Archive for category Politics
Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is hanging his hat on a real world amalgamation of Marvel Comic’s Mutant Registration Act and Superhuman Registration Act in order to deal with a statistically insignificant crime ripple.
As predicted way back in 2013, one-hundred-and-sixty-one-year-old Ita Buttrose has finally been recognised in today’s Australian of the Year ceremony.
The honour of 2103 Australian of the Year was bestowed on the pioneer publisher of what were at the time called, mag-are-zeens.
The second largest fishing vessel ever built, the controversial Margiris super-trawler is estimated to haul up to 18,000 tonnes of baitfish from Australia’s southern fisheries.
Example of a radio script.
The burden of faith is heavier than once thought according to a new study.
It seems those with religious affiliations have a higher percentage of body fat than agnostics on average. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally published 17 May 2012
Mayor Tom Tate has been presented with a signed petition to change development restrictions along the Gold Coast Highway at Mermaid Beach.
Story and pictures by Jayson D Cooke
The new school year is being welcomed by a billboard targeting church missionaries for still being in State schools.
The billboard went up Thursday, February 02, 2012 near the corner of Greenway St. and Manningham Rd. in Bulleen, Victoria. Responsible for the strongly worded message is a group of parents, called Fairness in Religions in School (FIRIS) who want the State Minister of Education to sever all links between schools and the controversial parachurch: ACCESS Ministries.
The billboard says “State Schools are not Church Playgrounds” and “Special Religious Instruction Divides our Children”. FIRIS says the billboard aims at alerting the public to unfair policy that gives an “open door”, and also funds a church ministry to use curriculum time to instruct children in specific religious beliefs.
“This is the Minister’s preference as the law imposes no such requirement,” says Campaign Chairman Tim Heasley.
ACCESS is the parachurch controlled by 12 protestant churches that made headlines attracted last year when its CEO, Evonne Paddison, urged church congregations to “make disciples” by adopting “missional attitudes” in Victoria’s State Schools.
The billboard comes in advance of a case being put by parents before the Victorian Administrative and Civil Tribunal (VCAT) which aims to force Mr. Dixon to bring the policy into line with the expectations of Victorian parents and end the exception the policy allows to a guiding principle of Victoria Schools, “secular education”.
Said Mr. Heasley: “We would like to see religion taught in a fair way that reflects Australia’s multi-cultural commitments and we’re asking our schools to do this in a way that does not violate the `secular principle’ of public education. This needs to be done by closing the door to activists from all religions who want to use our schools to get at kids”.
“Our State Schools are not Church Playgrounds and it is deeply concerning to me as an Australian and as a parent, that I should need to put up a billboard to make this case to the Minister of Education. The Minister could easily change this policy, and that is what we intend to see him do”.
The policy by which church volunteers come into the school day and take up part of the curriculum is not supported by the Australian Education Union. The Victorian branch passed a resolution calling for an end to the policy.
“Parents should never be put in a position of having to remove their child from a church-run program in a state school, yet here we are at the start of the school year and policy to favor this ministry rolls on”, said Mr Heasley.
The billboard, funded by donations to FIRIS, and designed by a parent, is based on what the designer’s six year old daughter experienced at her school, as a result of what many parents agree forces a choice between making their kids feel different or having them ministered to by ACCESS volunteers.
Another parent, Julia Brotherton, said in her case, even the choice between two evils wasn’t possible, because the schools can’t reasonably be expected to deal with equitably with the problems the policy creates. She says, “despite opting my child out at the start of the year, I discovered she was in fact attending Christian Religious Instruction by ACCESS Ministries. When I asked the school why this was, they explained how hard it was for the school to administrate the system and that ultimately it was up to my 6 year old to tell her teacher she was not meant to be there”!
Ms. Brotherton, said that it was the policy and not the school where change needed to occur. “The schools are doing the best they can, it is obvious that the policy is designed to induce parents to go along, even if they don’t want to. Its a political problem, that infringes on my rights as a parent. This is not fair to families, and its not fair to teachers, and it shouldn’t be on the principal’s to do list”.
FIRIS is a parent-run group supporting the upcoming parents case in VCAT. The case, which is being run by the law firm Holding Redlich, will be heard on 1 March, and will be the first time that this policy has been given a true hearing in an impartial setting.
Mr. Heasley said that the case before VCAT will show how SRI hurts families, but also fully explain the policy undermines the very principles of public education in Victoria. “One of the non negotiable values Australians hold is that our schools should not discriminate between children according to their parents’ religions or lack thereof. This policy is designed to do exactly this and gives church groups say over part of the curriculum. We hope to end this policy in 2012”.
“ACCESS Ministries instructs children with what amounts to a Sunday School type program that includes prayer and has no comparative religious component. It is totally out of step with the state school curriculum”, said Heasley.
FIRIS believes religion is a family matter, and that there are a diversity of approaches families choose with respect to religion. It is an obligation on the Minister of Education to prevent discrimination on religious grounds, to uphold the secular principles written into our constitution, in order to foster citizenship and tolerance in our nation.
For more information check out religioninschool.com
It amazes me that this question still gets asked, and that the answer given is often not a unanimous YES despite all evidence to the contrary.
One way of looking at this odd phenomena is wishful thinking taking precedence over reality.
Could it be the case that we would prefer discrimination based on an individual or group’s ethnic and/or cultural heritage, even generations removed, to be an embarrassing remnant of a less enlightened time?
An article published today by world-renowned Australian neurosurgeon and son of Chinese immigrants, Dr Charlie Teo read to me like as a proud Aussie recognising and acknowledging the problem of racial intolerance. However the comments following the post are prime examples of the vitriol that emerges whenever this topic is broached.
Ironically a poll listed on the page shows that 21.63% of those that voted (218 individuals so far) don’t believe that racism is still alive in Australia. This despite several of the commentators requesting that Dr Teo should ‘go home’, along with a litany of excuses and justifications for the way certain Australians and visitors are treated here.
I wrote a response which I’ve published below, however I highly recommend reading both Dr Teo’s article and the resulting comments for an insight into ‘everyday’ Australian attitudes to multiculturalism.
Oh, and in case anyone suggests I should ‘go home’ for holding ‘un-australian’ views, I was born here and am incredibly grateful for that fact, just like Dr Teo.
Thank you for drawing attention to these issues in such a respectful way Dr Teo.
Many of us feel regularly embarrassed by the level of intolerance that often does seem endemic throughout this great land.
I have seen men physically assaulted with no provocation, woman and children spat on, told to go home either face to face or from passing cars, and often it’s as if no-one batts an eyelid. Worse still is the level of ignorance, excuse making and special pleading of those that attempt to justify such behaviour.
On the other hand I have seen great compassion and collaboration in so many projects of all scales from the smallest act of kindness to larger gestures of welcoming.
Of course there is good and bad behaviour by all Australians, regardless of their cultural heritage, ethnicity or skin tone. However by blindly discriminating, do the commenter’s here actually believe they are not contributing to this problem?
Yes of course other countries are intolerant of other nationalities, but how does this make it alright for such behaviour to exist here? Isn’t it better to strive to lead by example in this area as we, as a nation and hopefully as individuals do in other respects?
Australia is a magnificent country in no small part due to the hard work of people from many nations who strove to make it what it is today, not because the populace were complacent or afraid of progress. We are and have always been a multicultural nation and were this not the case we would not be enjoying the way of life we all seem to agree is pretty damn great.
To deny this is a failure of appreciation of our nation, and to deny a more encompassing, optimistic and reality-based Australia Day celebration.
Jayson D Cooke
Jayson D Cooke
STATEMENT FROM THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND THE CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER
Parents should vaccinate themselves and their children, Minister for Health Geoff Wilson said today.
Mr Wilson said fringe groups like the misleadingly named ‘Australian Vaccination Network’ are wrong to discourage people from getting vaccinated.
“I love Woodford Folk Festival. I’ve been numerous times. There’s great music, great food and great folk entertainment. Fortunately, there’s enough wonderful things to do at Woodford that patrons have plenty of alternatives rather than sitting through the nonsense Meryl Dorey spouts about vaccination dangers”, Mr Wilson said.
“For the small number of people who might be entertained by what Ms Dorey has to say, Woodford Folk Festival has a place for everyone. Just don’t take her nonsense too seriously.”
“The fact is vaccinations have saved millions of lives. Their invention was a miracle of scientific achievement.”
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer said Queensland Health remained absolutely committed to delivering its immunisation program to as many Queenslanders as possible.
“In the past year hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders have been protected against deadly diseases such as whooping cough, cervical cancer, diphtheria and measles, as well as influenza.” she said.
“The benefits of vaccination are obvious. Between 1930 and 1988, around 40,000 Australians developed paralytic Polio. Now Australia is Polio free.”
“Vaccination prevents potentially fatal conditions like measles, diphtheria and whooping cough.”
“This program saves lives, and we will continue to urge Queenslanders to vaccinate their children against life-threatening illnesses,” Dr Young said.
“Queensland’s vaccination program is extremely safe and is the most effective way to prevent illness and death from vaccine preventable diseases,” she said.
The Australian Rainbow Labor Network is calling on Labor national conference delegates to be on the right side of history and support a change to Labor’s national platform that will deliver marriage equality.
Rainbow Labor spokespersons, WA Senator Louise Pratt and ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr said, “Rainbow Labor believes there needs to be a positive change for marriage equality in Labor’s national platform and we will continue our campaign for this change.”
“Rainbow Labor remains firmly of the view that matters of equality should not be the subject of a conscience vote,” Mr Barr said.
Labor has historically only permitted conscience votes on questions of life and death such as abortion and euthanasia.
“Marriage Equality will lead to progress and equality for all Australians and is clearly not an issue of life and death. It is positive reform that will enable all Australians adults the opportunity to marry the person they love,” Senator Pratt said.
Rainbow Labor believes that a positive change to the platform is critical and consistent with both the wishes of ALP members as well as the broader Australian public.
“The Labor Party is at its best when we campaign for positive social reform and win the support of mainstream Australia,” Mr Barr said.
“In 1975 we established the Racial Discrimination Act, in 1984 the Sex Discrimination Act, in 1992 the Disability Discrimination Act and again, in 2008, 85 Commonwealth laws were amended to remove discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians.
“In 2011 the question is whether our party has what it takes to once again stand up in this great tradition and build on our foundations of social progress, equality and fairness for all Australians so as to effect marriage equality into Australian law, for all Australians.
“This is about drawing a line in the sand. It is about standing up for Labor principles. The final test on marriage equality is not: are you on the right side of the politics of the week or the right side of the retail union. The final test is this: are you on the right side of history?”, Mr Barr concluded.