Monthly Archives

April 2021

REV HON FRED NILE MLC TO RETIRE FROM PARLIAMENT

By Australian Newsletter

Christian Democratic Party Founder, the Rev Honourable Fred Nile MLC has announced his retirement from the NSW Parliament after 40 years service. His retirement will take affect from November 2021. The CDP’s State Board has unanimously agreed, that Lyle Shelton, former Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, will be his successor subject to the agreement of the CDP’s State Council. “It has been the privilege of my life to represent Christ’s values in the NSW Parliament on behalf of the Citizens of this great State. I am delighted to be recommending Lyle Shelton as my successor and  I am confident this news will be received with great enthusiasm by our Members. The need for unashamedly Christian voices in public life has only increased in recent years and I can think of no one better than Mr Shelton to carry this forward,” Rev Nile said.

Mr Shelton said: “I am honoured that Rev Nile and the CDP State Board have recommended that I succeed him in the NSW Parliament and lead the party into the future. I look forward to seeking the support of the party’s State Council. There has never been a greater need for Christian ethics and principles in our parliaments.” Rev Nile was elected to the NSW Legislative Council in 1981 and is the longest serving current sitting member of the Parliament. He has been a constant champion for the natural family, human rights for the unborn, religious freedom, the dignity of women, measures to combat binge drinking, drug rehabilitation services, gambling advertising reform and much more. Rev Nile achieved many legislative successes, notably his Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act which banned remaining forms of tobacco advertising in NSW.

His Smoking Regulation Act which banned smoking in motor vehicles was also passed. His vote secured the first Aboriginal land rights legislation passed more than 30 years ago, something the Indigenous people of NSW remember with gratitude. Another significant achievement was the Parliament’s support of Rev Nile’s motion condemning the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides. Rev Nile leaves a formidable legacy and Mr Shelton said he was looking forward to the challenge, along with the Party’s Members and Supporters, of continuing this legacy into the future. Rev Nile will remain active in the Party as Immediate Past President, Honorary Chairman of the Board and Editor and Chief of the Party Newspaper, Family World News and email Newsletter Salt and Light.

Rev Nile will continue his support for many organisations including, NSW Aboriginal Land Council; Australian Christian Nation Association, The Christian World View; The Australian Army Reserve (in which Rev Nile served); St. George 45th Regiment and The 30th Scottish Association;  Australian Monarchist League, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy;  The Jewish National Fund,  Australian Jewish Association,  NSW Jewish Board of Deputies ; Family Life International and Australian Christian Lobby.   Rev Nile’s long-standing support will continue with the many ethnic organisations including The Armenians, the Coptic Christians, the Assyrians, the Macedonians and the Greeks. Additionally, Rev Nile will continue his support with his many Charities including St Vincent Hospital and Cancer Council and SMS Lighthouse.

Source: Press Release from the office of Rev Hon Fred Nile MLC

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THE FUTURE OF WORSHIP: HOW COVID CHANGED THE WAY OF THE CHURCH

By Australian Newsletter

The pandemic altered the way many people come together to worship, but according to some church leaders, that change is here to stay. When lock-downs hit Australia at the height of the pandemic last year, and services were either closed to the public or had limited capacity, churches of all denominations began connecting with people remotely. From March, churches used online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Zoom, or their own website, to stream their services live or stream pre-recorded services and meetings. In Sydney, the Catholic Archdiocese live-streamed masses from St Mary’s Cathedral. Anglican churches, such as St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane, used YouTube to stream service recordings. And the Uniting Church in South Australia live-streamed services, and facilitated bible study groups on Zoom.

“We’ve been able to connect in ways that we would never have imagined,” Deidre Palmer, the president of the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly, said. “Some services are live-streamed, some are pre-recorded.” Even now, many people are still preferring to go online, the general secretary at the National Council of Churches in Australia Liz Stone said. “Every time there’s a suggestion of community transmission it affects who’s going to be physically at a service,” Ms Stone said. In states that have no community transmission, people are still not physically attending church for a variety of reasons. “There are people waiting for vaccinations,” she said. “But there are people connected globally, so you’ve got a different offering online. It’s not just your local community anymore.”

The Uniting Church in South Australia now has a wider reach through its streaming services. “It’s a really wonderful way of continuing to grow communities,” Ms Palmer said. “I think you will find churches are wondering about keeping both online and face-to-face services,” Ms Stone said. “Because we’re reaching some people that wouldn’t necessarily go to church. We had people who found it easier to go online to find out about different churches and different Christian communities and different forms of worship. So we would never want to exclude that opportunity for people.” For the Catholic Church in Sydney, the Archdiocese hopes to see more physical attendance as restrictions ease. “We’re trying to encourage as many Catholics back to attending Mass in person as possible,” a spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney said.

“I think it’s been a gift what we’ve been able to offer to the wider community,” said Deidre Palmer, president of the Uniting Church in Australia. Deidre Palmer says that online services are valuable not just for the elderly who are worried about illness, or people who are unable to physically attend church. The services are also for those who want to reconnect with their faith, or who have never practiced worship. “They may be seeking meaning in their life, exploring their spirituality and they’re connecting into the online services,” she said. “I think it’s been a gift what we’ve been able to offer to the wider community.” A community that is more connected than ever. “We’ve found other ways to express our faith,” Liz Stone said. “So, in a way that has been a blessing as well.”

Source: 103.2FM

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STOKER STANDS UP TO THE BULLIES

By Australian Newsletter

Left-wing activists wasted no time in pursuing Australia’s new assistant minister for women, Senator Amanda Stoker. Threatened by her pursuit of truth and justice for women, they have come out against her for having ‘wrong’ beliefs. Stoker is unashamedly Christian and has also spoken out against the aggressive transgender agenda. Keyboard warriors and TV personalities have been quick to attack, not based on facts, but on prejudice against her political and religious beliefs. Prominent LGBT activist and actor Magda Szubanski tweeted, “This reshuffle has handed power to Amanda Stoker, another of the small but noisy ‘Christian Soldiers’ faction hijacking the national agenda. All because a few guys doing the wrong thing. And worse.”

Senator Stoker refused to be intimidated stating, “Those criticising me on Twitter aren’t into delivery, they’re into the tribal. I think it’s a narrow slice of people who have fairly extreme beliefs.” Stoker believes that all women should be represented in public policy, not just those with extreme beliefs. “It’s important that as a government we speak to the full range of women’s experience,” she said. Binary spokeswoman, Kirralie Smith, commended the Senator. “Amanda Stoker has handled her critics well. Being targeted and harassed for her political and personal beliefs exposes their agenda. Stoker has proven time and again her advocacy for women, free speech and the exchange of ideas. Bullies who aim to cancel her want to advance their agenda at the expense of women who refuse to toe the line of their radical ideology.”

Source: Binary

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HOW CHAPLAINS HAVE COPED WITH A RELENTLESS YEAR OF NATURAL DISASTERS

By Australian Newsletter

It has been a “relentless” past year for volunteer chaplains across NSW as they’ve supported communities through droughts, bushfires, a pandemic and, now, flood recovery. Last year it was bushfires and now, as flood-affected communities across New South Wales begin the long process of recovery, chaplains are standing alongside them once again, resulting in many having worked continuously over the past 12 months to support our State’s disaster-affected communities. Director of Chaplaincy Australia Pastor Ralph Estherby explained, “We were helping people in the area of drought. And so we went from droughts to bushfires to COVID-19 response, back into the recovery phases of the bushfires, and now into yet another disaster setting. So it’s been a bit relentless.”

Chaplaincy Australia forms part of the NSW Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network (DRCN), a multi-church agency funded and operated by the Uniting Church which offers chaplains to disaster recovery centres. DRCN coordinator Reverend Stephen Robinson said, “What’s unusual about DRCN is that it draws chaplains, ministers, pastoral carers from every major denomination and trains them to work together.” Rev Robinson is currently coordinating chaplains, including those from Chaplaincy Australia to minister to flood-affected communities across NSW. During the floods, he had chaplains in 11 evacuation centres around the State. “At the moment we’re transitioning from evacuation centres to what they call recovery centres which are run by the local councils,” he said.

The recovery centre will allow affected communities to access a range of services to help them move forward. Pastor Estherby explained that now that communities are moving from the initial trauma of flood evacuations to assessing the damage that has been done, having the support of chaplains is vital. “Often people just do not know what to say. So many agencies are doing practical stuff but not many agencies are actually able to do the human stuff,” he said. Reverend Robinson agreed, saying a chaplain’s role is “primarily about comfort”. Pastor Estherby told the story of one chaplain, who last week visited a flood-affected caravan park. The whole park had been inundated and there were a number of permanent residents whose homes and possessions had been swept away. Now, with no insurance, they face the reality of restarting their lives.

“We’re actually there to support,” he said. “So if they need to rebuild and there are serious emotional or spiritual challenges, we will help.”  Chaplaincy Australia works closely with local churches to ensure the disaster relief is community-led. “We’re not there to take over,” Pastor Estherby said. “Local churches are going to be there long term and we want them to be the heroes. But we’ll try to resource the churches in what they’re doing.” Who looks after the chaplains? The relentless demands placed on chaplains mean it’s important to ensure they also have the support they need to be able to minister to disaster-affected communities. Pastor Estherby explained that often people forget chaplains are always working, not just when disaster strikes. “They just tend to get noticed more when they go into a disaster setting,” he said.

Part of Chaplaincy Australia’s ethos is that the carer needs to be healthy to be able to provide support. To make sure their chaplains feel supported, Pastor Estherby explained they have a number of safeguards in place. “Every chaplain in Chaplaincy Australia has to have a support network. We have mandatory pastoral supervision of all our chaplains. We provide debriefing after emergency settings for all of our chaplains that are deployed. We also ensure that they practice self-care.” Similarly, as part of their duty of care, DRCN provides their chaplains with a number of support avenues when they are working in disaster zones. “When they’re in the field they have a team leader that’s trained to make sure they’re fed and looked after. When the operations wind up, we have an operations manager who debriefs the teams,” Rev Robinson said.

Additionally, DRCN limits out-of-area rotations to five days to ensure that no chaplain is faced with traumatic events over an extended period of time. And support for the chaplains continues once they are no longer in the field. “We do follow up phone calls to make sure they’re OK. If at any point we feel like that’s not the case or people put their hand up then we can offer a good psychological debrief and follow up,” Rev Robinson said. How can you support chaplains? The last year has demonstrated the continued need for chaplains in the community, said Rev Robinson. “People have recognised the value of our work.” And there are a number of ways that the community can rally behind those providing support for vulnerable communities.

The likelihood there will be a continued need for chaplains means that DRCN are keen to hear from people interested in joining their chaplaincy network. “If they are pastors or ordained or commissioned and if they would like to train or work within the network we are always open to hearing from people,” Rev Robinson said. He also asked for prayer support for all chaplains currently ministering to disaster-affected communities. “Prayer support is really important. We just would not be able to do anything without the prayer of people carrying us and the grace of God.” Most of all, Pastor Estherby wants to see some community appreciation for the chaplains. “Pat them on the back if you see one,” he said. Visit the NSW Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network for more information and ways to help.

Source: Hope 103.2FM

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GOVERNMENT URGED TO TAKE ACTION TO SAVE GIRLS FROM PORN

By Australian Newsletter

Anti-violence advocates have called on the Morrison government to act swiftly to introduce measures protecting children from easy access to online pornography in the wake of rising claims by schoolgirls of sexual harassment and assault. A parliamentary committee report recommending mandatory age verification for online pornography has been languishing for more than a year, with the government yet to respond. Supporters of the policy have called on the government to take urgent action, arguing that the recent groundswell of assault allegations, sparked by a petition launched by former Kambala girls’ school student Chanel Contos in Sydney calling for better consent education for young people, was evidence of pornography’s damaging influence.

Liberal National MP Andrew Wallace, who chaired the inquiry, said evidence tendered suggested that 28 per cent of 12-year-olds had viewed pornography online, rising to 65 per cent by the age of 16. He said there was no doubt exposure to pornography at a young age was contributing to harassment and assault. “The pressure that this is placing on young girls is just atrocious,” he said. “Young girls are forced to live out what these boys see on the screen and some of it is very graphically violent.” According to the Protecting the Age of Innocence report, which received more than 300 submissions, the serious impacts on the welfare of children and young people associated with exposure to pornography was a “widespread and genuine concern” in the community.

The report noted that online age verification to check users were over 18 was not a new concept and technology had increasingly become “more sophisticated, balancing effectiveness with privacy, safety and security”. South Africa recently legislated for age verification for pornography and is in the process of developing a regulatory framework to govern its rollout. “The committee recognised age verification is not a silver bullet, and protecting children and young people from online harms requires government, industry and the community to work together across a range of fronts,” the report said. “The committee also concluded age verification can create a significant barrier to prevent young people from exposure to harmful online content.”

A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government understood “deep concern” about the issue and supported the work of the eSafety Commissioner in the area. eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant said she supported age verification “to protect children from being exposed to pornographic material” but any proposed model would need to balance “safety with appropriate privacy and security protections”.  “Parents are still the best firewall when protecting children from harmful content and there is a range of protective strategies and technological tools they can use, including parental controls and device-level filtering.” Collective Shout director Melinda Tankard Reist said violent pornography depicting forced sex was desensitising young men to violence in relationships.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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