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FEMALE FIFO WORKERS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED AND HARASSED

By Australian Newsletter

More than one in five women employed in Western Australia’s mining industry have been sexually assaulted or offered better conditions in exchange for sexual favours, a new report detailing the sexual harassment and abuse of female fly-in fly-out workers has found. Almost half of the surveyed female Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) workers said they did not believe the reporting of sexual harassment was encouraged by managers, and they feared being black-listed as troublemakers if they came forward. The women said the sexual harassment was perpetrated by co-workers, managers and supervisors who pressured female workers into sexual activity in exchange for access to training and job opportunities.

The survey, by the Australian Workers Union and the Mining and Energy Union, included responses from 425 FIFO workers, including 125 women. The results are included in the unions’ submission to a state parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment of women in the mining industry. Daniel Walton and Tony Maher, the national leaders of the two unions, called for an independent body to tackle the “sex abuse cover-up culture at WA mines”. “While it’s shocking so many workers have been sexually abused at mine sites, what’s more shocking still is the mine management culture of cover-up and victim punishment,” Mr Walton said. Mr Maher said “Mining giants are very happy to feature smiling women in PR and marketing materials but as soon as it becomes mildly inconvenient to protect their safety at work, they head for the hills.”

One female worker surveyed said she recently became single and “some men at work refuse to talk to me now because I will not sleep with them”. Another female employee said she would not go into the crib room after experiencing “so much leering and sexual comments”. “I have seen a man watch porn on the bus and plane. I have had underwear stolen. I have had a male try to get into my room. I have witnessed a colleague being videoed while eating her dinner and the video shared in a group chat while making pig noises,” she said. “A female crew member on my crew was bashed by a male colleague. By-standers did not report it saying she got what she deserved. I reported harassment on numerous occasions and nothing was done. I sat in my superintendent’s office crying my eyes out, begging to be moved. He didn’t even check back on me.”

Twenty-two per cent of women surveyed said they had been offered improved conditions of employment or career advancements that were dependent on sexual favours, either explicitly or implicitly.  One in five women said they had experienced physical acts of sexual assault, and two-thirds had experienced verbal harassment of a sexual nature. Unions said mining employers should provide more security measures at FIFO worksites including panic buttons, self-closing doors, electronic locking, duress alarms and swipe card locks. Resource sector employers said while action was being taken to tackle sexual harassment, they recognised there was a higher-than-average prevalence of sexual harassment reported across the industry.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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PRIME MINISTER SPEAKS ABOUT HIS CHRISTIAN FAITH

By Australian Newsletter

Scott Morrison gave his life to God, committing himself to the service of Jesus for the rest of his days, on January 11, 1981. He was 12 years old. He remembers the day and the moment with perfect clarity. He has never gone back on this promise. When Morrison became Prime Minister in August 2018, he made religious history of a kind. He was the first member of a Pentecostal church to become Prime Minister of Australia and the first Pentecostal to become a national leader in any developed nation. Morrison doesn’t go out of his way to talk about his religious beliefs but he doesn’t hide them; he’s happy to share them if asked. When it’s relevant he’ll say a prayer, as for rain in a drought, but his religion doesn’t determine any policy matter.

“I grew up in the church. My mother is still going there. My father went there till he died. Church life and community were wrapped up in one for us.” The church in question was the Presbyterian church at Waverley, which later became part of the Uniting Church. Morrison’s choice to be an active Christian was emotional, intense and entirely personal. As a child, he attended with his family a huge Billy Graham crusade at Randwick Racecourse in 1979. Coincidentally, his future wife, Jenny, whom he had not yet met, was there too. Morrison’s brother Alan also went down to the altar to make his own life’s commitment: “I have this lingering memory on the night, my brother went down and he was two years older than me. I talked it over with dad. Dad said, ‘Don’t go just because your brother did. Wait till the time is right for you.’ ”

When Morrison was in Year 7, he went to a Boys’ Brigade camp in Nunawading, Melbourne. “On that camp I gave my life to the Lord, on January 11, 1981. I was 12. I massively felt it that day,” Morrison says. “It is a confession of repentance. I felt that movement, to get to my feet. I spent the rest of the day sitting with the chaplain.” How does Morrison pray privately? “I try to pray every day. When I can I’ll get down on my knees. Getting down on your knees is a sign of complete dependence in your life. Other prayer is conversational, in the garden at home or wherever. Prayer is an important act of submission and acknowledgment. It involves humility, obedience, submission, faith and thanksgiving,” he says.

“The Bible is massively important to me. It’s got easier now that it’s on your mobile phone. This year I’ve been reading the Old Testament. I’m currently reading about Ruth. I read parts of the Gospel regularly. Faith is not passive. Faith is an active process of engaging with God. Generally I won’t talk about it too much. It’s got nothing to do with politics. It’s really relevant to me. I couldn’t function without it. My faith informs my life.” Does Morrison believe in eternal life? “Absolutely.” Will he see his father again? “When we go to glory. I absolutely believe it.” Will we be judged on our lives? “Of course, we all are and we’ve all failed. That’s why Jesus came, to save, not judge. The doctrine of grace says that none of us gets there on our own. Of course I absolutely believe in eternal life.”

Edited extract from Christians, the Urgent Case for Jesus in our World by Greg Sheridan (Allen & Unwin, $32.95).

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INDIGENOUS LEADER CALLS ON QUEENSLAND AND W.A.TO IMPLEMENT REDRESS SCHEMES

By Australian Newsletter

Pat Turner, convener of a coalition of 51 Indigenous organisations, has demanded Queensland and Western Australia implement redress schemes for the Stolen Generations. She was speaking after the federal government revealed its response to the new national agreement on Closing the Gap, which has been designed with leading Indigenous bodies represented by the Coalition of Peaks. Pat Turner, convener of a coalition of 51 Indigenous organisations, demanded Queensland and Western Australia implement redress schemes for the Stolen Generations. Mr Morrison and Anthony Albanese spoke in parliament after the federal government revealed its response to the new national agreement on Closing the Gap, which has been designed with leading Indigenous bodies represented by the Coalition of Peaks.

The government’s plan includes more than $1bn in new funding and involves a $378m redress scheme for victims of the Stolen Generations in the Northern Territory and the ACT. Ms Turner, the Coalition of Peaks convener, said “time’s up” for Queensland and Western Australia to implement their own redress schemes. Queensland and WA are the only states that do not have redress schemes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people taken from their families under historic policies.  “Time’s up for redress of the Stolen Generations. You have to follow the other jurisdictions throughout Australia,” she said. “You are the last ones to come on board and it’s high time that you did the right thing in a human rights context to make sure that our people are receiving the right redress as soon as they can.”

In WA, the previous Barnett Liberal government attempted a redress scheme in 2010 but it was heavily criticised. The maximum payout was reduced from $80,000 to $45,000 and the scheme was not accompanied by any counselling or other support. This was a serious flaw, according to Parkerville Children and Care co-director Tony Hansen. “Money is important but people need that help to end the trauma,” he said. Queensland’s minister responsible for Indigenous affairs, Craig Crawford, said the Palaszczuk government would closely monitor the federal government’s Closing the Gap response, which includes the redress scheme. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hailed the $1 billion Closing the Gap Implementation Plan as an “important partnership” with Indigenous Australians.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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INDIGENOUS VOICE TO GOVERNMENT ON HOLD FOR NOW

By Australian Newsletter

An Indigenous voice to government is likely to be delayed until after the next federal election, with the Government refusing to commit to making an attempt to legislate during this term. The Government’s reluctance to agree to a timeline on the voice, despite Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt previously saying it would be put to parliament this term. Asked if he would present legislation on the voice in this term of parliament, Mr Morrison said: “We will just continue to take the next step and the next step and the next step.” The advisory group co-designing the voice, led by professors Marcia Langton and Tom Calma, gave its final report to the government last month. Mr Wyatt said he did not want a timeline to “detract from the importance of a voice”.

“The advice that I have received from all people who are involved in all of the forums was to be methodical and make sure we get it totally right,” Mr Wyatt said. “As Aboriginal people we want to get this right. We want it firm. We don’t want to see the history of bodies being created and undone.” Opposition Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Linda Burney said the government was failing to show leadership on the issue. Labor is committed to a referendum on a constitutionally enshrined voice within the first term of an Albanese government. “The government doesn’t have a hope of even legislating this term,” Ms Burney said. “Minister Wyatt has enormous problems in the Coalition party room about a legislated model, let alone one that is constitutionally enshrined. It is a lack of leadership and a lack of commitment.” Ms Burney said.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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STUDENTS FACE CASH LOSS FOR AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE BAN

By Australian Newsletter

Education Minister Alan Tudge is considering cutting off funding to student organisations that attempt to stop the airing of views they oppose on campus. Mr Tudge’s proposal to extend a free-speech code for academics to campus associations comes as students at the Australian National University (ANU) moved to block the Australian Defence Force from a university market. The ANU Student Association (ANUSA) said it would not allow the ADF and anti-abortion organisations to open a stall at an induction day for new students at Canberra’s leading university, despite letting them do so at a similar event months before. The ANUSA’s snub of the military has angered Morrison government ministers, who say it is another case of progressive student unions limiting free and open debate on campus.

Mr Tudge said he was considering ways to block student unions that impede free speech from taking compulsory student fees which fund their services on campus, and tying them to a model code of free speech that now applies only to university administrators and staff. “It is one thing for some fringe students to have a pacifist view of the world, but quite another for the university’s student association, using compulsory student fees, to place a political lens over who they serve,” he said. “It is particularly appalling that they would reject the Australian Defence Force, purely on a political basis. They are one of the most revered institutions in Australia … What’s more, they have had a very strong association with ANU for decades.

“I am going to look at how we prevent compulsory acquired student fees being used in an overtly political manner. This might include insisting that student associations be subject to a similar free-speech code that we are asking universities to adopt.” Mr Tudge has made freedom of speech a priority since he took over as Education Minister late last year, and has already said he would legislate the model code on academic free speech if it is not adopted by all universities by the end of the year. Universities across Australia have been embroiled in censorship scandals over the past two years on issues ranging from China to climate change. Student unions have been at the forefront of an international push to pursue progressive causes, including the taking down of colonial statues on campuses and the cancellation of lecturers who do not adhere to their opinion.

The ANUSA told the university’s student magazine, Woroni, the ADF would not be permitted to attend the University’s Market Day due to complaints that involving the armed forces contravened student union policy not to back militarism. The union also told the student publication pro-life organisations would not be part of the event, after complaints an anti-abortion stall was placed next to a feminist group at a similar market in January. A union spokeswoman said the ADF and pro-life groups had not applied to appear at the campus and that invitations were limited. “Invitations to external stallholders are always limited, particularly so in the midst of Covid-19 restrictions,” she said. “ANUSA did not receive an application for a stall from the ADF or any pro-life group for this Bush Week. As such, we have not rejected any applications from these groups.”

When asked if she had said the ADF would not be allowed to be part of the day, the ANUSA refused to deny it. A spokesman for the ANU distanced the university from the student union and its ADF blockage, arguing it had no power to intervene. “ANUSA is an independent organisation that sits separate and apart from ANU. Decisions about their clubs and events are for them,” he said. Pacific Minister Zed Seselja, a senator for the ACT, said the university should not put up with attacks against the ADF. “These are the people who secure our freedoms so we can enjoy opportunities like going to university and having free speech,” he said. “It’s time our university leadership acted to protect freedom of speech on campus.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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AUSTRALIA PRAYS SUNDAY 22ND AUGUST

By Australian Newsletter

Church Leaders are calling the Nation to Prayer for the Covid Crisis under the banner of AUSTRALIA PRAYS Sunday 22nd August 2021. Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins and the National Council of Churches, in consultation with many church leaders and prayer networks, is calling Australia to united prayer in the light of the current Covid-19 crisis. The Day will be facilitated by the team at the National Day of Prayer and Fasting. The Day of Prayer will attempt to draw Christians together to pray across the land, given the current level of need and distress.  The theme of the Day is found in the liturgical prayer: “Lord have mercy – Jesus have mercy”. Inspiration for this prayer is found in the story of the blind beggar in Luke 18:35 and his cry to Jesus for healing.

This simple prayer for mercy is found throughout the Scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments. “Our eyes look to the Lord our God till he shows us his mercy.” – Psalm 123:2  Participants are of course encouraged to add to this prayer, and also to fast as they feel led. Those who inspired and are organising the event acknowledge the division that Covid-19 and Australia’s response to it has caused, even within the church. Nevertheless, they are calling for Christians to set these conversations aside in order to seek God’s mercy at this crucial time. “This situation is very frustrating for everybody,” Ps Wayne Alcorn, National President of Australian Christian Churches, has said of the crisis. “We need to rise up and remain Christlike, gracious, and beacons of hope in the midst of this heaviness that pervades our society.”

Event organisers are cognisant of Australia’s need at this time. “Everything happening draws us now to deeper prayer,” says Bishop Philip Huggins, the Chairman of the National Council of Churches in Australia.” We encourage you to pray in your own church and in your own way at this time. To facilitate a national prayer focus, the team at the National Day of Prayer and Fasting will lead a Zoom gathering on Sunday 22nd August 2021, from 9am – 9pm (AEST). The gathering will feature church leaders and Indigenous Christian leaders. For further information go to www.nationaldayofprayer.org.au/lordhavemercy

Source: National Day of Prayer and Fasting

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SYDNEY COUNCIL REWRITES ABORIGINAL CULTURE

By Australian Newsletter

The Inner West Council in Sydney has introduced a program to indoctrinate staff into radical gender ideology. They will be forced to undergo “unconscious bias” training as part of a new gender policy that also makes bizarre claims that British colonial settlers wrongly “asserted men and women as the norm” in Aboriginal culture. The council claims: “These imposed ideologies have asserted men and women as the norm and excluded all others, perceiving gender diversity as inferior and in moral opposition. Inner West Council acknowledges that the origins of constrained gender binaries, which are widely prevalent in our contemporary world, are rooted in colonisation.”

One Nation MP Mark Latham says the policy “ignores basic biological science. There is no evidence of gender diverse people treated respectfully in pre-1788 Aboriginal tribes, in fact the reverse was true,” Mr Latham says. “They were expelled, and worse.” “Indigenous tribes had clearly defined gender-based roles, more so than the Europeans who arrived in 1788. The Inner West Council disrespects Indigenous society by rewriting its history in a bizarre way” Latham said. Binary spokeswoman, Kirralie Smith, agreed. “Imposing current ideological fads on historical cultures is insulting and harmful,” she said. “There is no evidence that supports this bizarre view, if anything it is the exact opposite. “The council needs to stick to rates, roads, libraries and rubbish collection instead of inventing rubbish with rate payer funds.”

Source: Binary

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