The Brisbane City Council’s capitulation to rainbow ideology will be of concern to every parent who does not want to see their children taught by “Safe Schools” that their gender is fluid, Australian Christian Lobby Queensland Director Wendy Francis said today.
The Council’s foray into same-sex marriage and programs against so-called “transphobia” are a far cry from its core business of roads, rates and rubbish.
Ms Francis said most people don’t know what ‘transphobia’ is because they are not afraid of other people but they were concerned that Lord Mayor Cr Graham Quirk’s signing on to these political programs would further embolden the promoters of the so-called “Safe Schools” program.
“Parents all over the nation have been shocked by the so-called Safe Schools program teaching children as young as four through the Gender Fairy story book that their gender is fluid,” Ms Francis said.
“The Queensland Government continues to keep a secret list of schools which have signed on to the Safe Schools agenda to allow boys identifying as girls to use the girls’ toilets at school.
“Parents have not bought into the idea that teachers should be discouraged from using ‘he’ and ‘she’ to describe children at school.”
Ms Francis said the Brisbane City Council’s sign-on to rainbow politics and its agenda to stamp out alleged “transphobia” would cause parents to worry that society was caving in to the idea that they were no longer free to accept the biological gender of their children.
“The Council should stick to providing good roads, collecting our rubbish and keeping our rates low. If the Coalition is elected, the people will have the opportunity through a plebiscite to make their views on the rainbow agenda clear,” Ms Francis said.
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Because Queensland is the only State Parliament without the checks and balances of an Upper House, the Australian Christian Lobby is urging a ‘no’ vote at this weekend’s referendum on four year parliamentary terms.
ACL QLD Director Wendy Francis said while the ACL supports the concept of four-year terms, it did not support it in this case because of the unique unicameral or one-chamber parliament in Queensland.
“A government with four years and no scrutiny of its legislation by an Upper House will have too much power,” Ms Francis said.
“We are the only State without an Upper House to review laws or hold government’s to account. Our parliamentary committee system is meant to provide us with a level of scrutiny and questioning of government legislation and decisions but even this in its current form does not have sufficient authority.
“It is interesting to note that the Parliamentary Committee that recommended a move to four-year terms also recommended that this change be accompanied by a strengthening of the parliamentary committee system.
“Yet the Bill we will vote on does not even address the shortfalls in the current parliamentary committee process which were identified by the committee.
“The Westminster system is designed to have checks and balances on power. Queenslanders have used the three-year electoral cycle to achieve this but an unpopular government with a big majority and four year terms could lead to an abuse of executive power,” Ms Francis said.
“Academics have suggested ways of restoring an upper house to Queensland without increasing the number of politicians. Reform of the parliamentary term length should not be considered in isolation to restoration of an upper house,” she said.
QLD ACL director Wendy Francis said it was ironic that the Safe Schools defended the language and content of Safe Schools material as acceptable for school kids but it did not pass muster with the QLD Parliament.
“It really is shocking that Safe Schools and Minus 18 have been telling concerned parents that there is nothing inappropriate with the program yet clearly the QLD parliament does not share this view.
The e-petition requests the QLD Parliament to:
• Conduct an inquiry into the appropriateness of the materials use for school children
• Stop the use of these resources in our schools until the inquiry can be completed
• Reveal the list of Queensland schools who have currently adopted the program.
Click here to sign the e-petition, Safe Schools Coalition resources are dangerous for our children.
In fact the organisers had earlier had to cancel a talk by a Sydney-based Muslim speaker titled Honour Killings Are Morally Justified.
So as I walked into the Sydney Opera House on Saturday I decided to approach the festival with an open yet skeptical mind.
What I was really interested in was a talk by Kajsa Ekman on the topic of surrogacy. Ekman is a Swedish journalist and activist. She’s the author of the book Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, surrogacy and the split self.
Given the recent controversy surrounding surrogacy, including the heart-wrenching story of baby Gammy, I wanted to hear what Ekman had to say.
Here are three things I learned about surrogacy from Ekman’s talk at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.
Surrogacy is baby trading
This position is difficult to refute. The surrogate mother doesn’t get paid for being pregnant. Rather, she is paid for handing over a baby. Money changes hands and the item being purchased is a new born baby. This is the ultimate in the commodification of humanity and is blatant buying and selling of children—a modern form of human trafficking.
Surrogacy exploits women in poverty
Supporters of surrogacy argue that women who are trapped in poverty can change their circumstance through selling the rights to their womb. Singles or couples are prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a child.
In defending the right to commercial surrogacy we are defending the interests of the world’s richest people to purchase a family.
Some people argue that because some women are poor, they should sell their womb in order to survive. Poverty becomes an excuse for exploitation. Is that the kind of world we want? This is commercialising life itself – everything is for sale, while those facilitating the transaction get rich. Surrogacy demeans the unique mother-child bond as women can now solely be used as breeding machines.
Surrogacy violates the rights of children
Surrogacy is too often a bad bargain for both the women and children involved in the process.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child affirms that a child must not, "save in the most exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother", and yet surrogacy does exactly that. It is deliberate and premeditated.
Australian ethicist Professor Margaret Somerville condemns any deliberate destruction of the child's biological identity. She says:
"It is one matter for children not to know their genetic identity as a result of unintended circumstances. It is quite another matter to deliberately destroy children's links to their biological parents, and especially for society to be complicit in this destruction."
Helping an infertile couple to have a baby of their own is seen by many as a generous and compassionate gesture from a woman who can help. In this way, everyone can have their own children without having to be pregnant, and poor women can earn some extra money. It looks like a win-win situation. But at a closer look, the surrogacy industry is an exploitation of women's bodies and a sophisticated form of baby trade.
Thursday 31st July 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has congratulated the Queensland government for leading the way in Australia in responding to community concerns regarding sexualised outdoor advertising.
ACL’s Queensland Director Wendy Francis welcomed the government’s commitment to introduce fines to penalise advertisers that do not comply with the industry’s code of ethics.
The commitment was made in the Queensland Government response to the Health and Community Services Committee Report No. 36 Inquiry into sexually explicit outdoor advertising.
Ms Francis said classification issues generally fall to the federal government but it has failed to act on the recommendations from numerous inquiries and reports.
“The state government has responded to the community concerns around sexualised outdoor advertising and found a way it can help bring outdoor advertising in line with community standards by introducing fines for offenders,” Ms Francis said.
“This is part of its overall commitment to make Queensland the safest place in Australia to raise a child,” Ms Francis said.
“The sexualisation of our everyday environment is contributing to a culture where there is an increase in sexual assaults, eating disorders in young children, and depression”, she said.
Ms Francis said today’s announcement would mean companies like Wicked Campers, which has consistently ignored the self-regulated Advertising Standards Board’s rulings, would face fines.
Whilst Ms Francis said today’s announcement was a step in the right direction but she said more still needed to be done.
“The Advertising Standards Board is a self-regulated body. Currently, they alone hand down rulings against its advertisers and there is no recourse once their decision is made, making it difficult to keep advertisers accountable to the community,” she said.
“At the very least we need a government avenue for people to go to if their complaint to the ASB is unsuccessful”, she said.
For release: Thursday 17th July 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the public apology by Wicked Campers for its inappropriate slogans but says harsher penalties need to be introduced to prevent re-offending.
ACL’s spokesperson on the dignity of women Wendy Francis said that although the campervan company has apologised for the latest slogan “In every princess, there’s a little slut who wants to try it”, it’s important for state governments to recognise the urgent need of law reform to keep outdoor advertising in line with community standards.
“Although an apology from Wicked Campers is a welcome move, what’s stopping the company from again plastering sexist and misogynistic material on their vans in a year’s time?” Ms Francis said.
“The self-regulatory system of outdoor advertising is clearly not working. Our children and young people will continue to be exposed to sexualised and degrading content in our public space if penalties are not introduced on companies like Wicked Campers and future offenders,” Ms Francis said.
The promise by Wicked Campers to remove slogans of an “insensitive nature” on their vans over the next six months is again another failure to the community.
“Objectifying and degrading women is a serious matter. If Wicked Campers truly understood this, they would remove the slogans immediately, not wait six months to do so,” she said.
“The sexualisation of our everyday environment is contributing to a culture where there is an increase in sexual assaults, eating disorders in young children, and depression.
“Many sexist slogans, including those Wicked Campers have been responsible for, promote violence against women, which is sadly a massive problem in our country.
“A report published in the Lancet medical journal earlier this year revealed that incidents of sexual violence against women in Australia is more than double the global average,” Ms Francis said.
The recent uproar against the campervan company was triggered over the weekend when a Sydney mother launched an online petition after her 11-year-old daughter spotted the latest slogan on a van in the Blue Mountains.
The change.org petition to “Eliminate misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery” has reached over 127,000 signatures to date.
For release: Tuesday 15th July 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby is again calling on state governments to introduce laws regulating outdoor advertising in light of a recent Wicked Campers slogan degrading women.
ACL’s spokesperson on the dignity of women Wendy Francis said the latest slogan from the campervan company – which read, “In every princess, there’s a little slut who wants to try it” – undermines a woman’s worth.
“Time and again, we have seen Wicked Campers ignore calls from the Advertising Standards Bureau to keep its slogans in line with community standards.
“Our children and young people will continue to be exposed to such inappropriate content if our governments fail to intervene,” Ms Francis said.
A Sydney mother recently launched an online petition calling on the Brisbane-based company to remove its slogans, after her 11-year-old daughter spotted the latest slogan on a van in the Blue Mountains.
The change.org petition to “Eliminate misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery” has now reached over 90,000 signatures.
Ms Francis said no parent wants their child to be exposed to material that objectifies or demeans women.
“The sexualisation of our everyday environment is causing an increase in sexual assaults, eating disorders in young children, and depression.
“A report published in the Lancet medical journal earlier this year revealed that incidents of sexual violence against women in Australia is more than double the global average.
“Governments across our nation need to open their eyes to the harm that companies like Wicked Campers are causing against vulnerable members of society,” she said.
In April this year, ACL called on the Queensland Government to introduce outdoor advertising laws to keep the public square in line with community standards.
It has been almost three years since the ACL-commissioned For Kids’ Sake research was launched at Parliament House in Canberra.
A meta-analysis, it shone a bright light on the crisis.
Here is a reminder of just some of its findings:
- The number of children in out of home care because it is too dangerous to live at home doubled in a decade to 35,000
- More than a quarter of young people aged 16-24 years have a mental disorder compared with one in five (20 per cent) in the general population
- Self-harm for teenage girls 12-14 years of age leading to hospitalisation is six times the rate for boys
- There was an increase from 28 per cent to 38 per cent in female school students experiencing unwanted sex between 2002 and 2008
- There was a doubling in the rate of hospitalisation for alcohol intoxication for women aged 15-24 between 1998 and 2006.
ACL is working to keep the welfare of kids front and centre of the political debate.
On Monday night in Brisbane, ACL's Queensland director Wendy Francis hosted a panel of experts and state parliamentarians to discuss the crisis in a lively Q&A format.
The panel included State Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland child safety minister Tracy Davis, Bravehearts' Hetty Johnston and the Centre for Independent Studies' Dr Jeremy Sammut.
The audience included a number of people involved in foster care and advocates of adoption.
The reluctance of governments to allow kids in the care system to be adopted generated spirited debate.
According to Dr Sammut, no government wants to be accused of creating another stolen generation and this meant that kids with abusive parents remained in limbo for too long, as did their foster carers.
Other jurisdictions have a pathway to what is known as 'open adoption' so that kids with abusive parents could be given permanent living arrangements and foster carers certainty.
Clearly this is a win for both, but it is controversial.
In the United States there are 50,000 adoptions per year of kids from abusive situations. If we followed this in Australia it could potentially take 5,000 kids out of the care system and into permanent homes each year.
Breaking what seems to be an anti-adoption culture needs to be explored.
But so too does strengthening couple relationships.
The Federal Minister for Community Services, Kevin Andrews, has been subject to unfair ridicule for proposing vouchers for couples to pursue relationship counselling.
If those of us who are married or in a relationship are honest, we will all admit that we need to work on it because romantic feelings, while wonderful, are not enough to sustain us.
It stands to reason that if couple relationships are strengthened, children benefit.
Children benefit from permanency in their living arrangements and especially from the permanency of the relationship of their biological parents.
That is why when a couple make the commitment of marriage, they are not just benefitting themselves, they are providing unfathomable benefit to any children they produce but also a massive social and economic benefit to society.
Our modern approach to relationships, marriage and sex has become so self-centred that we have forgotten these basics.
Political correctness stops us from talking about this.
Meanwhile we wonder why we have a crisis in child well being.
Unless our political discourse gives us permission to talk about strengthening marriage, the endless cycle of state government inquiries into our failing child protection systems will continue.
The conference will encourage women in their personal walk with God through the teaching and life experiences of speakers like singer/songwriter Julia Grace, and Lindy Chamberlain who was wrongly convicted of murdering her baby daughter in 1980 (her conviction was overturned seven years later).
ACL's Queensland Director Wendy Francis will also be speaking at the event.
The conference will be held at Calvary Christian Church, 212 Crosby Hill Rd, Tanawha QLD
For more information and to register, please visit the official conference website. You can also check out the Queensland Christian Women Facebook page.
Queensland Christian Women is a ministry of Australian Christian Churches.
For release: April 9, 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby is calling for the Queensland Government to urgently act in light of the latest advertising slogan from Wicked Campers and introduce outdoor advertising laws to keep the public space in line with community standards.
ACL’s Queensland Director Wendy Francis said the latest slogan “fat girls are harder to kidnap” by the campervan company degrades women and condones violence against them.
“Members of the public have expressed concern at this slogan and whilst the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has upheld the complaint, Wicked Campers has been free to ignore correspondence from the ASB,” she said.
“The self-regulation system isn’t working and it’s time for the Queensland Government to step in and enforce rulings and introduce penalties,” she said.
“A Parliamentary report into outdoor advertising released in January recommended introducing a co-regulatory approach to advertising to prevent this type of behaviour from happening,” she said.
The report’s recommendations were unanimous and bi-partisan.
Ms Francis said she’s concerned at the time it’s taking for the government to introduce legislation since it and the Opposition agreed to the report’s recommendations.
“The Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told parliament last week that the government would ‘take our time’ to implement the recommendations and work with billboard advertising owners,” she said.
“It’s time for the Queensland Government to respond to community expectations,” she said.