Defending life, family, and freedom across the world

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Defending life, family, and freedom across the world

victory
Don't subsidise abortions with our taxes!

UPDATE: It seems that the National Platform of the Australian Labor Party was not amended to add a commitment to the full subsidisation of abortions in Australia. However, forces within Labor are still agitating for it. Please continue to sign this petition!

Forces within the Australian Labor Party (ALP) are agitating for a staggering move against life: They want to change their party's National Platform to include a commitment to fully subsidise abortions nationwide, using taxpayer dollars, with not only the cost of abortions covered, but also the costs of transportation to abortion clinics.

This shocking push demands our immediate attention and action.

Consider this: the average cost of a surgical abortion in Australia is at least over $700. And with potentially 100,000 abortions or more occurring annually, the burden on taxpayers will be immense.

This expense will divert funds away from crucial health and welfare measures that desperately need support. Our most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, those with disabilities, and struggling families, will suffer as a result.

So too will unborn babies.

If the Federal Government makes abortions free, including transportation costs, this will undoubtedly lead to a rise in the number of unborn Australian babies being terminated.

We cannot turn a blind eye to this reality.

Every innocent life matters, and it is our duty to defend and stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Ethically, there is a strong question mark around the rightness of subsidising such a controversial procedure as abortion with tax dollars.

It was American statesman Thomas Jefferson himself who declared that:

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." 

Indeed, if abortions were full subsidised throughout Australia, taxpayers who hold strong pro-life convictions will be forced to contribute to a procedure they believe to be morally wrong—an act of evil in their eyes.

This infringement upon our freedom of conscience is deeply troubling and goes against the core principles of democracy. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has shown commendable resistance against calls to have the Federal Government provide free, taxpayer-subsidised abortions throughout Australia.

He rightly recognizes that this issue falls under the jurisdiction of the States.

However, in the face of the push to change to the National Platform of Mr Albanese's own party, we must make our voices heard now to protect the unborn.

Sign CitizenGO's urgent petition to the Prime Minister, calling on him to hold the line against demands for taxpayer-funded abortions.

Together, we can make a difference and preserve life, family, and freedom.

Let us not delay in taking action. Sign the petition today and share it with your friends, family, and fellow believers. Our united voice will carry the weight of righteousness and stand as a testament to our unwavering commitment to protecting innocent lives.

Tell Alibaba: stop selling child sex dolls

UPDATE - 22 JULY: Earlier this week, we joined in with other advocacy groups and launched our campaign calling on multi-national shopping platform Alibaba.com to immediately remove vile child sex dolls on sale.

Not long after our petition launch we received information that Collective Shout, who originally launched the investigation into the sickening 'products’, was successful in pressuring Alibaba to remove them. 

Alibaba has said it will be working to prevent this from happening in future. We were expecting it would take much longer to see a resolution to this issue, so this is a great outcome.

We would like to thank our CitizenGO supporters who lent support to this important cause by writing to Alibaba directly or signing our petition.

--

The topic of this action alert is very confronting.

You see, right now, extremely realistic child sex dolls are being sold online right here in Australia and New Zealand. We need your help to stop this depravity!

Last week, advocacy group Collective Shout released findings from its undercover investigation into global shopping giant Alibaba. Some of the listings they exposed included dolls with replica genitalia and video guides demonstrating how they could be “used”.

Outrageously, sale of these dolls continues despite the fact that Alibaba has previously stated the items were in violation of their terms and conditions and said that they would remove them from sale. Still, nothing has happened.

Despite the fact that obtaining and owning a child sex doll is illegal in Australia,  profit-hungry vendors are offering to ship to the country.

According to reports, some of the items advertised as “sex dolls for men” were as small as a six-month-old baby with one listing even describing the ‘baby’ as ‘cute’ and ‘soft’ and another headlining the ‘product’ with ‘take her home... for man sex.’

Disturbingly, another featured a silicone 4 ft. 9 in. ‘small breast, young girl’ that was so tiny it could be taken apart and packed into a suitcase. 

The disgusting items are being sold for between $250 - $500 each by at least 18 different suppliers on the Chinese owned ecommerce platform.

I cannot even express how difficult and distressing it is to explain to you what is happening here. The word ‘disturbing’ doesn’t even begin to describe how vile and perverted these ‘products’ are. Some of the ‘product’ descriptions are so graphic to write about.

Alibaba is directly enabling and profiting from a trade which is not victimless. According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey (ABS, 2017), 11% of women and 5% of men in Australia report having been sexually abused before the age of 15 years.

The easy access to child sex dolls sold online thanks to Alibaba is no doubt facilitating the perverted fantasies and deviancy of paedophiles across the country.

As recently as May this year, federal police arrested three men in New South Wales for the purchase and possession of childlike sex dolls - one of which was imported from China.

A study conducted last year by the Australian Institute of Criminology found that child sex dolls are linked to an increase in child sexual abuse and desensitisation to the damage that sex abuse causes to children.

The sale of child sex dolls potentially results in the risk of children being objectified as sexual beings and of child sex becoming a commodity… there is a risk that child-like dolls could be used to groom children for sex, in the same way that adult sex dolls have already been used,” the study said.

The study also refuted claims that child sex dolls have a therapeutic benefit in preventing child sexual abuse.

We cannot stand aside and continue to let paedophiles feed on the twisted fantasies of helpless babies and young children.

You can help us take urgent action today by signing this petition calling on Alibaba to cease sale of these vile items.

Please, SIGN the petition to Alibaba, to stop this disgusting trade in its tracks.

Say no to the sexual exploitation of women!

UPDATE: We are pleased to announce that Members of the South Australian Parliament have VOTED DOWN the 13th attempt at decriminalising prostitution in the state.

"This is a huge win for women across the state and sends a strong message that the commodification of a woman's body for the gratification of a man is not ok," said CitizenGO Australian Editor Caleb Stephen

"Without the combined efforts of CitizenGOers like you and many other concerned individuals, this harmful bill would not have been defeated. So, thank you for your efforts.

"MPs have come under pressure from petitioners and advocates across the state in recent months to push back against any attempt at fully decriminalising this twisted trade and this has proven successful."

Legal prostitution advocates in South Australia are pushing for full decriminalisation of the industry with a model similar to Uber’s modus operandi where it’s claimed prostitutes will operate with no perceived obvious impact to the community.

More importantly, these proposed changes will continue to propel the twisted and degraded idea that our nation’s young women can be bought and sold for the gratification of others! 

A cunningly crafted disruptive strategy is being pushed so as to not give the general public the idea that “mega brothels” are popping up and operating in their neighbourhoods close to schools, childcare centres and churches etc. 

Any young female with a Facebook profile, an ABN and a smartphone can independently advertise and solicit services online. These women are not just statistics. They are not objects. They are daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives and mothers. 

And while prostitutes are increasingly using online platforms such as Ugly Mugs (originally from the UK) with a rating feature similar to Uber’s to solicit street work, this does not completely eliminate the threat of violence perpetrated by clients with violent tendencies.

The bottom line is that the commodification of women for the purposes of sexual gratification needs to be stopped in its tracks right now! 

Please write to Premier Steven Marshall to consider the Nordic approach to prostitution where customers are criminalised for buying exploitive services as opposed to prostitutes being prosecuted. Under this model, young women are given the necessary support to gain qualifications and obtain work in industries where their dignity is not exploited.

Sign our petition today and tell all your friends in South Australia to stand with you on this important issue!

 

 

Darebin City Council seeking to silence ‘No’ campaigners in Marriage Debate

Darebin City Councillors will next week vote on an emergency motion which proposes to allow access to council facilities for same-sex marriage campaigners. The proposed motion follows the Federal government’s announcement of a September postal vote on the Marriage Act. As part of the council motion, ‘No’ campaigners will be barred from using council facilities and the council will issue a warning to local churches not to campaign against same-sex marriage.

The motion should be rejected by Councillors as it proposes preferential treatment to the ‘Yes’ side of this debate by providing financial and practical support. It further undermines fairness and transparency in the democratic process for those living in this local council area. To suggests that those who hold the ‘No’ position are free to do so, but at the same time, warn that in doing so, these people may contribute to homophobia, implies that the 'no' position is not a reasonable one to take.

Darebin City Council, located in Melbourne’s North, offers a range of venue hire options including the Northcote Town Hall and the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre. Venue hire rates do vary but they can be up to $2000 a day for some locations. It is proposed that the Council venues will be offered free of charge for the use of ‘Yes’ campaigners activities.

This motion is an extension of the council’s ongoing public support and campaigning to redefine the Marriage Act to allow for same-sex couples to marry. In 2015, the council formally endorsed a statement calling for marriage equality, and in 2016 expanded it to include that marriage equality should be achieved through a direct free vote in Parliament and suggested that a plebiscite would be harmful to the LGBTIQ community. Darebin Council further made international news in May this year when it voted to raise the rainbow flag until marriage was redefined in law in Australia.

Whilst the council’s actions to date may have been seen as intimidating for some, this move now directly seeks to silence those in the community who hold a different view of the meaning of Marriage. The council’s inability to recognise this signifies a failure of democratic representation and leadership. Local government and our local leaders have an important role in the governance of our communities. They are expected to be role models in conduct and show accountability and representation. The failure to show leadership in serving all members of the community regardless of whether Councillors agree with their position on the Marriage Act is a miscarriage of good governance.

In an interview with Neil Mitchell on radio 3AW this week, Independent Darebin Councillor, Susan Rennie rejected suggestions that this motion was unfair or limiting free speech. Mitchell asked Councillor Rennie, did she believe that those on her opposing side had the right to campaign with decency? She stated that she had seen no evidence to date that anyone on the ‘No’ side of the campaign had demonstrated decency or could put forward a coherent argument against the redefinition of Marriage. The Councillor further stated that she felt that “local Churches had been quite silent” on the issue, and that she was “…very grateful for that.”

Councillor Rennie went on to say that nothing in the motion stopped people from expressing an opinion or campaigning. However, she went on to suggest that any ‘right thinking people' would not support a ‘No’ vote.

“To be honest, I’m not convinced that it is reasonable (to have a debate) on this topic… The level of debate and comments that I have heard from the ‘No’ camp is disgraceful … and just because people are free to express their views doesn’t mean council should deliver a platform for them,” she said.

Regardless of your view on Marriage in Australia, the actions of Darebin City Council undermine democracy and fairness. The Council demonstrates a double-standard in their advocacy for a diversity of views in the community. Diversity, it seems, is only acceptable when people agree with the politically correct discourse of the moment.

Australia is a democratic nation where people are free to exercise their right to vote. By silencing one side of the debate, the Darebin Council fails to appreciate this important mark of a civilised society.

Please sign this petition now which will be sent to Darebin City Councillors prior to next week’s meeting. We are asking for the removal of the Council's motion and for a fair and transparent discussion in the area, in the lead up to the September postal vote. 

Additional Information: 

Proposed changes to Birth Certificate Legislation in Victoria

The Victorian State government, led by Labour MP the Hon. Daniel Andrews is hoping to sign off on the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2016. The State government announced this legislation on August 18 in the Legislative Assembly. It is now set for debate in the Legislative Council in the next weeks. If it passes, the Bill will become new State legislation.

The Bill is a further example of the rainbow agenda that the State government in Victoria continues to push undermining objective realities about gender, the differences between the sexes and Marriage between a man and a woman.

This legislation was an election promise made by the Labour government in 2014.  It primarily seeks to allow adults to alter the sex recorded on their Victorian birth registration and birth certificate. It also will allow any adult who is living in a same-sex relationship and who was legally married prior to one of the couples changing their sex, to continue to remain in this state. The same-sex couples in this situation will remain legally married, despite now being recognised legally as a same-sex couple. Effectively, as such, the legislative changes legalise marriage for some same-sex couples in Victoria.

Despite this Victorian push, the federal Marriage Act still continues to stipulate that marriage is between a man and a woman. If something changes, such as the sex of one of the couple, then it would be reasonably assumed that the marriage no longer exists as originally contracted. Not so, say the former federal Attorneys-General from both parties who have taken the view that the Marriage Act is concerned with the gender of the couple only at the time of the marriage ceremony. 

The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2016 will also remove the need for applicants to have undergone sex affirmation surgery before being able to apply to change their gender on their birth certificate. The applicant will not be required to provide a diagnosis or medical certificate to make this change. Under the changes, an applicant will be able to nominate what sex descriptor they would like on their birth registration be it, male, female or alternatively, to specify a gender diverse or non-binary descriptor. It will be entirely what the applicant self-reports.

Parents will also be able to apply to have the sex of their children changed on their child's birth certificate, with the child's consent. 

Whilst, South Australia is also discussing similar legislative changes, the Australian Capital Territory is the only other State or Territory in Australia that has introduced similar legislation. Victoria continues to appear to be pushing changes rapidly in the area of marriage and gender and defying the Federal Governments lead to slow down, such as on the related Safe Schools Coalition Program.

Please join us in signing this petition to members of the Legislative Council asking them not to support these changes which undermine marriage in the coming weeks when they will vote on the legislation.  We will also send a copy of the signatures to Premier Daniel Andrews.

Related articles:

Religious Exemptions Bill presents a new attack on religious freedom

UPDATE:

The Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Bill has now passed in the Legislative Assembly and will be discussed in the Legislative Council from this week (11th October). This petition will now be sent to members of the Legislative Assembly asking them not to support the proposed amendments which undermine the principles key to a pluralistic society. 

****

The Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Bill was tabled in Victorian State Parliament on the 31st August. The aim of the bill is to amend the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 to remove religious exceptions in relation to the employment of a person by religious bodies and organisations. If passed, the outcome will restrict many religious organisations and schools from promoting a Christian worldview through their staff and perhaps more critically, challenge their very reason for existence.

The amendments to the proposed bill will remove religious grounds as an exception for employers to discriminate against hiring an individual. The bill also proposes to reinstate an "inherent requirements test" for any religious organisation or school which will force the institution to validate why, in any given circumstance, they choose to take a particular action. Such as, why they might choose not employ a teacher who would not agree to support the Christian ethos of the school in their teaching of religion.

It is reasonable to predict that the consequences of the changes to this legislation could result in the scenario where a Christian school would be forced to hire a person that is opposed to the ethos and values of the school. These proposed changes, therefore, represent a gross attack on parental choice and religious freedom.

Catholic Education executive director in Melbourne, Stephen Elder, told The Age newspaper it was important that Catholic schools had the freedom to employ staff who supported the Catholic faith and did not undermine a school's ethos. “Parents choose to have their children educated in Catholic schools because our traditions are not only passed on through what is taught but what is practised and what is witnessed in our learning communities,” he said. This highlights that a person employed in a religious organisation such as a school is done so not only on the basis of what they teach but also on their witness and example in all aspects of their conduct.

Christian Schools Australia chief executive Stephen O'Doherty has said that the proposed laws were a "draconian attack on religious freedom principles".

If the legislation passes, an individual who feels that they have been discriminated against on the basis of religion could take their complaint to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal's human rights division. It is then proposed that the religious organisation would have to justify its reason for discriminating, on a case by case basis. This process could prove to be burdensome and costly.

Further, the rationale behind the introduction of this bill is highly questionable. It appears to be discriminatory by its very nature. The proposed bill singles out religious organisations, it does not apply to other organisations who might exclude members on the basis of their beliefs. A sustainable living group, for example, is free to discriminate among its members and forbid a person to join who is advocating for increased fossil fuel burning.

It is arguable that the real intent of the bill proposed by the Victorian State government is simply an attack on the freedom of religious institutions and schools. It seriously undermines the principles of a pluralist society in which one view will not fit all members of our community, despite which we can productively co-exist.

Please sign this petition now calling on all State Members to withdraw this bill. We will deliver your names to Members of the Legislative Council where it is now to be discussed.  

victories

Don't subsidise abortions with our taxes!

UPDATE: It seems that the National Platform of the Australian Labor Party was not amended to add a commitment to the full subsidisation of abortions in Australia. However, forces within Labor are still agitating for it. Please continue to sign this petition!

Forces within the Australian Labor Party (ALP) are agitating for a staggering move against life: They want to change their party's National Platform to include a commitment to fully subsidise abortions nationwide, using taxpayer dollars, with not only the cost of abortions covered, but also the costs of transportation to abortion clinics.

This shocking push demands our immediate attention and action.

Consider this: the average cost of a surgical abortion in Australia is at least over $700. And with potentially 100,000 abortions or more occurring annually, the burden on taxpayers will be immense.

This expense will divert funds away from crucial health and welfare measures that desperately need support. Our most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, those with disabilities, and struggling families, will suffer as a result.

So too will unborn babies.

If the Federal Government makes abortions free, including transportation costs, this will undoubtedly lead to a rise in the number of unborn Australian babies being terminated.

We cannot turn a blind eye to this reality.

Every innocent life matters, and it is our duty to defend and stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Ethically, there is a strong question mark around the rightness of subsidising such a controversial procedure as abortion with tax dollars.

It was American statesman Thomas Jefferson himself who declared that:

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." 

Indeed, if abortions were full subsidised throughout Australia, taxpayers who hold strong pro-life convictions will be forced to contribute to a procedure they believe to be morally wrong—an act of evil in their eyes.

This infringement upon our freedom of conscience is deeply troubling and goes against the core principles of democracy. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has shown commendable resistance against calls to have the Federal Government provide free, taxpayer-subsidised abortions throughout Australia.

He rightly recognizes that this issue falls under the jurisdiction of the States.

However, in the face of the push to change to the National Platform of Mr Albanese's own party, we must make our voices heard now to protect the unborn.

Sign CitizenGO's urgent petition to the Prime Minister, calling on him to hold the line against demands for taxpayer-funded abortions.

Together, we can make a difference and preserve life, family, and freedom.

Let us not delay in taking action. Sign the petition today and share it with your friends, family, and fellow believers. Our united voice will carry the weight of righteousness and stand as a testament to our unwavering commitment to protecting innocent lives.

Tell Alibaba: stop selling child sex dolls

UPDATE - 22 JULY: Earlier this week, we joined in with other advocacy groups and launched our campaign calling on multi-national shopping platform Alibaba.com to immediately remove vile child sex dolls on sale.

Not long after our petition launch we received information that Collective Shout, who originally launched the investigation into the sickening 'products’, was successful in pressuring Alibaba to remove them. 

Alibaba has said it will be working to prevent this from happening in future. We were expecting it would take much longer to see a resolution to this issue, so this is a great outcome.

We would like to thank our CitizenGO supporters who lent support to this important cause by writing to Alibaba directly or signing our petition.

--

The topic of this action alert is very confronting.

You see, right now, extremely realistic child sex dolls are being sold online right here in Australia and New Zealand. We need your help to stop this depravity!

Last week, advocacy group Collective Shout released findings from its undercover investigation into global shopping giant Alibaba. Some of the listings they exposed included dolls with replica genitalia and video guides demonstrating how they could be “used”.

Outrageously, sale of these dolls continues despite the fact that Alibaba has previously stated the items were in violation of their terms and conditions and said that they would remove them from sale. Still, nothing has happened.

Despite the fact that obtaining and owning a child sex doll is illegal in Australia,  profit-hungry vendors are offering to ship to the country.

According to reports, some of the items advertised as “sex dolls for men” were as small as a six-month-old baby with one listing even describing the ‘baby’ as ‘cute’ and ‘soft’ and another headlining the ‘product’ with ‘take her home... for man sex.’

Disturbingly, another featured a silicone 4 ft. 9 in. ‘small breast, young girl’ that was so tiny it could be taken apart and packed into a suitcase. 

The disgusting items are being sold for between $250 - $500 each by at least 18 different suppliers on the Chinese owned ecommerce platform.

I cannot even express how difficult and distressing it is to explain to you what is happening here. The word ‘disturbing’ doesn’t even begin to describe how vile and perverted these ‘products’ are. Some of the ‘product’ descriptions are so graphic to write about.

Alibaba is directly enabling and profiting from a trade which is not victimless. According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey (ABS, 2017), 11% of women and 5% of men in Australia report having been sexually abused before the age of 15 years.

The easy access to child sex dolls sold online thanks to Alibaba is no doubt facilitating the perverted fantasies and deviancy of paedophiles across the country.

As recently as May this year, federal police arrested three men in New South Wales for the purchase and possession of childlike sex dolls - one of which was imported from China.

A study conducted last year by the Australian Institute of Criminology found that child sex dolls are linked to an increase in child sexual abuse and desensitisation to the damage that sex abuse causes to children.

The sale of child sex dolls potentially results in the risk of children being objectified as sexual beings and of child sex becoming a commodity… there is a risk that child-like dolls could be used to groom children for sex, in the same way that adult sex dolls have already been used,” the study said.

The study also refuted claims that child sex dolls have a therapeutic benefit in preventing child sexual abuse.

We cannot stand aside and continue to let paedophiles feed on the twisted fantasies of helpless babies and young children.

You can help us take urgent action today by signing this petition calling on Alibaba to cease sale of these vile items.

Please, SIGN the petition to Alibaba, to stop this disgusting trade in its tracks.

Say no to the sexual exploitation of women!

UPDATE: We are pleased to announce that Members of the South Australian Parliament have VOTED DOWN the 13th attempt at decriminalising prostitution in the state.

"This is a huge win for women across the state and sends a strong message that the commodification of a woman's body for the gratification of a man is not ok," said CitizenGO Australian Editor Caleb Stephen

"Without the combined efforts of CitizenGOers like you and many other concerned individuals, this harmful bill would not have been defeated. So, thank you for your efforts.

"MPs have come under pressure from petitioners and advocates across the state in recent months to push back against any attempt at fully decriminalising this twisted trade and this has proven successful."

Legal prostitution advocates in South Australia are pushing for full decriminalisation of the industry with a model similar to Uber’s modus operandi where it’s claimed prostitutes will operate with no perceived obvious impact to the community.

More importantly, these proposed changes will continue to propel the twisted and degraded idea that our nation’s young women can be bought and sold for the gratification of others! 

A cunningly crafted disruptive strategy is being pushed so as to not give the general public the idea that “mega brothels” are popping up and operating in their neighbourhoods close to schools, childcare centres and churches etc. 

Any young female with a Facebook profile, an ABN and a smartphone can independently advertise and solicit services online. These women are not just statistics. They are not objects. They are daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives and mothers. 

And while prostitutes are increasingly using online platforms such as Ugly Mugs (originally from the UK) with a rating feature similar to Uber’s to solicit street work, this does not completely eliminate the threat of violence perpetrated by clients with violent tendencies.

The bottom line is that the commodification of women for the purposes of sexual gratification needs to be stopped in its tracks right now! 

Please write to Premier Steven Marshall to consider the Nordic approach to prostitution where customers are criminalised for buying exploitive services as opposed to prostitutes being prosecuted. Under this model, young women are given the necessary support to gain qualifications and obtain work in industries where their dignity is not exploited.

Sign our petition today and tell all your friends in South Australia to stand with you on this important issue!

 

 

Darebin City Council seeking to silence ‘No’ campaigners in Marriage Debate

Darebin City Councillors will next week vote on an emergency motion which proposes to allow access to council facilities for same-sex marriage campaigners. The proposed motion follows the Federal government’s announcement of a September postal vote on the Marriage Act. As part of the council motion, ‘No’ campaigners will be barred from using council facilities and the council will issue a warning to local churches not to campaign against same-sex marriage.

The motion should be rejected by Councillors as it proposes preferential treatment to the ‘Yes’ side of this debate by providing financial and practical support. It further undermines fairness and transparency in the democratic process for those living in this local council area. To suggests that those who hold the ‘No’ position are free to do so, but at the same time, warn that in doing so, these people may contribute to homophobia, implies that the 'no' position is not a reasonable one to take.

Darebin City Council, located in Melbourne’s North, offers a range of venue hire options including the Northcote Town Hall and the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre. Venue hire rates do vary but they can be up to $2000 a day for some locations. It is proposed that the Council venues will be offered free of charge for the use of ‘Yes’ campaigners activities.

This motion is an extension of the council’s ongoing public support and campaigning to redefine the Marriage Act to allow for same-sex couples to marry. In 2015, the council formally endorsed a statement calling for marriage equality, and in 2016 expanded it to include that marriage equality should be achieved through a direct free vote in Parliament and suggested that a plebiscite would be harmful to the LGBTIQ community. Darebin Council further made international news in May this year when it voted to raise the rainbow flag until marriage was redefined in law in Australia.

Whilst the council’s actions to date may have been seen as intimidating for some, this move now directly seeks to silence those in the community who hold a different view of the meaning of Marriage. The council’s inability to recognise this signifies a failure of democratic representation and leadership. Local government and our local leaders have an important role in the governance of our communities. They are expected to be role models in conduct and show accountability and representation. The failure to show leadership in serving all members of the community regardless of whether Councillors agree with their position on the Marriage Act is a miscarriage of good governance.

In an interview with Neil Mitchell on radio 3AW this week, Independent Darebin Councillor, Susan Rennie rejected suggestions that this motion was unfair or limiting free speech. Mitchell asked Councillor Rennie, did she believe that those on her opposing side had the right to campaign with decency? She stated that she had seen no evidence to date that anyone on the ‘No’ side of the campaign had demonstrated decency or could put forward a coherent argument against the redefinition of Marriage. The Councillor further stated that she felt that “local Churches had been quite silent” on the issue, and that she was “…very grateful for that.”

Councillor Rennie went on to say that nothing in the motion stopped people from expressing an opinion or campaigning. However, she went on to suggest that any ‘right thinking people' would not support a ‘No’ vote.

“To be honest, I’m not convinced that it is reasonable (to have a debate) on this topic… The level of debate and comments that I have heard from the ‘No’ camp is disgraceful … and just because people are free to express their views doesn’t mean council should deliver a platform for them,” she said.

Regardless of your view on Marriage in Australia, the actions of Darebin City Council undermine democracy and fairness. The Council demonstrates a double-standard in their advocacy for a diversity of views in the community. Diversity, it seems, is only acceptable when people agree with the politically correct discourse of the moment.

Australia is a democratic nation where people are free to exercise their right to vote. By silencing one side of the debate, the Darebin Council fails to appreciate this important mark of a civilised society.

Please sign this petition now which will be sent to Darebin City Councillors prior to next week’s meeting. We are asking for the removal of the Council's motion and for a fair and transparent discussion in the area, in the lead up to the September postal vote. 

Additional Information: 

Proposed changes to Birth Certificate Legislation in Victoria

The Victorian State government, led by Labour MP the Hon. Daniel Andrews is hoping to sign off on the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2016. The State government announced this legislation on August 18 in the Legislative Assembly. It is now set for debate in the Legislative Council in the next weeks. If it passes, the Bill will become new State legislation.

The Bill is a further example of the rainbow agenda that the State government in Victoria continues to push undermining objective realities about gender, the differences between the sexes and Marriage between a man and a woman.

This legislation was an election promise made by the Labour government in 2014.  It primarily seeks to allow adults to alter the sex recorded on their Victorian birth registration and birth certificate. It also will allow any adult who is living in a same-sex relationship and who was legally married prior to one of the couples changing their sex, to continue to remain in this state. The same-sex couples in this situation will remain legally married, despite now being recognised legally as a same-sex couple. Effectively, as such, the legislative changes legalise marriage for some same-sex couples in Victoria.

Despite this Victorian push, the federal Marriage Act still continues to stipulate that marriage is between a man and a woman. If something changes, such as the sex of one of the couple, then it would be reasonably assumed that the marriage no longer exists as originally contracted. Not so, say the former federal Attorneys-General from both parties who have taken the view that the Marriage Act is concerned with the gender of the couple only at the time of the marriage ceremony. 

The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2016 will also remove the need for applicants to have undergone sex affirmation surgery before being able to apply to change their gender on their birth certificate. The applicant will not be required to provide a diagnosis or medical certificate to make this change. Under the changes, an applicant will be able to nominate what sex descriptor they would like on their birth registration be it, male, female or alternatively, to specify a gender diverse or non-binary descriptor. It will be entirely what the applicant self-reports.

Parents will also be able to apply to have the sex of their children changed on their child's birth certificate, with the child's consent. 

Whilst, South Australia is also discussing similar legislative changes, the Australian Capital Territory is the only other State or Territory in Australia that has introduced similar legislation. Victoria continues to appear to be pushing changes rapidly in the area of marriage and gender and defying the Federal Governments lead to slow down, such as on the related Safe Schools Coalition Program.

Please join us in signing this petition to members of the Legislative Council asking them not to support these changes which undermine marriage in the coming weeks when they will vote on the legislation.  We will also send a copy of the signatures to Premier Daniel Andrews.

Related articles:

Religious Exemptions Bill presents a new attack on religious freedom

UPDATE:

The Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Bill has now passed in the Legislative Assembly and will be discussed in the Legislative Council from this week (11th October). This petition will now be sent to members of the Legislative Assembly asking them not to support the proposed amendments which undermine the principles key to a pluralistic society. 

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The Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Bill was tabled in Victorian State Parliament on the 31st August. The aim of the bill is to amend the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 to remove religious exceptions in relation to the employment of a person by religious bodies and organisations. If passed, the outcome will restrict many religious organisations and schools from promoting a Christian worldview through their staff and perhaps more critically, challenge their very reason for existence.

The amendments to the proposed bill will remove religious grounds as an exception for employers to discriminate against hiring an individual. The bill also proposes to reinstate an "inherent requirements test" for any religious organisation or school which will force the institution to validate why, in any given circumstance, they choose to take a particular action. Such as, why they might choose not employ a teacher who would not agree to support the Christian ethos of the school in their teaching of religion.

It is reasonable to predict that the consequences of the changes to this legislation could result in the scenario where a Christian school would be forced to hire a person that is opposed to the ethos and values of the school. These proposed changes, therefore, represent a gross attack on parental choice and religious freedom.

Catholic Education executive director in Melbourne, Stephen Elder, told The Age newspaper it was important that Catholic schools had the freedom to employ staff who supported the Catholic faith and did not undermine a school's ethos. “Parents choose to have their children educated in Catholic schools because our traditions are not only passed on through what is taught but what is practised and what is witnessed in our learning communities,” he said. This highlights that a person employed in a religious organisation such as a school is done so not only on the basis of what they teach but also on their witness and example in all aspects of their conduct.

Christian Schools Australia chief executive Stephen O'Doherty has said that the proposed laws were a "draconian attack on religious freedom principles".

If the legislation passes, an individual who feels that they have been discriminated against on the basis of religion could take their complaint to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal's human rights division. It is then proposed that the religious organisation would have to justify its reason for discriminating, on a case by case basis. This process could prove to be burdensome and costly.

Further, the rationale behind the introduction of this bill is highly questionable. It appears to be discriminatory by its very nature. The proposed bill singles out religious organisations, it does not apply to other organisations who might exclude members on the basis of their beliefs. A sustainable living group, for example, is free to discriminate among its members and forbid a person to join who is advocating for increased fossil fuel burning.

It is arguable that the real intent of the bill proposed by the Victorian State government is simply an attack on the freedom of religious institutions and schools. It seriously undermines the principles of a pluralist society in which one view will not fit all members of our community, despite which we can productively co-exist.

Please sign this petition now calling on all State Members to withdraw this bill. We will deliver your names to Members of the Legislative Council where it is now to be discussed.  

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