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Pages tagged "ACL Tasmania"
Archbishop Porteous escapes further trial but Anti-Discrimination laws still hinder free speech
· May 05, 2016 10:00 AM
5 May 2016
The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes news that a complaint against Hobart’s Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has been dropped today by the complainant, Greens candidate Martine Delaney.
However, Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said it was a travesty of justice that Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner believed the Archbishop had a case to answer simply for distributing the Catholic Church marriage booklet “Don’t Mess with Marriage.”
“What Archbishop Porteous did was completely reasonable and he should have the right to express a point of view on marriage,” Mr Shelton said.
“This was an example of where State-based Human Rights Commissions are often being weaponised by activists against those with different views.
“A complaint does not even have to be legally defensible for process to start, for lawyers to be engaged, mediation to be required and for intimidation to be achieved. This is ripe for abuse by activists on legally spurious grounds.
“Being taken to law is extremely intimidating for laypeople who express reasonable views in debates. They have watched the case of Archbishop Julian Porteous and they are being silenced for fear of retribution.
“This is how misguided laws and legal processes are silencing the community.”
Mr Shelton said it would not be an unprecedented move to temporarily set-aside the anti-discrimination laws.
“This is not a new idea. In the UK a speech protection exists in s29J of the Public Order Act 1986 which states in part, ‘any discussion or criticism of marriage which concerns the sex of the parties to marriage shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred’,” Mr Shelton said.
“This is a genuine need so that activists don’t abuse the law as Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality did when he urged supporters to report Archbishop Porteous to the Human Rights Commission for completely benign and reasonable comments about marriage.
“When the law stops decent people from saying reasonable things, it is defective.”
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Tas pokie inquiry opens way to reform
· March 21, 2016 11:00 AM
17 March 2016
The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes the announcement today that a joint select parliamentary committee will be formed to consider the future of Tasmania’s gaming industry.
ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said he was pleased with Treasurer Peter Gutwein’s statement today that he wanted a transparent public consultation process, with a report to be ready by the end of the year.
The announcement follows a special screening of the documentary Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation that was hosted Wednesday night by the ACL in the Tasmanian Parliament House.
“At the screening politicians were reminded again of the bad effects gambling has on our community, so it is good to see the Government respond today so positively,” Mr Brown said.
“The Australian Christian Lobby believes any review should consider ways to reduce the addictive nature of gaming machines as well as reduce the number of machines.
“Approximately 27,000 Tasmanians are directly or indirectly affected by pokie addiction, including an estimated 2,000 children.”
Mr Brown made the comments following last night’s special ACL screening of the documentary Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation at Parliament House in Hobart, which was attended by a range of politicians.
“Deliberately inducing addictive behaviour with the aim of extracting large amounts of money from vulnerable people is morally abhorrent,” Mr Brown said.
“Every Tasmanian, and especially every politician needs to see this film’s powerful message.”
Leading gambling expert Dr Charles Livingstone from Monash University, who appeared in the documentary and spoke at the screening, said pokies were highly addictive.
“Pokies are a dangerous and addictive product, and need to be regulated as such,” Dr Livingstone said.
“Tasmanians support major reform of pokie regulation and the Government needs to stand up to the pokie monopoly and listen to the community.
“Pokies are a box of tricks, intended to addict, and pokie profits are fuelled by addiction.
“it was great to see Tasmanian politicians engaged at the screening in discussion about pokie harm - now they need to act.”
View the Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation trailer
Tassie has rare chance to lead nation in busting pokies habit
· March 07, 2016 11:00 AM
DEAR Mr Gutwein [Tasmanian Treasurer],
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.
3% drop in abortion support - poll
· September 11, 2014 10:00 AM
A recent Galaxy Poll has shown support for abortion dropped 3% in Tasmania in the last 15 months.
The decline in support has been attributed to a sustained television, print and radio and online advertising campaign funded by the group Emily’s Voice.
Emily’s Voice CEO Paul O’Rourke said the survey “showed that just 47% of women said they supported legislation passed last year allowing abortion-on-demand to 16 weeks, and thereafter with the approval approval of two doctors.”
Mr O’Rourke said the results showed the advertising campaign had been a success. “People like the ads,” he said. “More importantly, they work.”
According to Emily’s Voice the latest Galaxy survey of 400 people 16 years and older showed 72% of Tasmanians recalled having seen the ads, with a total of 78% of people, and 82% of women saying they were credible.
Watch Emily’s Voice’s latest advertisement.
Tas Anglican Bishop and ACL discuss offshore processing policy
· June 17, 2014 10:00 AM
In this 10 minute package, ACL's Katherine Spackman chats to Tasmanian Anglican Bishop John Harrower and then ACL's Managing Director Lyle Shelton. As part of Refugee week Bishop Harrower has proposed a Tasmanian Solution policy to move offshore processing to Tasmania. He says Tasmania has a track record of being hospitable and it would be cheaper to process in Tasmania then overseas. However, Mr Shelton says if you brought people to Australia it provides an incentive for people smugglers. He says ACL has reluctantly supported offshore processing to break the people smuggling business model which has seen 1100 people die at sea. He says if there are allegations of inhuman treatment at offshore processing it should be investigated and rectified but the act of offshore processing is not inhumane.
We must be ready for every opportunity to advocate for Christian principles
· May 15, 2014 10:00 AM
ACL’s voice has been heard loud and clear in Canberra – and across the country – during the last six months. Thank you for your advocacy and partnership!
We’ve made good progress, even in the face of opposition to the values of human flourishing, we seek to promote:
Together we reached an estimated 10,000 viewers with our exclusive pre-election webcast video messages from then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott;
We’ve upheld the dignity of the aged and infirm by contributing to the defeat of euthanasia laws in Tasmania;
We achieved bi-partisan agreement in Queensland that action is needed to protect kids from sexualised outdoor advertising;
We secured an election promise from the Tasmanian Premier to reintroduce the right of Christian schools to hire staff in keeping with their beliefs; and
And we helped organise the Victorian March for the Babies, the largest pro-life march in Australia, which was attended by as many as 4,000 people.
However, it’s clear that this is no time to rest on our laurels.
We must continue to take every opportunity to bring Christian principles into government and public policy discussion.
We must be the voice for values our nation desperately needs – because we live at a time when decisions are being made that directly affect the culture our children are part of and will have to contend with.
So, as the end of the financial year approaches, please be mindful of how you can help strengthen this voice through your support to ensure we can step into the opportunities that lie ahead.
Please pray for us as we seek to bring Christian influence to our nation.
MR: Concern at push to decriminalise illicit drugs
· May 06, 2014 10:00 AM
Tuesday 6th May 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby said it hopes a drug forum today won’t lead to the decriminalisation of some illicit drugs.
Today’s drug forum organised by Alcohol Tobacco and other Drugs Council (ATDC) in Hobart discusses decriminalising drugs such as cannabis and the ‘success’ this has had in other countries.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said it’s important society sends a strong message about the harm of drugs.
“The law plays an educative role in our society. Decriminalising illicit drugs such as cannabis sends the message that taking drugs is ok and can be safe,” he said.
“We should not be advocating for something that has the potential to ruin people’s lives and families.
recent study in the United States
found that young people who smoke cannabis (even as little as one joint a week) had brain abnormalities that affected emotion and motivation. There is also
of adolescent users developing schizoaffective disorders in adult life.
“Australia has a clearly demonstrated problem with alcohol and drug abuse in the community, particularly amongst young people,” he said.
Mr Brown said people suffering an addiction to drugs should be given real solutions to their problems.
“Consideration should be given to other approaches like the successful Swedish approach to illicit drugs. The Swedish model makes drug rehabilitation mandatory for those found addicted and strong policing of street selling,” Mr Brown said.
Tas upper house election results 2014
· May 06, 2014 10:00 AM
ACL congratulates independents Kerry Finch (Rosevears) and Robert Armstrong (Huon) on their re-election/election to the Tasmanian Upper House. Many commentators are trying to read into the results given that neither of the Liberal Party candidates in either electorate got up. Some are even pointing at the federal influences on the outcome. I think ABC’s Antony Green sums it up well: “I don't think you can read too much into the result. The state government has been there only a few weeks. The rejection of two Liberals in favour of local Independents is perfectly normal for the Tasmanian Legislative Council . . . And for Federal implications, I think there are few”.
This time next year we will see another three upper house seats contested. Mike Gaffney (Mersey), Craig Farrell (Derwent) and Ivan Dean (Windermere) will all be up for re-election.
The life of former Tasmanian independent Senator Brian Harradine
· April 22, 2014 10:00 AM
In this special edition of the ACL's radio program, The Political Spot, ACL's Katherine Spackman chats to Father Frank Brennan and former staffer Melinda Tankard Reist about the life of former Senator Brian Harradine. Mr Harradine was Australia's longest serving independent Senator. He recently passed away at the age of 79. Radio package 15 minutes.
Monthly newsletter - April 2014
· April 16, 2014 10:00 AM
The ACL’s monthly newsletter, which includes a column from ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton, is out now. This month’s newsletter includes stories on the Tasmanian state election, foreign aid, and the national curriculum. Click
to read the April newsletter.
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