On Monday 21 November 2022, over 300 concerned citizens, churches, ministers, faith leaders, school representatives, students, parents and families met to engage in a peaceful prayer rally at the Parliamentary Forecourt in Darwin.
This rally was organised to stand up against the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act 2022 ahead of the discussion today.
NT Parliamentarians are currently debating changes to the Act. If passed, it will restrict freedoms for Christian and faith-based schools and have a severe impact on religious freedom and daily life in the NT.
The large crowd at the rally showed the MPs that there is strong opposition to the Bill. It was an important and ground breaking moment to have people from all walks of life, faiths, denominations and backgrounds standing together as one, united for a common purpose.
People held signs with slogans such as ‘Save our Faith-Based Schools’, ‘Freedom for Faith’, ‘Save our Christian Schools’ and ‘Protect Parental Rights’. The group started the rally by singing Amazing Grace. This was a powerful moment and one that will not be quickly forgotten by those in attendance. What a blessing it was to have God’s truth proclaimed through song outside Parliament!
Amazing Grace was followed by various addresses, which included messages from Nicholas Lay, the President of the Concerned Citizens Coalition, Bishop Charles Gauci, Mario Tsirbas, Lia Finocchiaro MLA (Leader of the Opposition), Gerard Maley MLA (Deputy Leader of the Opposition), and Phoebe Van Bentum from NT Christian Schools.
This was followed by a time of prayer and finally the Lord’s Prayer. It was a significant 90 minutes and I’m so thankful that so many Territorians stood up to be counted.
Mrs Robyn Lambley MLA, member for Araluen was present at the rally and said during Parliamentary discussion today,
“Yesterday afternoon there was probably 300 people outside, very calmly. The feeling was one of patience, tolerance and kindness. At one point everyone got together and prayed. It just bowled me over. These people are not aggressive… they were a non-violent group of people who feel like they have been misunderstood and misrepresented… This had a completely different vibe and feeling than any other rally or protest I have seen before… There are so many other people in the Territory that need to be heard and their rights need to be protected too.”
Thank you, Mrs Lambley, for your words and your support.
There is much the Parliament will discuss throughout the remainder of today. I recommend you read the Hansard discussion of the Bill on the NT Parliamentary website once it has been uploaded: https://parliament.nt.gov.au/business/parliamentary-records.
Thank you to everyone who stood in Darwin on Monday. Your courage, steadfastness and peaceful approach certainly made an impact. Thank you for standing up for truth, and for your faith and religious freedoms. Thank you especially to Danial Kelly who did a significant amount of work to ensure this rally could happen. To all who partnered with us significantly over the last week, thank you!
We pray that this Bill will be rejected so freedom of speech and freedom of religion is preserved in the Territory. At the time of writing, the vote has not occurred, but is expected to happen this evening. Please join us in prayer against this legislation. The fight is not over!
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord Almighty.” – Zechariah 4:6b