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Pages tagged "Australian Human Rights Commission"
Dan Flynn on the Political Spot
· March 19, 2013 11:00 AM
Dan Flynn is the Victorian Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. He was a delegate at the
Religious Freedoms Conference: The scope and limits of religious freedom in Australia
recently held at the University of Sydney. He spoke to the ACL's Katherine Spackman about the conference.
MR: ACL backs push to better protect basic human rights
· February 20, 2013 11:00 AM
Wednesday, 20th February 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has backed the push by shadow Attorney-General George Brandis to ensure that basic human rights are better protected.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace agreed with concerns raised by Senator Brandis that the Australian Human Rights Commission is focused too much on anti-discrimination to the detriment of basic freedoms such as speech and religion.
“It is important basic human rights are not subordinated to other agendas. Where other right claims conflict with long-established human rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, it should be a greater priority of the Australian Human Rights Commission to defend and advocate for these,” he said.
“Whilst non-discrimination and equality are important, it is also important that these do not subordinate human rights which make for a free society.
“It is absolutely essential for free speech and the freedom of religion that people are able to express and live their views about family, marriage and life in the public square without fear of being subject to an anti-discrimination claim because their views differ from others.
“ACL believes human rights are paramount to a well-functioning society and that Christian values contributed to some of the most significant progress in the development of human rights as evidenced through the anti-slavery and civil rights movements,” Mr Wallace said.
Mr Wallace urged the Government to also consider the direction of the AHRC and re-orientate its work to protecting basic human rights.
2013 Conference: The Scope & Limits of Religious Freedom in Australia
· December 13, 2012 11:00 AM
The University of Sydney is holding a one-day conference in 2013 on
The Scope and Limits of Religious Freedom in Australia
The conference will explore the way in which issues of freedom of religion are now emerging as contested matters in western democracies, in particular the United States, Britain and Australia. Speakers will present ideas on these issues from a variety of perspectives.
Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson (pictured left) - Professor of Law at Washington & Lee University School of Law
Other speakers include:
Professor Nicholas Aroney - Faculty of Law, University of Queensland
Dr Ghena Krayem - Sydney Law School
Dr Ryan Messmore - President, Campion College Sydney
Professor Patrick Parkinson - Sydney Law School
Professor Gillian Triggs - President, Australian Human Rights Commission
Andrea Williams - Christian Concern, UK
Friday 15 March 2013
9.30am - 5:30pm
New Law Building F10, Eastern Ave, University of Sydney, Camperdown Campus
To find out how you can attend and for more information, download the conference flyer
Alternatively, visit the
Intolerance stifling freedom of religion
· October 14, 2010 11:00 AM
Freedom for religion, once a no-brainer in Australia, is coming under increasing pressure from the tiny but influential homosexual lobby.
This week we have seen a
Victorian Christian youth camp fined
$5000 for exercising their Christian convictions in not allowing a group which promotes homosexuality to young people use its facility.
Intolerance towards a Christian worldview now comes with a monetary fine in Australia.
It is hoped this will not be the end of the matter and that an appeal will be lodged.
But the point is this. If freedom of religion was being respected in Victoria, the time and considerable expense fighting legal battles like this would be unnecessary.
Recently, a Christian television program, Believers Voice of Victory, was taken off air by Channel 10 because of comments made some months ago about homosexuality. ACL understands this was because of a single complaint. Not thousands of complaints, just one.
Despite Channel 10’s breaches of the Broadcasting Code of Conduct and the numerous complaints generated about
(not to mention the show’s vilification of Christianity – the main character had sex with a nun in a church), it remained on air.
(Please write to Mr Nick Falloon, Executive Chairman, Network Ten, GPO Box 10, Sydney NSW 2001 – Ph 02 9650 1111, fax 02 9650 1111).
This week the Australian Human Rights Commission has
launched a consultation
process aimed at finding ways to protect people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual identity.
This is a process that could lead to legislation further reducing freedom of speech and freedom of religion. You might want to consider getting involved before it is too late.
While fair minded people, and certainly Christians, do not condone hate speech of any kind, it is important that religions be allowed to promote their teachings. Groups which disagree with religious teachings and practice should be tolerant enough to respect this in a free society.
Sadly it seems tolerance is becoming a one way street.
Australia backs gay lobby for UN status
· July 23, 2010 10:00 AM
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) is a unique pro-life, pro-family group working to “monitor and affect the social policy debate at the United Nations and other international institutions”.
C-FAM has this week reported
on new attempts to put gay ‘rights’ on the international agenda and Australia is very much a part of it.
The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) voted this week to accredit the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) with “consultative status” at the United Nations. Essentially the accreditation is a ‘grounds pass’ which gives the group access to open UN meetings.
reveal that the Obama administration was heavily behind the IGLHRC push, with 15 Congressional House members sending letters urging UN members to support the gay rights group, and US ambassador to the UN Susan E. Rice working behind the scenes to inform key governments, including African states, of the importance placed on the issue by President Obama.
The diplomacy was said to have been critical in persuading African states that might have voted against the measure to abstain or to not show up. The resolution to grant IGLHRC accreditation passed with 23 in favour, 13 against, 13 abstentions, with 5 absences. Australia was one of the countries that supported the group’s accreditation.
The accreditation of IGLHRC was extremely controversial because the group endorses a document called the Yogyakarta Principles, which calls for “sexual orientation and gender identity” to be new categories of non-discrimination in UN human rights treaties. Among other things the Yogyakarta Principles seeks criminal penalties against those who criticise homosexuality.
It has also been claimed that IGLHRC was evasive on questions of religious freedom and freedom of expression, which are fundamental tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Charter. In a June committee hearing it refused to answer a question on whether a religious preacher should be prosecuted for preaching against homosexuality.
Further evidence of Australia’s involvement in supporting the homosexual agenda at the United Nations is the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) recently-published submission to United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
, which is scheduled to be presented to the UN in January next year, recommends that the Australian “Government take all possible steps to enable equal recognition of same-sex marriage”. It repeats the claims of the gay lobby that same-sex couples are discriminated against because they cannot adopt children in New South Wales, and because there is a “lack of clarity in the law in relation to surrogacy”.
ACL had previously sent the AHRC correspondence on its draft UPR submission reminding it that Australia has no obligation under international law to recognise same-sex marriage.
Using human rights to expunge faith from the public square
· July 14, 2010 10:00 AM
If recent news in New Zealand is anything to go by, it appears that it is easy for some human rights advocates to forget that religious freedom is itself a fundamental human right.
New Zealand Herald
that the NZ Human Rights Commission is likely to back down on plans to update its 2004 report,
Human Rights in New Zealand Today
, with text that misinterprets and narrows the scope of religious freedom.
The Commission’s new draft statement reportedly claims that “New Zealand is a secular state with no state religion”, and that “matters of religion and belief are deemed to be a matter for the private, rather than public, sphere”.
Rightly, churches in New Zealand have taken issue with the draft text, pointing out that the majority of New Zealanders hold a religious conviction, and that restricting religion to the private domain is contrary to the ethos of all the world’s major religions.
Race Relations Commission Joris de Bres sought to quickly hose down the controversy by clarifying the Commission’s intent and promising to pursue more appropriate wording. He said that: "There wasn't any intention to limit or to privatise religious belief. It's more about the fact that it's a matter of personal choice and not of state direction, and that there is a strong tradition of religious diversity in New Zealand”.
This incident is eerily reminiscent of a recent episode in Australia involving our own (now former) Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tom Calma, who
, when launching the Australian Human Rights Commission’s ‘Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century’ project,* that human rights and religion were like oil and water, the implication being they are incompatible.
There was also the example of a human rights expert, appointed by the Victorian government to examine the exceptions and exemptions in the state’s equal opportunity law, arguing that religious organisations should lose their right to employ like-minded staff when their activities moved from the private (i.e. worship, prayer) to the public (i.e. acts of service).
It seems that some human rights advocates need to be reminded far too often that freedom of religion, as articulated under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, extends to the public manifestation of faith, either individually or in community with others. They need to work harder to understand and more genuinely respect the rights and beliefs of religious adherents.
It is disappointing that in two countries, which historically have been positively shaped by the Christian ethic, their preeminent human rights bodies have sought to marginalise religious beliefs from being expressed in the public square.
*The Australian Human Rights Commission plans to publish its final report from the ‘Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century’ project in mid to late 2010. Click
to learn more.
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