Monthly Archives

June 2020

GOD’S OWN COUNTRY – AS VIEWED BY AN AMERICAN

By Australian Newsletter

Editor’s note: We thought we would give you something a little different this week.  It does us good sometimes to give thanks to God for what we are able to enjoy in our own land.  Do that as you read what one American sees compared to his own land.

David Mason is a Writer, a Professor, and a Poet Laureate from Colorado, USA.  He says “There’s a lot to admire about Australia, especially if you’re a visiting American.’  ‘More often than you might expect.  Australian friends patiently listening to me enthuse about their country have said: “We need outsiders like you to remind us what we have”.  So here it is, a small presumptuous list of what one foreigner admires in Oz.’

1. Health care.

I know the controver sies, but basic national health care is a gift.  In America , medical expenses are a leading cause of bankruptcy. The drug companies dominate politics and advertising.  You can’t turn on the telly without hours of drug advertisements, something I have never yet seen here.  And your emphasis on prevention, making cigarettes less accessible, for one, is a model.

2. Food.

Yes, we have great food in America too, especially in the big cities.  But your bread is less sweet, your lamb is cheaper, and your supermarket vegetables and fruits are fresher than ours.  Too often in my country, America , an apple is a ball of pulp as big as your face. The dainty Pink Lady apples of Oz are the juiciest I’ve had.  And don’t get me started on coffee.  In American small towns it tastes like water flavoured with burnt dirt, but the smallest shop in the smallest town in Oz can make a first-rate latte.  I love your ubiquitous bakeries, and your hot-cross buns.  Shall I go on?

3. Language.

How do you do it?  The rhyming slang and Aboriginal place names are like magic spells.  Words that seem vaguely English yet also resemble an argot from another planet.  I love the way institutional names get turned into diminutives, Vinnie’s and Salvos, and absolutely nothing’s sacred.  Everything is an opportunity for word games and everyone has a nickname.  Lingo makes the world go round.  It’s the spontaneous wit of the people that tickles me most.  Late one night at a barbie my new mate Suds remarked:  ”Nothing’s the same since 24-7.”  Amen to that.

4. Free-to-air TV.

In Oz, you buy a TV, plug it in and watch some of the best programming I’ve ever seen, uncensored.  In America , you can’t get diddly-squat without paying a cable or satellite company heavy fees.  In Oz a few channels make it hard to choose.  In America, you’ve got 400 channels and nothing to watch.

5. Small shops.

Outside the big cities in America corporations have nearly erased them.  Identical malls with identical restaurants serving inferior food.  Except for geography, it’s hard to tell one American town from another.  The ”take-away” culture here in Australia is wonderful.  The human encounters are real, people love to stir, and stories get told.  The curries here are to die for.  And you don’t have to tip!

6. Free camping.

We used to have this too, and I guess it’s still free when you backpack miles away from the roads.  But I love the fact that in Oz everyone owns the shoreline and in many places you can pull up a camper van and stare at the sea for weeks.  I love the ”primitive” and independent camp-grounds, the life out-of-doors.  The few idiots who leave their stubbies and rubbish behind in these pristine places ought to be transported in chains to the penal colonies.

7. Religion.

In America , it’s everywhere, especially where it’s not supposed to be, like politics.  I imagine you have your Pharisees too, making a big public show of devotion, but I have yet to meet one here.

8. Roads.

Peak hour aside, I’ve found travel on your roads pure heaven.  My country’s ”Freeways” are crowded, crumbling, insanely knotted with looping overpasses – it’s like racing homicidal maniacs on fraying spaghetti!  I’ve driven the Hume Highway without stress, and I love the Princes Highway when it’s two lanes.  Ninety minutes south of Bateman’s Bay I was sorry to see one billboard for a McDonald’s.  It’s blocking a lovely paddock view.  Someone should remove the MacDonald’s Billboard.

9. Real multiculturalism.

I know there are tensions, just like anywhere else, but I love the distinctiveness of your communities and the way you publicly acknowledge the Aboriginal past.  Recently, too, I spent quality time with the Melbourne Greeks, and was gratified both by their devotion to their own great language and culture, and their openness to an Afghan lunch.

10. Fewer guns.

You had Port Arthur in 1996 and got real in response.  America replicates such massacres several times a year and nothing changes.  Why?  Our religion of individual rights makes the good of the community an impossible dream.  Instead of mateship we have ”It’s mine and nobody else’s”.  We talk a great game about freedom, but too often live in fear.  There’s more to say, your kaleidoscopic birds, your perfumed bush in springtime, your vast beaches.

These are just a few of the blessings that make Australia a rarity.  Of course, it’s not paradise, nowhere is, but I love it here.  No need to wave flags like the Americans, and add to the world’s windiness.  Just value what you have here in Australia and don’t give it away!

Source: Compiled by APN from media article.

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MELBOURNE CAFE OWNER TARGETED FOR LOCKDOWN VIEWS

By Australian Newsletter

Editor’s note: There are far too many incidents these days where people who express a view that is not in line with the views of left wing activists are castigated and punished.  This loss of free speech in our nation should be a matter of continuous prayer, hence the publication of this story.

Melbourne cafe owner Matt Lanigan says the community response was initially positive after he gave several interviews to TV stations and local online publications calling for uniformity between Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown laws and those in other states.  But after he recorded a social media video with Victorian Liberal frontbencher Tim Smith, his business was swamped with dozens of one-star online reviews, amid a campaign from the Australian branch of international left-wing activist group Sleeping Giants.  The attack on Mr Lanigan’s business comes as other Victorian cafe owners say they fear small and mid-sized hospitality businesses will be “destroyed” by the rule of having one person every 4sq m, which will continue to apply even after restrictions are lifted sufficiently to allow up to 100 people into larger venues.

When other states announced that cafes and restaurants would be able to serve eat-in meals to small numbers of customers, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews opted to keep hospitality takeaway-only until at least the end of May, saying businesses had told him it would not be viable to open for just 10 patrons.  Mr Lanigan said he had spoken out, because he believed businesses should have been able to make that decision themselves.  “We were disappointed the rest of the country was given an opportunity to decide if they could open viably and generate some more revenue, but we weren’t given that same opportunity,” he said.

Mr Andrews announced that Victorian cafes, restaurants and pubs would be able to serve meals to up to 20 customers from June 1, with up to 50 patrons from June 22 and 100 from the second half of July, subject to the 4sq m rule.  Mr Lanigan said “If we had been told, ‘you can’t do this but this is the plan’, then there wouldn’t have been any need for the lobbying that we did the week before” he said.  But by the time Mr Andrews made his announcement, a tweet from Sleeping Giants Oz accusing “Tim Smith’s great mate” Mr Lanigan of appearing in TV interviews to provide “all the right anti-Dan Andrews answers” was already doing the rounds online.

This resulted in a flurry of negative reviews that cut his cafe’s rating, earned organically through six years of positive customer reviews, from 4.7 stars to 4.3.  “Our brand’s stronger than these nuisances, but almost none of them are locals or have ever visited the cafe,” Mr Lanigan said.  “A lot of them have profiles which say they’re from Sydney.”  Mr Lanigan said he had been speaking as a business owner in the interests of struggling hospitality employees and employers.

Source: Compiled by APN from media article

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CHINESE FIRM IN LEGAL ROW OVER LIZARD ISLAND CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN

By Australian Newsletter

Editor’s note: We are aware of the recent attacks from the Chinese Communist Government against Australia in the area of trade, but this story also shows how Chinese companies are also on the attack against individual Australian businesses.  Our prayers should be directed towards turning these unreasonable attacks away, and protecting Australian businesses in the process.

A Hong Kong-based Chinese company is threatening to move on the operator of one of Australia’s most famous five-star resorts after it closed down to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.  The operator, Delaware North, is accused of breaking a $2m-a-year sublease to run the luxury getaway on north Queensland’s Lizard Island and faces punishing financial damages unless the resort is immediately reopened.  The demands are spelled out in a lawyer’s letter from the island’s primary leaseholder, Hong Kong’s SEA Holdings group, which insists the Great Barrier Reef retreat should have stayed open in defiance of the infection risk and travel bans.

This is an impossible request when Australia’s international borders are sealed, and Queensland has banned travellers from interstate.  As well, the northern section of Cape York Peninsula has been declared a biosecurity zone to protect the vulnerable indigenous population, making for few if any takers for the up to $5000-a-night rates that come with Lizard Island’s status as a playground for the rich and famous.  The Queensland government is examining the 1997 lease on the coral-ringed island 240km northeast of Cairns to rein in the company.  The international property conglomerate is controlled by Hong Kong-Chinese business identity Lu Wing-chi and son Lambert Lu.

The dispute with SEA Holdings erupted after the resort closed on March 29 with a notional reopening date in June.  Delaware North sought rent relief, in line with the mandatory code of conduct put in place by Scott Morrison to cover commercial leasing during the COVID-19 period.  The operator cited safety and environmental requirements in shuttering the Lizard Island facility, rebuilt after Cyclone Yasi razed the site in 2011, at a cost of $45m.  SEA Holdings’s lawyers pushed back, arguing there were no “lawful directives” requiring resorts or hotels to cease trading.  Disputing this, the operator said travel restrictions and other anti-COVID measures effectively cost Lizard Island its well-heeled customer base.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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FEATURE ARTICLE: BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS

By Feature Articles

Quickly dispensing with coronavirus social distancing protocols, BlackLivesMatter protestors across the globe are marching.  Some lawless types are also looting.  Some are even killing.  It’s a scary, dangerous mess.  And while most protestors are sincere and well intentioned, there is something else going on here.  It’s called identity politics and it poisons everything it touches.  As Christians we must not fall for this destructive new tribalism.

George Floyd’s death is a tragedy.  A police officer abused his power and a man died.  The officer should be punished accordingly, and he has been.  But two wrongs don’t make a right.  Rioters, looters, and violent protesters should also be punished accordingly, because there is no excuse for crime.  This violence has a backstory; a political narrative.  For several decades now, political forces which want destruction through division and violence have gained a hold on culture.  They have successfully convinced an entire generation to see society as a collection of warring tribes.

The war is a war of power, not truth.  That’s why it plays out in violence, suppression, no-platforming, and propaganda, not argument, dialogue and logic.  The tribes are blacks versus whites, gays versus straights, religion versus everyone, man versus woman, cis versus trans, right versus left, etc.  It is breeding resentment, victimhood, hatred, and discontent.  Look no further than those who have swallowed it whole, Clementine Ford, for example. It’s destroying people. Indeed, these race riots are a case study in identity politics:

Step 1: Take one person’s sin: deadly abuse of power.
Step 2: Identify the sinner’s attributes: white, male, police officer, etc.
Step 3: identify the victim’s attributes: black, man, etc.
Step 4: Choose the contrasting attributes that have most political leverage: white vs black/racism narrative.
Step 5: Apply the sinner’s guilt to everybody with their attribute: whites are racist power-abusers.
Step 6: Don’t hold back, because you’re innocent, and they’re all guilty: rage against “whiteness” – riots, looting, destruction, abuse, hate, not against one man, one institution, or even one city, but everyone and everything that you think represents “whiteness”.  Or, alternatively, sit back and justify the rioters for the same reason.

This is not about truth.  It’s war and it’s about power.  It ends really, really badly.  It has done so across all cultures, throughout all time.  The foulest violence and the vilest hatred has come from this sort of tribal thinking time and again.  From the Tutsis and the Hutus, to the gas chambers or the gulags, and the stain of slavery on America’s history.  The seeds of this start small.  They start with the narrative of divided tribes; a narrative that is well and truly among us.  Women bristle at masculinity and forever push for empowerment over the men in their lives, blacks live with festering resentment over “white privilege,” the trans community believes their mental struggles are stigma-based and the whole LGBTQ world is sincerely convinced that Christians hate their guts.  Now, white men are trying to get a piece of the victim pie, too, by saying they are the last remaining non-recognised victim group in family law, poverty, suicide etc.

The death of George Floyd has been another chance for political forces with an agenda to stoke the hate, fuel the warfare narrative, and convince a nation of racist tribalism (as well as all other tribalisms).  The combined activity of these political forces is tearing apart a nation.  It’s getting worse, not better.  It’s happening in Australia, too.  ANTIFA moved quickly.  Organised, responsive, and agenda-driven, bussed into Minneapolis to kick-start riots.  Opportunistic looters joined them, not to mourn Floyd, but to gratuitously steal and destroy.  And it’s contagious.  The whole nation has joined them.  It’s a powder keg waiting to blow.  When tribes are in a battle that’s lasted for generations, and there is no such thing as unifying truth to help you resolve things, your only answer is violence and power struggle.

Meanwhile, the statistics are clear.  4% of black homicide victims are killed by cops.  12% of white homicide victims are killed by cops.  A police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black man than an unarmed black man is to be killed by a cop.  I could go on all day with the data.  Sadly, an entire generation is primed and ready, because they believe in the identity politics creed.  Thanks schools, thanks universities, thanks media, and thanks government who fund it all.  The idea that one man’s sin is a collective sin is dangerous.  Individuals are responsible for their actions and should be individually punished, whether that be abuse of power or looting or anything else.

The real issue is that a police officer abused his power, it has happened before, to both black and white victims.  He has been punished severely for doing wrong, as he should be.  One of the sadder aspects of this is I doubt whether Floyd would have wanted it.  He seems to have been quite an amazing Christian convert with a heart for ministry.  Christians, please do not drink the tribal kool-aid.  It’s destroying us.  It’s a vehicle for terrible hatred and the entrapment of victimhood.  It’s about power, not truth.  Fortunately, our hope is not in the kingdom of this world, but in the kingdom of God which cannot be shaken.

Source: Martyn Iles, Managing Director Australian Christian Lobby

The International Prayer Council has issued the following prayer alert:

No doubt you have been following the news of the death of George Floyd, which was an awful act of police brutality against an unarmed black man in Minneapolis last week.  The video of his uncalled-for murder has sparked great outrage, protests, rioting and looting for the last 9-10 days in many cities across the USA.  Antifa and Black Lives Matters, are two of the organized radical groups that have entered in to commandeer this protest movement.  Both espouse a form of Marxist revolutionary ideology, calling for the destruction of the state, defunding and ending of all police forces, the military, government and the removal of all borders.

The “liberation” of America “begins with its death” according to one of their planning strategies.  They are seeking to ignite a civil war and hundreds of thousands of Americans, especially youth, are docilely going along thinking this is a struggle for justice when they are actually being manipulated and used to achieve these radicals’ Marxist endgame.  Now, this dangerous movement of rebellion is also spreading and affecting other nations as well.  Tonight, I heard that demonstrations have broken out in at least two dozen cities spanning five continents.

Please pray for the overthrow of these thuggish groups.  Let’s agree and pray that these provocateurs will be arrested, brought to justice and punished for their sedition and other crimes.

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DANIEL ANDREWS CLAMS UP ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ADVICE ON CHINA

By Australian Newsletter

Daniel Andrews’s Department of Premier and Cabinet has refused access to details of crucial national security advice it received before signing up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).  Documents obtained by the Victorian opposition under Freedom of Information laws show emails were exchanged between the Andrews government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade just months before the deal in October 2018.  The substantive content of the emails has been blacked out, with Mr Andrews’s department claiming its publication would “prejudice relations between Victoria and the commonwealth”.

Victoria is the only Australian jurisdiction to join the BRI by signing an MOU in 2018.  Canberra sees the scheme as a vehicle for Chinese regional and global expansion.  The four-page MOU said Victoria would work with China to promote infrastructure, trade and finance, while acknowledging the state was “welcoming and supportive” of the BRI and would promote “the Silk Road spirit”.  A Melbourne-based organisation, the Australia-China Belt & Road Initiative, persuaded Mr Andrews to ink the deal.  They hired former federal Liberal minister Andrew Robb and federal Labour minister Lindsay Tanner to help sell its message.  Its founder and CEO is former Chinese journalist Jean Dong.

Its website says: “This organisation will engage business leaders from China and Australia with a purpose of articulating the relevance of the Belt & Road strategy to Australian industries and identifying practical opportunities for expanded trade and investment.”  Before defying federal government security advice and signing up to the BRI, Mr Andrews spoke enthusiastically about closer business ties between China and Victoria, saying: “There’s an energy in Victoria-China relations that’s not been there in the past, there’s a real sense of the opportunities of this relationship, a complex, multilayered relationship, one based not just on transactions, but one about trust … a true partnership.

“It’s such a competitive market, so many parts of our region and world are vying for an increased share of Chinese investment and influence over Chinese policymaking.  Whether it be in construction, design or professional services, we have a unique perspective, a wealth of knowledge and a hoard of experience to lend.”  The Andrews government has continually refused to confirm whether proper security or risk assessments were undertaken ahead of the deal being struck.  In an email dated June 8, 2018, to DFAT’s China Economic and Trade Section, a senior adviser in Mr Andrews’s department states that a colleague has been in verbal contact “regarding a draft Belt and Road MOU”.

“Please find a marked-up version, which reflects our feedback,” they write.  “Look forward to hearing your thoughts.”  A DPC “East Asia and Latin America manager” followed up on June 12: “Thanks (redacted) for your help on this.  My executive director is keen to land this ASAP and is under some time pressure from further up.  Do you have a sense of when you might be able to come back to us with a view.  This is a high priority for Victoria.  Apologies for being so pushy.”  The Andrews government said all FOI requests were managed in accordance with relevant legislation.  “We don’t comment on security matters,” a spokeswoman said.

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PARENTS WANT VETO OF TRANS LESSONS IN SCHOOLS

By Australian Newsletter

A strong majority of voters polled across both major parties want parents to have a veto over classes teaching children they can change gender.  In the first national survey on so-called “gender fluidity” at school, 88% of Coalition supporters and 72% of Labor loyalists agreed parents should have the right to know what is being taught and be free to pull children out of class.  “Parents’ groups say they believe confusion in class about the unchanging reality of biological sex is part of the reason for the exponential global surge in often troubled teenagers, chiefly girls, declaring themselves transgender and seeking life-changing medical treatment in children’s hospital gender clinics.

Almost half of those who voted Greens (46%) backed parents’ rights over gender fluidity teaching.  Concern in the survey about teachers telling students they can change gender “based on how they feel” cut across age groups, reaching almost 80% among young people around the age of marriage, and was strongest in Western Australia and Queensland, and least pronounced in Victoria.  These three states have the biggest children’s hospital gender clinics and promote self-identified trans rights in school, although states outside Victoria shun the Safe Schools brand, which was damaged by media scrutiny in the run-up to the Turnbull government stripping it of federal funding.

Victoria’s education minister James Merlino pleaded “confidentiality” when asked how many children had been referred without parental approval to the Royal Children’s Hospital gender clinic’.  These visiting doctors have had gender training from the Royal Childrens Hospital (RCH) clinic.  “The same rules apply to doctors in schools as they do in the community, medical information is kept confidential and not disclosed to schools or the department,” a spokesman said.  The RCH clinic director Michelle Telfer promotes The Gender Fairy, a booklet by former teacher Jo Hirst, which tells young children: “Only you know whether you are a boy or a girl. No one can tell you”.

Safe Schools at the federal level has been defunded by the Coalition, however program materials are still endorsed by the federal education department which includes them on its Student Wellbeing website aimed at teachers, parents and students.  A spokesman for federal education minister Dan Tehan said the material had been given the all-clear as “educationally sound” after an independent review by former education academic Bill Louden.  Shadow minister Tanya Plibersek refused to answer any questions about gender fluidity teaching.  “After weeks of disruption to schooling, my focus is on getting kids up to speed on their reading, writing, and maths,” she said.

One brochure on the federal website encourages teachers to allow students to change gender without parents’ approval, saying, “The person who understands most about their gender transition is the student themselves”.  This is among Safe Schools material used to train WA public school teachers but rebadged with different graphics as “Inclusive Education WA” and delivered by the WA Aids Council with taxpayers’ funds.  It acknowledges Ms Ward as an author.  A spokeswoman for WA Education Minister Sue Ellery said: “Principals make local decisions regarding the materials used to deliver the school’s teaching program.  Parents are encouraged to discuss their child’s school program with their school”.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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