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Pages tagged "ACL Tasmania"
MR: Nothing new in Tas law report on same-sex marriage
· October 10, 2013 11:00 AM
Thursday, 10th October 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby said today’s
released by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute does not shed any new light on the legal complexities surrounding same-sex marriage.
“The report tells us what we already know – that there is much diversity of opinion in the legal fraternity about the constitutionality of a state-based same-sex marriage law,” said ACL’s Tasmanian State Director Mark Brown.
“This comes after last week’s news reports about advice the Solicitor-General’s Office gave to the federal government that the ACT Marriage Equality Bill would be unconstitutional if passed,” he said.
“This report highlights the uncertain constitutional validity of state-based legislation and the high probably that such legislation will have to be ruled upon by the High Court.
“When given the opportunity to pass a same-sex marriage bill in Tasmania last September, the Tasmanian parliament voted it down.
“Nothing in the report is likely to sway Tasmania’s Legislative Council Members (MLCs) to pursue the unprecedented move to reintroduce an already defeated bill.
“It simply repeats and summarises the arguments on both sides, including many arguments given to the Tasmanian Parliament last year, and emphasises the uncertainty of the issue,” he said.
Mr Brown questioned why disproportionate resources are being devoted to this issue.
“Legislative Council President Jim Wilkinson said Ruth Forrest’s motion to reintroduce last year’s failed bill was a first in his 18 years in parliament and he would not be supporting it. Other MLCs have commented about the huge backlog of existing legislation before the upper house.
“Legislation by attrition is not good democracy. Parliament had debated this issue a year ago notwithstanding the bill put before federal government last year which was also voted down,” he said.
MR: Changing marriage not a priority for Tasmanians – it’s time to move on
· October 04, 2013 10:00 AM
For release: Friday 4th October 2013
Tasmanian MLCs' should reject Independent MLC Ruth Forrest’s latest attempt to legislate a new definition of marriage, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
“Yet again we are seeing legislation by fatigue. People are sick and tired of this debate and keen to move on,” ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said.
“There is no new information from New South Wales – the legal advice remains the same. It is likely that any attempt to usurp Commonwealth power over marriage will end up being tested in the High Court,” Mr Brown said.
“Tasmania has an economy in dire straits and yet some of our politicians are more interested in a third go at euthanasia, a second go at same-sex marriage and a draconian abortion bill.
“The priorities are all wrong.
“Kevin Rudd just tried to fight a federal election with a promise to legislate same-sex marriage within 100 days and recorded the lowest Labor vote in 100 years.
“The party of same-sex marriage, the Greens, lost 600,000 votes,” Mr Brown said
Polling commissioned by ACL and conducted by JWS Research immediately after the September 7 election found that same-sex marriage was a low order issue with voters.
Just 13 per cent of voters rated it as a top three issue with just four per cent of Coalition voters putting in the top three. A staggering 72 per cent of Greens voters were not energised by same-sex marriage.
“In the past 12 months same-sex marriage bills have been defeated in the federal House of Representatives, the Senate, the Tasmanian Parliament and the South Australian Parliament. Voters on September 7 were underwhelmed by the issue.
“Surely it is time to move on.”
Mr Brown said if Ms Forrest wanted same-sex marriage she should explain why it would then be ok for some children to be removed through Assisted Reproductive Technology from their biological parents.
“This is the real social justice issue of this debate – the right of children to know and be loved wherever possibly by their natural parents. This is denied them through same-sex marriage.
“There is no discrimination against same-sex couples under Tasmanian or Commonwealth law but same-sex marriage will entrench inequality for children.
“It further normalises fatherless and motherless children. How can this be in children's best interest?
“The marriage debate is about redefining an institution which has deep significance for a lot of Australians from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.”
Mr Brown said some politicians seemed focussed on introducing as much radical social policy as they could before the March 2014 election.
Paul Russell on the Political Spot about Tas euthanasia bill
· October 01, 2013 10:00 AM
Paul Russell is from Hope: preventing euthanasia and assisted suicide. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he talks about the private members bill introduced by the Premier and Greens leader to legalise euthanasia in the state.
In the media - a wrap up of the last week's commentary
· August 29, 2013 10:00 AM
In the last week, the ACL has been quoted in the media on issues such as euthanasia in Tasmania, ACL's Meet Your Candidate forums in Queensland, the launch of ACL's iPhone app, ACL's federal election questionnaire, and the Make it Count 2013 Election Panel webcast. See below for links to mentions in the media.
On the Meet Your Candidate forum in the electorate of Fairfax, Queensland:
The Daily Examiner -
Clive Palmer warns of gay marriage by stealth at forum
On ACL's federal election questionnaire (in relation to families):
The Australian -
Coalition proposes 200 bucks to get engaged
Brisbane Times -
No discrimination in Coalition's relationship vouchers
On the Make it Count 2013 Election Panel webcast:
The Catholic Leader -
Election issues brought to light
On ACL's iPhone app:
Christian Today Australian -
ACL launches iPhone App in hopes to revolutionise online political activism
On voluntary euthanasia in Tasmania:
Christian Today Australia -
Voluntary euthanasia in Tasmania can never be safe, says ACL
MR: Voluntary euthanasia in Tas can never be safe: ACL
· August 22, 2013 10:00 AM
For release: Thursday 22nd August 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has again rejected claims by proponents of voluntary euthanasia that the assisted dying model proposed for Tasmania would be safe.
A report is still to be publicised from a consultation paper released in February ahead of the likely introduction into state parliament of a Private Members’ Bill sponsored by Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said parliaments around Australia have knocked back legalised euthanasia in the last four years because of fears euthanasia could never be made safe for vulnerable, sick and elderly patients.
“The relatively short experience of legalised euthanasia in the Northern Territory found safeguards to be ineffectual,” Mr Brown said.
“A report into the practical outworking of the legislation revealed four of the seven people who made use of the Act ‘revealed prominent features of depression, highlighting its strong role in decision-making by those seeking euthanasia. Alarmingly, these patients went untreated by a system preoccupied with meeting the requirements of the Act’s schedules rather than delivering competent medical care to depressed patients’
“According to a Tasmanian Council of Social Services Report, elder abuse is already a growing social problem affecting an estimated 4,000 elderly Tasmanians every year.
“Even with the safeguards of doctor assessments and cooling off periods under the euthanasia legislation proposed, there is still the possibility of coercion,” he said.
Mr Brown also said legislators are not the only ones concerned about the proposed legislation.
“The Australian Medical Association (AMA) and a significant number of doctors oppose such legislation.
“Disability rights groups also have been known to be resistant to legalised euthanasia due to fear such laws would lead to increased pressure to end lives prematurely[i],” he said.
[i] Kissane DW (2002) Deadly days in Darwin, in K. Foley & H. Hendin (Eds.),
The Case Against Assisted Suicide
, pp. 192-209. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
Anti-discrimination amendments blocked in Tasmania
· August 22, 2013 10:00 AM
There was good news out of the Tasmanian upper house this week with the Legislative Council blocking a controversial change to the State’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
The move to make it an offense to offend or insult a person for an increased range of attributes, such as religious or political belief, was decisively voted down my members.
ACL led a team that briefed the upper house on
concerns about proposed amendments
back in June.
This is a win for common sense and for freedom of speech.
An amendment to allow for faith-based schools to be excluded from the Act, when selecting students from their particular faith, was narrowly rejected 7-7.
Instead a more restrictive limited exemption was passed allowing for schools to discriminate in choosing students of faith only when there are more students than places.
The amendment bill must pass the lower house for it to become law.
Tas Director Letter to Supporters - August 2013
· August 18, 2013 10:00 AM
The Tasmanian Director Mark Brown’s letter to supporters in the state is now available online.
Recently my dear wife Sue contracted toxaemia (blood poisoning) and was very sick in ICU for a week. She is recuperating well but it was a nasty shock and could have turned out quite differently. We are grateful to God for His grace and healing, and for the privilege it is to live in a country where we can get the excellent medical treatment required. Having heard of a number of other Christians in ministry with recent sudden illnesses, I am reminded that we are in a spiritual battle and hence value your prayers at this important time in our nation’s history.
to continue reading.
MR: ACL urges vote for candidates who support man-woman marriage
· August 06, 2013 10:00 AM
For release: Tuesday 6th August 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby will email 100,000 people the views of their local candidates on marriage in the lead-up to the election.
ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said he had emailed ALP and Coalition candidates and as many minor party candidates as possible seeking their views.
“We will be doing our best to let as many people as possible know where their local candidate stands.
“We will be urging people to vote for a candidate, regardless of party affiliation, who will support upholding the definition of marriage,” Mr Shelton said.
“Changing marriage does not have to be inevitable and the election is an opportunity for people to make their views known in the privacy of the polling booth.”
In the past 11 months, same-sex marriage bills had been defeated in the Federal, Tasmanian and South Australian parliaments.
Mr Shelton said the Australian Christian Lobby supported the Rudd Government’s removal in 2008 of invidious discrimination against same-sex couples and was pleased two parliamentary inquiries found there was no practical discrimination in Australian law against same-sex couples.
“There is no reason to change the definition of marriage," he said.
“Changing the definition of marriage means we are saying as a society that marriage between a man and a woman is no longer an ideal nor an essential building block for raising children to know the love and nurture of their biological parents.
“This is a radical change in our social norms and one that should not be undertaken lightly.
“Equal love might be fine for adults but changing the Marriage Act has ramifications far beyond same-sex couples.
"The perceived benefit in redefining marriage doesn't outweigh the impact it will have on society's understanding, value and role we place on man-woman marriage," he said.
Tas abortion inquiry begins
· August 01, 2013 10:00 AM
This week a standing committee of the Tasmanian Upper House began hearing evidence regarding proposed changes to Tasmania’s abortion laws. Abortion is currently lawful in Tasmania (up to full term) if two medical practitioners agree that the continuation of the pregnancy would involve greater risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman than if the pregnancy were terminated. The laws relating to abortion are contained within the Tasmanian Criminal Code.
The key changes which the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013 seeks to make include: Removing abortion from the criminal code and placing it in health related legislation; removing all hurdles (eg doctors assessments) prior to 16 weeks gestation; widening the criteria doctors will need to use in assessing mothers with post 16 week old babies; penalising those who would hinder the process of those seeking an abortion.
There were wide ranging contributors giving evidence at this week’s hearing. Local Constitutional Law Lecturer Michael Stokes suggested parts of the bill were unconstitutional and others parts likely to increase the likelihood of doctors performing live birth late-term abortions being convicted of homicide. Victorian Obstetrician Lachlan de Crespigny, who campaigned successfully campaigned to liberalise Victoria’s abortion laws in 2008, encouraged Tasmanian legislators to do likewise, arguing abortion should not be singled out as a crime.
The topic of abortion is always emotionally charged and it appears this rang true during evidence presented to the committee this week. ACL is particularly troubled about this radical legislation as it goes further than any other of it kind and would likely have ramifications for laws in other jurisdictions. In contrast, America is seeing a tightening of abortion laws with some States even looking to ban abortion once a foetal heartbeat is detected (5-6 weeks). Some of the key provisions of most concern in the proposed Tasmanian legislation are:
• There is no legitimate mandate to remove abortion from the criminal code i.e. it is not just another operation, another life is at stake.
• There is no acknowledgment of the existence, or rights of, the unborn child.
• The lack of safeguards for women to ensure that 1. Truly informed consent is obtained, 2. Independent advice is given, and 3. Lack of coercion in decision making in assured.
• The subjectivity of doctors’ need to consider current and future economic and social circumstances of women they are assessing.
• Freedom of conscience issues – compulsion of doctors and counsellors to refer patients on to those without a conscientious objection to abortion.
• Freedom of speech issues – prosecution of protestors around abortion providers.
Please pray for those giving evidence highlighting the problems with the bill and for those on the committee hearing evidence, that they would have wisdom to see through the half truths and see clearly what is in the best interests of both mothers and babies.
Hansard of marriage debate in South Australia now available online
· July 31, 2013 10:00 AM
The Hansard of last week's debate on a same-sex marriage bill in the South Australian parliament is now available to read online.
The private members' bill for state-based same-sex marriage, introduced by Member for Port Adelaide Dr Susan Close, was defeated in the House of Assembly on Thursday “on the voices”, no division having been called. Thirteen members spoke against the bill, whilst only five members spoke supporting it.
Member for Finniss, Mr Michael Pengilly, commented on the nature of the marriage debate, saying "I do not believe that there is a fair and equitable debate going on regarding this matter. We seem to be inundated with those who wish for same-sex marriage to be put into legislation and there seems to be an overwhelming campaign by the media to try to orchestrate that. At the end of the day, the media do not get a vote in this chamber, nor do they get a vote in the federal chamber, or any other state for that matter".
Mr Pengilly went on to say "I personally would never support two people of the same sex having a union that is called a marriage. I have no problem with the union, but I would not support it being called a marriage. I have very strong views on this. Of the three issues before this parliament today—that is, euthanasia, prostitution and this—this is the one I am most opposed to, absolutely, because I think the family is the base of our community. It has been the base of our lives, and I think this is a real challenge to that".
Mr Martin Hamilton Smith, Member for Waite, urged Christians to be more vocal on the issue: "I would appeal to churches of any faith or denomination to be more vocal on this issue. Silence is the enemy. Get out there and express your view as the advocates for the case are expressing their view. There are many people who may not have a religious conviction who would oppose this measure anyway, based on their fundamental core values and their sense of what is right and what is wrong, and what is good for the community going forward".
The importance of the church's participation in the democratic process was highlighted also in Liberal Member for Schubert Ivan Venning's speech. He told the parliament "the Lutheran Church has been my rock, my wisdom and my strength, and I am not going to budge. I have had much good advice and many good arguments put to me by the Lutheran pastors in my electorate and I would not go past that. I thank them all very much for their support and confidence in me to stand here and say, no, we would not support this".
The importance for children to be raised by both a mother and a father was an argument also put forth by opponents of the bill. The Hon Tom Kenyan, Member for Newland, said "We recognise that having children, raising children within this traditional relationship of men and women, has been good for society. It has helped build society. So often, the only thing people have to fall back on is their family. It is what has provided a nourishing environment for so many people to be raised in, so that they go out and do good for those around them".
This is the third time in recent months where legislation to change the definition of marriage has been rejected; a bill in the Senate failed to pass in June, and the Tasmanian parliament rejected a bill in September last year.
to read the full Hansard of the South Australian debate.
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