AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – AUSTRALIAN NEWS 15th JANUARY 2014

  • ARMY DEFENDS GAY PRIDE PINS
  • VICTORIAN LIBERAL STATE COUNCIL SUPPORTS DOCTORS RIGHT TO CONSCIENCE
  • SALVOS SNAPSHOT SHINES LIGHT ON THE HOMELESS
  • A NIGHT OF PRAYER FOR AUSTRALIA

ARMY DEFENDS GAY PRIDE PINS

The Defence Department is standing firm in its decision to issue rising sun cufflinks and lapel badges emblazoned on a gay pride flag. A Queensland Army Reserve officer has lashed out at the idea, claiming it inappropriate for the rising sun symbol to be used for a “political cause”. Major Bernard Gaynor is demanding the Minister for Defence halt production of the pins, saying Defence is “wasting taxpayer dollars on jewellery to promote homosexuality”. “The rising sun badge is a symbol of the Australian Army and is loved and respected by Australians of all walks of life,” Major Gaynor said. 

Major Gaynor went on “It is an insult to all current and former serving personnel for the rising sun to be linked with the political campaign for homosexual marriage.” Defence said its army pride lapel pin and cufflinks were developed to show the modern Australian Defence Force was an organisation that respects diversity. The army allows personnel to wear endorsed lapel pins and ribbons on specific occasions.  The military has been undergoing a process of major cultural change in the wake of a series of sex scandals and revelations about historic abuse. 

This year military personnel were allowed to march in Sydney’s gay Mardi Gras in uniform for the first time. “It’s the only time people have been allowed to march in a political rally in uniform,” Major Gaynor said. “It’s not appropriate for the ADF to be linked to political activism.” Chief of Army Lt-Gen. David Morrison has issued a stern warning that Defence members unwilling to deal with efforts to force cultural change should “get out” of the military. The army has produced about 1000 pride lapel pins and 250 sets of cufflinks. The army has previously produced an indigenous pin to recognise the contribution of Aboriginal soldiers.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

VICTORIAN LIBERAL STATE COUNCIL SUPPORTS DOCTORS RIGHT TO CONSCIENCE

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has welcomed the motion passed by the Victorian Liberal State Council supporting an amendment to abortion laws to allow doctors’ conscience. The motion to support the amendment of Section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act to allow a health practitioner not to have to refer for abortions follows recent petitions seeking this amendment. Petitions were tabled in the Legislative Assembly recently by a National, a Liberal and two Labor MPs’ with a total of 4,314 signatures. Furthermore an online change.org petition, seeking this same reform, has over 3,300 signatures. 

ACL’s Victorian Director Dan Flynn said the Liberal State Council motion is good policy that recognises freedom of conscience. “The current effect of the referral element of Section 8 is to shut down conversations between the doctor and the patient that explore other options apart from abortion,” he said. “This is evidenced by the plight of Dr Mark Hobart who is currently under investigation by the Medical Board for failing to refer a woman for abortion in response to a request to abort a 19 week old unborn girl because she was a girl instead of a boy.

Mr Flynn said that the proposed amendment would not affect access to abortion in the state. “Currently a woman doesn’t need a referral from a GP, unlike many other medical procedures, to access abortion in Victoria. This proposed amendment seeks to remove the requirement that health practitioners with a conscientious objection must refer a patient to someone they know does not have such an objection,” he said. “The Australian Christian Lobby urges politicians of all persuasions to make this sensible amendment so that Victorian medical practitioners are no longer forced to act against their consciences,” Mr Flynn said.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

 

SALVOS SNAPSHOT SHINES LIGHT ON THE HOMELESS

They’ve been reaching out to the homeless for 130 years, but for the first time the Salvation Army is releasing data on the people they help.  The Salvation Army has released its first National Homeless Report, revealing how many people are accessing its help and their circumstances. The largest provider of homeless services in Australia, the Salvos provide around 25 per cent of the support available for people living on the streets. Dr Bruce Redman says it’s hoped the data can reveal the extent of the homeless crisis in Australia and help plan a response. “It’s important to pinpoint the determining factors behind homelessness,” he said.

Dr Redman, who has been working with homeless people for more than 35 years, says the face of homelessness is changing. While many Australians still figure the typical homeless person is an elderly man, perhaps with mental health or alcohol issues, the Salvos are actually seeing many types of people. Dr Redman is particularly concerned about the number of young children arriving at Salvos centres with their mothers. “They aren’t able to settle into school or get any sort of stability in their lives and that’s a real concern,” he said. The inaugural report shows the Salvos helped 22,594 people in the six months from July 1 2012 to December 31 2012.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

A NIGHT OF PRAYER FOR AUSTRALIA

The Australian Prayer Network is again this year calling its member Churches, Prayer Groups and Individuals to a night of prayer for our nation to be held on Saturday 25th January 2014, the eve of Australia Day.  In 2013 tens of thousands of Australians in local communities across our nation joined in this national night of prayer. Timing and venue for each gathering across the nation is at the discretion of the organiser and does not have to be registered with us.

Prayer points which can be used on the night have been prepared and may be downloaded from our website at http://www.ausprayernet.org.au/ or requested to be sent to you as an email attachment by writing to apn@ausprayernet.org.au

Source: Australian Prayer Network