Australian Newsletter

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By Australian Newsletter

The tactics of left-wing activist group GetUp in the last election campaign could be laid bare before a parliamentary committee with two Liberal backbenchers preparing to lodge complaints to an inquiry in the May 18 poll.  Liberal MP Nicolle Flint will join fellow Coalition backbencher Kevin Andrews in formally complaining about GetUp’s election tactics, a development which could see office bearers from the activist group hauled before parliament to explain their conduct.  Aggressive tactics in Flint’s seat of Boothby led to vandals attacking her office and the 41-year-old being stalked.

“I will be making a detailed submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters regarding the behaviour of GetUp & the Unions in the seat of Boothby during the election campaign,” she said.  ‘I will provide detailed evidence as to their tactics which included: flooding the electorate with print material personally attacking me.  Flooding Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with personal attacks on me, organising protesters outside my electorate office, at community events, at public transport stops, at Liberal events, at community debates.”

Mr Andrews, the former defence minister, who won his Melbourne seat of Menzies despite a strong campaign against him, will also make a submission to the committee. “I intend to make a submission to the Committee about the activities of GetUp and its affiliates,” he said.  Mr Andrews said that he was falsely accused of supporting gay conversion therapy, a topic he has never even discussed, with GetUp withdrawing the claim only after he threatened legal action.  He was also targeted by a group called Colour Code, which shared the same address as GetUp, and distributed material in Mandarin to Chinese-Australian voters in his electorate labelling him a racist.

Ms Flint, revealed she was stalked during the election campaign and had her election material vandalised.  She told the media she wanted the aggressive campaigns to stop and to make GetUp’s funding more transparent.  “I want to do everything in my power to make sure this behaviour stops in Australia,” she said.  “We’ve got to make sure people like me feel safe in my workplace.  We’ve never seen this level of aggression, and a lot of it was abuse as well.  “We need to fully expose the tactics of GetUp and the unions and how they’ve run these hit campaigns against people like me.

“I don’t believe GetUp is subject to the same political funding reporting requirements that the unions or certainly political parties are.  So where is the funding from?”  A spokesman for GetUp rejected responsibility for Ms Flint’s treatment, saying the group had written a tweet during the campaign condemning the attacks on her campaign office.  “GetUp condemns the sexist and cruel attacks Nicolle Flint and other women, such as Zali Steggall, faced during the election, as well as bullying from within the party.  “We specifically condemned the attacks on Ms Flint’s office at the time. There is no place for that in our politics,” it said.

“GetUp volunteers campaigned in Boothby to champion climate action, by singing alongside children’s entertainer Peter Combe, having heart-to-heart phone calls with their neighbours and volunteering on election day.  “We will continue to hold politicians to account on the issues that matter.”  A GetUp spokesman said the organisation would be “happy” to appear before MPs if they were hauled before the electoral affairs committee.  He also denied the activist network’s funding were not transparent.  “We are of course happy to assist the committee and will continue to do so in order to defend and advance Australian democratic participation” the spokesman said.

“GetUp is strictly regulated under the Commonwealth Electoral Act.  GetUp is obliged to disclose cumulative donations of $13,800 or more in a financial year to the Australian Electoral Commission, as are political parties.  “But because GetUp is passionate about transparency in our democracy, we disclose all cumulative donations of $10,000 or more in real time, unlike political parties, whose donations remain secret beyond election cycles.”

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By Australian Newsletter

Cricket Australia’s new transgender policy has been met with fierce opposition from a number of sources.  The policy will allow self-identifying transgender people to play in whatever category they choose.  This means biological men can play as women.  Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lashed the new policy as “mystifying” and “heavy handed”.  The new policy ensures transgender and gender-diverse people can play cricket at the highest level in Australia. “I think it’s pretty heavy-handed to put it mildly,” Mr Morrison said. “The thing about sport is it should be driven locally by clubs and I have no doubt these sorts of issues are being managed practically at a club level.”

The Prime Minister suggested “there are far more practical ways to handle these issues” and he also “cautioned it was important to  manage it calmly.”  Kirralie Smith, Binary spokeswoman, was also mystified by Cricket Australia’s decision. “Women will be the big losers of allowing biological men to compete as women.  Males have an inarguable advantage having gone through puberty with high levels of testosterone.  It is insulting to women who have worked hard to reach elite levels and it puts them in a dangerous position.  This is a sure-fire way to destroy women’s competitions and to remove all incentives for girls to even participate in the first place.”

Source: Binary

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By Australian Newsletter

There were cheers as the controversial bill to decriminalise abortion passed the NSW lower house.  The bill to remove terminations from the state’s criminal code passed 59 votes to 31, but created a split within the Liberals with many of the party’s 35 MPs opposing the bill.  The proposed laws will now be scrutinised by the Parliament’s social issues committee, before proceeding to a vote in the upper house where it is expected to pass.  Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard supported the bill, but others including Attorney-General Mark Speakman, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Planning Minister Rob Stokes voted against the bill.

Now a coalition of upper house MPs from across minor parties have banded together in a plot to thwart the passage of the bill and will launch a fresh bid to prevent sex-selective terminations from being legalised.  The gender selection issue has dominated the bruising debate for Premier Gladys Berejiklian and has trigged deep divisions in all parties.  The issue is so contentious it has changed the stance of Shooters, Fishers & Farmers (SFF) MPs, who hold critical power in the upper house, who will now likely vote against the bill.  Prior to the exposing of the gender-based abortion loophole, the SFF members had been supportive of the bill.

The abortion debate has now split the minor party, with three lower house Shooters MPs having supported it when it passed on Thursday night following three days of fiery debate.  Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher has expressed his distress that an amendment to save the lives of babies that are born alive after an abortion attempt was not passed.  “If a civilisation is to be judged by how it treats its weakest members, New South Wales has failed spectacularly,” he said.  “Better proposed amendments, such as one to require that a baby born alive after a failed abortion be given lifesaving care, were defeated.”

In the US, 143 infants were born alive and died between 2003 and 2014 after attempted abortions, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.  Liberal MP and former minister for women Tanya Davies unsuccessfully moved a motion to require “termination not to be used for gender selection”.  Instead, members agreed to an amendment by Nationals MP Leslie Williams noting disapproval of the practice.  It requires the health ministry to review and report within 12 months.  A number of minor party members in the upper house have vowed to revive the gender issues when the bill is before them on August 20.

Christian Democrat MLC Fred Nile is already discussing amendments with One Nation’s Mark Latham and several Liberal members, including a motion to prevent sex-selective abortion.  Mr Nile said he would revive the motions that Ms Davies failed to get through the lower house, including reducing the threshold for restrictions of late-term abortions from 22 weeks to 20.  “I think it’s very important to discourage women or families and husband or wife if they want to try and control whether they’re going to have girls or boys,” Mr Nile said.  Shooters Party leader Robert Borsak said he was likely to oppose the legislation after he became concerned over the gender issues.

“I just won’t countenance any situation where there’s a chance for cultural reasons or other for potential parents to be selecting against a female,” Borsak said.  “That’s an anathema to me and I don’t want that to happen.”  He said he believed fellow Shooter MLC Mark Banasiak and Mr Latham would also not support the legislation.  Labor MLC Courtney Houssos is also open to an amendment on sex-selective abortions.  Nine upper house MPs have told The Daily Telegraph they will not support the bill.  Independent MP Alex Greenwich, who originally moved the bill, said Ms Davies’ amendment was “hostile” and “poorly drafted”.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said gender-selective abortion “should not happen”.  “Not one Member of Parliament should think that there is any opportunity in this state for gender-selective abortion to occur,” he said.  But he has been unable to point to a section of the bill that outlaws abortions based on gender.  Other major amendments that were rejected included one that would have strengthened protections for women against coercion to abort, and a motion to allow health services to collect data on abortions to determine their frequency, with claims that it was unfair to asylum seekers who wouldn’t have a Medicare card.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports 

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By Australian Newsletter

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has declared Australia should not let differences with China define an “important” relationship, as the Chinese embassy accuses Liberal MP Andrew Hastie of adopting a “Cold War mentality” after warning its rise could place Australia’s sovereignty and freedoms at risk.  The embassy said the comments by Mr Hastie, the chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, were detrimental to China-Australia relations.  Mr Hastie used a column in Nine newspapers to compare the West’s response to China to that of the French against Nazi Germany.  The response by China’s embassy was swift.

“We strongly deplore the Australian federal MP Andrew Hastie’s rhetoric on ‘China threat’ which lays bare his Cold-War mentality and ideological bias,” the embassy said in a statement.  “History has proven and will continue to prove that China’s peaceful development is an opportunity, not a threat to the world.  “We urge certain Australian politicians to take off their ‘coloured lens’ and view China’s development path in an objective and rational way.  “They should make efforts to promote mutual trust between China and Australia, instead of doing the opposite.”

Senator Payne would not slap down Mr Hastie for his critique and said an Indo-Pacific that was free, open and prosperous was overwhelmingly in the interest of Australia and its partners in the region.  “There are many opportunities for both Australia and China in our bilateral relationship.  It’s an important relationship underpinned by a comprehensive strategic partnership and a free trade agreement which benefits both countries,” Senator Payne said.  “There are differences from time to time but we should not let our relationship be defined by those differences.  We will continue to manage the relationship in Australia’s best interests.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton defended Mr Hastie, saying he was one of the most distinguished members of parliament after serving as an SAS captain.  “Andrew Hastie is somebody who has served with great distinction and it is his right as a backbencher to raise issues that are of concern to him,” Mr Dutton said.  While he refused to comment on Mr Hastie’s opinion piece, Mr Dutton said Australia must ensure all of its partners respected its sovereignty whether it’s in the area of trade negotiations, the allegations of theft of IP or on our university campuses.  We’ll continue to work with countries so people understand the boundaries,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison distanced his government from Mr Hastie’s warning.  The Prime Minister did not reject Mr Hastie’s critique, saying the issues and challenges he had raised were not new.  But Mr Morrison pointed out his colleague, who also chairs the parliamentary joint standing committee on intelligence and security, was not a minister and was therefore free to say what he wanted as a backbench MP.  Mr Morrison said Australia would continue to have a “cooperative arrangement” with China and declared there was more to be gained from the relationship, particularly from a trade perspective.

Mr Hastie said Australia must be clear-eyed about its position in the world as it balanced security and trade interests.  “We are resetting the terms of engagement with China to preserve our sovereignty, security and democratic convictions, as we also reap the benefits of our trade relationship,” he said.  “Right now our greatest vulnerability lies not in our infrastructure, but in our thinking.  If we don’t understand the challenge ahead for our society, in our parliaments, in our universities, in our private enterprises, in our charities, our little platoons, then choices will be made for us.  Our sovereignty, our freedoms, will be diminished.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

One Nation NSW leader Mark Latham has accused NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian of doing a deal with Independent Alex Greenwich prior to the election to bring the abortion debate on because she was concerned she would fall into minority government at the March state election.  Mr Latham has accused Ms Berejiklian of running the “Berejiklian-Greenwich government”.  Mr Latham said Mr Greenwich was being given a “rails run” by the government, including on introducing a private members’ bill on abortion, when other members introduced private members bills and saw them kicked off to parliamentary committees for six months or not debated.

Mr Latham said Ms Berejiklian, who has a majority of two, had given Mr Greenwich three concessions since being elected: the abortion bill, making him chair of a committee which he said was aimed at killing coal jobs and making him deputy chair of the lockout laws review committee.  He also attacked the cross-party working group which had worked on the abortion bill, saying it was led by Nationals MP Trevor Khan, who he said had been given more power than most ministers.  “Trevor Khan is like a shop steward for the leftist progressive issues of the parliament,” Mr Latham said.

He said of the prospect of a Berejiklian-Greenwich deal: “How else do you explain this convergence of the private members bill that is rammed through the parliament?  “I’m putting two and two together and getting four.  A spokesman for the premier said of Mr Latham’s claims there was a deal with Mr Greenwich: “This is completely untrue.  It did not happen.”  Before the election, Mr Greenwich and fellow Independents wrote to Ms Berejiklian with a series of demands.  After the election, where she did not mention social issues, the Premier said social issues would be her priority in this term.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

A UN committee including members from China, Cuba, Uganda and Burkina Faso will oversee key decisions on Sydney’s future water supply, flood mitigation and flight paths from the new international airport.  Australia has agreed to give World Heritage Committee (WHC) members full details of the environmental impact of a planned increase in the height of the Warragamba Dam wall before any final decision to proceed is made.  The committee has also requested final flight path data for the new airport to ensure there is no impact on the Blue Mountains, a listed World Heritage area.

Intervention by the WHC could mean flights are routed over populated areas rather than the national park.  The committee also told the federal government to limit future mining development in and around the protected zone.  Australia was represented at the meeting by a nine-member delegation of senior bureaucrats as well as a six-person indigenous delegation from the Gunditjmara people of southwest Victoria.  The indigenous delegation’s attendance is in anticipation of a new heritage listing being approved for their area.  The Budj Bim area will be the first World Heritage listing of an Australian site exclusively for its cultural values.

Ms Ley said the federal government recognised the importance of protecting the Greater Blue Mountains’ World Heritage status.  “World Heritage listing is a significant international achievement for any property,” she said.  “It is based on a recognition that the Blue Mountains has outstanding natural values that are globally significant.  World Heritage listing protects the values of the property, and also delivers social and economic benefits.”  Ms Ley said the listing did not mean that development could not take place in western Sydney, “but it does mean that every effort has to be made to protect the natural values of the Greater Blue Mountains”.

“To retain the World Heritage listing it is important to demonstrate that those efforts are being made and that is what this process can achieve,” Ms Ley said. Raising the Warragamba Dam wall is a state government project but it is being assessed under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act.  The federal government is the state party recognised by UNESCO for World Heritage matters.  Australia is one of 21 nations on the current World Heritage Committee.  Many of the nations on the WHC have poor environmental records, including host nation Azerbaijan.

The Absheron Peninsula in Azerbaijan is regarded as one of the most ecologically devastated regions in the world because of severe air, soil and water pollution.  Brazil and Indonesia have been criticised for widespread deforestation, while Zimbabwe’s poor mining practices are blamed for heavy metal pollution of the African nation’s land.  A coalition of environment groups, led by the Colong Foundation and including former Greens leaders Bob Brown and Christine Milne, has lobbied UNESCO to intervene.  Colong Foundation organiser Harry Burkitt said hundreds of donors, volunteers and supporters from western Sydney had helped take the Warragamba Dam fight to the UN.

Foundation director Keith Muir said that as a signatory to the World Heritage convention, Australia must accept the rules that go with it. “The World Heritage Committee is within its rights to criticise our intended damage to this World Heritage area,” he said.  The proposal to lift Warragamba Dam’s wall by 14m for flood mitigation is expected to cost more than $700 million.  NSW Finance Minister Damien Tudehope said the proposal to raise Warragamba Dam was a key element of the government’s flood strategy for the Hawkesbury Nepean river floodplain.

“While there will be some environmental impacts from temporarily holding floodwaters behind a raised dam wall, they must be measured against the social and financial impacts a catastrophic flood would have on western Sydney,” Tudehope said.  Critics argue the project is designed to provide additional land development opportunities in the flood-prone area.  Last October, the NSW parliament passed an amendment to the Water NSW Act 2014, exempting Warragamba Dam from the prohibition to increase temporary inundation in a national park.  Australia told the WHC the raising of the wall was expected to increase the frequency and extent of temporary inundation upstream of the dam.

The Committee noted this “with concern”. Former NSW environment minister Bob Debus told the WHC meeting the area proposed for intermittent inundation included up to 1000 hectares of World Heritage property and up to 3700ha within the adjacent protected area critical to its integrity.  Up to 65km of wilderness rivers would be inundated.  ”The area proposed for in­undation includes at least 300 known Gundungurra Aboriginal cultural sites, which would be damaged,” Mr Debus said.  He said the NSW government has treated the protection of outstanding universal value in a World Heritage area as little more than an irritating afterthought.

He said the state government’s real motivation was to increase residential development in the flood plain.  The WHC said inundation of any areas within the Blue Mountains World Heritage property was likely to impact on its outstanding universal value.  The committee reaffirmed that it considered the construction of dams with large reservoirs within the boundaries of World Heritage properties as incompatible with their World Heritage status.  The committee noted advice from Australia that development of Western Sydney Airport might result in “some noise impacts within the property”.  These could be minimised through the airspace and flight path design.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has delayed a vote to decriminalise abortion in NSW after conservative Liberal MPs pressured her for more time to consider it.  Independent MP Alex Greenwich introduced the bill last week, with an unprecedented 15 co-sponsors from all sides politics, but it will now not be debated until this week.  With debate expected to be held in Tuesday of this week, by the time you read this it is possible the debate and vote will have been finalised.  Several senior Liberals were keen to have the bill debated last week but in a heated Liberal Party room meeting last Tuesday, there was a push for the issue to be delayed.

Police Minister David Elliott, Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly, Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies and Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton were among those who were worried about it being rushed through.  Community Services Minister Gareth Ward defended Health Minister Brad Hazzard’s role in the drafting of the bill, telling colleagues Mr Hazzard’s involvement ensured a sensible outcome.  Mr Hazzard and Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock are co-sponsors of the bill, along with MPs from Labor, the Greens, the Nationals and Animal Justice.

One senior Liberal said there was concern MPs had not seen the bill until Saturday night and some wanted time to “talk to their communities” before taking a position.  “This really is a complex issue and I do understand people not wanting it rushed through because that could undermine the bill,” the source said.  The source said the delay “would mean it will get messy” because MPs will be pressured from religious leaders as well as pro-choice supporters.  Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher and a number of religious leaders have written to the Premier asking for an “urgent intervention” so that more time can be permitted for a “proper consultation”.

“It is the dream bill of the abortion industry, which they have already pressed upon other several states; but it will leave unborn children and unsupported pregnant women even more at risk,” the Archbishop said in a statement.  Mr Greenwich said he had a “firm commitment” from Ms Berejiklian, and the Leader of the House, Andrew Constance, that the bill would “be dealt with” this week.  “I hope opponents of the bill do not use this time to play politics with women’s bodies,” Mr Greenwich said.  “But I am pleased that the bill will take priority over government business on Tuesday.”

Mr Greenwich said the Liberal MPs who raised concerns in the party room meeting about the legislation being rushed through had not sought a briefing on the bill, despite being offered one.  Mr Constance, who has been a strong supporter of the bill, told the lower house that the bill will be debated on Tuesday and the issue finalised this week.  The proposed legislation would excise abortion from the state’s 119-year-old criminal code and create a standalone healthcare act to regulate the procedure.  It would allow abortion on request for women up to 22 weeks’ gestation performed by a registered doctor.  Women beyond 22 weeks would need the consent of two doctors.

Ms Berejiklian and several ministers have confirmed they will support the bill, which will be the first co-sponsored legislation to be introduced into the Legislative Assembly.  Opposition Leader Jodi McKay has also said she would back the bill.  The bill has more co-sponsors than any piece of legislation in the history of the NSW Parliament.  Both pro-choice and anti-abortion supporters have rallied  outside Parliament House this past week in an attempt to influence Parliamentarians who have still to make up their mind as to how they will vote on the issue.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

Christian leaders, lawyers and lobbyists across Australia are urging people of faith to call on the government to enact a “Religious Freedom” bill, to protect the rights of Australians to free religious expression.  Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Liberal Senator for NSW, launched it during a recent speech in Parliament.  hg The petition calls for an act that ensures Australians the right to freedom of speech, thought, conscience, religion and religious expression, both publicly and privately; protects Australians from coercion in the area of religion and belief; is limited only by laws around public safety, order, health, morals and fundamental human rights and freedoms; and enables parents to educate and raise their children according to their beliefs.

The government is currently workshopping possible legislation around the issue of religious protection, and a “Religious Discrimination Act” is one of the possible draft legislations that may be brought forward.  However many Christian voices, including lawyers from the Human Rights Law Alliance, and the Freedom for Faith lobby group, believe an act focused solely on cases of religious discrimination would not be adequate to protect Australians’ freedoms.  In her speech to the Federal Parliament, Senator Fierravanti-Wells said she had been a long-time advocate for people of faith and was determined to see Australians’ freedom of speech protected.

“A religious discrimination act is not sufficient,” she said.  “It would be defensive in nature and limited to protecting against acts and practices by others which are discriminatory on the grounds of religion.  It is important that Australians of all faiths be free to practise their religion without discrimination.  Even those who have no beliefs should be free to express those views.”  She said the sacking of Israel Folau by Rugby Australia for his faith-based statements on social media, was an example of the discrimination that Australians should be protected against.

“The Israel Folau issue has heightened already existing concerns about incursions on religious freedom,” she said.  “Ordinary people of faith are now, understandably, asking the question: ‘if I quote the Bible, will it get me into trouble?’  This is now the discussion at the kitchen table for Australians who hold religious beliefs.”  A petition is now in circulation among Christian groups across the country, and the Senator is also urging people of faith to voice their concerns around the issue of religious freedom with their local Federal Member of Parliament.

Source: Hope 103.2FM

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By Australian Newsletter

Federal Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck has supported guidelines drawn up by the Human Rights Commission in partnership with Sport Australia and the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, which calls for people to be able to play in the sporting team of their identified sex, rather than their birth sex.  Senator Colbeck said he hoped the new rules would help tens of thousands of sports clubs across the country to be more inclusive and therefore boost the number of people playing sport.  But would being forced to compete with biological males mean females would be less likely to want to participate?

The federal Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) allows a person born male to be excluded from women’s competitions where “strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant.”  (Section 42 (1)) The Guidelines refer to this provision but at the same time put strong pressure on sporting bodies and clubs to allow men who identify as women to compete against women.  The Guidelines also warn that it may amount to discrimination to ask for any documentation (e.g., a birth certificate) to show a man identifying as a woman is legally recognised as a woman.

However, this does not apply to sporting activities for children under 12 years (SDA, Section 42 (2) (e) and the Guidelines say they can compete as whatever sex they identify as.  What injuries could be inflicted upon females competing against males who have superior strength and stamina?  How will females fare in sports such as AFL, rugby league, rugby union, water polo, martial arts, wrestling and so on, when competing against males who identify as female?  In vigorous contact sports males can be put in direct physical contact with females in tackles and ball contests which can lead to inadvertent or deliberate sexual contact.  Should females be forced to accept this?

Will the Minister be responsible for any injuries or sexual assaults that result from forced mixed sporting competitions?  The Guidelines say males who identify as females should be able to use the female showers, toilets and change rooms if they so desire.  How can the Minister justify the increased risk of sexual assault by placing boys and girls together in shared toilets, change rooms and showers?  How does the Minister plan to mitigate the risk of sexual assault created by deliberately placing biological males in these intimate, closed female spaces?  Will the minister be held liable for financial damages sought by anyone who has been assaulted in these circumstances?

Source: Australian Family Association

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By Australian Newsletter

Tennis, specifically Billie Jean King and her coterie of admirers, has a looming crisis.  It goes by the name of Margaret Court, hardly a new topic for the haters (mostly US-based) whose desperate attempts to distort history continue at a disturbing rate.  When the 2020 Australian Open rolls around in January, King and her devotees will confront a historical reality at odds with their toxic narrative.  Court will celebrate the 50th anniversary of her magnificent 1970 grand slam sweep.  She will be feted in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York.  As she should be.

Wimbledon hailed Rod Laver recently when the grand slam titan was presented with a replica trophy to mark his 1969 domination of the four biggest tournaments in the world.  Court will get similar recognition next year.  Only three women in history have lifted all four majors in the same season: Steffi Graf and Maureen Connolly are the others.  Neither Graf nor Connolly attracts the same hostility as Court.  King’s abhorrence of Court stems from the Australian’s stance on gay marriage, a position that prompted King to demand Court’s name be removed from the Melbourne Park stadium created in her honour.

If Tennis Australia submits to King’s call to erase Court’s name from Melbourne Park, it will spark a firestorm fiercer than that created by Israel Folau.  King sits at the forefront of the campaign to discredit the validity of Court’s record 24 grand slam singles trophies.  Asked if she thought too much was made of Court’s 24 majors, King replied: “I sure do.  You gotta remember we didn’t play the Australian Open for many, many years, we played the Virginia Slims in San Francisco.  We also played Team Tennis during the French Open.  I think (Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova) would have had a lot more than 24, quite frankly.”

But King and others made their choices.  Connolly, in 1953, took the trouble to travel to Australia.  Court’s achievements were also attacked by a Women’s Tennis Association employee on CNN.  Assessing Serena Williams’s pursuit of Court’s tally, the so-called expert told CNN: “I don’t think it is a record Serena needs, and I don’t think it is a record she should be chasing.  The real record, it was Steffi Graf’s record, which she already broke.  “When Steffi got 22, no one said, ‘Oh, you need two more to get to Margaret’.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

After our strong campaign in Labor dominated Western Sydney, it seems Labor may have learned their lesson: the radical gender agenda doesn’t play well in the suburbs.  The New Daily reported, “Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has told shadow cabinet the Labor Party needs to ‘gut’ the policy platform, citing the need to streamline ‘LGBTIQ’ references to gay rights.  The New Daily has confirmed that Mr Albanese’s preferred approach is to replace LGBTIQ throughout the platform by simply referring to the need to end discrimination on the basis of sexuality or gender.”

Albanese has always been a very strong supporter of same sex marriage and other gender related issues.  He is a member of the left faction that pushed for the inclusion of many of the LGBT issues in the first place.  Kirralie Smith, Binary spokeswoman, was delighted with the news saying “Labor’s gender agenda is way too radical for mainstream Australia.  Tax-payer funded LGBT centres, a gender commissioner, banning ‘conversion therapy’, valuing transgender ideology above women’s rights, is all too much.” “Let’s hope that Labor is finally accepting this is not simply a matter of language, but policy.  Voters rejected the radical gender agenda, and so should Labor.”

Source: Binary

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By Australian Newsletter

Some Sydney public school principals are pushing to scrap Special Religious Education (SRE) classes from government high schools as new figures reveal as few as 5% of students at some Sydney high schools are attending scripture lessons.  The NSW Department of Education does not keep centralised data on SRE enrolments, so Fairness in Religions in School (FIRIS) sought enrolment figures at 25 schools across Sydney under Freedom of Information laws.  In some Sydney high schools, as few as 5 per cent of students have enrolled in Special Religious Education.

That snapshot showed enrolments varied, but fewer than one-third of the schools had more than 33 per cent of eligible students enrolled.

The Secondary Principals Council (SPC) has called for SRE to be dropped from high schools, saying the time should be used for teaching and learning, and the NSW Teachers Federation has also previously urged an end to mandatory religious education.  Just 16 students, or 5 per cent of those eligible, signed up to any form of SRE at Arthur Phillip High in Parramatta this year, while only 6 per cent of students at Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt Campus attended SRE classes.

At Marrickville High school, 10% of students are enrolled in SRE, a figure similar to Willoughby Girls High (10%), Sydney Secondary College Balmain (8%) and Burwood Girls’ High (11%).  The schools with high rates of SRE attendance included Rose Bay Secondary College, where 50% of students are enrolled in some form of religious instruction; Castle Hill High, with 84%; and Fairfield High, with 71% enrolled.  The figures showed many students who identified as religious are still opting out of SRE; almost three-quarters of students at Cherrybrook Technology High identify with a religion, but only 35% are enrolled in SRE.  At The Ponds High School, two-thirds of students say they identify with some kind of religion, but only 21% signed up to SRE.

When students do not participate in SRE lessons, which involve between 30 and 60 minutes per week, they do “alternative meaningful activities” such as homework or reading, but are not allowed to learn the curriculum.  Ethics is not offered in NSW high schools.  SPC president Chris Presland said high participation in SRE was the exception rather than the rule.  “Those lower figures would be the norm for most secondary schools,” he said. “We believe public schools should be free and secular.  We see religious education as a parental responsibility not a school responsibility.”

But a spokesman for Christian SRE, Murray Norman, said some schools reported an overwhelming response to SRE, while others had a lower response. “That’s quite normal, just as some schools have a high percentage enjoying sport and others don’t,” he said.  “In some schools close to 100 per cent of students attend SRE classes because their parents have exercised their right to choose a values-based education for their child at that school.”  Religious Instruction is also coming under pressure in Queensland, where calls to dump it are growing after figures revealed that just a quarter of public school parents wanted their children enrolled in it this year.

But NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the existing system, saying it allows parents to decide whether to enrol their child.  “Last year, the NSW Government changed the enrolment procedure for SRE, making it clearer to parents and carers what SRE and SEE (Special Education in Ethics) options are available at their child’s school,” she said.  “All SRE and SEE options are opt-in.  Religious education classes have been offered in public schools since 1848. Every NSW Government has supported this approach since then.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

The West Australian government is poised to introduce euthanasia laws that are more liberal than those operating in Victoria after an expert panel recommended that patients should be eligible for voluntary assisted dying if they have a disease likely to cause death within 12 months.  This contrasts with Victoria where terminally-ill people must have less than six months to live to qualify to end their lives by taking lethal medication.  The 13-member expert panel, chaired by former governor Malcolm McCusker, also recommended that nurse practitioners be able to give permission for a patient to access the scheme in WA.

In Victoria, where new laws recently came into effect, the assessment of a patient’s eligibility can only be made by two doctors.  The WA panel has adopted that safeguard, but recommended that the second assessment can also be done by a qualified nurse practitioner, given the scarcity of doctors in country areas of WA.  Nurse practitioners are senior clinical nurses who have completed additional university studies.  The planned WA scheme would also differ from Victoria, the first VAD (Voluntary Assisted Dying) scheme in the nation, by allowing doctors to raise the subject of euthanasia with their patients.

Victoria prohibits health practitioners from starting a conversation about voluntary assisted dying.  “Many health practitioners are reluctant to discuss end-of-life care with people,” the panel said.  “It is also known that up to 60% of Australians may not have the knowledge or confidence to start discussions about specific treatments or options that have not already been raised by their health practitioner.”  The panel recommended that people who have lived in WA for less than 12 months should be able to access the scheme by making a special application to the State Administrative Tribunal.

In Victoria, a patient must have been a resident in the state for 12 months at the time of making a request for euthanasia.  Mr McCusker said the panel felt a different policy was needed in WA due to its large fly-in fly-out population.  Under the proposed WA scheme, a patient must have decision-making capacities, which would preclude people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.  They must make three requests, two orally and one in writing.  Two adult witnesses to the written application must also prove they will not benefit financially from the person’s death.

A person eligible for assisted dying would self-administer the lethal medication themselves, although a doctor would be able to assist the patient if needed.  Only those whose death is “reasonably foreseeable” within 12 months can apply.  The panel made 31 recommendations for the proposed laws after consultations in 11 metropolitan and regional centres across WA.  Health Minister Roger Cook said the report would help in the development of legislation that will be introduced into parliament in August.  Dying With Dignity WA president Steve Walker welcomed the report.  The Australian Medical Association, which opposes euthanasia has not commented.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

In an bid to thwart a union court challenge to its Western Civilisation course that is due to start next year, the University of Wollongong’s top governing body has intervened to green light the new degree.  The university’s council decided to use its ultimate authority to approve the degree, which is sponsored by the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, independently of the university’s regular processes.  In a statement the university said the decision was intended to remove any uncertainty about whether the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation would begin in 2020 as planned.

The university called on the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) , which launched NSW Supreme Court action in April this year in an attempt to stop the degree’s rollout, to end its court challenge.  NTEU national president Alison Barnes responded by condemning the council’s decision, saying it was “another example of the university not following its normal processes, at the expense of academic governance”.  She said the union would consider the impact of the university’s move on its legal case and “decide next steps as soon as we are in a position to do so”.

The council said it took its decision under NSW legislation governing the University of Wollongong which says the council has powers to “act in all matters concerning the university”, and to “provide such courses, and confer such degrees … as it thinks fit”.  The NTEU’s court action challenged the decision by University of Wollongong vice-chancellor Paul Wellings, announced in February, to use his fast-track power to speed the formal approval of the Western civilisation degree, meaning that it was not considered and approved in the normal way by the university’s academic senate which represents academics across all faculties of the university.

The NTEU lodged a claim in the NSW Supreme Court to have Professor Wellings’ decision declared invalid and to halt its preparations to offer the degree.  University of Wollongong chancellor Jillian Broadbent said that the council had full respect for the university’s academic process, particularly the role of the academic senate.  “By approving the degree the council has acted in the best interests of the university.  It will enable progress to continue despite any continuing legal challenge to the vice-chancellor’s approval decision,” she said.  “The council remains prepared to continue with its legal defence of the vice-chancellor’s exercise of his delegated authority.”

Ms Barnes said that the NTEU’S case against the University of Wollongong centred on the by-passing of normal academic governance processes which “play a vital role in quality control and are fundamental to ensuring academic integrity and quality”. “The NTEU is again disappointed at UOW’s disregard for its academic staff and the broader university community,” she said.  Ms Broadbent said “I encourage the whole university community to unite in a shared commitment to our objectives of encouraging ‘the advancement, development and application of knowledge informed by free inquiry’ and ‘the provision of courses of study across a range of fields.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Act has come into effect after a marathon parliamentary battle and 18 months of meticulous planning by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.  Under the act, terminally ill patients who meet the eligibility criteria will be permitted to access a lethal substance that will allow them to end their lives.  Where patients are unable to self-administer the medication, the substance may be administered by an authorised medical professional.  The law is designed for patients experiencing unbearable pain and suffering at the end of life.  It will give terminally ill patients the choice of ending their lives rather than suffering.

Yet the statistics from overseas jurisdictions tell a more nuanced story. Requests for euthanasia typically come from white patients who want to maintain a sense of control at the end of life, or who feel that life has lost its meaning.  Pain is a secondary consideration, if it is relevant at all.  It is important that legislators in other states and territories are aware of this as they prepare to consider euthanasia bills in their own parliaments.  In the US state of Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal since 1997, about 96% of the patients who have “died from ingesting a lethal medication” were Caucasian.

Data from the Oregon Health Authority also indicates that patients with a college degree or higher are over-represented among patients who have received assisted suicide.  The most common reasons these patients request euthanasia are a loss of autonomy, an inability to engage in activities that make life enjoyable, and a sense of lost dignity.  Similarly, a 2017 study in The New England Journal of Medicine of the implementation of euthanasia legislation in a Canadian hospital stated: “Those who received medical assistance in dying tended to be white and relatively affluent and indicated that loss of autonomy was the primary reason for their request.”

A 2011 Journal of Medical Ethics study of Dutch patients who requested euthanasia stated that feelings of hopelessness and a loss of autonomy were by far the most common factors motivating people requesting assistance in dying. “You lie in bed and none of the normal functions come back,” said one patient in the study. “They will never come back and it will only get worse.” Pain, of course, features in some cases, yet it is a relatively minor consideration.  Data from Oregon suggests that only 26% of patients were motivated to request assistance in suicide due to inadequate pain control.

The image of patients writhing in pain, which bolsters the case put forward by euthanasia supporters, is simply inaccurate.  The typical patient who requests euthanasia is a well-palliated, white patient who feels that life has lost its purpose; or such patients have lost the ability to be the author of the final chapters of their own existence.  What does all this mean?  For a libertarian, not much.  It does not matter why someone wants to end their lives; it only matters that they want to end their lives.  People should have control over their own deaths, regardless of their motivations.  They are in favour of rational suicide, not euthanasia, as such.

For the many in the community who still believe that euthanasia is about pain relief, this data should be a red flag.  The reality is that debate about compassion and inadequate pain control is a distraction.  This is really a debate about how we ought to respond to patients who are in a state of despair.  It’s important that we get our facts straight, as in this particular debate, mistakes can be deadly. The discipline of palliative care “affirms life”, according to the World Health Organization.  Palliative care physicians help patients to explore and come to terms with their physical, emotional, existential and psychological suffering.

They help patients to challenge the assumptions of their own self-perceptions, rather than endorsing their sense of worthlessness and providing them with lethal medication.  An Oxford expert in medical law, Charles Foster, made an observation about this not long ago: Concern about being a burden should not be a criteria for assisted dying.  That ‘being a burden’ is in the minds of so many patients at the end of life is a depressing index of the breakdown of family obligations and expectations in the Western world.  It would have been unthinkable in most cultures and at most historical times.

If indeed euthanasia is primarily a cultural and existential issue rather than a medical issue, this would seem to be an appropriate response.  In providing patients with euthanasia, in contrast, we may inadvertently reinforce the problematic cultural assumptions that lead terminal ill patients to feel that they have lost dignity.  Euthanasia is thought to provide patients with a peaceful exit from this life.  Yet it misses the deeper connection between the affirmation of life and what it means to die a good death.

Source:  An article written by Xavier Symons, Deputy Editor of BioEdge who is doing a PhD in bioethics.

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By Australian Newsletter

In a sign of the deep divisions in the Catholic Church, two cardinals and several bishops have issued a declaration to correct “almost universal doctrinal confusion and disorientation” they claim is endangering Christians’ spiritual health.  The “Declaration of the truths relating to some of the most common errors in the life of the Church of our time’, recently released, took aim at some of the liberal positions on controversial issues taken by Pope Francis and others.  It was signed by US Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was the Vatican’s principal legal officer for six years, appointed by Pope Benedict, but who was sacked by Francis in 2014.

Other signatories were retired Latvian Cardinal Janis Pujats, and Kazakstan archbishops Tomash Peta and Jan Pawel Lenga and bishop Athanasius Schneider.  The declaration said the church was in a state of “almost universal doctrinal confusion and disorientation’’ which necessitated their exercising responsibility to speak up: “One has to recognise a widespread lethargy in the exercise of the Magisterium on different levels of the Church’s hierarchy in our days.’’  Many Christians, they said felt “an acute spiritual hunger’’ and a need for “a reaffirmation of truths that are obfuscated, undermined and denied by some of the most dangerous errors of our time.’’

Many people felt abandoned in a kind of existential periphery, a situation that “urgently demands a concrete remedy”.  The Declaration covers dozens of issues, crystallising decades-old debates that have recently come to a head.  It is a comprehensive restatement of centuries of church teaching, upholding, for example that “hell exists” and that people condemned there “for any unrepented mortal sin” are there eternally.  That insistence will be as welcome among some bishops, priests and Catholics as Israel Folau’s tweet on a similar subject was at Rugby Australia.

The Declaration says “homosexual acts” and gender reassignment surgery are “grave sins” and same-sex marriages are contrary to natural and Divine law.  Father Paddy Sykes, chairman of Australia’s National Council of Priests (NCP), said the document “highlighted the  divisions in the church.”  The NCP has 1200 to 1500 paid up members.  The divisions in the church, Fr Sykes said, were clear when the Australian bishops’ conference split 50/50 last year between Brisbane’s archbishop Mark Coleridge and Sydney’s archbishop Anthony Fisher, with Archbishop Coleridge, regarded as the more progressive, appointed president on the grounds of seniority.

Fr Sykes, a parish priest in the NSW country diocese of Wagga, said the new declaration was 100% correct theologically.  It would appeal, he said, to “people whose natural inclination was to have certainty in order to feel safe”.  “Pope Francis recognises that life is not like that and that we need to deal with the fluidity of the life of the world,’’ he said. The pope had “shaken a few cages’’.  But Fr Sykes agreed that Francis was dogmatic on some political subjects, such as climate change. Recently, the pope told energy executives at the Vatican that the world faced a “climate emergency’’ and called for radical action.

Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy chair Fr Scot Armstrong took a different line to Fr Sykes.  He said the cardinals and bishops had produced a “quality, comprehensive’’ document to offer “concrete spiritual help to address the difficulties being experienced as unity in the church is further stretched, and in some cases, even breaking down’’.  It was “a useful reminder that the faith is not our own concoction but received from Christ’’ Fr Armstrong said.  It could not be altered “as a political party might change policies, or a corporation might change its business approach”.

“Pope Francis recently remarked, jokingly, that if some don’t like the faith they can go and found their own church,’’ Fr Armstrong said.  “He was joking, but the point was made.  This document serves to strengthen that point.’’  In the declaration, the cardinals and bishops said abortion was “forbidden by natural and divine law” and euthanasia, which has become lawful in Victoria under tightly controlled conditions, was a “grave violation of the law of God” because it is the “deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person”.  Marriage, they said, was “an indissoluble union of one man and of one woman ordained for the procreation and education of children”.

Referring to the confusion over divorce, remarriage and the reception of Communion generated after Francis’s encyclical Amoris Laetitia and the Vatican’s 2014 and 2015 synods on the family, the signatories insisted it was unacceptable for Catholics who divorced their spouses and entered into subsequent civil unions to receive Communion.  In contrast, many Australian Catholics favour modernisation of church structures and teachings, with calls for married priests, women priests, an end to LGBTIQ discrimination, greater transparency and reform of church governance.  But others advocated a reassertion of tradition and better faith education.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

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

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

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

Source: 103.2FM

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By Australian Newsletter

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

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

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

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

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By Australian Newsletter

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

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

Source: Binary

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By Australian Newsletter

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

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

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