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21 Nov 2014
News Update for the week - news on the Vic election, halal certification, prostitution in SA, Islam in Australia and the Episcopal Church in the US supporting Muslims and the LGBT lobby..
Read the Media Release... A Coalition of religious leaders in Victoria has called on the Labor government to leave the Equal Opportunity laws as they are regarding employment...
Read all the news:
20 Nov 2014
Mark Durie is an Anglican minister in Melbourne who is well known for his understanding of religious freedom issues. He has just prepared a 3 minute video clip, highlighting the huge concerns about Labor's proposal to re-introduce laws to require Christian schools and organisations to PROVE why they need to employ Christians who share their values...
Mark highlights the issue of 'freedom of association' as well as freedom of religion ...
Click here to watch Mark's comments... or click on image.
Share with ALL your friends and your church!
As Peter Kentley, of ROLIC, says, in circulating the video…
“In this Victorian election please be well informed that if elected, Labor, the Greens and the Sex party will bring legislation into Victorian law that will result in anti-biblical influences coming into play in Christian schools, churches and organisations. This will be done through obligatory employment requirements that will break down the cohesive strength of bible based belief and practice in Christian organisations.From a spiritual warfare perspective the deepest intention of these provisions is to oppose the church discipling the nation for Jesus in accordance with the Great Commission.
Peter asks us to...
In summary, Peter writes:
20 Nov 2014
All our posts on the Victorian election are on our webpage 2014 Victorian election.
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Many people think that it’s a ‘waste’ of your vote to vote for a candidate in a MINOR party because they think they won’t get elected.
It is NOT a waste of your vote!
First, the candidate in a minor Christian party MIGHT get enough votes to get elected, especially once preferences are distributed, particularly in the Legislative Council.
Second, if your preferred candidate ISN’T elected, then your vote is distributed to the second candidate on your ballot paper! If they aren’t elected, it goes to the third candidate on your list and so on. So, in effect, you get to express two (or more) preferences!
You can then list your preferred candidate from a major party…
So you can SAFELY vote for candidates in minor parties without wasting your vote!
And if you are still thinking of voting Labor, after what we’ve reported about their support for requiring Christian schools to PROVE why they need to employ a Christian, or making the pro-homosexual Safe Schools Coalition compulsory for state high schools – then if your Labor candidate is a WOMAN you MUST check out if they are a MEMBER of EMILY’S LIST which is pro-abortion (they call it ‘pro-choice’) … click here for a list Emily’s List Labor candidates in the Victorian election.
$$$$$ - There’s another reason you might want to seriously consider voting for a MINOR PARTY rather than simply voting for a LARGE political party … Any political party that receives more than 4% of the vote receives public funding for EVERY first preference vote they receive.
This is paid at a rate of $1.646 PER VOTE – and applies to votes in BOTH the Legislative Assembly AND the Legislative Council!
How much money is paid to political parties?
At the 2010 election, Labor received $3.3 million, the Liberal Party $3.5 million and the Greens more than $1 million! A total of $8.8 million was paid to parties and candidates.
Click here for the VEC page on the public funding for the last state election.
Preference deals in the Legislative Council
In the Legislative Council, political parties lodge a ‘Group Voting Ticket’ that specifies HOW their ‘No 1 above the line’ votes are distributed if they don’t get elected.
(More on that BELOW.)
Tim Colebatch of The Age recently reported that some “smart preference deals” have been done by minor parties on the ‘right’ for the Legislative Council regions – where one or two parties in each region have ‘harvested’ the preferences’ of the other minor (and major) parties and could possibly end up getting elected: he writes about Vickie Janson of Australian Christians in Eastern Metropolitan and Daniel Nalliah of RUAP in South-Eastern Metropolitan. In other regions, Shooters & Fishers and the Country Alliance are likely to collect the preferences.
Article: Victorian election 2014: Microparties have formed smart alliances, The Age, 18/11/2014.
Meanwhile, Liberal Mary Wooldridge’s pro-abortion stance has led to her ‘low preference’ by these parties in Eastern Metropolitan region – read article.
NAMES & DETAILS of CANDIDATES in the election …
Information about ALL candidates in the DISTRICTS and REGIONS is posted on the VEC website – click here.
If you are unsure of what DISTRICT (Legislative Assembly) or REGION (Legislative Council) you are in, check your enrolment on the VEC website – click here.
Now for ACTUAL VOTING and how the VOTES are counted
When it comes to filling in your ballot paper, the system is different for the two houses of Parliament in Victoria.
Voting in the Legislative Assembly
In the Legislative Assembly, ONE candidate is elected for each DISTRICT using full preferential voting. You must number ALL the squares in the order of your preference.
If the candidate you have given a ‘1’ to is NOT elected, then your ballot paper is distributed according to your preferences. See this short slideshow and explanation from the VEC that explains HOW preferences are distributed to elect a single candidate, as in the Legislative Assembly.
Voting in the Legislative Council
In the Legislative Council, there is proportional representation – 8 regions each with 5 Members.
There are TWO ways of voting…
1. ABOVE the line
Put a ‘1’ in the square of the Party of your choice, and the preferences are allocated according to the GROUP VOTING TICKET the Party has lodged with the Victorian Electoral Commission.
We’ve already reported that Australian Christians, Democratic Labour Party and Rise Up Australia Party have signed an ‘Assurance of Cooperation’ that they would preference each other first in their Group Voting Ticket, so if they don’t get elected, your vote will flow to a party with similar values.
GROUP VOTING TICKETS
Each political party has submitted a Group Voting Ticket for each region…
They are posted on the Victorian Electoral Commission website… click here.
The direct links:
Peter Newland has provided an invaluable service by condensing and analysing the Group Voting Tickets (GVT).
Peter has completed Eastern Metropolitan and is working on the other regions…
The VEC GVT for Eastern Metropolitan Is 16 pages long – because each party has a page where they list ALL candidates. Peter has condensed this to ONE page by showing the preference flow by PARTY.
Peter then makes it even more HELPFUL by giving us a second 1-page document where he ranks the parties from ‘conservative’ on the left end to the opposite (Greens & Sex Party) on the right – the same way the Christian Values Checklist does from left across to right of the page..
He uses the preference allocations of the parties to decide on the ranking.
Read: Eastern Metropolitan Group Voting Ticket SUMMARY by Peter Newland
If you are in Eastern Metropolitan this is an INVALUABLE HELP!
The GVT Summaries for the OTHER regions will be circulated when they are available!
2. BELOW the line – it is ‘Optional Preferential’ voting
The Legislative Council uses ‘proportional representation’ to elect five candidates in each region.
The voting system is ‘optional preferential’ - if you choose to vote BELOW the line, you CAN number ALL the squares – but you only HAVE to number FIVE squares, from 1 to 5.
Your vote is allocated to your first preference– if they aren’t elected, then YOUR ballot paper goes to your second preference and then your third and so on. Once your ballot is distributed to the final person on your ‘preferences’, if none of them are elected, then your vote is EXHAUSTED! It doesn’t go on to anyone else.
If you vote this way, make sure you number all the candidates that you would be comfortable supporting. We suggest that, if you start with minor parties, you end your list of ‘preferences’ by including a major party.
The VEC has a short (6 min) video explaining proportional representation - click here.
[Note – this video has full preferential, not optional preferential voting.]
ABOUT ‘optional preferential voting’ in the Legislative Council…
For more information on how optional preferential voting works in the Victorian Legislative Council, read this article by David Perrin. Prior to 1999, there was ‘optional preferential voting’ for the Victorian Legislative Council, but it was removed by Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett – it was re-introduced by the Bracks Labor government in 2003, along with the changes to the Legislative Council…
Article: The case for optional preferential voting, David Perrin, News Weekly, 14/10/2006.
18 Nov 2014
A selection of interesting articles…
Rob Bell’s latest offering on ‘zimzum’ in marriage...
The AFP and Victoria Police are investigating increasing cases of forced, mostly underage, marriage and sex trafficking – and info on a recent film about the issue in America.
William Kilpatrick reflects on what Islam would be like without Mohammed – of course, Islam requires followers to model the behaviour of Mohammed, so he is intrinsic to Islam.
Finally a few recent statements from Pope Francis and the Catholic Church – on life issues such as euthanasia, on homosexuality and on creation & evolution.
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.