Monthly Archives

July 2019

PRIME MINISTER OPENS HILLSONG CONFERENCE IN PRAYER

By Australian Newsletter

Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged 21,000 Hillsong Conference delegates last week to make love their highest goal, to lay down their judgment of one another, and to pray for their nation more.  Speaking on the opening night of the conference at Sydney Olympic Park after being invited to the stage with his wife Jenny to pray for the nation, Mr Morrison said all believers have essentially the same role: “love God, love people”. “That’s what we all need,” he said. “That’s what our nation needs.  That’s what we’re here to do as Christians.  Not here to judge, not here to lecture.  Just to show the amazing love of God.”

He reaffirmed his election-day statement that he “believes in miracles”, saying their daughter was born on the 7th of the 7th, 2007, “after 17 years of waiting”, and said that Australia “needs more prayer”.   Mr Morrison asked for prayers for “humility of leadership”, as well as “wisdom to see what God sees and to move towards that”.  Morrison led the conference in prayer for people suffering mental illness, for young people battling suicidal thoughts, suffering war veterans, and people going through mid-life struggles.  He also offered prayers for Australia’s Aboriginal communities, people with disabilities, and for an end to the drought.

While speaking, Mr Morrison referenced the national debate over religious freedom, which has intensified after footballer Israel Folau’s controversial comments on social media earlier this year.  He said that while the government has a role to play in legislating for the protection of religious freedom, it is only the people of the nation who can set a culture of freedom.  “It’s not the laws that make freedom of religion work, it’s the culture that accepts it,” he said.  Mr Morrison called for Christians to remember their heritage, referencing missionaries who’ve laid down their lives for Jesus, rather than using the political system to demand their rights.

Source: 103.2FM

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ATTORNEY-GENERAL CHRISTIAN PORTER PUSHES BACK ON “FOLAU’S LAW” IDEA

By Australian Newsletter

Attorney-General Christian Porter is pushing back on calls from within the Coalition to exempt religious beliefs from employment contracts, which could afford legal protection to views like those expressed by rugby player Israel Folau.  Mr Porter cautioned the government was not necessarily interested in “trying to prevent individuals privately contracting the terms of their employment”.  His comments follow a call from Barnaby Joyce to expand new protections against religious discrimination to include clauses preventing employers creating contracts that penalise people for their religious beliefs.

Mr Porter is preparing to present a religious discrimination bill to Parliament this month.  This was a Coalition election commitment and was born out of Philip Ruddock’s religious freedom review, completed last year.  Emboldened by the strong support from religious voters at the recent federal election, some Coalition MPs are now calling for more far-reaching religious freedom provisions in the new laws.  Mr Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia after a social media post that said gay people and adulterers would go to hell.  The former Wallabies star has said he is considering his options, including legal action.

Mr Joyce said Mr Folau’s case “got a lot of people annoyed” during the election.  The Nationals MP said: “People were shocked that someone could lose their job because of what they believe.”  But Mr Porter told 6PR radio that the Folau case was a “very complicated legal question”.  The Attorney-General said: “People enter into employment contracts of various types and terms of their own volition all the time.  What I would say is that as a Government we’re not necessarily in the business of trying to prevent individuals privately contracting the terms of their employment in a fair, balanced and reasonable way with their employer in a range of circumstances.”

Earlier, NSW Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said the government did not need to wait for the findings of a review being undertaken by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) into exemptions to anti-discrimination laws currently enjoyed by religious schools.  Senator Fierravanti-Wells said “Whilst the ALRC is not due to report until April 2020, given its diverse and broad terms of reference, I believe that the recent election has reinforced the need for more immediate legislative action,” she said.  Mr Porter said he noted that the Law Reform Commission’s report was a separate piece of work to the upcoming religious discrimination bill.

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TRANSGENDER PRIEST ADDRESSES SCHOOL ASSEMBLY

By Australian Newsletter

An Anglican Girl’s school in Queensland has had a ‘transgender priest’ address students as young as 5 years old at a school assembly, without parental knowledge or consent.  A number of outraged parents contacted Binary seeking support and assistance, concerned that if they approached the school their daughters could be singled out.  The Courier Mail reported, “Rev Josephine Inkpin, who was born Jonathan Inkpin, spoke at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School at Corinda in Brisbane’s western suburbs to promote the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.  Inkpin, a lecturer in theology, also spoke of her transition from a man to a woman.”

The school assembly did not have an opt-out option and no warning was given regarding the controversial matter.  The article reads, “Some parents said there was ‘sexualised, and highly controversial subject matter’.  The school and the church hotly dispute this.”  Arethusa Christian College at Spring Hill also hosted this ‘transgender priest’. Kirralie Smith, spokeswoman for Binary, said “Exposing kids to this ideological agenda is not up to the school.  Parents send their kids to school for an education, not indoctrination.”  Binary invites any parent who is concerned about the imposition of radical gender ideology to contact them via their website: www.binary.org.au

Source: Binary

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TRANSFORM OUR WORLD – ADELAIDE

By Australian Newsletter

International speaker and author Dr Ed Silvoso is coming to Adelaide on August 22-25th. Some may recall Dr Silvoso’s previous visit to Adelaide many years ago when God spoke through him stirring the Christian church to prayer, unity and evangelism.  The focus of Dr Silvoso’s messages is community transformation.  He points to personal intimacy with God.  He calls for fresh intimacy in our marriages and families.  He speaks powerfully to ordinary Christians out in the marketplace seeking to empower and equip them.  He speaks about eliminating spiritual, relational, motivational and material poverty across communities.

Transform our World Adelaide is partnering with the 2019 South Australian Prayer Breakfast, organised by Christian Business & Marketplace Connections.  There is also a Two Day Seminar being ran on August 23-24th at the Clovercrest Baptist Church and a Combined Churches Worship Service to climax Dr Silvoso’s visit being held at the Adelaide Chin Christian Church on August 25th at 6.00pm.  For more information visit Facebook page (Transform our World – Adelaide) or contact Mike Hey mike.hey@icloud.com or Pastor Lindsay Mayes lindsay@afcc.church.

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FEDERAL MINISTER WARNS AGAINST RUSH ON INDIGENOUS RECOGNITION

By Australian Newsletter

Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt has warned of a setback to reconciliation that could last decades if the nation rushes towards a referendum without a consensus on constitutional reform.  Mr Wyatt urged a cautious approach to constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people out of concern at the risk of a devastating defeat that would set the cause back a generation.  Indigenous leader Noel Pearson also changed tack on his referendum push conceding the model should be fleshed out before being put to the Australian people, a shift from previous arguments the vote could take place first.

After being sworn in as Australia’s first Indigenous member of a federal cabinet, Mr Wyatt likened a potential defeat to the setback for republicans in the failure of the 1999 referendum on an Australian head of state.  “We need to ensure that we don’t go forward and fail,” he said.  “It’s too important in the scheme of Australian society, particularly for Indigenous Australians.  To lose a referendum because we hadn’t done our work properly would be a major setback for at least 10 or 20 years.  “I would rather gain something within two terms of government than to wait another 20 or 30 years before the next referendum.

Often when you get burned on an issue, as with the republican referendum, you never got a guernsey again.  And I don’t want to be in that situation.”  He said the work had to be methodical and people had to be educated on the importance of constitutional change.  Mr Wyatt, a Noongar, Yamatji and Wongi man from Western Australia, was named to cabinet after serving as minister for aged care.  While Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared that he was “committed to getting an outcome” on constitutional recognition, he signalled caution and said the government would take “as long as is needed” to achieve a consensus.

Indigenous constitutional recognition has been on the political agenda for a decade, but attention has focused on the concept of a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous “Voice to Parliament” since 2017, when it was proposed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart alongside other key proposals.  The idea for the representative body to advise Parliament on policy affecting Indigenous people has been backed by Labor but has faced hostility in the Coalition, with senior figures describing it as a “third chamber” of Parliament.  That claim has been rejected by advocates of the idea. Mr Wyatt said the discussion was “evolving” and acknowledged people had concerns.

“Certainly, people have expressed their concern at the lack of definition and the lack of clarity as to what the Voice is,” he said.  The challenge for the Morrison government is to satisfy Indigenous Australians, who were promised a referendum in this Parliament by Labor, while avoiding a fierce reaction from conservatives in the Coalition who oppose sweeping change to the constitution.  Mr Pearson told the ABC that he now accepted the “reality” that the referendum proposal must be refined and advocates needed to convince people of the practical merits of a constitutional Voice.

“It’s not possible to present a kind of general description of the idea for the Australian people to consider.  We are going to have to articulate the full detail and I believe we can,” he said.  Mr Pearson said Mr Wyatt should have three priorities in his new role: empowerment of Indigenous people, progress in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and working over the next 12-24 months towards a referendum on the Voice.  “If we have a voice in better policy, that will help the process of empowerment and ultimately it will contribute to the closing of the gap in the next two, three generations,” he said.

MPs from both sides on Parliament’s constitutional recognition committee have backed further exploration of the Voice concept and recommended a “co-design” consultation process with Indigenous communities.  Mr Wyatt flagged examination of regional bodies, noting that Labor senator Patrick Dodson and Liberal MP Julian Leeser, who have co-chaired the constitutional recognition committee, had both raised the idea as a way for Indigenous people to provide input into policy and services.  “So I want to look at that model of regional structures,” he said.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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GO FUND ME BUCKLED AGAINST FREEDOM DEMANDS

By Australian Newsletter

Israel Folau‘s representatives say GoFundMe “buckled to demands against the freedoms of Australians” when it pulled down his fundraising page.  Responding for the first time since the organisation’s decision to remove the campaign, a spokesperson for Folau insisted it complied with GoFundMe’s terms and conditions, along with “all relevant rules and regulations”.  “There appears to be a continuing campaign of discrimination against Israel and his supporters,” the spokesperson said via a statement.  “He is very grateful to the 10,000-plus supporters who believed in good faith that their donations would contribute to his case against Rugby Australia.”

They also allege that the former Wallaby’s website has been targeted by a “sustained cyberattack” and that a “deliberate attempt” has been made to “vilify” netballer Maria Folau for supporting her husband.  “While Israel does not intend to respond in detail at this time regarding the accusations thrown at him or his family, he wants everyone to know these attacks have hardened his resolve,” the spokesperson said.  They also claim several organisations have flagged they will fill the breach left by GoFundMe, pledging to organise the fundraising effort.

Questions meanwhile have been raised over how and when donors who contributed will receive their refund from GoFundMe.  Each contributor was charged a 2.2 per cent transaction fee when they donated money to help Folau pay his $3 million legal fight against Rugby Australia.  More than $700,000 was raised by contributors from all over the world.  It comes as religious organisations told The Australian they have been inundated with calls from donors asking how else they can support Folau’s legal battle after the online platform found he violated its terms of service.

Rev Michael Kallahan, adviser to the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, said GoFundMe’s decision to remove the campaign had actually “galvanised support” for Folau’s cause.  “People have been asking me how else they can donate and telling me they now want to double their contribution,” Reverend Kallahan said. “What GoFundMe has done is discriminatory because they’ve said they’ll support people who have certain beliefs but not others.”  GoFundMe’s terms and conditions, listed on their website, state that it is up to the donor to determine the “appropriateness” of contributing to a campaign.

“We expressly disclaim any liability or responsibility for the outcome or success of any Campaign.  You, as a Donor, must make the final determination as to the value and appropriateness of contributing to any Campaign, Campaign Organiser or Charity,” it reads.  Earlier, in a statement, GoFundMe said they would be issuing a full refund to all donors, after Folau raised in excess of $700,000.  “We will be closing Israel Folau’s campaign and issuing full refunds to all donors.  After a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service,” GoFundMe Australia regional manager Nicola Britton said.

“As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity.  While we welcome GoFundMes engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.”  GoFundMe’s official Twitter account handle and logo features a rainbow coloured flag in support of LGBTIQ+ people, which was used on their site before Folau launched his crowd-funding campaign.  It comes as the former Wallabies star attended a closed church service at his father’s house after launching his $3 million funding campaign. <

The Law Council of Australia said the issue of crowd-funding a law suit opened up a “veritable can of worms” for the legal profession and the courts.  Law Council of Australia President, Arthur Moses SC pointed out that if Folau’s case was dismissed or the litigation failed, the money raised could be used to pay legal expenses of the opposing side.  “Furthermore, if a lawyer for a litigant is paid using the proceeds of a crowd-funding campaign, this may expose a lawyer to a claim brought by persons who had contributed to the crowd-funding who may claim they were misled as to the use of the money or who do not approve of the conduct of the case,” Mr Moses said.

Source Compiled by APN from media reports

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ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP BACKS ISRAEL FOLAU

By Australian Newsletter

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has pledged his support to his “Christian brother” Israel Folau and claimed the way his support was cut off by GoFundMe was telling of “a new and ugly Australia where dissent from narrow cultural views is not tolerated”.  Archbishop Glenn Davies’s comments come as the Australian Christian Lobby fundraising campaign raised more money in less than 24 hours than the defunct GoFundMe appeal did over four days.  The second fundraising campaign has already amassed more than $2,000,000 in donations since it was launched by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and has now been suspended having reached its current target.

Archbishop Davies said the original social media post that cost Folau his playing contract “canvassed some basic tenets of the Christian faith” and was “posted without malice.” “Folau’s right to express his faith and act according to his conscience is of fundamental importance in any democracy, and it is of great concern to many Australians that this right is being denied and vilified.  Many are wondering whether they will be next,” Archbishop Davies wrote.  “What Folau is going through may shine a light on an issue which is vital to our democracy and of crucial importance for Christians, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and to live according to our faith.”

The ACL set up the fundraising campaign for the former Wallabies star on its website after Folau’s successful GoFundMe page was closed by the US-based crowd-funding platform.  Folau launched his GoFundMe appeal for $3 million over a week ago and had raised $750,000 in four days from more than 7000 donors.  But the fundraising platform pulled the campaign, saying it violated their terms of service and announced it would refund all donations.  “As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity” GoFundMe Australia’s regional manager Nicola Britton said.

But Martyn Iles, the managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, stepped in to host a reborn online appeal for funds.  “On behalf of the Australian Christian Lobby, I have spoken to Israel Folau to let him know that ACL will be donating $100,000 to his legal defence, because it’s right and it sets an important legal precedent,’’ Mr Iles said.  The decision to dump the former Wallaby’s funding page unleashed a furious response across the country, with Mr Iles describing the move as “alarming” and “grand hypocrisy”.  “It’s decided to wield its politically correct baseball bat against anyone who doesn’t toe the line with their PC view of the world,” he said.

A spokesman for Folau last night described the platform’s decision to “buckle” to a “continuing campaign of discrimination against him and his 10,000-plus supporters” as “very disappointing”.  He said Folau’s personal website had already been the target of a sustained cyber attack, forcing the website to be shut down for 12 hours.  His wife, Maria, had also been “vilified” for supporting her husband.  “While Israel does not intend to respond in detail at this time regarding the accusations thrown at him or his family, he wants it known that these attacks have hardened his resolve,” the spokesman said.

Jeremy Sammut, a senior research fellow with the Centre for Independent Studies, said ordinary Australians who still believed they had a right to free speech were increasingly being hauled before HR at work for offending the sensibilities of fellow workers who now “expect to be protected from people they disagree with”.  “Religious freedom is the canary in the coalmine,” he said. Christian groups across the country were inundated with offers of further donations to Folau’s cause.  Reverend Michael Kallahan, adviser to the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, said GoFundMe’s decision to remove the campaign had actually “galvanised support” for Folau’s cause.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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