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Pages tagged "human rights"
MR: ACL welcomes increase in humanitarian intake
· August 24, 2012 10:00 AM
Friday, 24 August, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes yesterday’s move by the federal government to increase Australia’s refugee intake.
The humanitarian program will increase Australia’s refugee intake by 6,000 every year, and will focus on bringing people from problem regions such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
ACL supports the generosity of our nation, and any attempts of the Australian government in putting an end to the dangerous people smuggling trade and looking after displaced persons.
ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace supports the new move, and says that Australia’s increase in humanitarian intervention should be an example to the rest of the world.
“ACL has long advocated that Australia raise its humanitarian intake,” Mr Wallace said.
“Too many people have died over the years waiting for us to deliberate over the asylum seeker policy. I praise the government’s move in preventing further loss of life,” he said.
MR: ACL calls on Australian government to pressure Pakistan on religious freedom
· August 21, 2012 10:00 AM
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby is urging the Australian government to place pressure on Pakistan to change its outrageous blasphemy laws.
The call comes with the news that an 11-year-old Christian Pakistani girl was arrested and now faces a possible death sentence after being accused of burning a Koran.
ACL urges Foreign Minister Bob Carr to make representations to the Pakistani Ambassador in Canberra for the girl to be released from prison and placed in child protection.
ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said the Australian government should insist that Pakistan allow religious freedom and compel its government to change its inhumane blasphemy laws.
“Every effort must be made to save the life of this young child and remove the death penalty for any blasphemy law in Pakistan,” Mr Wallace said.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and our government must do everything it can to pressure the Pakistani government to meet its international human rights obligations,” Mr Wallace said.
This year’s ACL National Conference, running from the 5
of October, focuses on the issue of religious freedom, and its important value in every society.
MR: ACL releases Labor’s response to election policy questionnaire
· August 21, 2012 10:00 AM
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby today released NT Labor’s written response to a policy questionnaire ahead of this week’s Northern Territory election.
ACL’s policy questionnaire sought all parties’ views on a range of issues of concern to the Christian constituency ahead of Saturday’s election. Only the Labor Party responded.
Labor’s response has been published on the ACL’s election website www.ntvotes.org.au along with audio from Terry Mills’ recent address to Christians and church leaders in Darwin, which Chief Minister Paul Henderson did not attend.
ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said while he was glad Labor had replied, the content of their answers was disappointing. “Many Christians will be attracted to Labor’s positions on some social justice issues like homelessness and indigenous affairs,” Mr Wallace said.
“However their position on a number of important social issues leaves a lot to be desired.
“Labor’s position on issues such as human trafficking, same-sex marriage, adoption and surrogacy, as well as human rights will disappoint many Christians.
“Win or lose, I hope after Saturday’s election the Labor Party will try harder to engage with and earn the support of the Christian constituency.”
Mr Wallace said ACL was also disappointed that the Country Liberal Party has not yet provided a response to this questionnaire, however acknowledged Terry Mills for making the time recently to address Christians at a forum organised by ACL.
The Australian Christian Lobby is a non-party partisan organisation seeking to bring a Christian influence to politics. During election campaigns, ACL seeks to help inform and activate Christians that they may vote for candidates and parties who will advance a more moral, just and compassionate society.
Labor’s response to ACL’s policy questionnaire and an audio recording of Terry Mills’ address to Christians can be found at www.ntvotes.org.au.
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.
Hospital reaffirms ‘no abortion’ policy
· July 07, 2011 10:00 AM
A Queensland Presbyterian hospital has reaffirmed its policy
except for the extremely rare occurrence where a mother’s life is in danger.
The church recently appointed a new board of governors for Toowoomba’s St Andrew’s Hospital after the previous board sought to remove the church’s oversight.
Despite misleading media commentary, the new board’s reaffirmation of the hospital’s existing policy does not mean women with ectopic pregnancies will not be treated.
The reaffirmation of the pro-life policy by the new board under the chairmanship of Rev Andrew Clarke means that abortions on babies with pre-birth diagnoses for disabilities such as Down Syndrome will not be performed.
Sadly, the eugenic practice of aborting disabled babies is commonplace and has been advocated by Parliamentarians.
In 2008, the Queensland Senator Claire Moore told a Senate inquiry
that Medicare funding of late term abortion was needed to ensure that the birth of disabled babies did not become a drain on the disability services budget
(see page 10 of her submission made on behalf of 41 colleagues).
The Presbyterian Church should be congratulated for standing up for the human rights of the unborn, including the disabled.
ACL disappointed at racist slur
· June 21, 2011 10:00 AM
I am very disappointed at an anonymous suggestion made on
tonight that ACL is the reason a number of MPs were linked to a Facebook racism controversy.
Like the MPs, ACL had also unwittingly accepted a Facebook friend request from the racist group Australia Isdying.
As an organisation we had no idea this group was amongst the almost 2000 friends we have on Facebook and they were obviously accepted by mistake. ACL abhors racism, supports religious freedom and believes Australia should increase its humanitarian intake of refugees.
As soon as we saw the news.com.au story tonight, we unfriended Australia Isdying.
It is a shame no attempt was made to contact us before publishing this anonymous racist slur.
Tas Liberals oppose charter of rights
· January 28, 2011 11:00 AM
The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes yesterday’s announcement by the Tasmanian Liberals not to support a Charter of Humans Rights and Responsibilities in Tasmania.
ACL is urging new Premier Lara Giddings drop the policy and learn from mistakes made overseas.
The ACL is opposed to a Charter of Rights because it hands unprecedented power to unelected judges over moral and social policy.
The ACL is concerned that minority-interest groups would achieve its self-serving goals not readily achievable through the democratic process.
For example, in Canada under its charter of rights, judges ruled that tobacco advertising is a form of free speech and overturned laws that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.
The Greens also used Victoria’s charter of rights to attack the freedom of churches and Christian schools to employ staff who reflect a Christian ethos.
ACL believes the best way to protect human rights is through legislation which is debated in parliament. ACL successfully proved this point when it campaigned against a federal Charter of Rights last year.
VCAT ruling says some rights more equal than others
· October 11, 2010 11:00 AM
For release: October 11, 2010
VCAT ruling says some rights more equal than others
The recent ruling of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to fine a youth camp owned by a Christian organisation for seeking to operate in accordance with its religious creed and ethos sets a dangerous precedent for religious freedom in the state, the Australian Christian Lobby’s Victorian Director, Rob Ward, said today.
“The decision of VCAT to fine Christian Youth Camps Limited, established and owned by the Christian Brethren, for refusing to accommodate Cobaw Community Health Service's Way Out project, which supports same-sex-attracted young people in rural areas, was a clear case of rights ideology triumphing over common sense.
“Although the State has a legitimate obligation to protect its citizens’ right to equality and freedom from unreasonable discrimination, it is equally obliged to protect the rights of religious believers to live in accordance with their genuinely held religious beliefs, as individuals and in community.
“Section 14 of
Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
states that, ‘Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, including the freedom to demonstrate his or her religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching, either individually or as part of a community, in public or in private’.
“It would appear that VCAT has overlooked the Government’s own directive to protect religious freedom in order to elevate equal opportunity to the top of the human rights pile”, Mr Ward said.
ACL has been particularly vocal in its opposition to both the Human Rights Act and the winding back of exemptions in Equal Opportunity Law for religious believers and faith communities because of fears their fundamental rights would be crushed by a minority rights agenda.
“This ruling demonstrates that our warnings about the growing intervention of human rights law have come to pass. There is now a dangerous hierarchy of rights, which not only tramples the rights of religious believers and their communities, but creates needless conflict between people from diverse social groups, beliefs and backgrounds.”
Mr Ward said that the Government and its human rights bureaucracy must do more to assure religious believers and faith organisations that it takes seriously their fundamental human rights to live and operate in accordance with genuinely held beliefs.
Mr Ward questioned the rationale of the VCAT ruling that Christian Youth Camps ‘are not entitled to impose their beliefs on others in a manner that denies them [Way Out] the enjoyment of their right to equality and freedom from discrimination’.
“It could equally be argued that the Way Out project is not entitled to impose its beliefs on others in a manner that denies them the enjoyment of their right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief.”
Contact: Rob Ward 0408 348 352
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.
ACL submission to the AHRC on Australia's UN human rights review
· June 11, 2010 10:00 AM
to read ACL’s submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission on ‘Taking stock of Australia’s human rights record – Submission by the Australian Human Rights Commission under the Universal Periodic Review process’.
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