A Federal Court judge has blasted a Commonwealth tribunal after it concluded homosexuality is fixed at birth and cannot change over time, branding the decision “illogical” and based on “assumptions, pre-conceptions or pre-judgments” about human sexuality. Justice Jayne Jagot said the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) failed to “properly satisfy itself about critical facts” when it affirmed an immigration department decision refusing a Lebanese woman a temporary partner visa on the basis she was not in a genuine relationship with her husband.



The woman came to Australia in December 2009 on a student visa and remained in the country illegally between December 2013 and October 2014 before marrying her husband, a Lebanese man in Australia on a protection visa, and applying for a temporary partner visa. According to the AAT, the woman’s husband had been granted a protection visa on the basis of his homosexuality and feared persecution in Lebanon. The tribunal wrote to the woman in January last year and said it was “difficult to see how the sponsor can have a commitment to his marriage to you when he has not told you about his claimed homosexuality”.



The woman’s lawyers wrote to the tribunal and said it was “not irrational or unreasonable for a former homosexual man to undergo a radical change in his sexual desires and now be fully in love and dedicated to his wife and family”. The woman’s lawyers urged the AAT to consider the “cogent evidence” before it pointing to a genuine relationship, including the fact that the couple had a baby daughter. But the tribunal found the couple were not credible witnesses. It said “the gay rights movement has, for decades, fought for the acceptance of homosexuality as a sexual orientation from birth, not something that is a matter of choice or will or accident”.



The tribunal said it did not accept “the generalised argument that it is not unknown for a previously heterosexual man who has been married and has children, to enter into a homosexual relationship”. “Without wishing to continue to generalise, it is most likely that such homosexual men have always been homosexual and have married and had children to comply with what were considered societal norms,” the AAT said. The tribunal said it did not “disagree that it may well be the case that some heterosexual men have homosexual desires, or vice versa, or that some people are genuinely bisexual” but this was not what the husband had claimed.



The woman lodged an appeal against that decision in the Federal Circuit Court. The appeal was dismissed by Justice Alexander Street on the basis the tribunal’s findings were “reasonable and cannot be said to lack an evident and intelligible justification”. A subsequent appeal to the Federal Court met with a radically different response. Justice Jagot said the tribunal’s “process of reasoning involves assumptions, pre-conceptions or pre-judgments” which prevented it considering the evidence before it. The tribunal’s decision exhibited “extreme illogicality and a failure to engage with the material before it”, she said.



Justice Jagot said the decision was based on a premise about “sexual identity and attraction consisting of three mutually exclusive categories fixed at and immutable from birth, homosexual, heterosexual, and ‘genuinely bisexual'”. She ordered that the matter be remitted to the AAT to be decided by another tribunal member “to avoid an appearance of bias”.


Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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The head of the Diversity Council says Qantas “should be applauded” for introducing an information pack which advises staff to refrain from using “gender-inappropriate” words such as “guys” or “chairman”. Qanta’s People and Culture group executive Lesley Grant sent the advice out as part of the airline’s “Spirit of Inclusion” month, prompting former prime minister Tony Abbott to slam the move as being devised by the “corporate thought police”. Diversity Council of Australia CEO Lisa Annese said the advice had come from a project the council had done last year called “words at work”, which was designed to “build inclusive workplaces around the power of language”.



As well as warning against the use of gendered language, the Qantas document makes a foray into Australian history, advising employees to recognise the “reality” that “Australia was not settled peacefully”. “Describing the arrival of the Europeans as a ‘settlement’ is a view of Australian history from the perspective of England rather than Australia. Instead of settlement, try ‘colonisation’, ‘occupation’ or ‘invasion’,” employees are advised. They are also warned against using terms such as “husband” and “wife” and “mum and dad”, “which can reinforce the idea that people are always in heterosexual relationships”.



It also advised staff to be mindful of “manterruptions”, when men interrupt women, and told to stop using terms of endearment such as “honey”, “darling”, or “love”, because they “often offend”. Asked whether there was a danger of alienating people with overly politically correct recommendations, Ms Annese said the suggestions were designed to promote discussion, rather than be prescriptive. “Language can be used to include people and exclude people, and this was produced from an evidence-based piece of research we did around the impact of language,” Ms Annese said.



“The commentary around this project has not really understood what we’ve tried to do. The guides are only meant to enable a discussion. “What we’re saying is if you want a workplace where people feel valued, respected and included, it’s better to be using the word chairperson, rather than chairman, especially if the chair is a female. “Many of our members employ indigenous Australians and we suggest having a more sensitive understanding of history. They can use whatever words they want, but they have to realise that if they’ve got a workplace with indigenous people, it might be offensive to talk about settlement, and maybe invasion would be a better word.”



Ms Annese said that at a time when workplace sexual harassment was in the headlines, it was good to see companies like Qantas taking the initiative. “People who are trying to do the right thing need to be applauded, not criticised” she said. Mr Abbott said the instructions were “political correctness that’s gone way over the top”. “Frankly if companies like Qantas want to give their customers a better deal, they can scrap all these inclusion units, just scrap them, save the money because it’s just rubbish this idea that we need a corporate thought police,” he told radio station 2GB. “I mean really and truly it is a complete, absolute and utter waste of money.”



Mr Abbott went on “Qantas staff are very good people. They are decent, sensitive people, they’ve got to deal with just about every possible type of person, and they don’t need this kind of nonsense. It’s an insult to them, quite apart from a great waste of money, but I’m afraid these are the very weird and strange times in which we live.” Mr Abbott said people should “calm down” over the use of terms of endearment such as “darling” or “love”. “I think people can be incredibly precious about these things. I call a lot of people ‘mate’. Sometimes I might even say that to a girl. “I just think we should just calm down about a lot of this,” he said.


Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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About 30 Coalition MP’s are lobbying Cabinet ministers such as the Treasurer Scott Morrison to continue the School Chaplaincy programme coming up for renewal in the May budget. The MPs hope to add a further 25% increase to each schools allowance from $20,000 to $25,000.  It began in 2007 under the Howard government. There is the usual opposition from amongst the liberal press and secular educators even though it is very popular amongst the over 3,000 schools using the Chaplaincy programme.

Source: Natgional Alliance of Christian Leaders

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Movement Day Australia is being held at the Sydney Salvation Army Congress Hall on May 1-2, 2018. Christian leaders are invited to come hear the stories, be inspired and equipped to advance the gospel in their town/city. Special guest speaker Roger Sutton from the UK plus many others. To find out more or to register for the gathering please go to

Source: Movement Day organisers

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