But one of the big consequences of any possible change in the definition of marriage – homosexual sex education in schools – is already proving a major distraction from the government's election agenda.
Hardly a week goes by without revelations of a new program designed to teach children that their gender is fluid or that they might be same-sex attracted.
It seems that children are never too young to be inducted into the bright new world of rainbow sexual concepts.
An avalanche of homosexual and transgender material is flooding into the curriculum from high school to pre-school – all without parents' knowledge.
This rainbow sexual indoctrination is even starting before pre-school. Day care centre workers are being taught to see the toddlers in their care as sexual beings.
A new manual produced by Early Childhood Australia (ECA) for early childhood educators mentions masturbation 21 times in 36 pages.
ECA's "start early" program resource also examines cross-dressing, thanks to funding from the Baird Government in New South Wales.
Encouraging child care workers to see toddlers as sexual beings is creepy.
And in Victoria, a Melbourne University academic, Kylie Smith, wants pre-schoolers taught about gay marriage and the idea that their gender is fluid, not biological.
These controversial ideas which are contested by leading feminists and paediatricians are all being implemented with state and federal government funding.
The Safe Schools Coalition of Australia resource, The Gender Fairy story book, tells four-year-olds that "…only you know whether you are a boy or a girl. No one can tell you." Not your teacher and certainly not your mummy or daddy.
Junior high brings more teaching on masturbation and the introduction of anal sex to the classroom through the Victorian Government's Building Respectful Relationships program.
Guides for sexualising role-playing exercises advise teachers on how to "de-role" children to help them avoid falling into "a state of distress or disassociation" which the program author obviously considered a real risk.
The Safe Schools Hub, a website funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training, now hosts controversial Safe School Coalition resources.
These resources tell schools to allow boys identifying as girls to use the girls' toilets and provide schools with step by step guides on "Supporting a Student to Affirm or Transition Gender Identity at School."
Imagine an 18-year-old man identifying as a girl using the same toilets, showers and change rooms as your 13-year-old daughter. This scenario is now envisaged via a Turnbull Government-funded website.
Special facilities for transgender students are okay, the Safe Schools hub says, but they should never stop a student from using the toilet facility of their "gender identity" as this would be demeaning.
The Safe Schools hub also encourages schools to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia.
There is no international day against bullying over body image – the most rampant form of bullying in schools by a long way.
The Safe Schools Coalition is far from "gutted", as many thought it was after the review of it by University of Western Australia Emeritus Professor Bill Louden.
The Andrews Government in Victoria has point blank refused to abide by the recommendations of the Louden review to prune Safe Schools.
The pre-Louden version of Safe Schools will be compulsory in Victorian public high schools by 2018.
Premier Andrews labels anyone who questions his rainbow programs as "bigots".
In Queensland the Palaszczuk Government has refused a Right to Information request from ACL to release the secret list of schools running the Safe Schools program.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham's insistence that Safe Schools be transparent for parents is being ignored, making him look weak in the face of rainbow activists.
Never mind that research shows that up to 80 per cent of girls and 90 per cent of boys struggling with gender identity issues will be entirely comfortable with their biological gender by the time they get through puberty.
Never mind that 10 years after a sex change operation, a person is 20 times more likely to commit suicide than the non-transgendered population.
Never mind that hospitals like John Hopkins in the United States now no longer perform gender reassignment surgery because it was found not to be helpful.
None of this information features in the resources.
Bigot, homophobe and hater are the bullying words deployed against anyone asking questions. They protect these programs making politicians and the community too scared to challenge them.
Queensland-style secrecy is the other enabler.
Any government program that relies on slurs and secrecy for its currency, should sound warning bells and pique journalists' curiosity.
Now a coalition of rainbow groups is calling on Australia's corporate sector to sign a letter of endorsement of Safe Schools.
The leader of one of these groups, Rodney Chiang-Cruise, took to social media after Mr Turnbull ordered the review of Safe Schools to label the Prime Minister a "C…t".
Apart from aligning their brands with dubious company, does corporate Australia really want to declare war on the biological gender of Australia's children?
Rainbow politics is taking captains of industry and politicians down a very strange path.
Most Australians would prefer to let boys be boys and girls be girls and get on with arguing about the economy.
Originally published in Online Opinion
I applaud your intention to have an “open and transparent” discussion about poker machine licencing in Tasmania. I was especially glad to see you have included the important topic of harm minimisation as a key focus.
I am buoyed because I believe you have an unprecedented opportunity to effect real lasting change in the lives of thousands of Tasmanians.
With a GST windfall meaning that state debt can be paid off earlier than previously anticipated, a low Australian dollar helping exporters and a more robust economy, the state is positioned to once and for all wean itself off pokie tax revenue.
With the Liberals likely to win another term in power you can, free from political cycle pressures, prepare for such a reform right up to the 2023 relicensing date. This could usher in a new era in government attitudes to gambling, where protection of vulnerable Tasmanians is put ahead of profits and the bottom line.
This opportunity may not come again. I encourage you to reflect on the many lives that could be impacted for good and to seize the day.
Pokies continue to wreak havoc in Tasmania’s neediest communities. I am sure you find it abhorrent as
I do that poker machines are deliberately concentrated in our poorest regions.
They suck up to $2 million a month from our most disadvantaged suburbs — money that should have been spent on clothing, groceries and birthday presents.
Pokies cause the highest losses of all forms of gambling and nearly half of their takings come from problem or moderate risk gamblers.
The machines are programmed to ensure that the gambler loses and to deliberately entice gamblers to continue playing.
Australian pokies are the most voracious in the world with respect to the rate at which they strip money from gamblers.
The recent ABC documentary Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation uncovered the methods pokie designers use. Alluring graphics, sounds, lights and music are engineered to exploit how the brain works by triggering chemicals (like dopamine) at similar levels to those exhibited in the brains of those with severe drug addiction.
No wonder they have been called the electronic morphine and crack cocaine of gambling.
You may be aware that gambling disorder is found alongside cocaine and heroin in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
In conjunction with the makers of the documentary, I am planning a special public screening of Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation in parliament this month. We will have an expert panel to answer questions afterwards. I hope you are able to be involved.
One only needs to look at the wreckage meted out to families of pokie addicts and the community-at-large to agree that the comparison with hard drugs is not far off the mark. These include broken families, deprived children and, in extreme cases, suicide. And the community (usually via the government) must pick up the costs of providing for the victims as well as costs due to lost productivity, bankruptcy, fraud and the prosecution and incarceration of offenders.
Studies show that for every person with a gambling problem, another five to 10 people are affected, meaning about 27,000 Tasmanians are bearing the brunt. This number includes an estimated 2000 children.
Something has to be done. I hope that you can rise to champion their cause.
Pokie harms could be significantly averted with a few simple policy changes.
People have been talking for years about mandatory $1 bet limits and the huge difference they would make for problem gamblers.
New community alliances, national and local, are pushing for these kinds of reforms. Why can’t Tassie lead the way? Of course, there will be the expected opposition, but surely we have a moral obligation to help the most vulnerable.
The experience from Victoria in 2008 can offer us hope. The Victorian government of the day dropped bet limits significantly in a very short period and with minimal contention.
Mr Gutwein, I pray that you will have the courage and wisdom necessary to see the opportunity before you.
I ask that you seize the day and ensure a brighter future for the many desperate Tasmanians affected by pokie addiction.
By ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown. Published in the Tasmanian Mercury 7 March 2016.
World Congress of Families; surrogacy issues in Australia - Politics InFocus from InFocus on Vimeo.
Get a Christian perspective of news and politics with the latest political commentary from ACL on “The Politics in Focus”. This TV segment airs fortnightly on the Australian Christian Channel as part of Seventh Day Adventist Media’s weekly InFocus program. Tune in on Fridays at 7pm or Saturdays at 12pm.
In this week's edition, ACL's managing director Lyle Shelton welcomes the Australian Government's announcement of 4,400 refugee places for Christians and Yazidis fleeing ISIS violence. He also weighs in on the debate regarding legalising cannabis for medicinal use.
Iraqi refugees; legalising cannabis - Politics InFocus from InFocus on Vimeo.
In this week's edition, ACL's Lyle Shelton weighs in on the international response to the exile of Mosul's Christians and a policy kerfuffle over religious activities in Victoria's schools.
Politics InFocus - 08.08.14 from InFocus on Vimeo.
ACL's Managing Director Lyle Shelton appeared on ABC's The Drum last night talking about the High Court's decision to overturn the ACT's same-sex marriage laws.
Follow this link to watch the interview. Lyle's commentary appears 33 minutes and 45 seconds into the program.
Below is a copy of the opinion piece. You can also read it on The Australian website here.
No mandate for change
Tomorrow in Canberra nine people - eight Labor and one from the Greens - will set themselves up to decide marriage policy affecting the entire nation.
Capitalising on the normal disruption of a change of federal government, the ACT government will introduce a bill for same-sex marriage into the territory's 17-member assembly.
With no residency requirement, the Labor-Greens government is mischievously creating a problem for interstate people who will not be married when they cross back over the border.
The Liberals, sensibly, are not buying into it and will oppose the bill on constitutional grounds.
The commonwealth parliament has the power to override territory legislation and, because marriage is a federal responsibility, it should do this. It is not in Australia's interest to have a hodgepodge of marriage laws. It is concerning that same-sex marriage advocates say they would rather see an ACT law challenged in the High Court so that judges, not elected people, can settle the issue. Clearly, the strategy is legislation by fatigue and, if that doesn't work, bypass democracy and get it before judges.
The last thing Australia needs is US-style judicial decision-making on issues of social policy. The federal election and this week's descent into farce means there is now an opportunity to put the debate about changing the definition of marriage behind us and move on.
Kevin Rudd made gay marriage a signature campaign issue by promising to legislate within 100 days if re-elected. He pushed it all the way to election eve and the issue received prominent and overwhelmingly positive media coverage.
But the electorate was underwhelmed. Labor returned its lowest primary vote in 100 years and the party of same-sex marriage, the Greens, suffered a 3 per cent swing.
Where was the pink vote?
A poll commissioned by Australian Christian Lobby and conducted last week by JWS Research asked people to identify what issues were most important to them when they voted on September 7. The poll confirmed what parliamentarians in touch with their electorates have always said: same-sex marriage is a low-order issue outside a handful of inner-city seats.
The poll found that 13 per cent of voters rated it as a top-three issue. Just 4 per cent of Coalition voters thought it was important. Among Labor voters, 85 per cent don't think it is a high priority and 72 per cent of Greens voters are not energised by it.
But we already knew this.
In August last year, MPs reported back to parliament after surveying their electorates on the issue. Greens member for Melbourne Adam Bandt had a motion carried in the parliament requesting MPs to undertake this.
Of 30 who reported back, 24 revealed where their electorates stood. Six MPs claimed majority support for same-sex marriage but 18 said their constituents were opposed to change.
In the seat of Dawson, George Christensen reported opposition of 456 to 78; in O'Connor, member Tony Crook reported 523 to 115; in Deakin, Mike Symon reported 1015 to 65; in Blair, Shayne Neumann reported 580 to 115; in Cook, Scott Morrison reported 850 to 50; in the seat of Cowan, Luke Simpkins reported 903 to 103; and in Fowler member Chris Hayes said 90 per cent of his electorate supported marriage between a man and a woman. Bandt had kicked an own goal in demanding MPs survey their electorates.
Soon after, same-sex marriage bills were defeated in the House of Representatives and in the Senate by almost two to one.
Same-sex marriage advocates claim that since the election they have 50 confirmed supporters in the House of Representatives, an increase of eight on the previous parliament.
However, the chamber has 150 members and, despite the war of attrition being waged on MPs by the gay lobby, they remain well short of the numbers needed to change the Marriage Act.
Despite continually claiming Australians want it, same-sex marriage advocates oppose putting it to a referendum.
What is rarely talked about is that there is no discrimination in Australian law against same-sex couples. This was completely removed in 2008 under the attorney-general at the time, Robert McClelland. As he pointed out during ACL's pre-election webcast, the gay-marriage debate is not about discrimination, it is about definition, and regardless of who legislates the matter will end up in the High Court to decide what marriage meant in 1901.
"I don't think that's a comfortable place for the High Court to be," McClelland said.
It will take extraordinary judicial gymnastics to rule it is anything other than man-woman. There are bigger issues for organisations such as ACL to pursue with the new government, such as its election-eve cutting of $4.5 billion in overseas aid to people in extreme poverty.
Same-sex marriage is far from inevitable despite what the public is constantly told.
There is no mandate for change. It's time to move on.
Lyle Shelton is the managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
Below is a copy of the opinion piece. You can also read it on the Online Opinion website here.
The inconsistency of modern western morality
At times I feel like I am caught in some sort of weird ‘Alice in Wonderland’ scenario.
“...you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on. `I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.' `Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. `You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!' `You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, `that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'
The real-life scenario I refer to is the inconsistency of what we as a society say we expect in regards to behaviour, as opposed to the behaviour we promote as being perfectly legitimate.. until it produces what we oppose in behaviour.
You reap what you sow is a modern day idiom which actually originates in the Bible. It remains a valuable lesson.
This year we as a nation have been shocked as we mourned together over the savage and brutal rape and murder of 29 year old Jill Meagher, and the terrible tragedy of young Joan Ryther, also raped, then murdered along with her unborn child by an 18 year old man while she was on her way to work. Her distraught husband told Australia via the press, "Please, please don't forget my wife, my child and please, don't let this happen again". But on the very day that the memorial service was being held for Joan Ryther just south of Brisbane, in a northern suburb of Brisbane, Eatons Hill hotel hosted US Hip Hop entertainer, Tyler the Creator, whose lyrics include,“Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome. You got a fucking death wish? I'm a genie, it'll get done”. In their promotion of the event they said they were “thrilled to have our venue chosen” and that it was “very exciting”. Murder and rape is not exciting. Rather it is widely condemned in our society. But Tyler the Creator with his message of rape and murder is welcomed. This was despite a 20,000+ strong petition calling for him to not be allowed to spread his messages of hate against women.
Respect for our Australian military took a dive recently with more sex scandal details revealed resulting in the dismissal of five officers. Women had once again been treated as objects rather than equals with rather degrading behaviour. This is a huge disappointment to Australians who, every year on Anzac Day, celebrate the bravery, the courage and the heroic behaviour of our soldiers past and present. When those who we look to for protection act in a way that takes advantage of vulnerable people, our national sense of security and pride dissipates because we all acknowledge that there is nothing courageous or heroic about misogyny. But in the closing hours of the very week that the sexual misdemeanours were revealed, and Australia's top military representatives were using every means available to convey the message to the public that this behaviour would not be tolerated under any circumstances, a strip club billboard was erected on Samford Road, opposite the Gallipoli army barracksin Enoggera, Brisbane. Objectifying women and treating them as less than equal is unacceptable in our culture and we expect more of those in positions of trust. But our Government advertising watchdog dismisses all complaints when a huge brightly lit billboard appeals to our military officers after a week of scandal to come to a club to objectify women.
We allow the grooming of our society to accept the objectification of women through our advertising and then we are shocked at the outworking of that culture.
But it's not just the military that is impacted by this sexual advertising. The exact same strip club billboard had been removed weeks before from outside Brisbane Boys Grammar School, 8km away. This was not because the Advertising Standards Board had said it should go. They had already dismissed all complaints. In the end it was taken down on the back of a successful petition, signed by thousands. If this billboard was deemed to be unsuitable for Spring Hill in Brisbane, why would it be suitable for Enoggera? It can't be because it is not in the vicinity of schools. The local schools and kindergartens are within 500 metres of the billboard and it is on the main thoroughfare to and from the same.
What sort of society is it where we do not allow advertisements showing a person smoking a cigarette and yet it is permissible to portray explicit sexual advertising to children that objectifies women, sending messages that contribute to eating disorders, depression and self-harm?
There was wide-spread, justifiable shock and outrage recently at the alleged assault by Nigella Lawson's husband, Charles Saatchi, as we viewed in many forms of media, from many angles, photos of him mistreating her and grabbing her throat at a restaurant. As a society we took the opportunity to enforce the fact that women should not put up with domestic violence or any bad behaviour from any man. Bravo! But at the same time, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane hosted Tyler the Creator as he 'entertained' all age crowds with lyrics such as "Punch a bitch in her mouth just for talkin' shit”, and we called that art. From the stage in the Sydney concert, the artist shouted out to his loyal fans, "who is going to go out of here tonight and rape and kill someone?". The shouts of support with many fists raised in the air should send a chill through every Australian.
It would seem reasonable to me that young people attending the Tyler the Creator concert could be justifiably confused at the outrage directed towards Charles Saatchi for a comparably minor offence.
It's time we matched our messaging with our expectations. To say what we mean, and mean what we say. Otherwise it's just too confusing.
The Internet provides lots of opportunities to speak up and be heard. Social media services like Facebook and Twitter, news websites and blogs are just some places where Christians can have a say.
Many news websites allow readers to post comments at the bottom of a news story.
The media often use these comments to measure public sentiment. They are an important tool for shaping public opinion and the views of opinion makers in the media.
Many media outlets, however, moderate the comments submitted to them online. This means that if a comment does not comply with its guidelines, it is not published.
This can be because the comment attacks someone personally, or it strays from the topic at hand.
So, how can you ensure that your comments are published in news articles?
A few general rules apply:
- Don’t post material that incites hatred or violence
- Don’t attack someone personally; make the comment about the issue/s at hand
- Keep comments relevant
- Avoid ‘SHOUTING’ i.e. don’t write all in CAPS
The Sydney Morning Herald has published some relevant articles that go into detail about commenting on news sites. Use these as guidelines for posting comments on other media outlets too, including blogs and Facebook:
Consider some of the following options to help you make the most of the opportunity to have your voice heard about issues important to Christians today:
- ACL’s Pick of the Day’s news. ACL compiles a daily media monitoring service of stories of interest to the Christian constituency, including on marriage, family, human rights and religious freedom. Use this list to find stories you may wish to comment on. Check the ACL website each morning to access the list.
- Spread the word. Encourage your Facebook friends and Twitter followers to comment on blogs and news sites.
- Post often. Most websites allow you to post multiple comments. Each time you visit a news story, try to leave more than one comment. Check back throughout the day and keep participating in the discussion.
- Create an account. Some websites will only let you comment if you first create an account with a password. To save time, set up an account in advance so you’re ready to participate in the discussion.
Click here to listen to the debate.