News Update - 23 Jan - Australia Day, Christian heritage, abortion, bushfires, marriage, elections . . .

Aus flag on Aus This week is Australia Day - we ask you to pray for our nation and celebrate our Christian heritage on Australia Day 'National Christian Heritage Sunday' (see items 1 - 3).
As we monitor what is happening in our nation and the world, we pray that, although you may be burdened by what is happening, you can 'stop and smell the roses' and enjoy family, faith and freedom in our nation.

Australian News

1. Australia Day – our Christian heritage
On Sunday we celebrate Australia Day, marking the day the First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1788.

To find out more about our Christian heritage, and the events surrounding that first ‘Australia day’, visit the Christian History Research website – click here.

The website contains a large collection of information and resources to help you understand more about Australia's Christian heritage. Resources can be used online and many can be downloaded for educational use and personal research.

The following Sunday, 2nd February is ‘National Christian Heritage Sunday’ – celebrating our Christian heritage, in particular “the Gospel of Jesus Christ arriving on Australia's shores. Australia's first minister was the Reverend Richard Johnson. He arrived with the first fleet. On 3rd February 1788 Rev. Johnson held the first Christian service in Australia.”

The NCHS website - resources, suggestions for participation.

2. Prayer for Australia – 25 January

The Australian Prayer Network is co-ordinating ‘A NIGHT OF PRAYER FOR AUSTRALIA’ on the evening of Saturday 25 January, the night before Australia Day.


They write, “The Australian Prayer Network is calling its member Churches, Prayer Groups and Individuals to a night of prayer for our nation to be held on the eve of Australia Day, Saturday 25th January 2014. In 2013 tens of thousands of Australians in local communities across our nation joined in this national night of prayer. Timing and venue for each gathering across the nation is at the discretion of the organiser. To assist those wishing to participate this year, a list of prayer points can be found by clicking on the Prayer Points link below.”
- Australian Prayer Network website
- Prayer Points for the eve of Australia Day

3. Abortion – the law and the science
In a feature article in The Australian, Melbourne writer Jennifer Oriel begins by mentioning the outcry about Cory Bernardi’s book. After stating that three Australian states have now decriminalised abortion, she questions the statement by Tasmania’s Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne, who proclaimed "it brings our laws into the 21st century".

Jennifer Oriel responds, “Perhaps she hasn't read the science.” Jennifer Oriel’s main contention is that politicians haven’t caught up with the science – in particular, she explores the science that says unborn babies experience PAIN by 20 weeks and the fact that infant mortality is getting lower as pre-term babies can survive from much earlier stages. She contends that the law should recognise these facts.
Article: Abortion laws must recognise scientific changes, The Australian, 11/1/2014.

4. More on Cory’s book – countering the claims made by Anthony Albanese
This article by Nora Florat, published by Menzies House, counters the claims made by Labor MP Anthony Albanese.
Here are just two from the article:
Nora states that Albanese claims Cory Bernardi is against "any religion that isn't the same as his" and goes on to say, “Untrue. He merely states a self-evident fact that moral values enjoined by the Judeo-Christian tradition have been beneficial to Australia. The only religion which he negatively criticises is Islam, and that not on religious, but on political, grounds.”

“Another barb relates to family, and he stated "[Cory Bernardi] is against any family that doesn't resemble his depiction of what a family is". The natural family in which a child is enabled to know, and be loved by, his or her own parents, is not a depiction of Cory Bernardi, but a depiction which has existed throughout history, and is enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Read the article: The Radical left’s manifestation of hatred, Nona Florat, Menzies House, 1/2014.

5. Global warming and that Antarctic ice
When the recent Antarctic expedition got stuck in sea ice, the rescue operation cost millions of dollars. Some of the icebreakers got stuck in the ice themselves. The travellers (scientists/journalists and tourists) were eventually evacuated by helicopter.

It seems that some of the ice problems encountered by the vessel were due to a large iceberg that came adrift about three years ago.
However, the original mission of the Journey was to investigate the effect of ‘climate change’ but they have gone rather quiet about that now!

Watts Up with That and Jo Nova have detailed reports.

Here is Miranda Devine’s take on the recent events:
Warmies trapped by inconvenient ice, 1/1/2014.

6. A 20 metre lit cross for the centre of Australia
Last year, when photographer Ken Duncan spoke at the Dinner for the World Congress of Families in Sydney, he spoke about a plan for a huge 20 metre lit cross in outback Australia, at Hat Hill, or Haasts Bluff, about 230km west of Alice Springs.

The media has now found out about the plan – whilst they might be somewhat sceptical, Ken says that the proposal was originally made by local indigenous communities.
Media report: No bluff, Ken Duncan wants a light to lead second coming, The Australian, 20/1/2013.

7. Australia and bushfires – burning off by indigenous groups
When Peter was driving tour coaches he would often tell his passengers about the Australian bush and how aboriginal groups would regularly burn off the undergrowth in the forest and move on to another hunting ground. The fire would enable the gum nuts to burst open, allowing new trees to germinate; the nutrients in the ash would assist in growth.

With the current concern about bushfires, the question of ‘burning off’ is an important one. Green groups often oppose this, but it is essential to properly control the forest.

Here are two important items:
David Ward writes about the historical background of indigenous people managing fire and the environment in WA. Originally written in 2005, the article was re-published this month.
Bill Gammage has written a book which outlines the arguments in more detail.
Article: Bushfires Rage Because Whitefellas Don’t Know How to Manage The Australian Landscape, 18/1/2014.
Article: A Review of 'The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia' By Bill Gammage, The Monthly, Dec 2011.
Book: The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia By Bill Gammage, Allen and Unwin.

Overseas News

1. The Queen’s Christmas message – video and transcript
We often send out a link to the Queen’s Christmas message. This year she reflected on the birth of her great-grandson, saying, “Here at home my own family is a little larger this Christmas. As so many of you will know, the arrival of a baby gives everyone the chance to contemplate the future with renewed happiness and hope. For the new parents, life will never be quite the same again! As with all who are christened, George was baptised into a joyful faith of Christian duty and service.”

The Queen concluded: “For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love, as we strive daily to become better people. The Christmas message shows us that this love is for everyone. There is no one beyond its reach. On the first Christmas, in the fields above Bethlehem, as they sat in the cold of night watching their resting sheep, the local shepherds must have had no shortage of time for reflection. Suddenly all this was to change. These humble shepherds were the first to hear and ponder the wondrous news of the birth of Christ - the first noel - the joy of which we celebrate today. I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”

Read the transcript of the Queen’s speech – click here.
Watch the speech on the BBC Channel – click here.

2. Malta – proposal for homosexual ‘marriage’ and adoption
Malta is currently considering legislation to allow homosexual couples to adopt children, as well as a law to legalise ‘civil unions’.

Homosexual activists have increased their lobbying efforts, aiming their comments particularly at the church and the Nationalist Party. The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) has called on the groups to change its position on adoption and endorse the civil union Bill. They accused the Church of having an "intrinsically discriminatory and heterosexist attitude" in assuming that one's sexual orientation has a bearing on one's parenting ability,

A survey conducted by the Catholic Church found that 80% are against adoption – the MGRM dismissed it, and responded: “This is not news. The government as well as LGBT activists were well aware of this fact."
And then turned it into a complaint against 'homophobia! They argued, “All such surveys demonstrate is that LGBT people live in an at best, heterosexist and at worst, homophobic environment and that much still needs to be done to ensure the equal treatment of LGBT persons and their families in Maltese society."

Maltese Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Charles J. Scicluna said that when he met Pope Francis in December, the Pope was saddened by the prospect of adoption by homosexuals and called same-sex ‘marriage “anthropological regression”, reiterating statements made in 2010.

Article: MGRM calls on PN, Church to reverse position to civil unions, Malta Today, 21/1/2014.
Article: Pope Repeats that Same-Sex 'Marriage' is "Anthropological Regression"

3. UK: Church of England on same-sex ‘marriage’ & relationships
Christian Concern reports, “On 28th November 2013, the Church of England published a crucial report by the House of Bishops Working Group on Sexuality (Pilling Report), outlining its recommendations for the recognition of same-sex relationships by the CofE. The Report suggests that, while the Church of England should not change its official teaching on marriage and sexuality, it should enter into a period of “facilitated conversions” to allow local clergy to bless same sex partnerships informally, using unauthorised liturgies.”

The College of Bishops meets next Monday (27 January) to consider the report.

Christian Concern has asked readers to call on the Bishops to uphold Scripture and not endorse the ‘blessing’ of same-sex relationships. They state that the Pilling Report has a liberal view on Scripture and contend that “to allow informal blessings of same-sex relationships, while claiming not to change the church’s teaching, would in practice and in fact, change the church’s traditional teaching on the issue.”

The Bishop of Birkenhead has provided a strong dissent to the Report – read here.

Please pray that the College of Bishops does not endorse the report.
Report: House of Bishops Working Group on Sexuality (Pilling Report) – 221 pages. 


4. UK: Sexual abuse and grooming and rape - and in Australia
Over the past few years there have been numerous cases of young teenagers in the UK being ‘groomed’ by gangs of men and then sexually exploited. Many of the men have come from Muslim communities – although most media reports don’t mention the words ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’.

In Peterborough, UK, five men have just been convicted of a huge number of crimes including 18 counts of rape.

We are not immune form these situations in Australia. In Sydney there are the notorious cases of rape by a gang led by Muslim Bilal Skaf in 2000. This case was in the news in Australia this week, with news that one of the convicted men may be released from prison soon.

Much of the commentary does not mention Islam. This NSW Parliamentary Paper from 2003 on ‘Gangs in NSW’ mentions the gang rapes – it uses the words ‘ethnic’ and ‘religion’ but NOT Islam or Muslim!

This report by mamamia from September 2013 (when another of the rapists was released) does mention that the young men were Muslims.
When reports talk of them as 'Lebanese Australians' the many Lebanese Christians in Australia are often unfairly targeted by some in the community.

- Five convicted in Peterborough sex ring trial - city council calls for review, Peterborough Telegraph, 15/1/2014.
- Rapist may soon be free, 13 years after Skaf gang rapes,, 22/1/2014.

5. Persecution of Christians – 9 out of 10 top nations – ‘Islamic extremism’
Open Doors' annual World Watch List detailing the persecution of Christians around the world has just been released. They state that nine of out the top ten countries where Christians are persecuted had ‘Islamic extremism’ listed as the source of persecution. The exception is North Korea. They state, “Worldwide 100 million Christians are persecuted…”
Read Open Doors report – click here.
Media report: Report: 9 out of 10 Top Christian Persecution Countries Due to Islamic Extremism, 9/1/2014.

Elections in 2014

Federal – By-election for Griffith, Queensland
Date: February 8, 2014.
Dr Bill Glasson, former President of the AMA, has announced that he is again running as the Liberal candidate – he gained more of the primary vote than Kevin Rudd at the 2013 election – but lost on preferences.
The list of candidates has now been published – click here for full details.
- Antony Green’s profile for the by-election: click here.
- Official AEC information for the by-election – click here.

WA Senate
The High Court will hear the case about the ‘missing ballots’ and the calls for a new poll when it sits in Melbourne next week. The AEC has called for a new election for the WA Senate.

The High Court is expected to hear the case for two days – the decision could be announced then - or within a month. The timeline for a new election is tight, with writs needing to be issued by 28 March to allow the Senators to sit in the new Senate from 7 July.
Media report: High Court decision on new WA Senate poll could be known as early as next week, SMH, 21/1/2014.
High Court – full details and documents relating to the case – click here.

Tasmania – election on March 15
Visit the Tasmanian Electoral Commission website for full information on the election.

South Australia- election on 15 March
Information: Electoral Commission South Australia

Victoria– election on 29 November
Victorian Electoral Commission website – click here.

News Update - 17 Jan 2014 - Elections, Greens and prayer, Christianity under threat, adoption and more...

Newspaper and glasses SX 953849 15854849 320x200Our first News Update for 2014 covers a range of news from the past month. Some is from this week - election news, prayer in parliament ... - whilst some covers some key news from the past month.  We pray that this year will be a time when Christians are increasingly prepared to 'give a defence for their faith' both in doctrinal matters and the issues confronting society.
May God bless you all 

Australian News

1. Election: Tasmanian election to be held on March 15
The Tasmanian Premier, Labor’s Lara Giddings announced this week that the Tasmanian state election for the House of Assembly will be held on 15 March.

She also announced the end of the alliance that Labor had formed with the Greens to gain government and declared that a re-elected Labor government would NOT form an alliance with the Greens! The Premier also sacked the two Greens Ministers in the Cabinet!

Media Report: Giddings rolls dice and the Greens, Examiner (Launceston), 17/1/2014.

Visit the Tasmanian Electoral Commission website for full information on the election.

2. More elections around Australia. . .

A number of elections will be held this year. . .

First up is the by-election for Kevin Rudd’s (former) seat of Griffith in Queensland – on February 8, 2014. The list of candidates will be published on the AEC site today (17 January).

- Antony Green’s profile for the by-election - click here
- Official AEC information for the by-election – click here.

Then we have the South Australian election on 15 March (the same day as the Tasmanian election). 
Information: Electoral Commission South Australia

The Victorian election will be held on 29 November. 
Victorian Electoral Commission website – click here.

We could also have a re-run of the WA Senate election depending on the outcome of the current High Court challenge – the AEC ‘lost’ ballot papers and the result is being challenged. The challenge is due to be heard in late January - Media report here
Media article: Coalition set for clean sweep as year of elections begins
, SMH, 16/1/2014.

3. Greens move to ban prayers in Parliament
It’s so predictable. The Greens do it every year – move to ban the saying of prayers in parliament.

This time it is Senator Richard di Natale – but he says that the lone Greens House of Representatives member, Adam Bandt, will move a similar motion in the House.

The Greens have been doing this since 1997, with former leader Bob Brown leading the charge with moving similar motions.

The Australian has written a good editorial supporting prayer in parliament – congratulations to them!

Ros Phillips of FamilyVoice pointed out, “The Speaker and the President read out two short prayers at the beginning of each parliamentary day,” Ros Phillips said.  “They are an expression of the Christian foundation of our nation.  Our Westminster-style parliament and democracy stem from our Christian heritage.” 

Ros said, “No MP is required to be present during the prayers, or to join in praying them – but they are an important reminder that ultimately, we must all answer to a higher authority,”
Article: Time to scrap Lord's Prayer in Parliament: Greens, SMH, 14/1/2013.

The Australian - Editorial and Article.

4. Christianity under threat 

A compelling editorial was published by The Australian on December 26, 2013. It highlighted the persecution facing Christians around the world.

We congratulate The Australian for writing such a forthright piece!

A grim outlook for Christianity - Editorial in THE AUSTRALIAN

The editorial begins, “RESEARCH showing Christianity is now the most widely persecuted religious group in the world should be an urgent wake-up call to all who value the principles of religious freedom and tolerance enshrined in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted 65 years ago this month. Indeed, Christianity could, after 2000 years, be facing the threat of extinction in its birthplace in the Middle East. . .” Please read it all here.

5. Australian Muslims fighting in Syria

In recent months there has been increased fighting in Syria between various groups opposed to the Assad government. One of the rebel groups fighting in Syria is called the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’ (ISIS), a terrorist group formerly known as "al-Qa'ida in Iraq".

ASIO has intelligence that Australians have joined ISIS – in December 2013, federal Attorney-General George Brandis listed it as a terrorist organisation. The listing means those caught fighting for the group face up to 25 years' jail when they return.

A Sydney Muslim couple has recently died in Syria. The wife went to Syria to join her husband, Yusuf Ali, who went there last year. Some media reports initially said the man went there to help in ‘humanitarian areas’ – but some associates and relatives of the couple posted Facebook messages saying they are ‘martyrs’. This week, court documents lodged in Sydney, against Hamdi Al Qudsi, who is charged with recruiting Muslims to fight in Syria, allege that Yusuf Ali was one of the men recruited to fight.

Read a report about the increase in violence in Syria, the government’s Media Release about ISIS being listed as a terrorist group, an ABC outline of ISIS and a report about the death of the Australian Muslim couple. The latest report is about the current Sydney court case.

6. Education: Review of the National Curriculum
When the Labor government introduced the ‘national Curriculum (currently covering four areas -  (implemented by ACARA) – there was criticism about some elements of the curriculum, especially about the proposed history curriculum’.

The Abbott government, through Education Minister Christopher Pyne, has recently announced a REVIEW of the National Curriculum, to be led by Professor Ken Wiltshire and Dr Kevin Donnelly.

Naturally there was an uproar from those who supported the original curriculum…

However, Professor Wiltshire has written an erudite defence of the review, pointing out that ACARA and ACER support the review! 
Government Media Release about the review: click here.

7. Overseas adoption – PM promises to make it ‘easier’ 

In December 2013, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that he plans to overhaul and reform the overseas adoption process to make it easier for couples to adopt children from overseas.

Mr Abbott said, “The Commonwealth Government will work with premiers and chief ministers to try to ensure overseas adoption is working in the best way possible. Last week, the Council of Australian Government (COAG) agreed to put the subject of overseas adoption on the agenda for our next meeting in April 2014. I have asked my Department to establish and chair an interdepartmental committee on overseas adoption. The committee will consult extensively and report to me in March 2014 including on the immediate steps that could be taken to make inter-country adoption easier and faster for Australian couples. The committee’s report will help to inform discussion at the next COAG meeting in April 2014.”

The Australian commented, “Mr Abbott's proposed changes mark a dramatic shift from the former Labor government which closed the flag ship Ethiopian adoption program in June last year.”

Indeed – the Labor government seemed more intent on providing funds for family planning and abortions in overseas countries, through our overseas aid program!

Prime Minister’s Media release - Making overseas adoption easier for Australian families, 19/12/2013.

Media report: Adoption reform: show us the baby, say parents, The Australian, 20/12/2013.

8. Politics – Bob Kernohan’s statements on the AWU scandal and Julia Gillard 
In September 2011, Michael Smith was suspended from 2UE because he planned to talk to Bob Kernohan, about the AWU scandal and misappropriation of funds.
He was told to sign a ‘gag order’ but instead set up his own website, Michael Smith News.

In early January Michael hosted an interview on 2GB – with Bob Kernohan, who was President of the  AWU at the time the events took place. He speaks about Bruce Wilson who is alleged to have taken money from the AWU, Julia Gillard (who was the girlfriend of Wilson at the time and did legal work for him) and Bill Shorten (who was also in the Union at the time and told him to ‘move on’).

Kernohan says he was offered a place in Parliament, but the inference was that he not speak of his concerns…

If you’ve wondered what all this is about, listen to the interview and read the overview in the article…

Interview – click here (1 hour plus)
Transcript available here.

The Australian reported on the interview here – Scan of article here.


Overseas News

1. UK: Marks and Spencer – and Muslim staff
UK department store Marks and Spencer is facing a backlash from customers, including calls for a boycott, because of its response to Muslim staff saying they would not serve customers pork or alcohol because of their religion. The issue became public when a customer was told to go to another cash register by a Muslim staff member. The store said they had breached their own internal policy – that staff should be able to decide which areas were ‘inappropriate’ to work in according to their religion!

Media Reports – Telegraph
- M&S faces furious backlash from customers over Muslim policy 
- Muslim staff at Marks & Spencer can refuse to sell alcohol and pork

2. Croatia bans homosexual ‘marriage’

The people of Croatia have voted overwhelmingly to ban homosexual ‘marriage’. A constitutional referendum was held on Dec 1, 2013. 

Mass Resistance reports, “The constitutional amendment was passed by 66%-34%. This was despite enormous pressure from the Croation government, the press, homosexual activists, and even the US State Department to reject it.”

3. Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty
You may have heard about the controversy surrounding ‘Duck Dynasty’ a popular US reality TV program featuring the Robertson family. When Phil Robertson made comments about black Americans and homosexuality (in a personal conversation he compared heterosexual and homosexual sex in somewhat blunt terms and called it ‘sin’) which were printed by a reporter he was accused of racism and homophobia.

The A&E Network moved to suspend Mr Robertson on Dec 18 because of the outcry about his comments. Following a backlash from those supporting his right to freedom of speech, A&E announced on Dec 27 that he would not be suspended after all.
The family had refused to accept Phil’s suspension – and without the family, there is no show!

Meanwhile, lunchtime school prayer meetings have been inspired by the show – click here.
Michelle Malkin wrote that he isn’t the first person to be targeted by the Left and GLAAD – read her article.
A New York Times critique of the controversy – click here.
A NYT report of the ‘re-instatement’ – click here.

Bill Muehlenberg’s articles – click here and here

4. USA: Utah and benefits for same-sex ‘marriage’

Utah held a referendum on whether marriage should only be between a man and a woman. The homosexual activists appealed against the constitutional amendment vote and the US Federal Court ruled, in December 2013, that the amendment was unconstitutional. The decision is being appealed.

However, in the wake of the federal court decision, thousands of ‘marriage’ licences were issued to homosexual couples in Utah.

Now US federal Attorney-general Eric Holder has ruled that the ‘marriages’ in Utah will  receive the same ‘benefits’ as other ‘married’ same-sex couples. He cited the recent US Supreme Court rulings on ‘marriage’. Utah’s legislators claim the federal government should have waited until the appeal process is completed before making such a ruling.

Read Citizen Link’s report – click here.

5. UN Panel questions Vatican over child abuse allegations
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is holding a special hearing in Geneva into child abuse allegations.

The Panel questioned Vatican officials about the abuse of children in the church. The officials said the Vatican wanted to act to eliminate child abuse by clergy or church personnel. They denied that there had been a ‘cover-up’. The officials said that legally the Holy See is only responsible for child abuse within the Vatican itself.

In December 2013, the Pope ‘ordered the formation of a team of experts to look into the sexual abuse of minors by the church , which he called ‘the shame of the church’.

Read the ABC’s report – click here.

6. Italy: Government RULES for journalists re homosexuality

Lifesite reports that the Italian government has issued GUIDELINES for journalists. The Ministry for Equal Opportunities has issued guidelines ordering journalists to write without “discriminating” against homosexuals and transsexuals, threatening the possibility of professional sanctions and even potential jail time.

The Ministry’s Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali (National Bureau Against Racial Discrimination, UNAR) has issued what has been called the “rainbow paper” – the document sets out national guidelines for journalists that echo point for point the assertions and demands of the international homosexualist lobby!
Read full report – click here.

News Update - 20 Dec - Homosexual 'marriage' update, forced marriage, Gambling, Age of Consent...

s-s men on cake 320x200 320x200Our final News Update for the year!

Some items are from this week – others are ‘catching up’ from while we were on holiday!  
We;ll be updating our website over January - News Updates will begin in mid January.

May God bless you all,



Australian News

1. Homosexual ‘marriage’ – Malcolm Turnbull speaks out in favour
Following the High Court’s decision, Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull has openly supported homosexual ‘marriage’ in an interview with Sky News last weekend. Turnbull talked about the nations that already allow homosexual ‘marriage’ and said, ''It does start to look as if we're the ones out of step. . . If a free vote is allowed, I will certainly vote in favour of a marriage equality bill.'' He also said that he expects that the Coalition will eventually allow a conscience vote.

Two Liberals, Senator Cory Bernardi and MP Dennis Jensen, criticised his comments, saying that, as a frontbencher, he should not be commenting on ‘fringe issues that were not party policy’. In fact, as Cory Bernardi said, “Our longstanding party policy is that marriage is between a man and a woman. We should expect that all frontbenchers will reflect party policy.” They called for him to resign from the front bench.

Unfortunately, Tony Abbott stated that, on this issue, there were a range of views and Mr Turnbull was free to express his views. He also said he didn’t expect a homosexual ‘marriage’ Bill to come before the parliament.

Labor MP and Deputy Leader Tania Plibersek has announced she will introduce a private member's bill to legalise gay marriage, but only if Mr Abbott allows a conscience vote. She is trying to get Malcolm Turnbull to co-sponsor it, but he can’t as a Cabinet Minister. Meanwhile Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has introduced ANOTHER same-sex ‘marriage’ Bill into the Senate!

- Turnbull backs free vote on marriage, Sky News, 15/12/2013.
- Tanya Plibersek seeks Malcolm Turnbull's help on gay marriage bid, SMH, 15/12/2013.
- Liberal colleagues Cory Bernardi and Dennis Jensen criticise Malcolm Turnbull over gay marriage comments, SMH, 16/12/2013.
- Abbott 'does not expect' marriage bill, Sky, 15/12/2013.
- Tony Abbott backs Malcolm Turnbull in clash with Cory Bernardi over same-sex marriageThe Australian, 17/12/2013.

2. WA: Homosexual ‘marriage’ Bill introduced
On the same day the High Court handed down its decision on the ACT same-sex 'marriage' law, a Bill to legalise homosexual ‘marriage’ was introduced into the WA parliament by Greens MP Lynn MacLaren. There is an important difference between this Bill and the ACT Bill – it attempts to set up a new SYSTEM of ‘same-sex marriage’ rather than trying to re-define marriage itself. 
Professor George Williams had advised the ACT government to re-write their Bill in similar terms.

The High Court decision has put the FULL power of ‘marriage’ with the Commonwealth (read decision and our comments), but the activists think this strategy ‘might’ still get around the High Court ruling.
Article: WA Greens MP Lynn MacLaren introduces Same Sex Marriage Bill 2013 to State Parliament, ABC, 12/12/2013.

3. Islam - Case against Q Society DISMISSED
During the recent visit to Australia by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, that was co-ordinated by the Q Society, a burqa-clad person was refused admission to a lecture held in Sydney when the person refused to remove their face covering (except to police for ID) and their burqa.

Some time later the person contacted the organiser (a third party) and wanted a refund. The organiser declined, as they had made it clear that people attending would have to undergo a range of security measures before being allowed to enter as part of the admission/ticket requirements.

The person took made a formal complaint, which led to two separate legal enquiries, the more recent involving the NSW Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal. 
The Tribunal has just DISMISSED the complaint!

Q Society's President, Debbie Robinson, reports, 'Eight months later, on the 15th November 2013 the Tribunal made the following order. "The application is dismissed because having considered the material placed before it, the Tribunal is not satisfied (at the civil standard of proof) that the grounds required to make the orders sought have been established." In other words the applicant or ticket holder lost the case and the request for a refund was dismissed.'

That's good news!

Read Debbie Robinson's important FULL report at the Q Society website:
What Hides Beneath Dark Veils

4. NSW: Trafficking - forced marriage and sexual exploitation  
An Inquiry conducted by the Community Relations Commission of NSW has found that “The exploitation of people frequently happens in family homes and businesses”.

The inquiry into human trafficking found that “exploitation continues to involve women in the sex industry, but that forced marriages and labour exploitation also occur.”

The Report documents the incidence of forced marriage – we have recently reported that this has been occurring with Muslim girls. However, the Report does not mention the words Islam or Muslim! The only mention of ‘religion’ is in the concluding paragraph, which notes that, “The lack of specific public sector data collection on basic characteristics of clients such as ethnicity, religion, and country of origin in general, shows there is a long way to go in developing reliable quantitative data on trafficked people.”
Read the Overview of the report – click here.
Read the Report (40 pages) - Inquiry into the exploitation of people through trafficking, in all its forms in NSW

5. NSW: Inquiry into the impact of gambling 
The NSW parliament is to conduct an inquiry into the social impact of gambling. The Inquiry, to be chaired by Fred Nile, will focus on the design and regulation of electronic gaming machines, access to cash and credit in and around gaming venues, the regulation of telephone and internet gambling services and gambling advertising, and the adequacy and effectiveness of problem gambling help services, public health measures to reduce risk of gambling harm, and strategies and models for consumer protection. 

The NSW Council of Churches has congratulated the Premier for conducting the Inquiry.

The Legislative Council’s Select Committee on Gambling called for submissions on 12 December.
 – Submissions close on 7 March 2014.

NSW Government Inquiry home page – click here.
Click here for the Terms of Reference.

NSW Council of Churches Media release – click here

6. Shark attack - Christian witness as surfer dies
The Australian reports that when surfer Zac Young was attacked by a shark near Coffs Harbour recently, he called for help from his mates and prayed with them before lapsing into unconsciousness and dying…. He prayed, “Please God, my lord and Saviour, help protect my friends and help me through this time of need' . . .
Story: Shark attack victim Zac Young prayed with mates before dying, The Australian, 2/12/2013.

7. Homosexuality – Australian army has homosexual cuff links! 
Bernard Gaynor reports on the latest endorsement of homosexuality by the Australian Army… 
They have issued special cuff links featuring the army emblem on a rainbow flag!
Read Bernard’s report…. ‘Gaying the Army’ 

8. Victoria – Abortion, Denis Napthine and the Liberal Party
At the beginning of December, the Victorian Liberal State Council supported a motion to move an amendment to the Victorian abortion laws to allow doctors’ conscience (Section 8). The motion was presented in response to petitions from doctors and citizens to amend the law. (Source)
That was good news!

However, Premier Denis Napthine has since said that he has no plans to change the Abortion Law. This is very disappointing. Dr Napthine voted against the law in 2008.

In early December, the media reported that the Premier may be prepared to support a move by Independent MP Geoff Shaw to amend the law (source), Dr Napthine said he would ‘assess any move by Mr Shaw - or any other MP - to wind back the existing laws on merit’. He told The Sunday Age he would allow a conscience vote on the issue. But within two days, the Premier made an online video, saying "As Premier, neither I, nor my government, have any intention of introducing legislation, that would reduce a woman's right to choose. This issue was vigorously debated in the community, and settled in the Parliament, in 2008. Let me again be crystal clear about this: I have no intention, whatsoever, of introducing, or supporting legislation that would reduce a woman’s right to choose." (source)

The reality is that the only way the law would/could be changed is through a PRIVATE Member’s Bill.


Overseas News

1. USA: Judge throws out part of Utah’s law against polygamy
It’s less than six months since the US Supreme Court struck down section of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.
Now a Judge in Utah has thrown out part of Utah’s law which prohibits polygamy, saying it is unconstitutional!

The ruling effectively decriminalises polygamy! The case was brought by Koby Brown and his wives – they were featured in the TV series ‘Sister Wives’.

That’s what happens when you REMOVE the definition of marriage as ‘one man and one woman, voluntarily joined together for life’. . .

Last week we revealed that the Australian High Court decision stated that marriage could include polygamy – and that the parliament had the power to decide what ‘marriage’ means.

Ros Phillips referred to that in her Media Release, "last Thursday’s ruling by the Australian High Court (32, 33) has paved the way for similar law changes here. The Court clearly implied that the meaning of marriage in the Constitution could include polygamy. Yet polygamy hurts women and it hurts children.”

We like Ros’ last line: “When marriage means anything, it will ultimately mean nothing.” 
Media report: Federal judge declares Utah polygamy law unconstitutional Salt Lake Ttribune, 13/12/2013.
- Includes links to several subsequent articles…

2. Pornography - feminist says pornography is destroying modern sex lives
Feminist Naomi Wolf has written an interesting article – saying the reason Britons are having LESS sex is that they are watching MORE pornography!
Article: How porn is destroying modern sex lives: Feminist writer Naomi Wolf has an unsettling explanation for why Britons are having less sex, Daily Mail, 12/12/2013.

3. USA: Support for the cake-maker!
Hundreds of people have flocked to Jack Phillips’ cake-shop to support him. This was the man referred to in the article by Albert Mohler we sent out last week.…

Jack was sued for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple.
“Last week, administrative law judge Robert Spencer made a ruling on the case. He said Phillips would have to sell gay couples wedding cakes or risk facing penalties and fines.

“On Friday, Phillips’ supporters fired back by supporting his business and making donations. . .”
Good news – common sense still exists!
Article: Hundreds turn out to support cake shop owner who refused same sex wedding, Go the Daily Dose, 16/12/2013

4. Homosexuality – Apple approves ‘gay app’ for 12 year olds
One app developer was annoyed with the ‘sex’ promoted on homosexual apps and websites… so he has developed a new app which provides info on events, ticketing, restaurants etc…

But Apple’s iTunes has approved it for those 12 and over. This new app isn’t supposed to talk about ‘sex’ – but it will exert negative influences on teens who naturally have friendships with others of the same sex that aren’t sexual. This will confuse them even more!

Article: Apple approves 'only gay social app for ages 12 and up', CNET, 14/12/2013.

5. Hallmark and the ‘fun’ ornament
US Card maker Hallmark has found itself in controversy – they produced a Christmas ornament with the words, ‘Don we now our FUN apparel’ – replacing the original ‘gay apparel’.

Lots of people were unhappy, including homosexual activists (here). Pro-family people had mixed responses - some thought Hallmark was appeasing homosexuals, whilst others supported the change as they felt that we have ‘lost’ the word ‘gay’ as it now is thought to mean homosexual!  

Hallmark issued a press release, explaining the change, on 30 October but said they wouldn’t change it back, and proceeded to continue selling the ornament!
But just a day later they issued another statement ‘Update’, apologising and saying, “we're sorry to have caused so much concern. We never intend to offend or make political statements with our products and in hindsight, we realize we shouldn't have changed the lyrics on the ornament (both statements here).

So much for responding to the PRESSURE from activists!
Article: Hallmark's War on 'Gay' Christmas, Bloomberg Business Week, 1/11/2013.

6. Europe: Abortion not a ‘right’ – Good News!
A bit of good news coming out of Europe: The European Parliament today rejected a report that recommended that EU nations declare abortion to be a human right and to make abortion available within all public health systems of member countries. Adoption of the report would have placed more pressure on pro-life nations like Ireland, Poland and Malta to legalize abortion on demand. 

Read Lifesite’s Report – click here.

7. UK: Homosexual Peter Tatchell supports age of consent of 14

UK activist Peter Tatchell (formerly Australian) has recently said he supports an age of consent for sex of 14 – because young people are having sex by that age!
See article BY Peter Tatchell at Pink News.

He claims on his website he doesn’t support sex between children and adults… he has copped some criticism since his article was written!

However journalist Enza Ferreri has an interesting article about the PREVIOUS comments and activism by Peter Tatchell on the issue of ‘age of consent’! She points out he broke the age of consent laws when he first arrived in the UK, and that he openly criticises the CONCEPT of ‘age of consent’.

She writes, “Peter Tatchell wrote the chapter "Questioning Ages of Majority and Ages of Consent" for a book openly advocating paedophilia and finding ways "to make paedophilia acceptable". This book, published in 1986 and called The Betrayal of Youth (spelling BOY), was edited by Warren Middleton, then vice-chairperson of the now-disbanded Paedophile Information Exchange, Britain’s number one paedophile advocacy group. In the book chapter, “Tatchell wrote that that the age of sexual consent is "Re-inforcing a set of increasingly quaint, minority moral values left over from the Victorian era".

Not quite the same as he says he thinks now! What is his REAL view?
Read her article which reports on Tatchell and other homosexual activists…

8. USA: Employment Non Discrimination Act passes Senate
The US Senate has passed the controversial Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA. The controversial Bill now goes to the House.

Matt Barber, writing at WorldNetDaily, says that homosexuals actually admit that the real purpose of ENDA is to outlaw Christian morality – or our right to ‘OBJECT”!  
Article: Gays’ Admit ENDA game: Outlaw Christian Morality, 12/11/2013.

Tony Perkins of Family Research Council says ‘It’s the ENDA the world as we know it!” Read his report.



News Update - 13 Dec – Homosexuality, Islam, Tasmania passes abortion Bill, ‘Lingerie football’, persecution…

Newspaper-dog shutterstock-SmA collection of news from the past three weeks, from the time we were away on holiday - various Bills passed and other news…

Australian News

1. NSW – Greenwich withdraws Bill to remove religious exemption for schools
Homosexual activist MP Alex Greenwich has withdrawn his Bill that would have amended NSW’s Anti-Discrimination Bill, removing the ability for religious schools to ‘expel’ homosexual students.

Faith-based schools said the new law would remove their religious freedom to teach their ethos and values.

Greenwich withdrew the Bill when it became obvious that the Coalition government would not support it. However, he plans to re-introduce it next year depending on the outcome of a Board of Studies investigation into ‘bullying’!

Article: Greenwich's gay student bill on hold, SMH, 21/11/2013.


2. NSW – Muslim Keysar Trad ordered to repay $10,000 to Alan Jones
Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones has won the right to appeal against a NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal’s 2009 decision that found he had ‘incited hatred’ against Lebanese Muslims – by comments made in 2005! NSW has racial (and sexuality) vilification laws, but not a religious vilification law.

The Tribunal had ordered that Alan Jones pay Keysar Trad $10,000 as ‘compensation’. The Supreme Court, in granting the right to appeal, also ordered that Trad REPAY the $10,000 to Alan Jones.

Good to see that the appeal has finally been allowed. These ‘vilification’ laws are often incredibly long-running!

Article: Muslim leader ordered to repay Alan Jones $10,000, SMH, 20/11/2013.


3. Tasmania – Abortion law passed
The Tasmanian parliament has passed the Reproductive Health Bill, which expands abortion law. Five MLCs voted against the Bill.

FamilyVoice points out that Tasmania already allowed abortion throughout pregnancy provided specialist counselling is provided – but the new law removes the requirement for counselling about the risks involved in abortion. The new Tasmanian law also removes the right of conscience for doctors, as is the case in Victoria.

Read FamilyVoice’s Media Release - A sad day for Tasmanian women


4. NSW – ‘Zoe’s Bill’ passes NSW Legislative Assembly
The NSW Legislative Assembly passed a Bill, known as ‘Zoe’s Law’ on 21/11/2013. The Bill recognises the unborn child as a person from 20 weeks after conception. Zoe was an unborn child who died when her mother was injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver in 2009.

Fred Nile, who introduced the original Bill, congratulated the 63 members of the Legislative Assembly who voted for the Bill – only 26 Members voted against it.

The Bill was introduced to the Legislative Council on 26 November and will be debated early in 2014.

Actual Bill: Crimes Amendment (Zoe's Law) Bill 2013 (No. 2)

5. Channel 7 airs ‘lingerie football’ games
Channel 7 is continuing with plans to broadcast what is known as ‘Lingerie football’ on its 7 Mate channel, starting on 14 December. The competition involves scantily clad women playing gridiron football (see story).

Collective Shout, a group concerned about the exploitation of women, is opposing the program, saying it is soft pron and exploits women. They are running a petition, calling on Channel 7 not to exploit women through this program. To sign the petition, click here.
The page includes accounts of former US players who speak about abuse and exploitation.

To write to Channel 7 to object about the program, click here.

Bill Muehlenberg wrote an article opposing the ‘Lingerie Football League’ and then wrote about the responses he had from readers.


6. NSW- Horrifying case of incest and child abuse revealed
The NSW Children’s Court has revealed details of a horrifying case of incest and child abuse. Four generations of a family living in a secluded valley south-west of Sydney engaged in repeated incest. The family history traces back to a pair of great-grandparents who were brother and sister. Subsequent generations continued with incest and child sexual activity.

The group of 40 people was living in squalid conditions; the children had developmental problems and physical deformities caused by the incest.

The Daily Telegraph reports, “The NSW Children's Court has taken the rare step of publishing its judgment of actions taken to remove children from the Colt family (a court-appointed pseudonym to protect identification of minors).”  The case came to light when authorities investigated reports of children not attending school. The children have been removed and placed in foster care.

Please be warned that the details of this are repulsive and shocking – but it reveals the depravity that man can descend to when restraints are removed. God and His Word are the only answer to man’s sin.

Article: The case of incest and depravity which came to rest in the hills of a quiet country town, DT, 11/12/2013.


7. Governor-General speaks out on marriage and a republic
The Governor General, Quentin Bryce, is due to retire in four months time. When she was appointed as Governor-General, we wrote about her past history of activism on human rights issues and expressed concern that her personal views might be expressed during her term as Governor-General.

Ros Phillips from FamilyVoice notes that the Governor-General has refrained from doing this: “I was delighted that, as a non-political Governor-General, Ms Bryce refrained from commenting on divisive issues.  She conducted herself with grace and dignity – promoting unity and pride in this great country of ours.”

But Ros notes that, in the recent Boyer Lectures series on the ABC, the Governor-General talked about her personal views – “Ms Bryce argued that Australia should become a republic and redefine marriage to mean anything people choose.”
Quentin Bryce ended the lectures by stating that she hoped Australia might become a nation where ''people are free to love and marry whom they choose. And where perhaps, my friends, one day, one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation's first head of state''.

It is disappointing that Ms Bryce has spoilt her record in this way. She could have waited until after her term as Governor-General finished before speaking on these controversial issues. If you would like to contact the Governor-General to politely express your concern, you can contact the GG - click here.

Media article on the controversy: click here.
Family Voice Media Release – click here.
Boyer Lectures – click here for overviews and listen/download.


8. Carbon tax – repealed in House of Reps
The House of Representatives has passed the Bill to repeal the carbon tax that was introduced by the Labor government. The Bill now goes to the Senate – the Coalition doesn’t have the numbers to pass the Bill as Labor and the Greens have the majority.

Pressure is mounting on Labor to support the repeal of the tax. Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGGI) latest figures reveal that the $6 billion tax has reduced Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by just 0.1%. The Daily Telegraph reports that the GGI figures show that, following the introduction of the carbon tax, there was a reduction of 300,000 tonnes in the first full financial year of operation. . . ‘in the financial year before the carbon tax was introduced Australia produced 546.2 million tonnes of emissions. After the carbon tax was introduced, the emissions dropped to just 545.9 million tonnes. These figures do not include fuels and refrigerants’.

The Sunday Telegraph did the maths: “While the carbon tax is now $24 a tonne, the effective cost of the emissions reduction on the basis of revenue raised is $21,000 per tonne.”!

That is very expensive carbon dioxide!

Article: Labor under pressure to axe the carbon tax, DT, 7/12/2013.
Official NGGI page – click here.


9. Australian men – controversy over new paper
Warwick Marsh, our colleague who is the founder of the Fatherhood Foundation, recently found himself embroiled in controversy.

Warwick recently hosted a “Men and Fathers Strategic Roundtable” Forum at Parliament House in Canberra, with politicians from both sides of parliament present as well as representatives from across the ‘Men’s Movement’. The Forum addressed the needs of men in our society.

At the Forum, ‘The Modern Aussie Man Whitepaper’ was launched. It was actually written by a woman, Carolyn Managh, who is the senior researcher for advertising firm M&C Saatchi.

Whilst several media outlets reported fairly on the document and launch, Warwick reports that several feminist journalists criticised it harshly.

Read Warwick’s assessment/outline of the report and the responses:
The Attack Against the Modern Aussie Man


10. NW Australian Anglicans may ‘opt out of marriage’
From the Church of England Newspaper
“The Bishop of North West Australia has warned that if the state or federal governments legalize same-sex marriage, Anglican clergy in his diocese would no longer serve as marriage registrars.
The statement by the Rt. Rev. Gary Nelson follows the decision last month by the Australian Capital Territory to legalize same-sex marriage – a move that has been challenged by the federal government as being unconstitutional.
Bishop Nelson told the Western Australian “If we were compelled as marriage celebrants to marry same-sex couples then, as far as this diocese is concerned, I would be withdrawing my approval for ministers to act as marriage celebrants. . .”

Article: Australian diocese warns it may opt out of marriage: Church of England Newspaper, November 8, 2013


11. Welfare – and jihad activity
In Sydney, Muslim Hamdi Alqudsi has been arrested for organising for several Sydney Muslims to go to Syria to fight with the rebels. It is alleged the men were to work with the Islamic group, Jahbat al-Nusrah, which is linked to Al-Qaeda and is proscribed by the Australian government as a terrorist organisation.

Earlier this year he had said he was planning to go to Syria himself to fight with the rebels. Alqudsi has two wives –one of whom is Carnita Matthews, who gained notoriety for refusing to remove her face covering when pulled over by police for a traffic offence (see articles here). Alqudsi also travelled to Mecca on the hajj this year. But his lawyer claimed he was a disability pensioner and only had $500 and couldn’t afford bail.

Peter Costello expressed concern about the huge blowout in the number of people on disability pensions - the scheme rose by more than $5 billion or 60% during the Rudd-Gillard government. The Daily Telegraph reported, “There are 822,000 people receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP). To put that in context, only 710,000 Australians are classified unemployed. DSP payments blew out $430 million last financial year to $15 billion, despite the number of people on DSPs falling by 5000.”

Mr Costello also made wide-ranging comments about the Budget deficit.

Regarding Alqudsi, he said, “"If you are well enough to fight in a war I don't think you should be classified as disabled."

Article: Alleged recruiter faces charges of finding men to join Syria terrorists, SMH, 4/12/2013
Article: Welfare warfare: disability pensioner Hamdi Alqudsi 'funds Syrian rebels'
Article: Peter Costello wants cuts in services to reduce Australia's debt, News, 7/12/2013.


Overseas News

1. Overseas aid – and corruption
One of our concerns about the distribution of overseas aid is the corruption of local officials in overseas nations.

Recently, in the Philippines, following the recent typhoon, food flown in from Britain has been found in shops in the capital Manila… In addition, rice is being stockpiled and equipment locked up in warehouses…

Article: Philippines aid scandal: Food flown in from Britain ends up in shops hundreds of miles from typhoon, Daily Mail, 7/12/2013


2. Persecution and massacre of Christians in Syria ignored
Raymond Ibrahim reports on the recent massacre of Christians in Syria by the rebels and how it has been ignored by the media.

Article: 'Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria' Ignored, Raymond Ibrahim, ME Forum, 21/11/2013.

News Update - 20 Nov - Tas abortion, Union super, GM vaccine trial, religious freedom

11 weeks-preborn-708077The 'News Update' is early this week. Regegular News Updates will resume on 12 December.

Australian News

1. Tasmania: Abortion debate and vote in Legislative Council
The Tasmanian Parliament’s upper house, the Legislative Council, debated the Bill on abortion law this week – the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013.

Media report: Upper House abortion debate coverage, Examiner, 19/11/2013.

A 'second reading vote' was held on Tuesday night - it PASSED by 9 votes to 5.
Some of those supporting the Bill expressed concern about fines for doctors/counsellors if they don't refer a patient on to someone who supports abortion - the final vote will depend on amendments made to the Bill.
Media: Decriminalising abortion closer, Examiner, 19/11/2013.

Last week the Legislative Council Sessional Committee Government Administration A handed down their Final Report into this Bill.

– Click here for the Inquiry webpage
– Click here for the actual Final Report.

Please pray that the Members vote against the Bill at the final reading.


2. Paul Keating’s speech on Remembrance Day – real history?
Merv Bendle, a former academic, has had a close look at what Paul Keating said about World War 1 in his Remembrance Day speech.
This is the start of his article:
“PAUL Keating's assertions about the nature of World War I demand a response if the memory of all those who served and died is not to be betrayed. His speech at the Australian War Memorial on Remembrance Day is a lamentable example of the nihilist view of that epoch-defining conflict  The nihilist perspective has long been the default historical interpretation on the Left and it has its roots in V. I. Lenin's communist polemic, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917). According to this view the war was a murderous spasm of a racist, patriarchal, and imperialist civilisation, which should have been avoided and ultimately achieved nothing. In Keating's words, it was "a war devoid of any virtue".

Such a view is often dismissed derisively by professional historians as the Blackadder version of the war . . .
In fact, this nihilist view of the war is quite unhistorical. German expansionism under the Prussian military caste was a pressing military imperative that had to be confronted and Australia had no choice but to enter the war once Great Britain was committed. Moreover, as the war unfolded the necessity for us to see the task through to the end became only more obvious. . .”
Article:  Keating's Remembrance Day speech echoed Leninist nihilism, Australian, 18/11/2013.


3.Union super and ‘The New Daily’ – Judith Sloan responds
Professor Judith Sloan, an economist (info), has written a forthright article criticising the investment of union members’ super funds in an online news service. She also published the letter she wrote to Heather Ridout, the chairwoman of AustralianSuper, one of the three ‘investors’.

Judith points out that she didn’t really want to join AustralianSuper but did so whilst she was a Commissioner of the Productivity Commission. She highlights the fact that the scheme is not expected to make a profit for at least three years – “But the real kicker is the uncommercial nature of the whole venture. We are told by Bruce Guthrie, editorial director of the new website and former editor of The Age and Herald Sun, that the investment by the superannuation funds is effectively unlimited. He predicts the venture will not make any money for three to five years but may turn a profit after that. It rather makes a mockery of AustralianSuper's motto, "It's your money, your life".”

That’s hardly a good investment for the super funds of union members!

Judith calls on the government to legislate to ensure that ‘a majority of the trustees of industry superannuation funds are independent’.

Article:  I've got some news for you: not with my super you don't, Australian, 16/11/2013.


4. Possible GM Vaccine trial for cholera in Australia
We’ve all heard of the controversy over ‘Genetically Modified’ crops. But now a company, PaxVax, has applied for a licence from Australia’s Gene Technology Regulator (GTR) “for the intentional release of a genetically modified (GM) bacterial vaccine into the environment.”

The official GTR website says, “PaxVax is seeking approval to conduct a clinical trial of a GM live bacterial vaccine against cholera. Once underway the trial is expected to be completed within one year, with trial sites selected from local government areas (LGAs) in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. The trial will involve the inoculation of approximately 1000 children and adults. The applicant has proposed a number of control measures to restrict the spread and persistence of the GM vaccine and its introduced genetic material.”

The current cholera vaccine is ‘inactivated’ – click here for info.
Cases of cholera in Australia (about 2 to 6 cases a year) almost always occur in individuals who have been infected in endemic areas overseas.

This proposed trial would involve LIVE ‘Genetically Modified’ bacteria!

Will you be volunteering to be vaccinated in this trial?

The public are expected to be asked for COMMENT on this proposal in January 2014. Mark this site…
DIR 126 - Notification of application 
Receipt of licence application (DIR 126) from PaxVax Australia Pty Ltd for a clinical trial of a GM cholera vaccine


5. Islamic presentation at St James Centre
Recently the St James Ethics Centre in Sydney ran one of their IQ2 debates.
I was phoned to see if I would publicise it - but I wasn't impressed with their topic or their plans!

At that point they were planning to have Anwar Ibrahim from Malaysia as one of the speakers - in favour of Islamic laws to stop free speech. That didn't eventuate.

But the topic says it all: “Should God and His Prophets Be Protected From Insult?”

On the 'For' side were human rights lawyer Julian Burnside and the Spokesman for radical Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Uthman Badar!

On the 'Against' side were Tom Keneally and a Muslim woman, Yasmin Abdel-Magied, Founder of Youth without Borders.
According to this eye-witness report from a member of Party for Freedom, she ended up agreeing with the other side most of the time! And free speech was condemned!

Read the report - St James Centre - not so ethical after all


6. Journalism and Truth
Nick Cater, former senior editor of The Australian (source), has written a compelling critique on the Australian media, saying they have abandoned the TRUTH and the FACTS in their reporting. He writes, “It is not the government that is in trouble but the news industry itself. Journalism has succumbed to a culture of dependency and is losing that most basic of skills: the ability to nail the facts.”

He highlights the difference between the Rudd/Gillard approach to the media – and that of the new Abbott government.

I loved this statement: “Today, the news industry is content to outsource information-gathering to public relations professionals and advocacy groups, accepting the facts they provide on trust."

And this one: “The truth has become secondary to what American comedian Stephen Colbert calls "truthiness", the selection of facts one wishes to be true, rather than facts known to be true.”

Nick goes on to say that the former Chairman of the ABC, Maurice Newman, has been very outspoken recently about the way the ABC seems to have abandoned the TRUTH and FACTS in reporting. Me Newman said, "What passes for journalism these days shows no respect for the facts," he says. "It is particularly apparent in the reporting of issues like climate change, where the evidence simply doesn't matter any more."

Mr Newman was very critical of journalism schools: “"Students who are not taught to be curious or approach a topic with an open mind will struggle to bring rigour to journalism."

On Lateline this week, Mr Newman continued with his comments – with a stinging assessment of the former Labor government’s debt and opposing the promotion of wind farms.

Media report: Nick Cater's article,  Australian Journalism giving up on the search for truth, The Australian, 2/11/2013.


Overseas News

1. USA: Supreme Court hears THREE religious liberty cases
Manhattan Declaration reports that the US Supreme Court will hear three cases on November 26.
They write, “The questions that are being asked of the Supreme Court are simple and fundamental:
- May the government order citizens to violate their sincerely held religious convictions?
- Does the free exercise clause of our Constitution mean anything anymore?
- Should the United States be a refuge for those fleeing religious persecution?”
They go on to describe the three cases. Read their report at this blog.


2. USA: Hawaii passes same-sex ‘marriage’ law
Hawaii has passed a law to allow homosexual ’marriage’ – more than twenty years after they were the first US state to have a court case over the issue.

And a lesbian legislator, Jo Jordan, voted AGAINST same-sex ‘marriage’!
Why? Because the religious liberty protections were not strong enough!
But the rest of the parliament PASSED the Bill and the Governor has signed it.
Article:  Governor signs bill to legalize gay marriage in Hawaii, FoxNews, 13/11/2013.

Article:  Why-Rep-Jo-Jordan-voted-against-Marriage-Equality 


3. Denmark: Free speech and criticising Islam - fine or prison!
A Danish Court has UPHELD the conviction of an Iranian-Danish woman – who made remarks that were critical of Islam. Artist Firoozeh Bazrafkan is a former Muslim who wrote about the treatment of women in Islam, saying she was "very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters." Such abuse resulted "according to my understanding as a Danish-Iranian" from a "defective and inhumane culture—if you can even call it a culture at all." Bazrafkan deemed Islam a "defective and inhumane religion whose textbook, the Koran, is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined."

The comment was based on one by free speech activist Lars Kragh Andersen – who was convicted under the Danish Penal Code. Section 266b punishes any public "pronouncement or other communication by which a group of persons are threatened, insulted or denigrated due to their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation."

Bazrafkan claims that the criticism of RELIGION should be allowed under free speech provisions. The REAL PROBLEM – just as in Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act, the problem is that the law is about how people FEEL, not whether it is TRUE or not. In another case, Jesper Langballe said that Section 266b's "sole criterion of culpability…is whether someone feels offended…not whether what I have said is true or false."

Bazrafkan has been ordered to pay a 5,000 Kroner fine or five days in prison.
She plans to appeal to the Danish Supreme Court – if that fails, she says she will go to prison instead of paying the fine.

Article: Many Things Rotten in Denmark, Andrew E. Harrod, FrontPage, 13/11/2013.


4. North Korea: Public executions – some for possessing a Bible or watching videos
Dan Wooding of Assist Ministries, reports that “As many as 80 people were publicly executed in North Korea earlier this month, some for offenses as minor as watching South Korean movies or possessing a Bible, according to a story in Fox News.”
The report details the horrific treatment of some of these people, including some who were tied to stakes and shot in front of a stadium full of people.
Article: North Korea publicly executes 80, some for videos or Bibles, report says, 12/11/2013.


5. Brunei to enact sharia law next year
Elizabeth Kendal of Religious Liberty Monitoring writes about this situation and asks us to PRAY. . .
“Commencing April 2014, Brunei will enact Sharia criminal law, including amputation, lashing, stoning and execution. The Sultan signed the bill on 22 October. As reported by the Jakarta Post, 'Hudud crimes cover areas including theft, illicit sexual relations, making unproven accusations of illicit sex, causing physical hurt, drinking intoxicants, apostasy, and acts contrary to Islamic belief.'

The laws supposedly will apply only to Brunei's Muslims (about 65 percent of the population). However, wherever Hudud laws are enforced, Christians especially become extremely vulnerable to rape and other violent crimes. If they report rape they risk being punished for making 'false' claims as they will not be able to get four adult male Muslim eye witnesses required to corroborate their claim. The Sharia criminal penalty of death for apostasy will remove any pretence of religious liberty, making witness and conversion even more dangerous than it is already.
Pray for the Church in Brunei. 
Media reports:  Reuters – Jakarta Post

On the Issues

1. Mum and Dad together as it should be
Reflective short article on marriage and family… AWR Hawkins describes his experience of Mum, Dad and HOME.
He concludes: “Why are so many willing to take away a child's opportunity to press his or her face against the glass and yearn for Mom to be home with Dad, where the whole family can sit together and children can learn early lessons about structure, authority, and joy?  And what will we say to children when they one day ask why they have been intentionally deprived of the love of either a father or a mother?
Many things change with time, but the structure of essential matters -- like the family -- ought never change.
Article:  Mom and Dad Together, as It Should Be, AWR Hawkins, American Thinker, 3/10/2013.


2. On the growth of ‘Chrislam’ in the USA – Rick Warren and others…
Since Rick Warren spoke to a Muslim group in 2009 and mentioned what Christianity and Islam have in common – then there was the ‘A Common Word’ document signed by Christian leaders and addressed to Muslims…
Anyway, it hasn’t gone away – this recent article highlights some of the developments: 
Rick Warren’s Chrislam Becomes One Of The Fastest Growing Religions In America, Before It’s News, 13/11/2013.



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