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Freedom from Discrimination
Pages tagged "offence"
MR: ACL concurs with discrimination concerns raised by media submission
· January 10, 2013 11:00 AM
For release: Thursday, January 10, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today concurred with concerns raised by the media companies over the draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill put forward by Attorney General Nicola Roxon, concerns also reflected in its submission.
Managing Director of the ACL, Mr Jim Wallace, said that “while the move to consolidate, clarify, and simplify five different commonwealth laws is welcome, the draft Bill goes well beyond consolidation and would increase the reach of current laws, further impinging on freedom of religion and freedom of speech.”
“The joint submission by the media companies has rightly pointed out the increasing reach of this Bill to include conduct that offends or insults,” said Mr Wallace. “In addition to this, unlawful discrimination is defined subjectively as ‘unfavourable treatment’, with the onus of proof on the one who has supposedly offended or insulted while there is no definition of what constitutes “ harassment”, something the draft looks to target.”
“The exposure draft creates too many vulnerabilities for people of faith and faith-based institutions and will need radical redrafting,” said Mr Wallace.
Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 - Liberals move for a general exception for faith-based schools
· December 12, 2012 11:00 AM
about proposed Federal Anti-Discrimination legislation have echoed some of the concerns surrounding a bill before the Tasmanian Parliament to amend its Anti-Discrimination Act.
The two major area’s ACL has concerns with relate to:
1. Extending the “offence to offend” component of the current Act to encompass pretty much any characteristic e.g. age, political affiliation, sexual orientation etc. Currently such terminology is limited to 7 gender specific attributes linked to sexual harassment prohibition.
2. Changes to exemptions for faith-based schools that would threaten the ability of religious schools to maintain their ethos through selective enrolment. The suggested changes would allow schools to apply for an exception if the school was at capacity on a case-by-case basis. Such requirements, we believe, are onerous and not applicable to the majority of faith-based schools who are not fully enrolled.
ACL has been lobbying for the “offence to offend” component of the current Act to be unchanged and the school exemption clause to be a general one i.e. just as single-sex schools can positively discriminate in selecting students of one sex, schools which are set up to serve a particular faith community must be allowed to uphold the purpose and intent of their schools by selecting students of a particular faith, should they choose to do so.
In November the school exemption portion of the amendment bill was voted down (by the Liberals and Greens - for very different reasons) in the lower house while the “offence to offend” changes were passed. The Upper House will debate the bill early in 2013.
The Liberal Party has been very supportive of both of our positions on these proposed changes – particularly on the school exemption question. They agreed that the proposed exemption was not the best option for any of the faith-based or independent schools in Tasmania and would have actually been worse than the current situation for many of those schools (removing the current ability for all schools to apply for an exemption for a defined period).
The Liberals support a general exception for all faith-based schools (removing the need to apply for an exemption) – as currently exists in every other state and will move for the general exception to be made a part of this Bill when debate begins in the Upper House next year.
MR: Freedom of speech and freedom of religion threatened by Tasmanian anti-discrimination legislation
· November 14, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Freedom of speech and freedom of religion will be diminished in Tasmania if amendments to anti-discrimination legislation are passed by the Parliament, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
The Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2012, which is being debated today, would threaten the ability of religious schools to maintain their ethos, ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said.
“In the same way political parties are able to positively discriminate in favour of people who share their ethos, religious schools should also have this right in order to preserve their distinctives,” Mr Brown said.
The proposed changes would deny schools the ability to select students according to the faith and values of students or their parents.
Schools could apply for an exception on a case-by-case basis but the requirements are onerous.
“The proposed changes to the Bill violate the rights of parents who want to educate their children a certain way, and the rights of those children who share their parents’ faith and values,” Mr Brown said.
“Article 18(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) specifically protects the right of parents “to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions".
“Faith-based schools should have the right to determine their enrolments according to their mission and purpose. This is to ensure that the religious ethos and community culture of the school is maintained,” Mr Brown said.
“Instead of case-by-case exceptions, there should be a general exemption allowing schools to select students of the particular faith of the school.
“Just as single-sex schools will positively discriminate in selecting students of one sex, schools which are set up to serve a particular faith community must be allowed to uphold the purpose and intent of their schools by selecting students of a particular faith, should they choose to do so,” Mr Brown said.
The proposed legislation would also expand the prohibition of conduct which “offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults, or ridicules".
Mr Brown said such changes would threaten free speech and open dialogue and increase unnecessary litigation, concerns which are heightened by the experience with anti-vilification laws in Victoria.
“ACL certainly objects to behaviour that incites hatred or ridicules another but to open the prohibition of offence to things like religious or political belief or sexual orientation is a threat to freedom of speech. Who doesn’t get offended or insulted at times by others’ differences of opinion? This is part of living in a democracy,” Mr Brown said.
“Censoring free speech based on hurt feelings is to trivialise discrimination and is political correctness gone mad.”
Tolerance, private education and The Greens
· November 12, 2012 11:00 AM
Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne made some interesting comments this week on the Greens' policies regarding private education.
He said that the Greens "maintained a bias against private education" and that "the idea of churches and charities educating children offends them. They want them educated by the state so they can control what they are taught."
To read The Australian's article on this issue, click
Also, The Spectator last month published an article by Rod Liddle, which examined the intolerance and hypocrisy shown by The Green Party in the UK.
He outlined the situation with Greens councillor Christina Summers, who was expelled by her party "because she could not bring herself, as a Christian, to support a motion demanding that the government change the marriage laws so that gay people could get married..."
to read Mr Liddle's article.
Tas Director Letter to Supporters - November 2012
· November 09, 2012 11:00 AM
The Tasmanian Director Mark Brown’s letter to supporters in the state is now available online.
In late September the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2012 was defeated in the Tasmanian Legislative Council 8 votes to 6. This came soon after the defeats of bills to redefine marriage in the Federal Parliament. These were great wins for all of us who hold marriage dear.
to continue reading.
The Wau Wau Sisters: Offensive show in Brisbane funded by government
· September 24, 2012 10:00 AM
Does freedom of speech include the freedom to offend? And to joke at another’s expense? Yes.
Second question – should State and Local government then fund a play that sets out to offend? No
Irreverent, sacrilegious and foul-mouthed. That is how the latest show is described featured in the Brisbane Festival. Of the finale, the sisters’ version of Jesus Christ’s Last Supper, the Courier Mail on the weekend quote the performers, “Why not re-invent one of the most infamous dinner parties on Earth with the hosts being a two-headed female Jesus?”
The Wau Wau sisters make it clear that they are not worried about offending anyone and say that their show is about freedom, tolerance and inclusion – and about having a laugh.
Queensland’s religious vilification laws ask the following question as a guideline as to whether the laws apply. Could it incite hatred (serious contempt or severe ridicule)?
Would the State or Local government ever consider funding a movie such as “The Innocence of Islam” which is currently receiving world-wide condemnation? Surely not! And rightly so. Neither should they fund this play which ridicules the Christian Messiah, Jesus Christ.
to find out more about the Brisbane Festival and the Wau Wau Sisters' show.
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