AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER

  • SENATOR BERNARDI CLAIMS VINDICATION ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND POLYGAMY COMMENTS
  • UNIVERSITY STUDENTS DEMAND FREEDOM OF SPEECH ON CAMPUS AS ABORTION DEBATE RAGES
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S NEW GUIDELINES FOR SEX AND GENDER

     

SENATOR BERNARDI CLAIMS VINDICATION ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND POLYGAMY COMMENTS

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi says he has been “proved correct” that legalising same-sex marriage would lead to demands to endorse polygamy. “I stand on the record and say, well I was right,” said Senator Bernardi, who was forced to resign last year as Tony Abbott’s personal parliamentary secretary following public outrage about his comments. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster joined a number of homosexual and lesbian Australians in saying she felt insulted by Senator Bernardi’s comments. The Liberal councillor for Sydney tweeted: “Cory Bernardi’s comments are an affront to me, my partner and our relationship”. 

Senator Bernardi was also criticised by fellow Liberal MP and frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull, who said the remarks created ‘‘a lot of offence with same sex couples’’.  Senator Bernardi’s latest comments came as a Greens bill to recognise internationally sanctioned same-sex marriages was being debated recently in the Senate. The same sex-marriage bill was also debated in the House of Representatives, with Labor MPs Greg Combet, Stephen Smith and Bernie Ripoll all saying they supported legalising same sex marriage. As Kevin Rudd did recently, Mr Ripoll said he had changed his mind and would now support the bill.

Amid these developments, Senator Bernardi said that some sections of society were now moving in the “abhorrent and disgusting” direction he had predicted. “There is actually now a petition been put together for the House of Representatives by Green activists to legally recognise multi-member unions,” Senator Bernardi said. He was referring to a recent petition by the Polyamory Action Lobby in which the group said: “We demand nothing less than the full recognition of polyamorous families”. “Now I said that would happen,” Senator Bernardi said. “It’s happening.”

“I think there should be alarm.. If you’re going to re-define a word to satisfy demands of a minority then you’re going to face continuing demands in that space.” Senator Bernardi also stood by his controversial comments last year that the “next step” after recognising same-sex marriage was to support those who chose to have sex with animals. “Bestiality was an extreme example, but once again it’s linked to the radical agenda of the Greens Party,” he said. Whilst Mr Abbott did not respond directly to Senator Bernadi’s latest claims he did tell his party room that the Coalition must maintain discipline across every piece of communication between now and the election.

Mr Turnbull told Sky News none of the countries around the world that had legalised same sex marriage had gone on to legalise polygamy. ‘‘And the remarks about bestiality are obviously very extreme and extremely offensive and I dissociate myself from them completely,’’ he added. Mr Turnbull thought it ‘‘quite likely’’ that Mr Abbott would allow the Coalition a conscience vote on legalising same sex marriage in the next Parliament. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said Senator Bernardi’s comments demeaned all Australians with friends and family in same sex relationships.

The Greens want marriage to be between two people regardless of their gender, Senator Hanson-Young said. The party does not support any other changes to the Marriage Act. Marriage equality advocates attacked the claims by Senator Bernardi and have called for him to be disciplined by Mr Abbott.  Then Finance Minister Penny Wong added to the condemnation of Senator Bernardi, saying his ”offensive comments have no place in modern Australia”. Senator Bernardi said he was simply speaking his mind and he accused other politicians, including Kevin Rudd of changing their positions for political convenience.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

UNIVERSITY STUDENTS DEMAND FREEDOM OF SPEECH ON CAMPUS AS ABORTION DEBATE RAGES

The LifeChoice Student Association has condemned an online petition seeking to ban pro-life groups from affiliating with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Union, as a threat to the free discussion of ideas on campus. The petition is being organised by members of the UTS Women’s Collective, and claims that pro-life groups like LifeChoice are guilty of intimidation and ‘gender-based harassment’. LifeChoice spokesperson Ms Belle Whealing stated that the petition was deeply concerning, and represents some students’ unwillingness to tolerate views other than their own.

“The cornerstone of student life is the free expression of ideas”, said Ms Whealing. “The petition is a flagrant ideological attack against the rights of all students to freely associate and discuss issues they hold to be important, without needing permission from those students who disagree with them.” Ms Whealing went on to point out that the petition “fails to identify any incidence of harassment by LifeChoice members on campuses. Instead, it offers a few tired and baseless accusations – not exactly the type of evidence worthy of an academic environment. The free contest of ideas is something all students need to protect, not just pro-lifers.

Ms Whealing continued. “What’s the point of being a student if you aren’t willing to be intellectually challenged?”  First year UTS student Monica Helbano called the petition “an embarrassing mess of contradictions.  Like political, humanitarian, and religious campus groups, pro-life students have a right to express their views and challenge their peers on how our society treats human life, in line with our university’s aims to ‘Empower our students to grow, contribute, challenge, and make a difference.” “The petition certainly does not represent the views of all UTS students. We respect free speech – even for those who we don’t agree with”, Ms Helbano concluded.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S NEW GUIDELINES FOR SEX AND GENDER

In a major policy change the federal government has released new guidelines on recognising ‘sex and gender’ that all government Departments will have to comply with from July 1, 2013. Attorney General Mark Drefus announced the changes last month. He said, “New national guidelines to make it simpler for people to establish or change their sex or gender in personal records held by Australian Government departments and agencies will come into operation from 1 July. The Guidelines standardise the evidence required to change gender identity and support the introduction of protections for intersex, transgender and gender diverse people in anti-discrimination legislation.” 

He said, “We recognise individuals may identify, and be recognised within the community, as a gender other than the gender they were assigned at birth or during infancy, or as an indeterminate gender. This should be recognised and reflected in their personal records held by departments and agencies.” The Guidelines say that intersex people will be able to use ‘X’ to define their gender. The Guidelines do not require surgery or hormone therapy in the case of transsexuals. Supplying a statement from a doctor or psychologist about their sex or gender will be deemed sufficient.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports