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CHINESE INVESTMENT PLUNGES TO 14 YEAR LOW

By Australian Newsletter

Chinese investment into Australia is plummeting, having sunk to its lowest level since 2007, with the total funds now falling steadily each year since 2016 and 75% of Chinese investors reporting they are reluctant to invest because of the political climate. The numbers reveal a sea-change in China’s investment outlook towards Australia. Total investment in 2020 was $2.5bn, a decline of 27% on the 2019 figure of $3.4bn. The number of deals fell away dramatically from 42 in 2019 to 20 in 2020, a decline of about 50% year on year. “This appears to be a trend with no obvious end in sight,” Doug Ferguson, the report’s co-author and head of Asia and International Markets for KPMG Australia, said. “Investment has now fallen 83% since 2016.”

These figures come from the latest KPMG/University of Sydney joint report for 2020 titled “Demystifying Chinese Investment in Australia” and cover investments, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and greenfield projects but do not include stocks, bonds and private residential purchases. Asked how the dominant Chinese state-owned enterprises now saw Australia as an investment destination, Mr Ferguson said: “They are wary and focused on other markets.” He said the future of China’s investment into this country lay with smaller, private companies seeking lower risk opportunities.  “The outlook for Chinese investment is mixed and uncertain and we anticipate any future growth to remain muted compared to previous years,” he said.

The extent of the trend, its sharpness and the structural forces in China and Australia driving this downturn, point to a pivotal change in the Australia-China financial relationship. Three core factors are behind the collapse in investment over the past five years: Chinese government restrictions and their shift in priorities away from OECD nations; and far tighter regulatory scrutiny in Australia by the Foreign Investment Review Board with its strong emphasis on national security and declining confidence in the political relationship. The impact of COVID-19 is relevant in 2020 but the downward trend long predated the pandemic. Optimism about Chinese investment is eroding rapidly. Mr Ferguson said the “new realities” had now “disrupted the heady expectations of the past for investment by Chinese companies”.

The extent of the slide shows Chinese investment into Australia fell from $US11.5bn in 2016 to $US1.9bn in 2020. “We are now at the lowest point in terms of investment value and the number of deals since 2007 and it is getting worse each year,” Mr Ferguson said. He said the troubled political relationship was a “material factor”. In addition, surveys conducted with executives from 75 Chinese companies showed that while Australia remained a preferred destination compared with other countries and investors were highly confident about Australia’s handling of the pandemic, alarm signals were being rung. The report said: “75% of the surveyed executives stated the political environment in 2020 has made Chinese companies more cautious to invest in Australia compared with 59% in 2018 and 70% in 2017.

Chinese private investors believe the tense diplomatic situation increased business risks and compliance costs in China and Australia. Chinese state-owned investors registered increased communication problems between headquarters and subsidiaries, reputation decline for Australian subsidiaries in the headquarters’ corporate hierarchy, delays in headquarters’ approval and concern about the security of assets and supply chains. Business commentator Terry McCrann says China will not keep “handing” its money over to buy Australian iron ore amid its search for resources in other countries. “From the business perspective of Chinese investors in Australia the political mistrust between the Australian and Chinese governments has become mutual.

66% of the surveyed executives stated the Chinese government was less supportive of investment in Australia than previously, while 75% of respondents felt the Australian federal government was less supportive of Chinese investment in Australia than previously.” Beijing’s policies on capital are a critical feature of the story. A total of 54% of Chinese investors reported concern and said it was “difficult to get capital out of China in 2020”. Evidence pointed to less funds being available for overseas investment as well as a reordering of priorities to developing nations. In terms of investment into Australia, mining was the largest recipient sector in 2020 with 37.6% of total Chinese investment followed by commercial real estate at 36.1% and the services sector running at 21%. There was no Chinese investment in renewable energy, oil and gas or infrastructure.

Returns are being squeezed. Only one-third of executives believe their turnover will grow in 2021 and 39% say it will decline. The survey shows a tougher, more pragmatic outlook by Chinese investors, there is more emphasis on synergies, profitability and targeted opportunities. On the other hand, much of China’s total foreign investment is linked to Belt and Road agendas. The global context is fundamental to the story. Global direct foreign investment fell by one-third in 2020 and the total fall in direct investment into developed economies was 58% reaching an 80% fall in Europe. Total foreign investment into Australia halved from $US39bn in 2019 to $US20bn in 2020. “China still remains a significant player in our overall foreign investment,” Mr Ferguson said.

He said China’s 2020 investment into the UK and Europe fell by an even larger margin than its investments into Australia. Yet in 2020 about 1.5% of China’s total foreign investments came to Australia, a far lower figure than in the past. Asked what Chinese investors said was their greatest problem dealing with Australia, Mr Ferguson said: “Getting Australian regulatory approval.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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JUDGES TO OVERSEE TRANSGENDER TEEN TREATMENT

By Australian Newsletter

A children’s hospital gender clinic is under review with responsibility for treatment decisions shifted to judges amid great secrecy and an international trend towards caution. New patients at the gender clinic, which cannot be named for legal reasons, have to get court approval before they can go ahead with life-altering hormonal treatments in high demand by teenagers who identify as transgender. The dramatic change followed concerns raised by a state solicitor’s office about the risk of government exposure to litigation akin to the successful case brought against the UK Tavistock clinic by Keira Bell, a young woman who came to regret her treatment with puberty blockers, testosterone and mastectomy.

After the English High Court handed down its Tavistock ruling that minors would struggle to give informed consent to experimental treatment, the parents of patients at the Australian gender clinic were sent a letter warning them the need for court approval would delay a start to blockers or hormones. University of Queensland legal academic Patrick Parkinson said it was a “very significant” turn in the gender clinic debate, likening it to the decision by the Tavistock clinic to halt new referrals for puberty blockers, and the recent policy of a Swedish clinic to limit all future hormonal treatment of minors to strictly supervised clinical trials. Professor Parkinson said the state government was “essentially saying they are going to use the court as a safeguard”, given the grave consequences of a mistaken decision to approve treatment with irreversible effects.

He said the government should be commended “for responding to the changing science on all of this and taking a precautionary approach” to the treatment of minors diagnosed with gender dysphoria, or a distressing sense of conflict between an inner “gender identity” and biological sex.  The judges in the Tavistock case expressed “surprise” about the lack of basic patient data at that UK clinic and the meagre evidence for treatment, concluding that puberty blockers were an experimental pathway to lifelong medicalisation. In recent years there has been an international surge in teens declaring a trans identity and telling parents they fear self-harm if unable to get blockers or hormones quickly, and clinics following the “gender affirmative” approach claim these treatments can be “life-saving”.

But the suicide narrative of affirmative clinicians as well as the evidence base and risks of their medical interventions are under intense international scrutiny, with concerns that a cultural fixation on gender stops exploration of crucial underlying issues such as trauma, autism or awkward same-sex attraction. The new policy at the unnamed Australian gender clinic was revealed in a recent decision by a state court exercising a family law jurisdiction, with Justice Susan Duncanson noting that the Tavistock ruling was “integral” to the change. The Tavistock, England’s only specialist gender clinic for children, has appealed. Justice Duncanson, noted the new policy of court approval for treatment would apply while the children’s hospital gender clinic underwent a review.

Even in cases where the child was 16 or older, able to give informed consent, and parents and clinicians all agreed on treatment, the hospital said it was likely to remain neutral, neither consenting nor opposing the application to the court. And the hospital suggested that in complex or disputed cases, the court might want to involve a “contravener” so the judges would have the benefit of hearing arguments against treatment. Unlike the Tavistock test case, Australia’s Family Court has had a string of gender dysphoria cases where only arguments in favour of medical treatment were heard.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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MCGOWAN EDICT BANS CHRISTIAN LOBBY FROM USING PUBLIC VENUES IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

By Australian Newsletter

A West Australian government policy of refusing to lease its entertainment venues to groups with alternative views to the government has scuppered plans for a series of appearances in the state by the head of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL). The Perth Theatre Trust invoked the venue hire policy last month when it rejected the ACL’s request to book the Albany Entertainment Centre and the Perth Concert Hall for events featuring the group’s head, Martyn Iles, declaring the ACL had “politically motivated objectives’’. The venue hire policy was finalised just days after the state government’s emphatic March election win, and amended following its decision to ban the ACL from its venues across the state.

It states the trust will not accept individuals or organisations “where the content of the event does not represent the views of the West Australian government or the vast majority of Western Australians”. The ACL has found itself at odds with the McGowan government on issues including the Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation that came into effect at the start of July. The ACL is now considering whether to take legal action against the trust, with the policy potentially in breach of section 62 of the Equal Opportunity Act. That act makes it unlawful for a person to not make facilities available to another person on the grounds of their religious or political convictions. Peter Abetz, the WA state director of the ACL, said the policy appeared to be a serious example of government censorship.

Abetz went on “I’d be very keen to see it progressed and the policy changed, or if they don’t do it voluntarily, then perhaps we need to go to some kind of discrimination tribunal.” While the updated policy expressly rules out leasing venues to “political parties for the purposes of electioneering and fundraising”, venues managed by the Perth Theatre Trust and fellow government body VenuesWest were hired out to WA Labor Party candidates and the party in the lead-up to the March election. Retiring Labor MP Peter Watson held both a Christmas concert for constituents late last year and his farewell in January at the Albany Entertainment Centre, while his successor in Albany, Rebecca Stephens, held an event at the venue just before the election. The Labor Party’s campaign launch was also held at the state-owned Perth Arena.

An updated version of the Perth Theatre Trust’s venue hire policy came into effect on 15 March, two days after the McGowan government recorded its overwhelming election win. The Perth Theatre Trust is responsible for a host of venues, including His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth Concert Hall, Subiaco Arts Centre and the State Theatre Centre of WA. The bulk of its funding comes from the state government, which contributed $14.76m in the 2020 financial year, almost double the $7.45m in revenue it generated over the same timeframe. The decision to block the ACL event drew a furious response from Albany mayor Dennis Wellington, who described the policy as draconian, discriminatory and financially irresponsible.

The city of Albany contributes $400,000 a year to maintaining the entertainment centre. Mr Wellington said he would raise the issue at the next meeting of the council. “The ACL are not illegal, they have a right to their opinion, and I cannot see a reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to use the damn thing.’’ WA Culture and Arts Minister David Templeman referred queries about the policy to the Perth Theatre Trust (PTT). A spokeswoman for Perth Theatre Trust said it hired out venues in accordance with its venue hire policy. “PTT is currently considering the specific matters raised by the Australian Christian Lobby,” she said. In subsequent news, the Western Australian Government has backed down. Their policy to cancel those who disagree has been rescinded in its entirety pending a full review.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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VICTORIAN MP CRITICISES CHRISTIAN POINT OF VIEW AS HURTFUL, HARMFUL AND WRONG

By Australian Newsletter

Jacklyn Symes, Northern Victorian politician has described the Australian Christian Lobby’s pamphlets on the recently passed Change or Suppression (Conversion) legislation as “hurtful, harmful and wrong.” However, she didn’t mention that the legislation bans LGBTIQA+ people who want help from getting help [Section 5(1)], and prosecutes parents who want to encourage their gender confused children to wait, rather than rushing into irreversible gender transitioning treatment [Section 64]. These ACL pamphlets seek to bring out truth and raise awareness in the community. And, LGBTIQA+ people should have the freedom to explore other options and seek counselling rather than limiting them to only one option, gender transitioning.

What is concerning about the legislation is that even those who consent to get help cannot get it. This harms LGBTIQA+ people by robbing them of their freedom of choice. In addition, Section 64 amends the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 to allow authorities to investigate and prosecute parents who help their children understand and be at ease with their own biological sex before deciding on gender transitioning treatments. With gender theory being taught extensively in all state schools to children as young as primary level, children confused over their gender will lose the opportunity to have proper conversation with their parents. Parents will either be forced to affirm their child’s preferred gender, or risk being prosecuted for “family violence” that is deemed to cause psychological harm by “changing or suppressing” their child’s desired gender identity.

Out of love and care for families in the community, children, and the LGBTIQA+ community, the ACL pamphlets intend to help parents be aware of the danger of this legislation and avoid litigation. It is also ACL’s wish to advocate for the true freedom of gender confused children and the LGBTIQA+ community. If they are seeking help and consent to receive it, they deserve help in any form. How are ACL’s pamphlets “hurtful, harmful and wrong” or “derogatory” and “appalling” when they tell the truth about passed legislation and reveal the hidden risks?  The Attorney-General and the Andrews Government should ask themselves why they are enacting a law that strips away the freedom to help others or seek help, and that prosecutes parents who want to parent with common sense and acknowledge biological facts.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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BEIJING GUILTY OF BULLYING STUDENTS SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

By Australian Newsletter

Supporters of Beijing have been accused of bullying, threatening, and spying on dozens of Chinese and Hong Kong students on Australia’s university campuses, a Human Rights Watch report has found. More than 20 students across the nation’s top 16 campuses have told the landmark report that pro-Beijing activists in Australia have put photos of them on Chinese social media sites and labelled them traitors, threatened them at rallies, and even reported their families to Communist Party authorities back in Beijing. Some students have also told researchers that they have been hauled in by the regime, when they have returned to China, to explain their pro-democracy activities in Australia. And one student claimed Chinese officials offered to pay for his studies if he spied on members of Australia’s Muslim Uyghur community.

Human Rights Watch is now calling on the nation’s university vice-chancellors and the Morrison government to do more to protect students from campus intimidation and to bolster the value of academic freedom in the face of growing Beijing influence. The university sector said it was deeply concerned by the Human Rights Watch report, and its peak bodies said they were working with government to tackle foreign interference. But many of the pro-democracy students surveyed for the report said they did not feel the universities had been able or willing to step in and protect them. Bonnie, a pro-democracy Hong Kong student at the University of Queensland, said she had been regularly abused on campus and her friends had seen their families targeted by authorities back home.

“When I have been involved in pro-democracy protests on campus, we have been surrounded by Chinese nationalist students, or people brought in by the Chinese embassy. I have had my photo taken and put up on Chinese social media sites. They call us separatists and say we betray the country,” she said. “I’ve been lucky that my parents have not been contacted. One of my friends on campus has been called by his mother back home, saying the police came and that he shouldn’t be involved in protests. The mother of another friend is also currently detained.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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FEMINIST ACADEMIC TARGETED OVER CRITICISM OF TRANS IDEOLOGY

By Australian Newsletter

An Australian academic says she is being targeted for launching a website promoting sex-segregated spaces on campus amid ongoing protests to protect trans-identified students. University of Melbourne Associate Professor of Political Philosophy Holly Lawford-Smith, who is interested in preserving sex-segregated spaces, explained in an interview with Sky News Australia that the project she started caused controversy both on and off campus because it was said to be “transphobic.” “This has been going on since February now,” she said of the antagonism she has experienced. She added that some are trying to shut down her classes and are making accusations against her about her research ethics and behaviour between colleagues on campus.

Supporters of the professor have had water thrown at them, have been subject to profanity-laced threats and physical assaults. The backlash started after Lawford-Smith set up a website called “No Conflict, They Said,” highlighting the clash between women and trans-identifying males who claim to be women. The website is run by members of LGB Alliance Australia. The LGB Alliance, which has chapters in the United Kingdom and the USA, is a group of lesbians, gays and bisexual individuals who consider transgender ideology a threat to the rights of same-sex attracted people. They warn that the ideology is dangerous and confusing to children.

Featured stories on the website include incidents of harassment of women and girls by trans-identifying males in public spaces and how transgender ideology manifests across Australian society. When asked what the university is doing to protect free academic inquiry, the professor told Sky News Australia that a “chilling” effect was pervading free speech on campus. “I already know from a number of different students about their negative experiences in various classes that have been shut down from being able to ask questions about sex and sex-based rights, to be able to question things from a gender-critical perspective at all,” Lawford-Smith explained. Women are disproportionately impacted by this hostility to open inquiry, she added. Activist academics have reportedly tried to get Lawford-Smith fired and have filed petitions against her.

The “gender affirmation” policy proposed on campus appears to be a specific attempt at limiting her public-facing activities related to her academic research, she said. The professor said that work to draft the proposal began shortly after an event in 2019 she hosted with other academics to discuss the issues related to education. Although still a draft, the professor said that policy measures would effectively violate the campus free speech policy by compelling staff and students to use opposite-sex pronouns when referring to transgender-identifying students, inviting the violation of sex-specific spaces and giving trans-identifying students veto power over public events and public discourse.

“The university community is quite divided over this issue,” she replied when asked if she was receiving support from colleagues who secretly tell her that they agree with her viewpoint. “It’s absolutely not the case that it’s me versus the rest of the university. I think this has become a very polarizing issue. I have an awful lot of support, some more public than others.” She warned that because there are “such strong feelings on both sides, it’s going to be difficult for the university to work out a good resolution.” According to Melbourne newspaper The Age, the draft policy would prohibit public speeches or events that the school deems to be an attack on gender diversity. The policy would alter the university’s free speech policy to prevent academics from engaging in public discourse the university believes can “harm” the transgender community.

The professor argues that the word “harm” is not defined in the policy. The draft proposal comes after a queer student group called for the suspension of Lawford-Smith’s feminism class over concerns course materials contained “transphobic rhetoric.” Critics also called for Lawford-Smith to be suspended. A spokesperson for the university said that the proposed policy has been in the works since 2019 and all feedback will be considered before it is finalized. “One of our core values is that there must be a genuine and deep culture of respect for everyone at our university and of course this includes being completely respectful towards the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community,” the spokesperson told The Age.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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NEW REPORT FINDS VULNERABLE CHILDREN BEING TARGETED BY PAEDOPHILE RINGS

By Australian Newsletter

Urgent calls are being made to reform Victoria’s residential care system for children, amid news young people are fleeing temporary homes at alarming rates and are easy prey for predators seeking to sexually or criminally exploit them. The damning findings, which also revealed organised paedophile rings are actively targeting young people in out-of-home care, were reported by an inquiry tabled in parliament.  Principal Commissioner for children and young people Liana Buchanan found young people who go missing are considered “street smart” and therefore the risks connected to their disappearance are downplayed.  “There is no consistent approach to reporting or recording children who are absent or missing from care,” she said in a foreword.

“Many workers recognise that the current system drives a dispiriting and damaging cycle of absence, harm and brief return for many high-risk young people, yet there is a sense of resignation and powerlessness in the face of these systemic failures. Child protection opposition spokesman Matt Bach said the state is in the “grip of a child protection crisis”. “We already knew a record 65 children known to child protection died last year. Through this new report we’ve learnt more about the shameful failures of the Andrews Government, with vulnerable children being successfully targeted by organised paedophile rings, and raped,” he said. “The Andrews Labor Government must change its crisis-driven approach into supporting our children and young people to prevention and early intervention.”

The inquiry found care given to children in residential placements is in “many cases inadequate”. The agencies responsible for residential care include the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Victoria Police and residential service providers. In the 18 months to March 31 last year, 37 per cent of missing children incident briefs contained reports of sexual exploitation. In the same time period, girls and young women were reported as missing at 2.5 times the rate boys and young men were. But it is likely that boys and young men are under-represented in incident reporting. A group of 12 children also appeared to go missing more frequently than others, accounting for 33 per cent of all primary absent reports. Half of those reports concerned three young people in particular.

There was a spike in missing children reports when state of emergency restrictions were announced in Victoria last year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with numbers of absent client incidents up by 36 per cent in the six months to August 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The inquiry found the system used to monitor missing children is “inconsistent” and as a result authorities do not know how many children go missing, how long they disappear for and what happens to them during their absence. The report called for urgent and systemic change in the system, which should recognise how consequences of trauma can drive young people away from their placements. Child protection minister Luke Donnellan said there was a “long way to go” to improve the state’s child protection system.

“Children and young people in residential care have complex backgrounds, with a history of trauma and abuse – so they need extra support to feel safe, stable and settled in their placements,” he said. “We’re boosting the workforce and expanding new care models for children and young people – including wrap-around services, comprehensive mental health support, better connection to community and country, and smaller, more family-like care settings.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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NEW PROGRAM SIMPLY “SAFE SCHOOLS” BY ANOTHER NAME

By Australian Newsletter

Just when politicians tell us the “Safe Schools” radical LGBTIQA+ gender fluid and sexual indoctrination program is dead, buried and cremated, it pops back up again under different branding. It’s almost as if the politicians can’t control it or have lost the will to do so. The latest iteration is courtesy of the Morrison Government’s new “The Good Society” resource which has been produced for children in all Australian schools. I don’t believe for a moment that Christian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is aware of it but sadly this nonsense is being enabled by others in his government and certainly by his woke bureaucracy. And more is on the way courtesy of “The Good Society”.

Here’s a sample of what “The Good Society” is serving up to your children:  The terms sex and gender are sometimes used as if they’re interchangeable, but they are different things. A person’s sex – male or female or intersex – is determined at birth and describes their biological and physiological characteristics like chromosomes and genitals. A person’s gender is their sense of themselves in relation to their biological sex. A person’s gender identity can be the same as their sex assigned at birth, or it can differ. This is exactly what “Safe Schools” was teaching before it was supposedly axed by the Turnbull Government and the New South Wales Berejiklian Government. NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell keeps saying “Safe Schools” has been abolished but gender fluidity keeps turning up in schools and teachers’ staff rooms.

No sensible person believes gender is “assigned at birth”, as if midwives, doctors and parents conspire to inflict something upon a child. Biology, anatomy, DNA and bone structure tell us what gender a baby is, well before birth. But that doesn’t stop the “gender whisperers”. Teaching children some transcendental philosophy that says their mind can tell them they are something in contradiction to their biology is spooky, weird and dangerous. There is an epidemic of confused children presenting to gender clinics around our nation as a result of this new philosophy. None of this is to make light of the serious issue of gender dysphoria which affects a small minority of people and until the promotion of gender fluid ideology, an even smaller number of children. Struggles in this area are real and people need love and care.

But that is different to indoctrinating an entire generation at school. “The Good Society” encourages boys to experiment with gender fluidity as part of so-called “empathy training” by wearing women’s shoes. Its gender ambiguous sex education animated videos would raise the eyebrows of many parents. The Good Society sprung up as a result of the Respect @ Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (2020), which was commissioned in the wake of the Brittany Higgins rape allegations. Under the heading School-based respectful relationships education, recommendation 10 says: All Australian governments should ensure children and young people receive school-based respectful relationships education that is age appropriate, evidence-based and addresses the drivers of gender-based violence, including sexual harassment.

In response, the Morrison Government’s Respect Matters initiative has spawned “The Good Society” for use in schools. It would seem the assumption is that violence against women is because of gender stereotyping which stipulates that males act in a certain way. The program seems designed to break down the idea of gender norms as a way to prevent violence against women. This is laudable but emasculating boys and men is not the way. Teaching good character and the art of being gentlemen and ladies would be more effective than seeking to deconstruct the differences between the genders. The Respect Matters program includes the Good Society online platform. The Good Society platform allows teachers to assign resources for use in their classroom. This allows flexibility for teachers to address the specific needs of their students and school community.

Source: Lyle Shelton, Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party

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WHY WE CAN’T BE CASUAL ABOUT OUR BELIEFS AND VALUES

By Australian Newsletter

It is worth pondering Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s wise words about the importance of the recent G7 + event which he attended. Before he flew out, Morrison gave a speech in Perth where he reflected on the meetings with the world’s most powerful leaders he was about to step in to. This G7 meeting was held in the shadow of Communist China and the pain the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has inflicted upon the world through its unleashing of Covid-19 and its economic and military bullying of other countries. Morrison used the more diplomatic word “coercion” but we know what he means. In this context, he made the following important point about our desire for a world that values freedom, a rules-based order and respect for human rights “over authoritarianism and autocracy”.

“We can’t be casual about these values and beliefs,” Morrison said. “They are inextricably linked to our way of life in this country. We can’t be passive about them. We can’t expect others to advocate for us for them. We live them, we must speak up for them.” Authoritarianism and autocracy flourish when there is no push back. Sadly, the world has been late in waking up to the true agenda of the Chinese Communist Party. The positive of the G7 + is this is no longer the case and the free West is pushing back. But the principles Morrison enunciated don’t just apply to external threats. Australia is equally being hollowed out from within by cultural Marxism and its identity politics. My concern with Morrison has been his reluctance to engage the “culture wars”.

He quite deliberately sat out of the same-sex marriage campaign. After stating his position, he left the campaigning to others which meant our side lacked political fire power as Malcolm Turnbull and Christopher Pyne and others campaigned for the other side. They sustained a debate while Morrison sat on the sidelines. If only he had not “been casual about these beliefs and values” and had spoken up. Because today our children are being overwhelmed by a flood of LGBTIQA+ gender-fluid and radical sexual indoctrination at school. And sadly, as Martyn Iles of the Australian Christian Lobby has revealed, the Morrison Government is funding the latest iteration of this to the tune of $7 million. A failure to speak up consistently has led to rainbow activists continuing to run amok in the bureaucracy.

Yes, we must stand up to external threats like the CCP. But equally, we must fight the enemy within. Sometimes that takes will and courage, especially when the rainbow activists have infiltrated political parties and the public service. Our children are being indoctrinated and free speech crushed by the weaponisation of anti-discrimination laws. We are losing our nation. Think about children receiving experimental gender-bending treatments such as puberty blockers and cross sex hormones. Think about freedom of speech and religion being supressed in once free Australia. Then think about Morrison’s words. “We can’t be casual about these values and beliefs. They are inextricably linked to our way of life in this country. We can’t be passive about them. We can’t expect others to advocate for us for them. We live them, we must speak up for them.”

Source: Lyle Shelton, Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party.

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JOHN ANDERSON CALLS IT A DAY AFTER LOSING SENATE PRE-SELECTION VOTE

By Australian Newsletter

Former deputy prime minister John Anderson has failed in his bid to return to federal parliament, losing out in a Senate pre-selection battle to former NSW Nationals director Ross Cadell. Mr Anderson failed to win the top spot on the NSW Nationals Senate ticket in a “tight” vote, and withdrew from the contest rather than taking the almost unwinnable second position on the ballot. Mr Anderson, 64, said he believed it was the “end of the political road for me”.  “I really can’t see circumstances where I would put myself forward again,” he said. “I felt the need to put myself forward because of the need of the nation and the experience and knowledge I had to offer.” He said his podcast, a popular series of interviews on current issues, kept him across “and perhaps ahead” on some issues.

Nationals sources said Mr Anderson had been considered the front-runner for pre-selection, although the result was not a complete shock. “It was a little surprise but everyone knew it was going to be close,” one source said. The second spot on the Senate ticket went to former Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council chief executive Alison Penfold. Mr Cadell said he would draw on his “immense experience in delivering for the regions”. “It is an honour to be pre­-selected to represent regional NSW, which has a really fantastic future ahead of it,” he said. “Regional Australia is the heartbeat of our great nation and we need more people in Canberra spruiking this fact. “We need to continue to secure the future of our regions, and I know the Nationals are dogged in this belief as they lay the economic foundations for rural areas to thrive well into the future.”

Source: National Alliance of Christian Leaders

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RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION BILL SET FOR SECOND COMING THIS YEAR

By Australian Newsletter

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash is to bring a major rewrite of the contentious Religious Discrimination Bill to parliament by December, sparking new debate over faith-based and gay rights before the next election. Religious leaders are calling for major changes to the Bill, a key 2019 election promise from Scott Morrison, including overriding Victorian bans on gay conversion therapy and broadening the definition of faith-based ­institutions. Both Liberal MPs and faith leaders say Senator Cash’s final Bill will be significantly different to the drafts put out by her predecessor, Christian Porter, before the Bill was shelved during the height of the Covid-19 crisis. But the nation’s leading LGBTQI advocacy group said it would not accept any incursion on the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender Australians.

Senator Cash said the Bill would be put forward before the end of the year, possibly avoiding a clash with a federal election campaign in early 2022. “Our government takes the issue of discrimination against Australians on the grounds of their religious beliefs seriously,” she said. “I am working to progress the Religious Discrimination Bill so that it can be considered by parliament by the end of this year. I am meeting with stakeholders so that all input can be considered.” Religious leaders have been anxious to restart the push for religious discrimination protections during the pandemic when many faith institutions faced strict Covid-19 restrictions. Before the pandemic, there were already concerns that Mr Porter’s draft legislation was too limited and did not have the power to significantly protect faith-based groups.

Victoria’s ban on conversion therapy, a practice designed to turn a gay, bisexual or transgender person straight , has sparked new concerns among religious leaders pushing for a federal religious discrimination Act. Presbyterian Church of Australia moderator-general Peter Barnes said that he wants any federal legislation to have the power to override state discrimination laws. “The Victorian conversion therapy law criminalises Christianity, it affects prayer or counselling” he said. “The draft legislation was useless, but the Victorian situation has really shown its weakness.” The push for a religious discrimination Act was sparked by the 2017 national vote for same-sex marriage and LGBTQI rights groups have warned the government against bringing in any religious-focused legislation that would end up increasing discrimination against gay people.

Equality Australia chief executive Anna Brown said religious people should be protected from discrimination, but called on Senator Cash not to prioritise faith-based institutions over LGBTQI rights. “Our laws should protect us all, equally, but the current draft Religious Discrimination Bill is deeply flawed, containing unprecedented and dangerous provisions that would undermine access to healthcare and inclusive workplaces,” she said.  “Instead of prioritising laws that privilege religious institutions and entrench new forms of discrimination, the new Attorney-General should deliver on the government’s commitment to protect students at religious schools, and wind back outdated exemptions that allow religious institutions to treat people unfairly because of who they are or whom they love.”

Other faith leaders also hope Senator Cash’s restart of the religious discrimination Act process will make changes to the drafts presented by Mr Porter. Executive Council of Australian Jewry chief executive Peter Wertheim said the government had to use the reset to broaden the Bill’s definitions of faith-based institutions to cover a wider base than places of worship and schools. “Given the broad range of criticisms of the two previous exposure drafts of the Bill, the government would be wise to consider a fresh approach,” he said. Some faith community leaders like Mr Wertheim want the federal government to base its legislation on the work done by a NSW Legislative Council committee, which examined the religious freedoms Bill authored by state One Nation leader Mark Latham.

The NSW Bill, which the committee backed as a “useful template” for a state religious freedoms law with amendments, would give individuals greater protection against being sacked for religious statements made in a personal capacity, and safeguard religious not-for-profit organisations. Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli is due to meet with Senator Cash, government MPs and members of the Labor Party to discuss a religious discrimination Act.  He said there was room to move on improving the draft legislation. NSW senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who works closely with faith communities, said the draft legislation could not work as a final Bill. “The current bill falls far short of adequately protecting religious freedom. It reinforces my view that no bill is better than a flawed bill,” she said.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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UNIVERSITIES SUBMIT 4000 FOREIGN DEALS FOR SCRUTINY AND POSSIBLE CANCELLATION

By Australian Newsletter

More than 6000 university deals with foreign powers are being scrutinised by Foreign Minister Marise Payne, as she considers vetoing any contrary to the national interest. The Group of Eight universities alone have submitted more than 4000 foreign deals, including agreements to operate China-linked Confucius Institutes, as the university sector seeks to re-engage with the Morrison government over national security. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) was also notified of more than 2000 foreign arrangements from the nation’s 30 other higher education institutions. DFAT will now comb through the university sector’s arrangements and memorandums of understanding with foreign entities before Senator Payne makes a determination to cancel any of them, as she did in April with the Victorian government’s Belt and Road deal with Beijing.

“I recognise the work universities have put into the (Foreign Arrangements) Scheme and appreciate their engagement,” Senator Payne said. “Universities themselves now have full visibility of their international activity across their various faculties. This will result in improved governance and due diligence of their foreign agreements.” The mass collation of foreign deals comes after more than 2000 pieces of written correspondence and 100 meetings and briefings from DFAT for states, local councils and universities. Group of 8 chief executive Vicki Thomson said attempts to meet the deadline set by the Foreign Relations Act was a major task for the eight Universities, which include the University of Sydney and University of Melbourne, and more deals would need to be submitted.

“This process has been a huge logistic and administrative exercise putting hundreds of thousands of person-to-person ‘agreements’ and other minor arrangements in the frame,” she said. “There is, however, more to be done as some universities were required to review as many as 75 agreements for every one agreement lodged with the scheme.” The Foreign Relations Act, which orders states, local councils and universities to submit all overseas deals to the Foreign Minister, was brought in amid concerns about links between university researchers and the Chinese military. A University of Queensland spokeswoman said they had submitted 587 foreign agreements and 71 prospective deals to DFAT. The University of Melbourne submitted “several hundred” agreements, and the University of WA submitted 180 deals, mostly with Chinese partners.

The Australian National University, Monash University and the University of Sydney also confirmed they had submitted foreign arrangements, but would not give any numerical details. University leaders have been prepared for their on-campus Confucius Institutes to be cancelled by the Foreign Minister. The institutes purport to be Chinese cultural and language study centres but have been linked with Beijing’s attempts to influence foreign universities. The University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, University of Adelaide, UNSW, UWA, and the University of Queensland all have Confucius Institutes, and have submitted their contracts for review. The higher education sector unsuccessfully lobbied to be exempted from the Foreign Relations Act over concerns the law was too broad.

Ms Thomson said some foreign partners had begun to either withdraw or pause deals with Australian universities due to the legislation. “The impact of this legislation has not gone unnoticed by current and potential international partners of Go8 universities,” she said. “A number have withdrawn from agreements, not because of any issues concerning alignment with Australia’s foreign policy, but on the basis of complexity and what they perceive (to be) unwarranted government overreach into the university sector.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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VICTORIA RECORDS HIGHEST LEVEL OF FAMILY VIOLENCE ON RECORD

By Australian Newsletter

Family violence offences in Victoria have reached the highest level on record over the past year to end of March, making up one fifth of all recorded offences. While the total number of offences fell 1.8 per cent to 532,271, as did the recorded offences rate per 100,000 Victorians to 7950.6, family violence-related offences soared 11.3 per cent to 112,432 offences, the highest figure since records began in 1993. The Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) ascribes the increase to a 18.4 per cent spike in breaches of family violence order, up to 53,285 offences, and a climb in the number of family violence-related common assaults, up 5.9 per cent to 16,264 offences. The state’s rate of family incidents grew 8.3 per cent to 1389.1 per 100,000 with 92,999 incidents recorded.

The number of family incidents that resulted in at least one criminal offence increased 6.3% to 46,782 incidents in the last 12 months. CSA Chief Statistician Fiona Dowsley said the number of family violence-related victim reports had continued to increase, while other types of victim reports decreased over the past 12 months.  “This increase in family violence-related victimisation has been seen for the last 3 years, reflecting more than pandemic-related impacts,” she said. Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations Rick Nugent warned the actual scope of family violence in Victoria may be larger still with under-reporting in many communities. One fifth of Victoria’s crime is now family violence related and Deputy Commissioner Nugent said he would love to be able get to the point where he could say victims had total trust to report family violence.

Nugent said “Police had been very proactive during the pandemic in relation to family violence with 415 additional family violence investigators appointed and 31 dedicated family violence teams in place. He said the focus was on reducing family violence-related crimes by holding offenders to account and ensuring victims received the support they needed. Other key statistics include 37,939 fines for breaching the chief health officer’s directions of which around one-quarter have been paid and about 2000 reviewed and withdrawn. Victoria’s lengthy lockdowns also contributed to about 44,000 fewer thefts and about 13,000 fewer burglaries including a 30.9 per cent fall in residential burglaries. In the past year 1500 fewer people were robbed in the street compared to last year, a drop of 37 per cent, and 5500 fewer cars were stolen, a fall of 26 per cent.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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THE JESUS OF HISTORY

By Australian Newsletter

In 2013 Time Magazine did a story about the ‘Most Significant Person in History’ and concluded after a very comprehensive and detailed research program that Jesus was that person. If one googles ‘the most significant person in History’ and searches through the numerous websites claiming this title you will find that Jesus appears more than any other claimant. His life story on film has had more than eight billion views and counting.  The Jesus film has been translated into 1,800 languages. His life story is written in the most read and most published book in history. There have been some five plus billion copies of the Bible distributed in over 340 languages.  And at least one book of the Bible is available in over 2,000 languages. His life story has been translated and recorded and can be heard in some six thousand, five hundred different languages on the 5 fish app.

What do we know about Jesus from texts apart from the Bible? Jesus is mentioned in the writings of both the Jewish historian Josephus “Antiquities of the Jews” (Bk.XVIII.III.3 written about 93 AD) and the theologian Origen, in his book “Contra Celsum” written about 248 AD.  J. Warner Wallace, Author of Cold Case Christianity was a former homicide detective and former atheist.  He used his ‘cold case’ skills to verify the reality of the existence of Jesus. Sir Lionel Luckhoo (1914-1997) is considered one of the greatest lawyers in British history. He’s recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Most Successful Advocate,” with 245 consecutive murder acquittals. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II — twice.

Luckhoo declared: “I humbly add I have spent more than 42 years as a defence trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world and am still in active practice. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt. It is recorded in the Bible that at least 513 people saw Jesus after his resurrection. These recorded eye-witness accounts happened on at least 8 separate occasions.”

The largest volume and most authenticated writings about the teachings of Jesus were recorded by those ‘eyewitnesses’ who actually lived with and were taught by Jesus himself.  The accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as recorded in the Bible have stood the test of time and the sceptics. Millions of followers of Jesus around the world can attest to the value and transformational nature of his teachings. One would draw the conclusion that it would be beneficial if people could be encouraged to examine and explore the teachings of Jesus. Might this not help to address racism and violence in our societies? Consider some other celebrations and events that would demonstrate the impact and the significance of this person Jesus.

  1. Throughout most of the world the usual way to refer to the calendar year was by using the abbreviations BC and AD. BC was shorthand for ‘before Christ’ and AD was shorthand for ‘anno domini – in the year of our Lord (Latin). Despite being unable to establish the exact date of Jesus’ birth, it was and is still used as the fulcrum for the Western way of marking time.
  1. In many countries around the world, the events of Christmas and Easter are celebrated. They came to be celebrated because of the significance of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection.
  1. There are many phrases attributable to him, however the best known is the famous ‘Golden Rule’ sometimes articulated as ‘Treat others as you want them to treat you.’ Jesus said it like this ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
  1. In a time and culture that was almost exclusively patriarchal, Jesus did not shy away from expounding the value of the women and children. Would he be the most potent advocate for women and children in history?

Is it any wonder, then, that Christians are the largest religious group in the world?

Information provided by: Graham McDonald Email : graham@diduno.info

For more stories related to our history, heritage and culture go to www.diduno.info

Source: Diduno.info

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SCRIPTURE USED TO JUSTIFY VIOLENCE NEW REPORT FINDS

By Australian Newsletter

Anglicans are more likely to have been in a violent relationship with an intimate partner in their lifetime than the broader Australian community, a new report finds. And Christian teachings were used by some perpetrators of violence to justify their actions, the study, commissioned by the Anglican Church of Australia concludes. The study, the first in Australia to look at intimate partner violence based on faith, found that the prevalence among Anglicans is the same or higher than in the wider community. It reports 22% of Anglicans admit to having been in a violent relationship with a partner, compared to 15% overall. When the actual scope of intimate partner violence, such as threats and coercive control, was explained to the 2000 participants, including 825 people who identified as Anglican, the proportion was higher for both groups.

“In the general population, the prevalence of intimate partner violence overall across their adult lifetime was 38% among those who had ever been in an adult intimate relationship. Among those who identified as Anglican it was 44%” the study found. A qualitative part of the study found Christian scripture was used by some perpetrators to justify their actions. “Participants said perpetrators made claims about Christian teachings and used their power in relation to church structures to control and extend the cycle of abuse,” the report said. “In some cases, participants said their abusive partners used obligations around the sanctity of marriage, the ‘headship’ of the husband, and the imperative to forgive to control them.”

90% of the almost 400 Anglican clergy who took part in the study said misuse of scripture was implicated at least some of the time in cases they knew about, the report said. The two-year study is the first in Australia by any faith-based organisation to interrogate its constituency about the issue. “All Anglicans will feel deep sadness over these results,” Anglican Church of Australia Primate, the Most Reverend Geoffrey Smith said. “But, armed with this data, we can develop a better response to protect those within our church communities from domestic violence.” The Anglican Church Synod commissioned the research in the wake of the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence, which concluded faith communities were vital settings for influencing attitudes and providing leadership in relation to family violence.

The church said it had no framework for what it could do without a baseline of understanding about intimate partner violence within church communities, so in 2017 it commissioned the research. Convener of the church’s Family Violence Working Group, the Rev Tracy Lauersen, said the research revealed “a significant intimate partner violence problem within the Australian Anglican Church population”. “This is tragic, it is confronting and it is lamentable,” she said. “Intimate partner violence doesn’t discriminate based on wealth, ethnicity or education, nor religion. “But knowing about it, we can now respond appropriately to prevent and address it.” Rev Lauersen said the church has committed to a 10-point response plan focused on cultural change, education, training and support.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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BILL TO PROTECT ABORTED BABIES BORN ALIVE INTRODUCED TO PARLIAMENT

By Australian Newsletter

A Bill to require medical practitioners to provide a child born alive during a late term abortion with medical care has now been finalised and is set to be introduced into Parliament. A notice of intention to introduce the bill has been lodged by Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen, and seconded by the Member for New England Barnaby Joyce. Mr Christensen said some final additions had been made to his Private Member’s Bill titled Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Act 2021. “The additions to the bill are a new requirement for medical practitioners to report children born alive as a result of abortion within seven days,” Mr Christensen said. “The other change is to underscore the false notion that the bill would require medical practitioners to provide life-saving treatments to non-viable babies.

“It does this by stating that the care provided should be commensurate to the circumstances and could include palliative care.” Mr Christensen said he was “asking my parliamentary colleagues, and our entire community to consider the painful question: ‘what happens to a child born alive during a late term abortion?’ “The truth is that the child is left to die.” The bill remedies the fact Australia is in breach of two international agreements to which it is a signatory: The Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which recognise the right of access to life-saving health care services. “The bill makes it an offence not to provide life-saving treatment punishable with penalties of $400,000 for health practitioners and higher for corporations,” Mr Christensen said. “Health practitioners who breach the law could also be deregistered in Australia.

Source: Office of George Christensen MP

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UPRISING AUSTRALIA

By Australian Newsletter

The Uprising prayer movement is worldwide. Uprising Australia is a united prayer conference organised by youth but with the whole Body of Christ invited to participate. Similar events will be held in different nations across the world. The purpose of this conference is to pray for Australia. It is being held at FCF Life Centre, 111 Eskdale Street, Minchinbury (Western Sydney) from Tuesday June 29 till Friday July 2. For full details including cost and how to register for the Conference go to www.uprisingaustralia.com

Source: Uprising Australia

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FARMERS EYE LONG CAMPAIGN AGAINST MOUSE PLAGUE

By Australian Newsletter

Farmers across inland NSW are bracing for a long battle against the mouse plague with any lull during winter expected to be reversed once spring brings renewed food supplies as crops ripen. Jason McCutcheon, a fourth-generation wheat and cattle farmer from Trangie, in the state’s north-west, said swarms of mice began appearing in February before heavy rains “drowned a heap of them”. “They were absolutely horrendous,” Mr McCutcheon said. “Everywhere’s bad here, as far as the eye can see.” While numbers of the rodents have eased lately, he has had no choice but to lay fresh bait around his shed where he keeps grain for his cattle, and make regular baitings at $5000 each time across his 1000-hectare property.

“They’re still doing lots of damage,” McCutcheon said. “You might kill all the mice on your farm but if your next-door neighbour isn’t doing the same, they will just come through your fence.” While a good frost will help keep them down, the mice are expected to return with renewed menace come the spring when ripening crops provide new food sources. “I’ve got all my mice bait ready to go,” he said. Mr McCutcheon shared the concerns of NSW Farmers about the government’s plans to begin distribution of 10,000 litres of the potent poison bromadiolone if it gets the nod from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. While he might consider using bromadiolone if it is cheaper than the zinc phosphide now in use, the restricted bait “would do more damage to more animals, including birds”.

The pesticides authority is still to decide whether to permit the poison’s use, although even then it might only be approved along property perimeters, limiting its effectiveness since many mice have already set up within farms. In the meantime, Mr McCutcheon and his neighbours are dealing with the gruesome task of disposing of thousands of dead, stinking mouse corpses, which fill their homes with an ongoing stench. “We’ve also lost two air-conditioners, one washing machine, a toaster and a kettle [as mice have chewed into their wiring],” he said. “The insurance doesn’t cover the rodents, unfortunately.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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MPs URGED TO “GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER” OVER GENDER INTERVENTION

By Australian Newsletter

MPs across Australia must “get their act together” to protect more young people from the harms of gender intervention, argues FamilyVoice Australia (FVA). “In response to a growing number of confused children and teenagers receiving puberty suppression or cross sex hormone intervention in various States, FVA is respectfully urging MPs to get their act together and protect young people at risk from the harmful consequences of so-called gender identity treatment,” said FamilyVoice Australia spokesman David d’Lima. Answers to questions recently raised in the West Australian Parliament by Hon Nick Goiran show a rapid increase in the number of confused young people receiving hormonal intervention in response to gender confusion.

“We commend Nick Goiran, but we need many more MPs to speak up and protect young people from life-long damage in the West and beyond,” David d’Lima said. FamilyVoice also has applauded recent concerns raised in the New South Wales Parliament by Hon Fred Nile on the issue of gender intervention. “Questions raised by Rev Nile have confirmed that the NSW Coalition Government supports experimental gender intervention on children that may produce life-long infertility and other irreversible consequences,” David d’Lima said. “MPs who would not want such radical responses to harm their own young kids or grandchildren cannot sit back and allow confusion to somehow justify high risk prescriptions for young people in the mainstream community.

“The way forward is clarity about biology, and the sensitive encouragement of young people who are struggling with gender identity, but not to prescribe dangerous chemical intervention,” he said. “MPs must also put a stop to the propaganda and misinformation about gender that is driving the confusion in the first place.”

Source: FamilyVoice Australia

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