It has become a mantra for Barry O'Farrell in recent months, which until now has gone relatively unquestioned: the Coalition's chances of controlling both houses of the NSW Parliament are non-existent. It will be a Greens-dominated upper house, we are assured by the Opposition Leader. There is no question about it. For a politician who professes, like all the rest, to pay no attention to the polls, it is a remarkably confident assertion. The reality is that it is a self-serving assumption designed to deflect fears of a Howard-style domination of Parliament where a conservative government enjoys the freedom to pass whatever piece of legislation it desires without the prospect of serious challenge in the house of review.
School curriculum must include education on minority religions, the State Government has been warned. The rewrite is a bid to reduce racism and intolerance. The final report of the Taskforce on Religious Diversity demands government "leadership" in promoting social cohesion and "special attention" on youth. Formed last year by Multicultural Affairs Minister Grace Portolesi in the wake of calls to ban the burqa, the taskforce was chaired by Lieutenant Governor Hieu Van Lee. Ms Portolesi yesterday said the Government would consider the report before delivering a formal response but education was "key to breaking down fear".
New Easter egg raises money for two charities and mentions Jesus on the box. Church leaders have secured a small victory in their fight against secularism and the marginalisation of Christianity after major supermarkets agreed to stock the UK's first and only Fairtrade charity Easter egg to mention Jesus on the box. Morrisons, Waitrose, Co-op and Booths are to stock a limited supply of the Real Easter Egg, while some independent shops and cathedrals are also selling it.
When I wrote the comment piece recently published on the Drum Unleashed titled ‘Australia, it’s Western, Christian and proud’ I was attacked for being prejudiced, biased, Eurocentric and, apparently, the worst criticism of all, for being Christian. I wonder what my critics make of Minister Bowen’s speech on multiculturalism given at the Sydney Institute in which he argues, as reported in The Australian, “If there is any inconsistency between these cultural values (those of different cultures) and the values of individual freedom and the rule of law, then these traditional Australian values win out".
A South Australian Liberal Senator has received death threats after denouncing Islam as "totalitarian". Liberal parliamentary secretary Cory Bernardi revealed last night he had received death threats after making the comments. While the immigration debate usually differentiates between the religion of Islam and extreme fundamentalist interpretations, Senator Bernardi confronted the issue head-on yesterday. "Islam itself is the problem - it's not Muslims," he told radio station MTR.
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