to know WHAT policies are being promoted by the political parties. In this E-News, we focus on the freedom of Christian groups to employ people who follow their faith and values.
In subsequent emails, we will discuss the Safe Schools Coalition, same-sex adoption, euthanasia and abortion.
Overview – employment exemptions for religious schools & bodies
If elected, Labor has promised to RE-INTRODUCE an equal opportunity law that will REMOVE the right of Christian schools and religious organisations to discriminate regarding WHO they EMPLOY on the grounds of “religious belief or activity, sex, sexual orientation, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parental status or gender identity” UNLESS they can PROVE that it is an ‘inherent requirement’ – or a ‘bona fide occupational requirement’ - of the job to discriminate in this way.
Labor’s proposal is supported by the GREENS (and Sex Party) – but OPPOSED by the Liberal Party, National Party, Australian Christians, DLP, Rise Up Australia Party and Family First.
Labor initially passed this law in 2010 - after the 2010 election, the Liberal and National Coalition REPEALED this ‘inherent requirement in employment by religious organisations’ law – for which we were extremely grateful. The Coalition remain steadfastly OPPOSED to such laws.
This is a totally unacceptable law – which makes it impossible for Christian schools and religious bodies to openly operate in accord with their faith.
Ironically, political parties and politicians have an EXEMPTION to this ‘employment’ law and CAN discriminate on the basis of political belief or activity!
See Section 27 of the EOA.
LAW PASSED by LABOR in 2010 – REPEALED by COALITION in 2011
The REMOVAL of exemptions for religious groups and schools regarding EMPLOYMENT (unless they can prove it is an ‘inherent requirement’ of the job) was originally brought in under the Brumby Labor government in 2010, when major changes were made to the Equal Opportunity Act. Religious groups and schools RETAINED exemptions in other areas.
The law was OPPOSED by the Liberal and National Coalition.
After they were elected in 2010, the Coalition REPEALED the section of the Equal Opportunity Act that removed exemptions re employment by religious bodies and schools.
See the CURRENT law which provides exemptions for religious groups and schools in ALL areas on these attributes. (EOA – Full ACT here - Part 4, Section 82 and 83)
Labor plans to RESTRICT religious freedom by re-introducing this law …
Labor’s Victoria 2014 Platform states they will “Reverse the Coalition Government’s amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act, including the reinstatement of ‘bona fide occupational requirement’ limitation on the religious exemptions.”
[See Labor Platform 2014, P 69 – search on ‘religious’.]
Labor ALSO promises to re-introduce the ability for the “Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to deal with systemic discrimination on their own motion.” That is, they’ll be out LOOKING for groups that discriminate!
The Greens endorse Labor’s planned restrictions on religious schools and groups
The original law to remove exemptions re employment for religious schools and groups was supported by the Greens. They also support Labor’s proposed re-introduction of this draconian law.
In fact, the Greens go even further! They oppose ALL exemptions for religious groups, in ALL areas of the Equal Opportunity Act!
They state, “In 2007, 2010 and 2011, the Greens moved amendments to remove the exemptions that allow religious organisations to discriminate but the Liberal, National and Labor parties voted to keep them. We will not be deterred. We will continue to push for reform.” (Source – Greens LGBTI Equality policy)
As for the Sex Party – you hardly need to ask what their position is – they oppose any exemptions for private schools, want drugs decriminalised and support same-sex adoption! See Sex Party policies.
OPPOSING this law…
In 2010, we opposed the law that removed exemptions for religious groups, because it is totally unacceptable for Christian groups to have to PROVE WHY they need to employ Christians in particular roles. In Christian schools, all staff members are part of the family – from the Principal, to the teachers, to the receptionist and the gardeners.
All staff contribute to the supportive Christian ethos of the school. A maths teacher might teach mathematics, but they are usually a home or form group teacher, providing Christian support to students. A receptionist or gardener is often in conversation with students and parents and are involved in the ‘whole of school approach’ that is an essential part of a Christian school.
PROVING ‘inherent requirement’
How would a religious group ‘PROVE’ it is an “inherent requirement” of the job to be a Christian, to not be a homosexual or transsexual or not to be living in a de facto unmarried situation?
They would have to TRY and prove that “conformity with the doctrines, beliefs or principles of the religion” is an “inherent requirement” of the employment position.
(See Briefing by Freedom 4 Faith – link BELOW)
It would mean responding to complaints that a person makes, to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, if they feel they have been ‘discriminated against’ on one of the grounds by a religious body or Christian school – they might be a Muslim, an atheist or a homosexual and feel aggrieved that they weren’t employed by a Christian school.
This would involve the school providing written responses, and being involved in negotiations and ‘mediation’. If that is unsuccessful (and it almost always is unless you ‘give in’ – then it would probably involve a hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) … with associated vast amounts of legal expenses! And if you LOSE at VCAT, then the only avenue left is an appeal to the Supreme Court ‘Court of Appeal’ (and many more $$$$)!
If Labor is elected they will REMOVE the exemptions that Christian schools and religious bodies currently have and restrict our right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression, conscience and association.
If Greens have the balance of power, the situation could be even worse.
We won’t tell you HOW to vote – but YOU need to be very aware of what these parties are proposing before YOU cast your vote!
Tell your OWN candidates exactly what you think of this proposal!
Support candidates who support freedom of religion!
BRIEFING PAPER & ARTICLE by Freedom 4 Faith
Freedom 4 Faith monitors religious freedom of religion issues in Australia. In the lead-up to the Victorian election, Chelsea Pietsch, the Executive Officer, has provided two excellent resources on the subject of EMPLOYMENT by Christian schools and religious groups.
NEW Briefing Paper on Religious Freedom in Employment: The Victorian Situation
Excellent 7 page Briefing Paper by Chelsea Pietsch, the Executive Officer of Freedom 4 Faith.
(Recommended reading in anticipation of the Victorian State Election in November 2014)
An article by Chelsea Pietsch in The Australian provides a briefer OVERVIEW of the situation relating to employment by Christian schools and religious organisations:
The Question of Faith, Chelsea Pietsch, The Australian, 31/10/2014.
Bill Muehlenberg’s comment…
Article: Labor’s Anti-Christian Agenda, Bill Muehlenberg, 8/11/2014.
From Christian School groups…
Article: Religious freedom an early issue in Vic poll, Christian Schools Australia (CSA), 3/6/2014.
Stephen O'Doherty from CSA outlines the serious concerns about Labor’s proposal.
Article: Victorian ALP to limit religious exemptions, Australian Association of Christian Schools Newsletter, June 2014.
14 Nov 2014
Another eventful week – articles and information on the Human Rights survey (closes TODAY), euthanasia (in Victoria and federal Senate Committee report), Victorian election, halal certification, NEW SRI form, Climate change and more!
Read our NEWS UPDATE...
13 Nov 2014
Find out what the political parties think on a range of moral and ethical issues. . .
Often the media will tell us about the financial management, or about proposals to build freeways, public transport and education.
But they are incredibly quiet on the moral issues such as euthanasia, abortion and homosexuality.
That’s where the Christian Values Checklist helps you – by showing where the major parties stand. The Checklist provides responses for the Liberal and National Parties, the Labor Party and the Greens.
The smaller Christian parties (Australian Christians, Democratic Labour Party and Rise Up Australia Party – who have signed an ‘Assurance of Cooperation’ agreement to preference each other in accordance with pro-life values) and Family First are also shown.
Supporting Statements – PLEASE INCLUDE with Checklist
Included with the Checklist is a one-page document giving information about some of the ticks and crosses!
PLEASE photocopy it on the BACK of the Checklist when you distribute it…
THE CHECKLIST documents
Christian Values Checklist - Victorian election November 29, 2014 - Colour Lo-Res
[High resolution document is also available - please contact us for that.]
Please circulate the Checklist and Supporting Statements document…
PRINT it out, EMAIL it, DISTRIBUTE it at your church and SEND to all your friends!
11 Nov 2014
Every week I come across articles and information that don’t neatly fit in the ‘News’ category, but is important reading to further understand the ‘issues’ we cover…
Robert Dessaix’ article is startling and revealing – another homosexual who doesn’t support the campaign for same-sex ‘marriage’.
A personal story of heartbreak and betrayal from a wife whose husband had homosexual relationships… more on the factors influencing homosexuality, and Matt Barber’s encouragement to continue standing firm about opposing homosexual ‘marriage’…
1. A homosexual opposing homosexual ‘marriage’
A very interesting article by Robert Dessaix, a homosexual in a long term relationship, who OPPOSES same-sex ‘marriage’. In fact, the sub-title says he is ‘baffled’ by the campaign for it… He describes the lifestyle of homosexuals – which doesn’t fit with the view of ‘marriage’…
He ends with these rather scathing remarks…
“Yes, yes, if gays want to marry each other, they should have the right to. You want your life to look like a Doris Day movie from 1952? It's your birthright. (A little way down the track, if you want to have two husbands or wives, or even three or four, why shouldn't you have that as well?)
You want a church wedding with swelling organ music and confetti? How dare some narrow-minded clergyman deny you this!
You want to be shackled to just one sexual partner from now until the day you die, like a Bangladeshi child bride? It's your natural entitlement."
Article: Robert Dessaix on the case against gay marriage, The Age, 1/11/2014.
2. Is homosexuality genetic? Recent research
A consistent question… NARTH recently sent out a short newsletter highlighting some recent research.
The Telegraph in the UK published a report on the research in February 2014… it reports that researchers found that genetic make-up ‘only accounts for about 40% of the chance of a man being a homosexual’.
“In the most comprehensive study of its kind, Dr Michael Bailey, of Northwestern University, has been studying 400 sets of twins to determine if some men are genetically predisposed to being gay. The study found that gay men shared genetic signatures on part of the X chromosome - Xq28.”
Dr Bailey said, “… But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved.”
Dr Bailey has done a number of studies of twins in relation to the genetics of homosexuality question. Other parts of the research were linked to examining the X chromosome, following on from some research by Dr Dean Hamer.
None of the previous research showed homosexuality was genetic – this study provides even more evidence that other factors affect homosexuality…
Article: Being homosexual is only partly due to gay gene, research finds..., The Telegraph, 13/2/2014.
3. The pain from her husband’s confession of homosexual relationships
A compelling story about Sarah’s broken heart when she found out her husband was secretly having sex with men…
4. Matt Barber on the homosexual ‘marriage’ debate…
Matt Barber recently wrote about the debate on homosexual ‘marriage’, commenting on recent Supreme Court decisions.
“At its core, this increasingly heated fight over gay marriage is about two diametrically opposed and profoundly incompatible views of reality (or lack thereof). . . It's called Pandora's Box. And the Supreme Court just opened it.”
He begins, “Did you actually think the debate over gay marriage was about marriage? Have you really come to believe that this cultural kerfuffle has anything to do with "civil rights" or "equality"? Have you bought into the popular premise that this is a legitimate discussion on federalism—that it's a reasonable disagreement over whether the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause requires that newfangled gay marriage, something rooted in same-sex sodomy, a deviant and disease-prone behavior our Constitution's framers officially declared "the infamous crime against nature," be made law of the land?
A lot of people have thought that, so don't feel bad. A lot of reasonable, well-meaning and even, at times, intelligent people have taken the bait.
But that's all window dressing. It's superficial. It's collateral. It's chaff, a diversion, a squirrel. Don't chase it.
At its core, this increasingly heated fight over gay marriage is about two diametrically opposed and profoundly incompatible views of reality (or lack thereof). It's the modern manifestation of a millennia-old clash between worldviews. This ugly cultural conflict is, in reality, neither legal nor political in nature, but, rather, is fundamentally a philosophical debate. Ultimately, it derives from, and is illustrative of, deep-seated spiritual warfare. Quite simply, the clash over gay marriage is emblematic of the larger, and much older, clash between good and evil.
And it's reaching critical mass. . . “
Article: What the ‘gay marriage’ debate is really about, Matt Barber, 11/10/2014.
10 Nov 2014
The Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, is currently conducting a CONSULTATION on ‘Rights and Responsibilities’ – about freedom of opinion, conscience, religion and association. Mr Wilson was appointed by the Abbott government.
You can have YOUR SAY by completing the Online Survey – click here.
(Includes space to express views and give examples.)
Don’t be IGNORED or UNHEARD – others with opposing views will be having THEIR SAY!
Alternatively you can email a SUBMISSION.
You can also attend public hearings… DETAILS BELOW.
The webpage says,
“The consultation will focus discussions on some of the key rights and freedoms that have traditionally underpinned our liberal democracy in Australia. These include:
+ the right to freedom of opinion and expression
+ the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religious worship
+ the right to freedom of association
+ property rights.
Read more about the Consultation – click here.
Read the Discussion Paper – link on main webpage.
This is VERY different from much of the previous work of the Australian Human Rights Commission.
NOW is the time to have YOUR SAY!
1. An ONLINE SURVEY …
Click here to complete the survey.
The Survey CLOSES on FRIDAY 14 NOVEMBER.
“Please note that when making a submission, you are indicating that you have read and understood the Commission’s Submission Policy which can be found at https://www.humanrights.gov.au/submission-policy”
2. PUBLIC Hearings - still to occur in these cities:
Brisbane (12 Nov), Sydney (19 Nov), Singleton (20 Nov), Lorne, Vic (25 Nov) and Melbourne (26 Nov).
FULL DETAILS of CONSULTATION ONLINE at