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Pages tagged "ACL Australian Capital Territory"
Lyle Shelton on The Political Spot
· August 21, 2012 10:00 AM
The ACT Parliament plans to introduce an amendment to the
adding religion as a protected attribute under the Act. ACL's Daniel Simon spoke with Chief-of-Staff Lyle Shelton about the proposed religious vilification laws.
MR: Lack of consultation means vilification laws should be put on hold
· August 19, 2012 10:00 AM
For Release: Sunday August 19, 2012
The ACT's proposed religious vilification laws should be put on hold until consultation was held with religious communities, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said it was extremely disappointing that such controversial laws were being rushed into the Assembly this week when there had been no consultation at all with Canberra's Christian constituency.
Similar laws in Victoria were extremely controversial and led to protracted and expensive legal action which proved counterproductive to social cohesion, Mr Wallace said.
"These same laws were deemed completely unnecessary by the former New South Wales Labor Government which rejected them out of hand.
“While no right thinking person supports vilification of anyone, creating a big legal stick to wield if groups felt vilified would end up suppressing free speech,” Mr Wallace said.
"In a society such as ours which determines its values through the contest of ideas, there needs to be the freedom to engage in robust debate without fear of a legal process being initiated by someone who feels offended.
"The ACT, like the rest of Australia, has defamation laws and these should apply when free speech crosses the line and causes injury."
Mr Wallace said it was wrong that offensive posters had been circulated targeting Canberra's Muslim community but vilification laws were not the way to address this.
MR: ACT religious vilification laws to stifle religious freedom
· August 14, 2012 10:00 AM
Tuesday, 14th August, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed concern at the ACT Government’s intent in introducing religious vilification legislation in the Assembly.
ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said religious vilification legislation was an overreaction to an isolated incident that would stifle religious freedom rather than enhance it.
“The experience of the ‘two Dannies’ case under Victorian religious vilification legislation shows that rather than protecting religious freedom, such laws have a detrimental effect on the ability of people to act in accordance with their conscience,” Mr Wallace said.
“The Victorian experience showed that religious vilification laws diminish social cohesion and lead to expensive and acrimonious legal processes.
“Religious vilification legislation also had a suppressing effect on free speech, with the threat of legal action and tribunal hearings causing people to step back from important public discussion,” he said.
“We hold very strong reservations for religious freedom and free speech under the proposed ACT legislation.”
Mr Wallace said that ACL supported the freedom of people of all faiths and none to express their views in the public square without the threat of legal action, which is necessary for the proper functioning of a democracy.
Mr Wallace said the government should at least wait until the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council had reviewed the Discrimination Act, including a thorough public consultation process, before moving on such a contentious policy issue.
MR: Labor has chance to equal Coalition by protecting marriage
· August 11, 2012 10:00 AM
For release: Sunday, 12th August, 2012
The Federal Government must intervene to stop Australia’s marriage laws from becoming a ‘hodge podge’ according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
The call follows announcements by the South Australian and ACT Governments to introduce homosexual marriage or marriage-mimicking laws.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said Prime Minister Julia Gillard went to the 2010 election
promising to up-hold marriage
between a man and a woman.
“Gay activists and Green politicians are now leading Labor States like Tasmania and South Australia by the nose towards homosexual ‘marriage’,” Mr Wallace said.
“Integrity does matter in politics and Federal Labor could choose to equal the Coalition’s integrity on marriage by intervening to stop South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT from legislating a new definition of marriage.
“The Coalition’s resolve to keep its election promise is to be applauded, despite the Greens and activists wanting it broken.
“The Government needs to act swiftly before Australia ends up with different marriage laws between States and the Commonwealth.
“The Attorney General must defend marriage against attempts by States and Territories to redefine it, even if it means going to the High Court,” Mr Wallace said.
“The Government also must signal that it will use the powers of the Parliament to overturn any marriage-mimicking law passed in the coming week by the Greens and Labor in the ACT.”
Premier urged to keep election commitment to examine Swedish prostitution laws
· October 08, 2010 11:00 AM
For release: October 8, 2010
Premier urged to keep election commitment to examine Swedish prostitution laws
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today urged Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett to honour his pre-election commitment to examine the Swedish approach to prostitution reform.
At ACL’s pre-election ‘Make It Count Tasmania’ event in Hobart on February 15, Mr Bartlett told the forum a re-elected Labor Government, ‘would commit to look very carefully at legislation like the Swedish model’.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said it was pleasing the Tasmanian Government was committed to a thorough review of the state’s legislative response to prostitution, and urged it to seize the opportunity to look beyond the failed approach of regulated prostitution in the mainland States.
Mr Brown said the Children’s Commissioner’s recommendation this week for Swedish-style criminalisation of the purchase of sex in the wake of the prostituting of a 12-year-old girl to 100 men should form part of the up-coming review of the Sex Industry Offenses Act 2005.
“The Swedish approach would have meant these men could not have claimed ignorance for abusing this girl,” Mr Brown said.
The failure of regulated brothels in mainland States was well documented.
“For example, after ten years of licensed brothels in Queensland under the Prostitution Act 1999, ‘90% of prostitution remains unregulated’ according to a report from the
Human Trafficking Working Group
of the University of Queensland.
“The legal sex trade also contributes to demand for human trafficking. The same report says that, ‘trafficking of persons, especially women, remains a problem that is equally associated with legal and illegal brothels around Australia’.
“The death of a 17-year-old girl from a drug overdose in a legal Canberra brothel in 2008, and the more recent report of a 16-year-old allegedly sent to work in a Sydney brothel by her mother, demonstrates that by the most important measure – the ability to protect minors from exploitation – the legalisation and regulation of prostitution in Australia has been a failure.
“As a Government that prides itself on pursuing a progressive policy agenda, we would urge the Bartlett Labor Government to seriously consider how a law that criminalises the purchase of sex would advance the best interests of women and girls,” Mr Brown said.
Media Contact: Mark Brown 0408 850 629
Confronting the ‘oldest oppression’
· September 15, 2010 10:00 AM
Nick Jensen writing in the
Canberra City News
of September 9-15, 2010:
Before the last ACT election in 2008, our local government responded to a question regarding Canberra’s prostitution industry with the following: “There is no illegal sex industry in Canberra due to our well-regulated legal prostitution system”.
I wonder if the response would still be the same today?
to read the full article.
ACT Director’s letter to Supporters – September 2010
· September 09, 2010 10:00 AM
ACT Director Nick Jensen’s letter to supporters in the Territory is available online.
With all the drama of the federal election, it is easy to miss what is happening in the surrounding areas of the federal parliament building! We must, however, not forget that the greatest impact we can have is transforming and redeeming our own community in Canberra which so often has flow on effects to the rest of the nation.
to read the rest of Nick’s letter.
Illegal prostitution industry growing, ACT review approaching
· September 09, 2010 10:00 AM
Last week another illegal suburban brothel was found in the nation’s capital. Before the last ACT election in 2008, the ACT government responded to a question regarding Canberra’s prostitution industry with the following:
“There is no illegal sex industry in Canberra due to our well-regulated legal prostitution system”
. However, in the last couple of years reports have repeatedly uncovered strong illegal elements in the Canberra industry.
There have been several news reports about the common usage of underage girls, suspicious fires, people found to be holding sex slaves, and the most tragic of all, the death of 17-year-old Janine Cameron who was discovered to have overdosed on drugs while working in a Fyshwick brothel. As for “well-regulated”, before the recent spate of checking first-aid kits at the brothels, there had not been an inspection done in half a decade.
The ACT Labor Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, recently gave in principle support for a review to be held into the ACT prostitution industry which could begin as early as March next year. This could be the first significant examination about whether a legalisation of prostitution is actually having the intended effect of diminishing the illegal sex-trade, as well as improving the health and safety of women in the industry. The ACT was the first Australian province to legalise brothels in 1992, and this inquiry could raise the question as to whether, like the Mayor of Amsterdam has stated, this has been a ‘failed experiment’.
This sad state of affairs provides an opportunity for Christians around the ACT, and indeed Australia, to make their voice heard on this issue of justice. We will at the ACL be following this issue closely and attempt to keep you informed about how you can act. Submissions will most likely be accepted early next year, as soon as the terms of reference are laid down, and we would encourage you to think about how you would like to respond to this extremely important issue.
As a first step for more information, Women’s Forum Australia are hosting a documentary about the global sex trade called “Call and Response” in Canberra which we would encourage our Canberra supporters to get to. The details are:
Wednesday, September 22, 2010; 7:00 PM start time (Please arrive 15 minutes early to register)
Hoyts Theatre, Westfield Woden
$20, includes movie ticket and raffle ticket
Email us at
or call us at 0448 597 114 or
Register and pay online - click
Christian lobby congratulates ACT Greens on first steps to combat sexualisation of children
· August 18, 2010 10:00 AM
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today congratulated ACT Greens Party Convener, Meredith Hunter, on moves to introduce a voluntary code of conduct for retailers to help combat the sexualisation of children as well as a proposal to educate students on the dangers of sexualised images on young minds, but said more needs to be done to seriously tackle the wider sexualisation of culture.
The ACL’s ACT Director Nick Jensen said he supported moves for the ACT to become a leader in the fight against the sexualisation of children and welcomed Ms Hunter’s motion calling on the ACT Government to take action on the issue.
“While Ms Hunter’s motion is welcome, it would be great to see her concern extend to Federal Green policies, where there is a push for X-rated material to be sold throughout Australia, support for girls to sell their bodies for sex in prostitution legislation, and opposition to ISP filtering measures to stop child pornography on the internet.
“In reality it is really national action that is needed, particularly in terms of a review of our broken classification system which is allowing children to be bombarded with overtly sexual messages by everything from billboards to films to music videos,” Mr Jensen said.
Mr Jensen, who also works as a chaplain in a Canberra school, said: “Our schools are seeing an increase in a large range of problems linked to children being exposed to sexual images and concepts at a young age. There needs to be a recognition that marketing aimed at selling products to children through sexual advertisements, particularly in teenage magazines, clothing shops and music videos, is not healthy for a child’s development.
“There is a need for more education in critiquing unhealthy media messages regarding body image, relationships, and a healthy sexuality, but also there is a need for the community to take responsibility to allow kids to be kids and not be pressured on all sides from highly sexualised images and messages.”
Mr Jensen went on to say that further steps need to be taken if the issue of the sexualisation of children is to be taken seriously. “Canberra is the centre of the sex industry in Australia and we are at a stage where approximately 50% of girls and 70% of boys under the age of 12 have viewed pornographic material,” he said. “We know from reports such as the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ inquiry in the Northern Territory that X-rated material can have a serious negative impact on communities.”
Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979
ACT Government urged to investigate negligence cover up allegations
· February 17, 2010 11:00 AM
For release: February 17, 2010
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today called on the ACT Government to investigate allegations that a Canberra Hospital patient was pressed to terminate her baby at 31 weeks gestation following failed treatment for an earlier misdiagnosis.
The ACL’s ACT Director Nick Jensen said serious questions had been raised about why a Canberra Hospital senior obstetrician had in the past recommended that Fiona Vanderhook abort her now healthy 14-month-old baby son in marked contrast to six other specialist opinions, and that these allegations needed to be properly investigated.
“This issue raises wider questions about whether or not abortion is the solution of choice for some doctors. How many expectant mothers are being pressured into having abortions in the ACT without properly being counselled about other options?” Mr Jensen queried.
“In this instance one can only imagine just how hard it would have been for Mrs Vanderhook to go against the repeated advice of her hospital obstetrician to continue with the pregnancy. However, if she hadn’t taken the risk of disregarding his advice Mrs Vanderhook would not today be the mother of a lovely baby boy.
“Instead, as Mrs Vanderhook put it herself, she would have had to see ‘a baby induced and to watch him die and not do anything about it’. A recent Senate Inquiry heard evidence of this late term abortion practice happening in other states.
“How tragic when abortion is pressed on ACT women in such a way. How many other times, for example, are women being encouraged to have abortions in the ACT for suspected or relatively minor physical abnormalities, or because of social or economic concerns?
“We need to remember that children’s lives are at stake in this issue, and that women need to be given greater choice in dealing with an unsupported pregnancy or if there are perceived complications with the baby.”
Mr Jensen said the Canberra Hospital incident highlights problems that can easily arise as a result of the ACT having the most liberal, or open-slather, abortion laws in Australia – with abortions able to be performed at any stage of a pregnancy (right up until birth) for any or no reason.
“We shudder to think how many times the abortion of completely healthy babies has taken place in the ACT and how many women have gone on to regret what has happened – and the lack of real choice they felt they had,” Mr Jensen said.
Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979.
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