CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Labor’s Anti-Christian Agenda

Nov 8, 2014

The Victorian election is coming up in just three weeks (November 29). Here I want to focus on just one aspect of what Labor plans to do if it is elected, something which should have all Christians quite concerned. I refer to its stated aim to severely tighten up the Equal Opportunity Act.

But first a bit of background here. The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 was brought into the Victorian Parliament by the Labor Party. It greatly threatened religious freedom of organisations, groups, schools and so on. It was bad enough that an amendment to it appeared in 2011 when the Liberals were in power.

religious freedomThe then Baillieu Government brought in the changes to protect religious freedom, viewing the 2010 legislation as being “a far-reaching attack on the freedom of faith based organisations”. Numerous religious groups welcomed the changes. For example, Independent Schools Victoria said that religious schools “ought to be able to choose staff they believe are the most appropriate for their school.”

But now Labor wants to undo these changes, and take away religious freedoms of ordinary Victorians. According to their official Platform, Labor will “Reverse the Coalition Government’s amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act, including the reinstatement of ‘bona fide occupational requirement’ limitation on the religious exemptions and powers for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to deal with systemic discrimination on their own motion.”

Various concerned groups have put out statements on this already. Christian Schools Australia said this in part:

CSA has consistently argued against the ‘inherent requirements’ approach. With others we argued against its adoption by the previous Labor Government, and successfully gained agreement from the incoming Coalition Government to remove the requirement, putting Victorian legislation back in step with all other states except Queensland.
The approach preferred by CSA, and which we believe is in the interest of genuine freedom of belief for all faith groups, is that the right of Christian and other faith based schools to employ staff who are adherents of the faith is placed beyond doubt, being exempt from the legislation dealing with religious discrimination.
Apart from Queensland, every State retains exemptions to the relevant Equal Opportunity legislation, to protect the rights of faith based schools as a matter of free religious expression. The exemptions approach makes it plain that the question of who is, or is not, a genuine adherent of a faith, is a matter for the faith concerned – the church, denomination or religious body.
The State in its various forms – including Industrial, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissions – is not established to decide issues of faith. The Australian Constitution makes it quite clear, that the State is not to ‘establish’ any religion. This provision is threatened when the State takes to itself the right to sit in judgement over who is, and who is not, qualified to staff faith based schools. That is the real problem with the ‘genuine/inherent occupational requirements’ approach taken by Victorian Labor and, before them, Queensland Labor.
The proper separation of church and state is threatened when issues of employment in faith based schools is moved to an industrial jurisdiction, rather than treated as an exemption to the religious discrimination legislation. The real question is this: did the writers of the Constitution imagine that an industrial tribunal would sit in judgement over what are essentially religious faith issues? We think not.

And the Australian Association of Christian Schools said this:

This ‘bona fide occupational requirement’ was known as the ‘inherent requirements’. The resultant implication for Christian schools would be that the faith exemption could only be applied to areas of employment deemed to be ‘religious’. Interestingly, those with a dualist sacred-secular view see no problem with this, saying ‘Why would you need faith to teach Maths’? The Victorian AIS and Catholic Sector didn’t understand what our concerns were. Back in 2009/10 all Victorian Christian schools fought a protracted battle over this issue. The in-coming Coalition government rescinded the legislation before it was enacted.
AACS, CEN and CSA schools in conjunction with ACL have been lobbying the ALP but to no present avail. If the ALP position doesn’t change in the lead up to the election a more vigorous electoral campaign will be launched. In a tight election this could have quite an influence. AACS has prepared a list of the marginal seats and the number of Christian schools and parents in those seats. For the present time we are using the normal persuasive means to protect our ability to employ Christian staff.

Back in 2009 when Labor first put forward this bill I wrote extensively on how this would be a real danger to Christian schools and organisations. I mentioned how secular judges would end up deciding what is a bona fide religious occupation, and would actually determine matters of the Christian faith.

And sure enough, we soon had cases of Christian groups being dragged to the courts. One infamous case involved a Victorian Christian camp ground which I discussed at the time: “A youth camp owned by the Christian Brethren church has been ordered to pay $5000 compensation for discriminating against a suicide prevention group for young gays. Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal judge Felicity Hampel found the Phillip Island camp breached the Equal Opportunity Act when it refused to take a booking from members of Cobaw Community Health Service’s Way Out project.”

If Labor wins the election, we will be right back to this war against Christian groups. And we will have the bizarre situation of secular adjudicators determining for us Christians what are important biblical faith commitments and priorities and what are not.

It goes without saying that this is not the only issue Christians need to be concerned about in the upcoming election. But it is a very important one. The ability of Christian schools, parachurch groups, and small businesses to hire who they like, in accord with their own faith convictions is vital, and Big Brother governments should not be interfering here.

Back in 2009 I quoted from Rev Dr Mark Durie on this issue, and his words still hold good for today:

There are serious difficulties with demanding that religious groups justify to secular judges what constitutes ‘reasonable’ religious practices, and what does or does not accord with religious doctrines. To do so would require Tribunals and Courts to make wide?reaching and complex determinations on which religious beliefs and practices are reasonable or authorized by the state….
The present system of exemptions should be left in place. They have served us well. Meddling with the religious rights of Victorians by applying an ill?considered and ill?informed analysis of religious liberty can only cause disharmony and great distress in the Victorian community.

As noted, this is a hugely significant issue. So when you go to the polls in a few weeks time, please vote wisely and carefully. Religious freedom is at stake.

www.viclabor.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Victorian-Labor-Platform-2014.pdf
www.csa.edu.au/briefings/national/religious-freedom-an-early-issue-in-vic-poll
newsletter.cen.edu.au/aacs/article/victorian-alp-to-limit-religious-exemptions/

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31 Responses to Labor’s Anti-Christian Agenda

  • Labor Party doctrine is well know to resist any religious doctrine. What amazes me is that they frequent church for many reasons – talk about screwed up. After all, religion has always been a thorn in the side of socialism. Why would anyone trust this mob with anything is beyond me? They also gave us the Family Law act in 1975 – that should tell us much about their intentions.

  • These statistics illustrate why there is such a growing anti-Christian attitude among our politicians. They are reflecting what is happening in our community. Since the 1970s there has been an enormous growth in the number of people identifying as “no religion”. (Part of the increase is a change in the form of the statistical question.) This is a call to evangelism, even more so than a call to political action.

  • This is on top of Labor’s very pro-gay/pro-gay marriage and pro-abortion stances. I sincerely believe no thinking Christian can vote Labor with a clear conscience. Mick Koster

  • Quite right Mick. In fact the very words that follow from their Platform that I quote above are these:

    LGBTI Rights
    Building on the record of reform that Labor has proudly delivered with respect to LGBTI rights, Labor affirms the rights to equality and decency for LGBTI Victorians as a missing part of the Victorian equality framework.
    Labor will:
    -Create a dedicated Cabinet role for LGBTI issues with a whole-of-government focus

  • Mick, no thinking Christian ever votes for labor, its the lefty who have decided to hedge their bets, lets do what we want now blow the outcome, then when we come up against Christ we will just say we believe in him and he has to forgive us.

    You will find that if they say they are Christian and have never picked up the scriptures, they pretty much are not Christians.

    Neil Waldron

  • The Labour Party are liars. They make out that they believe in neutrality and that everyone should be free to believe whatever they want, but what they really demand is a blind leap into evolutionary idolatry.
    They will demand children to be taught that we are only highly evolved systems of bio/socio/economical chemicals, that appeared by accident out of nothing, zillions of years ago. They will demand that all of life operates within a sealed box within which only the laws of chance, time and mathematical probability operate. Categories and boundaries will disappear such as the distinctions between human and non -human, male and female, married and unmarried, guilty and the innocent, victim and perpetrator, good and evil, left and right.
    And although they will claim that there is no objective truth, that everything is a matter of individual and shifting perception, that there are no moral absolutes or meaning to existence apart from a consensus of opinion, they will impose their own politically correct will on us all. They will legislate for every sneeze, emotion and thought. Anyone veering from the party line will be eliminated.
    Children are already being forcibly taught this ideology not in a formal, intellectual way but by the way reality is presented to them. At a very early age children are having their natural defences against anyone who invades the most private, sensitive and sacrosanct areas of their lives, broken down. It starts by removing in the child’s mind the proper division between the genders.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD4-d9Fge40

    This is coupled with manipulating and distorting a child’s emotional responses to the world, so that the child is pressured to feel love and sympathy towards those things that it would naturally feel revulsion and hatred towards truth and those, like their parents, who try to maintain the borders and boundaries protecting them from harm.

    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/video-swearing-kids-used-in-gay-marriage-hate-video/

    Children from an early age are taught to feel that they are victims of a repressive system and encouraged to take part in gay pride rallies, upholding human rights, especially of feminists and gays.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vdimMX2GyM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krxMnE_0O0Q

    The British Prime Minister, David Camerson, , inspired by the neo- Marxist, Saul Alinsky, shakes and rages against God’s restraining hand and demands that young and old, male and female, black and white, celebrate and dance to his version of British values.
    [WARNING FOUL LANGUAGE]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyj1qhj4WPY

    Listen Aussies, this is coming your way. Listen to the great leader.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMBfjWR6dg4#t=11

    David Skinner UK

  • The changes to EO law are only the things that Labor has actually admitted they want to do. If they get in for another term of Government, there is every likelihood they will legislate for more “progressive” things like

    – “hate speech” (“vilification”) laws concerning homosexuality and transgenderism, akin to the religious vilification laws they brought in last time which saw Christian pastors dragged to court and fined
    – euthanasia
    – access zones around abortion clinics
    – surrogacy
    – sex selection IVF
    and much more

    Remember, last time around they did not tell us they were planning abortion reform.

  • Mind you, the Vic Coalition has not changed Labor’s anti-discrimination laws and swore to leave Labor’s extreme pro-abortion policies in place. The Vic Coalition also bullied the Federal Government to leave in place the anti-free-speech Racial Discrimination Act 18C that they promised to repeal.

  • The mid-term elections in the US demonstrated that conservatives who stood strongly on what they believe won big, even in Democrat territory. The Victorian Collation government stands for nothing, they are Labor Lite. They did nothing to change the most liberal abortion laws in the country and did little to reverse a raft of Labor’s social engineering reforms. Contrast that to the LNP government in Qld. Campbell Newman is going to win with a big majority but the Victorian Libs may lose after just one useless term.

  • The problem is that the Liberals have done nothing to deserve their vote. People see that they have done next to nothing and that inspires no confidence in them at all. So the average voter has no reason to vote for Liberal even if Labor are far worse and will do their very best to destroy Victoria. Too many state Liberal Governments are Labor lite.

  • Didn’t Mr Shorten say he was a Christian at the same time that he was saying that Christians should not use the Bible to oppose same-sex marriage? Mr Rudd (remember him?) claimed to be a Christian but suddenly announced that he was in favour of same-sex marriage, and wouldn’t discuss his reasons (but I think we thereby were invited to guess what they were). There are others in the Labor Party who claim to be Christians but we don’t hear them condemning the party for openly anti-Christian stances. The Christians in the Liberal Party could be bit more vocal too, since politicians are never afraid of being vocal when it suits them.

  • Hello Bill,
    Victorians who are concerned about religious freedom through changes in the Equal Opportunity Act, who want to overturn the terrible abortion laws that were passed in 2008 and want to prevent promotion of all things homosexual can give their first preference to the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) (for which I am standing as a candidate), or to Australian Christians, or to Rise Up Australia, as these parties have clearly stated policies on the above issues. Otherwise both the major parties will continue to take the Christian vote for granted.

    Yours faithfully,
    Michael Palma

  • The Australian Constitution makes it quite clear, that the State is not to ‘establish’ any religion. This provision is threatened when the State takes to itself the right to sit in judgement over who is, and who is not, qualified to staff faith based schools.

    Unfortunately, this part of the quote from Christian Schools Australia is quite misleading, and arguably even deceptively so. The Australian Constitution is binding on the Federal Government, not the state governments. And although the word “state” can refer to the Australian (federal) Government, the particular reference in the Australian Constitution doesn’t use that word; it specifically refers to “The Commonwealth”.

    So although it’s true that the principle is being threatened, any implication that any state governments are defying the Australian Constitution by doing this, are wrong.

  • I wrote to the ALP about this and received a proforma reply that didn’t even address my concerns.

    I don’t see this as discriminatory. Why would you want to work for an employer whose values you don’t support? You wouldn’t be a good fit for it. That applies to any workplace. I applied for an entry level job with the ALP once. I’m not sorry I didn’t get it. In the interview I was told that they wanted to hire a person who was already a party member, was prepared to join the party if they weren’t a member, or who wholeheartedly supported Labor values.

    Don’t forget that Victorian Labor screwed us over with Eastlink. It was meant to be a freeway, funded by the then Howard government. Because Labor didn’t like the conditions of this funding, they decided to build the road as a tollway instead.

  • ACL has made its mistakes but at least they recognise this problem. Get as many people as possible to help out if you can:
    http://www.acl.org.au/2014/11/why-labors-policy-will-hurt-christian-schools/
    http://schoolfreedom.acl.org.au/

  • Phil,
    What you say is formally true, but states are expected to fall into line with Commonwealth statute, and with our nation’s Constitution. We are, after all, a Federation, and our High Court is able to hear cases in respect of the Constitution from any of the states. the operative clause in my view is that “The Commonwealth shall not make any law…for the prohibiting the free exercise of any religion…” With these amendments the free exercise is inhibited, and to that extent prohibited.

    I contacted our local Labor candidate for Cranbourne in response to a pro-forma email from her office as follows:

    Miss Sonya Kilkenny,
    Dear Sonya,
    Thank you for your response to my expression of concern regarding your independent schools policy. I wish now to respond to your explanation as follows:
    1. You insist that your policy has come about through extensive consultation with various “faith groups” (to use the conventional cliche). I have heard this plea before from your party when it was in government under Steve Bracks, in regard to the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act: in actual fact the “consultation” was with the denominations who trumpet “social justice” (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, and the Uniting Church), but the more conservative, Biblically-based churches (e.g. the Presbyterian Church, the Lutheran Church, the Pentecostal churches) were ignored. I strongly suspect that it’s the same story this time too, yet many of the independent Christian schools are run by people of Biblical persuasion, and are not into the “social justice” groove. To be blunt, as a Presbyterian neither the Roman Catholic bishops, nor the Anglican bishops, nor the Uniting moderators speak for me, or for many others!

    2. Your policy entails that if someone complains of “discrimination” it is up to the Christian administration to go through the very expensive path of litigation to prove that “the discriminatory requirement is an inherent requirement of the particular position”. This in our present environment puts the Christian administration in a virtually impossible position, for two reasons;
    (a) it involves having a secular judge make judgments on theological issues, which lie outside both his jurisdiction and competence. We have seen this prejudice already in the CYC case on Philip Island where the Christian Brethren who had run a youth camp for many years had their case go against them since, inter alia, the judge refused to admit the testimony of Dr. Peter Adam, a respected theologian. The fix was in!
    (b) it reverses the onus of proof. In the case of an atheist wanting a job in a Christian school (which example you propose) he should have to prove that his presence would not undermine the integrity and ethos of the school, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!
    In short, your policy makes the operation of a Christian school or organisation according to its own principles exceedingly difficult, and is a violation of Section 116 of our Constitution, which states, “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for…prohibiting the free exercise of any religion…” When you pass laws to make difficult the ability of a Christian organisation to operate according to its own beliefs and principles, and to hire and fire in line with those, to that extent you have prohibited the “free exercise of religion”. At this time we see violations of religious freedom in a whole raft of countries today, where the attacks on Christianity have become frequent, virulent, and relentless. And at this same time it appears to me that your party is moving in the same direction, albeit at a slower pace, and with more “sugar coating” on its surface.

    3. The “balancing act” between non-discrimination and religious freedom is a furphy: what it boils down to in the final analysis is that good people are criminalised simply because they wish, under God, to walk “the paths of righteousness” and not the dictates of men. Your law would prohibit this! Be warned: while there will be many who fall by the wayside and capitulate, there will be others who will have the resolve to obey God rather than men, as the Bible teaches. Do you really want this??

    I doubt that this will convince you, since your party already has its mind made up. If that is the case you DO NOT have my vote.

    Yours Sincerely
    Murray R. Adamthwaite Ph.D.

  • Murray, I like some of your response to your local candidate, but reference to the Australian Constitution isn’t going to help because the State ALP is not passing a Federal law.

    I have been trying to find the reference to this reversal (as announced) in the education policy, the “social inclusiveness policy” etc of the State ALP without success today. I found it on p69 of the Platform document voted by the Party at its Conference, but not in the policy document published for the election.

    So I am of the view that the Party has has voted for this, published it in its platform document but not stated it in the education policy document (thus printing an incomplete education policy and deceiving the voters).

    However, the education policy says a decent bit about democracy at the school level, mainly in favour of parents, but without making it clear that this democracy is seriously circumscribed by the restrictions on employment planned to be imposed by an ALP government.

    If you re-direct your attack towards the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act/Board and the Victorian Court system, I think you will score more telling blows than by tackling it from the Australian Constitutional level, because s.116 only refers to Commonwealth lawmaking.

  • Thank you Bill for your continued ‘Good Reports’ to keep the CHRISTians informed. Yes to you Murray a good report from you also. To follow on with the Constitutions section 116, wherein the Commonwealth Constitution does not interfere with our religious freedom. This is also backed up by section 109, which states,”When a law of a state is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.” meaning, that the State cannot interfere with the religious freedom that the Commonwealth Constitution is thus protecting from contamination or interference. Further to this I have just spent 7 days in jail for standing against traffic infringements, which are unlawful. You see we cannot be booked by the speed cameras and etc., as they are unlawful, and licenses and registrations are also illegal according to laws that are still in existence from way back, that can only be removed by a referendum of the people, which have not been, so are still in affect. I spent 7 days of 88 days, as it seems that if you preach the Good News of JESUS inside, that you cannot stay there too long, or was it my question at assembly, where the nurse talking on ‘Health’ let us know, that condoms are available to the prisoners and when she said, Any questions! I quickly put my hand up and asked, “Why are condoms handed out in a man’s prison”, which she did not answer, and I added, that through my exhaustive research of many years, I have discovered that there are naturally occurring perforations in the latex rubber that the condoms are made of, that are at least 500 times larger than the aids virus. The meeting was then abruptly ended. My going inside is part of my political protest against the theft in the road rules, and, etc., by our servants for good!!!???, being our elected governments. This I believe is my GOD given calling for the time being, ‘Praise the LORD’, and your prayers are asked for also, as I do not believe that it is my fight alone. Bless you all mightily as you stand for Righteousness Sake, as the LORD is calling us all to stand in whatever area the LORD is calling You.

  • Thanks, John.
    If you had read my post you would have seen that I do in fact observe that it is state law we are dealing with, but in the final analysis state law should be in harmony with federal law, and the nation’s Constitution. We are a Federation, after all. Section 116, and anything else in the Constitution, should be a clear guideline for state law. You did not really respond to what I wrote in the opening paragraph of my post above.

  • Francis,
    Good point about Sect 109 of the Constitution! A serious challenge to the ALP’s amendments could surely be made on that basis, provided the Federal Parliament passes a law to uphold the rights of Christian organisations to hire and fire according to their own beliefs, and to place the onus of proof on any objector who pleads “discrimination”.
    But even short of that, the Constitution is itself a set of laws governing the activities and behaviours of politicians!?

  • Thanx Neil. I couldn’t agree more. Mick Koster.

  • Yes Murray indeed, as the main reason for the constitution was set up to protect us ‘The People’ from bad and discriminatory laws, which are Rampant today. The lower courts in particular will tell you, and i quote the often stated lie of magistrates,”the Constitution does not apply in my court”. And the question to ask them is, “When did we have a referendum that eliminates the constitution from use anywhere in Australia, particularly in the courts and Parliament”? Well they cannot answer that, so it is indeed current, and applicable, as it is our watchdog against “THEIR CORRUPTION”.

  • Murray:

    …states are expected to fall into line with Commonwealth statute, and with our nation’s Constitution.

    In what sense, to what extent, and according to what and/or whom?
    The constitution is, as you concede, binding on the Commonwealth government, not the states. Indeed, sections 106 to 108 specifically talk about the states retaining their laws and powers, except where they are specifically handed over to the Commonwealth.

    We are, after all, a Federation, and our High Court is able to hear cases in respect of the Constitution from any of the states.

    I’m not sure what you are getting at here. Of course the High Court is able to hear cases in respect of the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean that the states are subject to the Constitution. In our federation the States are supreme, and the Commonwealth only has authority where it has specifically been given authority. (It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the principle.) In other words, if there is a new area in which to pass laws that was not anticipated by the writers of the Constitution (e.g. the Internet), then, unless the case can be made that it does fall under some existing provision (e.g. international relations), then it is a state matter, not a Commonwealth matter.

    …but in the final analysis state law should be in harmony with federal law, and the nation’s Constitution. We are a Federation, after all. Section 116, and anything else in the Constitution, should be a clear guideline for state law.

    That is simply not the case. The Constitution controls the Commonwealth governments, not the State governments, except to the extent that it transfers certain specified powers from the states to the Commonwealth.

    Francis:

    This is also backed up by section 109, which states,”When a law of a state is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.”

    That provision is made on the assumption that the Commonwealth law that conflicts with the state law is valid in the first place. If both can (and do) validly make laws in a particular area, then the Commonwealth law takes precedence. But only if.

    Murray:

    A serious challenge to the ALP’s amendments could surely be made on that basis, provided the Federal Parliament passes a law to uphold the rights of Christian organisations to hire and fire according to their own beliefs, and to place the onus of proof on any objector who pleads “discrimination”.

    That assumes that the Federal Parliament has the power to pass such laws. Section 116, which deals with religion, is titled ” Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion”. It specifically says that the Commonwealth can’t impose a religious requirement; it says nothing similar about the states, and it says nothing about it having the power to pass laws requiring religious freedom, although I guess it’s not beyond my imagination to say that a judge could read that into it.

    Murray:

    …the Constitution is itself a set of laws governing the activities and behaviours of politicians!?

    Federal politicians.

    Francis:

    Yes Murray indeed, as the main reason for the constitution was set up to protect us ‘The People’ from bad and discriminatory laws, which are Rampant today.

    Actually, it was to restrict the powers of the Commonwealth government, not the state governments, except the extent that I’ve already mentioned.

  • Philip,
    I read what you’re saying, and in a strict legal vein I daresay you’re correct. But I am looking at the spirit of the law; you are looking narrowly and legalistically at the letter. For the century and more since Federation Sect 116 has been taken as undergirding our religious freedom (and other freedoms). Only recently have states, inspired and motivated by the left, taken it in hand to exploit the legal loophole you point out, and go out on a limb in violation of the history of religious freedom we have traditionally enjoyed. The beginning of this was, I believe, the notorious Racial and Religious Tolerance Act of 12 years ago, and having got away with that the Labor party in particular has proceeded further.
    If Sect 116 does not guarantee our freedoms, does that mean that a mayor, or a state government, can subpoena a pastor’s sermons, as happened in Houston Texas just recently? – and he has no redress?
    Does it mean that a state government can pass a law that forbids a preacher from calling homosexuality a sin? – and he has no redress?
    And so we could go on.
    Your legal analysis may sound plausible, but surely the spirit of the law counts for something??

  • But I am looking at the spirit of the law; you are looking narrowly and legalistically at the letter

    Murray, I am not looking narrowly and legalistically. I’m looking at both aspects, but trying to keep them distinct. My first comment on this page was in response to a claim that started with “The Australian Constitution makes it quite clear, that the State is not to ‘establish’ any religion.” That is, it was invoking the Constitution, not a principle, and giving the impression that the Constitution was talking about state governments.

    I finished my first comment by saying “So although it’s true that the principle is being threatened, any implication that any state governments are defying the Australian Constitution by doing this, are wrong.”. So I acknowledged the principle, but was attempting to clarify the legal (constitutional) aspect of it.

    If Sect 116 does not guarantee our freedoms, does that mean that a mayor, or a state government, can subpoena a pastor’s sermons, as happened in Houston Texas just recently? – and he has no redress?

    I have no idea, but I would say that, unfortunately, he has no redress on the basis of Section 116.

    With the Victorian election looming, the candidates have been more visible, including being at railway stations when I’ve been on my way to work. Twice now, I’ve let my train go while I’ve challenged them (one Greens, one Labor) on their attitude towards abortion. If I see the Labor hopeful there again, I just might challenge him on this matter. But perhaps I’ll ask what his attitude on church-state separation is, and I’m sure he’ll say that he agrees with it, and I’ll point out the inconsistency of that position with what they are proposing to do with the law. But I wouldn’t accuse them of being in violation of the Australian constitution, because that would leave my argument open to being shot down. Yes, I could say that it contradicts the spirit of the Constitution, but I would have to make clear that I’m talking about the principle, not an actual violation.

  • Phil, we’re not going to agree, so this is my last post.
    1. You deny that you are looking at the Constitution narrowly and legalistically. I insist that that is precisely what you’re doing. When the colonies went into Federation in 1901 they did so on the understanding that (a) they would not establish any form of Christianity (as nearly happened is S.A. during the C19th), and (b) they would not interfere with the free exercise of religion by the heavy hand of the law. What was true at the Federal level they took for granted would be true at the State level. This is what I meant by the spirit of the law, that the States would follow suit with the Commonwealth. That is how it has been through the C20th until recently.
    2. What has happened recently is, due too a new and intensifying hostility to Christianity in the community, and among leftist politicians, to restrict and interpret ever more narrowly the provision of the Constitution in regard to “the free exercise of religion” (leave out the non-establishment side of things here – that is not under discussion, and Sect 116 is broader than that). On your reading of the legalities we have no guarantee at all of the free exercise of religion at the State level. I find this strange, to say the least. So you had better get hold of the Victorian Constitution and see what that says about the matter.

    A final point: contact Augusto Zimmerman, who is a Constitutional lawyer, and see what he has to say. He is on Saltshakers’ council of reference.

  • Murray,

    I meant that I wasn’t looking at the broader issue narrowly and legalistically, because I was accepting that there is a principle involved as well as the legal aspect of the constitution itself. I don’t doubt that the states, which of course approved the federal constitution, supported the principle at the time. I agree that the existence of section 116 can be taken as evidence in support of religious freedom. But the Labor party is not going to overtly deny religious freedom; they will simply argue (fallaciously) that their intentions are consistent with religious freedom.

    To put it another way, if a Labor politician needed to be convinced that religious freedom or church/state separation was a principle we accept in Australia, the Australian Constitution could be cited to support that principle. But as I’ve said, I fully expect that they would support such a principle. What they would need convincing of is that their intentions are in conflict with that principle. Citing the existence of that principle in section 116 does not do that. So the only other reason to cite it is to point out that they are violating the letter of the law. But again, because the Constitution doesn’t apply to state governments, that approach can’t be used either.

    (leave out the non-establishment side of things here – that is not under discussion, and Sect 116 is broader than that)

    Actually, that is exactly what I’m talking about. My first comment was responding to the part of a quote from Christian Schools Australia that said (my emphases),

    The Australian Constitution makes it quite clear, that the State is not to ‘establish’ any religion. This provision is threatened when the State takes to itself the right to sit in judgement over who is, and who is not, qualified to staff faith based schools.

    So the CSA was specifically talking about the non-establishment provision of the Constitution.

    Curious, I took your suggestion of having a look at the Victorian constitution. Searching it for key words, I could find no reference to religion at all, beyond references to “Almighty God” in a couple of oaths.

    On your reading of the legalities we have no guarantee at all of the free exercise of religion at the State level.

    Again, that is not necessarily the case. There may be some guarantees elsewhere; in some other law perhaps. Just not in the Australian Constitution (nor the Victorian one either, apparently). Or, perhaps you are correct. Perhaps there is no guarantee.

  • And still politicians can discriminate when employing their staff! How many Liberal Party members does Mr Andrews (Victoria’s Labor leader) employ?

  • Bill, You have really touched on something that I have been trying to expose for half a decade. The Gay Lobby is at war with the church. In the last 5 years hear is the evidence to prove this.

    Victoria: Wayout Vs Bretheren. A “gay youth” charity wanted to take children under the age of consent from the country side to put them in bunk beds with “gay educators” to provide sex education on church land, and successfully sued the church for not facilitating their demands. Victorian ABC State-line Breaks it down here:

    The judge said the precedent that church land doesn’t constitute a place of worship or eligible for religious exemptions from the Anti-Discrimination Acts Australia wide.

    http://soundcloud.com/hojuruku/gays-above-god-under-law &

    is my coverage of this and I predicted their next move. To go after what also happens inside the place of worship and sue churches for the crime of not celebrating unions of sodomy at a later time when gay marriage becomes law.

    My predictions were proven to be true.
    http://glrl.org.au/index.php/Resources/Media-Releases/20140203MR

    The Gay Lobby issued an official press release that shows they haven’t won enough already – they want to remove exemptions on what happens inside the place of worship too – therefore dictating that gay marriage services must be provided – OR ELSE your denomination must be closed down.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/greenwichs-gay-student-bill-on-hold-20131120-2xvm9.html

  • http://victimsofgaybullying.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/garyburnsblog-his-piacnews-lawyersweekly-to-the-child-sex-cult-augl_oto-twenty10-pedophiles/

    This shows under section 21 of the 1995 Equal Opportunites Act and Section 25 of the 2010 Equal Opportunity Act of Victoria it is lawful to discriminate against gay men who want to see naked young children in childcare or in sporting events. An example of this is the unemployed gay man not looking for work, but instead looking to see naked young boys in the article above.

    Tess Corbett is being jailed soon for contempt of court for saying she supports the current act that gay men should not teach young children.

    I just called VCAT and they have no knowledge of the act they are meant to enforce even after I brought up the act, they said I (a guy roleplaying a gay guy filed from a childcare centre) should still lodge the complaint and they don’t think the exemption exists, after checking the officer in charge of the complaint.

    This shows militant homsoexuals who don’t know what they they should be doing are in charge of the Act.

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