The Australian Christian Lobby has written to the Premier highlighting a serious breach of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 by the LotteryWest board.
As reported in The West Australian (8/10/2020), the LotteryWest board unanimously rejected the grant application of Victory Life Community Services Inc. The grant would have enabled a freezer van to help support needy Western Australian families. The board’s rejection was on the grounds of Pastor Margaret Court’s ‘biblical views on same-sex marriage’.
The WA Director of Australian Christian Lobby, Peter Abetz, said, “The LotteryWest board is not above the law. Section 62 of the Act makes it a specific offence to discriminate against another person in the provision of grants on the grounds of a person’s religious convictions.”
“This rejection should send shivers down the spine of all faith-based charities that hold traditional Christian, Muslim, Sikh or similar beliefs on human sexuality. Any group which publicly upholds faith-based beliefs on human sexuality at odds with the board’s views will no longer be eligible for a grant.
"At a meeting with LotteryWest after the rejection, two staff from the Victory Life Community Services Inc were told they need not apply in the future, that LotteryWest is a major sponsor of the Gay Lesbian Mardi Gras and that their applications would not be successful on account of Pastor Margaret Court’s views on marriage and gender issues.
“It is an abuse of the Board's decision-making power to punish people like Margaret Court for public commentary contrary to their own views,” Mr Abetz added.
ACL calls on the Equal Opportunity Commission to instruct its fellow government agency, LotteryWest, on their legal obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984.
The Premier needs to install a Board that genuinely values the multi-ethnic and multi-religious nature of Western Australian society.