Showing a picture of a dead foetus in public is now a crime following a ruling in the Supreme Court of Victoria which will strengthen the hand of the abortion industry lobby across Australia. Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) spokesperson for women, Wendy Francis, said that the effect of the decision was to ban the display of realistic images of aborted babies everywhere from the steps of parliament to lecture theatres and even church services. In an Australian first, the Court confirmed that images of dead unborn babies cannot be displayed in public because they are too disgusting and “may be so distressing as to be potentially harmful.” “In practical terms this decision will mean the pro-life political case can no longer show the truth about abortion in public,” Ms Francis said.

“The effect of the decision is draconian because public places include not just parks and roads, but even church services, lecture theatres, schools and other places where such images will be banned by the criminal law,” Ms Francis said. “It is a sad indictment on our society when we can’t stand the truth because it might offend. This is another way to silence women who are traumatised by the loss of a baby and who want to stop other women from making the same tragic mistakes.” The case upheld the criminal conviction of Michelle Fraser, a pro-life woman, for displaying an image of a dead foetus in public at a peaceful demonstration against abortion in 2013. “This decision will mean the pro-life political case cannot be made in its most effective form. The truth about abortion cannot be shown to the public,  it is a practise that will remain hidden behind closed doors,” Ms Francis said.

Legal representation for Ms Fraser was arranged by the Human Rights Law Alliance whose Director, Martyn Iles, said that whilst it was a Victorian decision, similar laws existed in other states which can be applied in the same way to prevent this kind of pro-life political speech. “The effect of the decision is to determine that any image of a dead foetus or the ‘products of an abortion’ is obscene and its display is a criminal act under laws that ban obscenity which exist in several Australian jurisdictions,” Mr Iles said. Lawyers for Ms Fraser argued that the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of political communication meant that the images could not be banned. “It is a principle of Constitutional law in Australia that no law can unreasonably burden free communication on political matters among voters. The law has developed to recognise that this is so even where communication might be seriously offensive,” Mr Iles said.

“Often it is the shocking nature of a political communication which is the very thing that makes it effective, especially where, far from being gratuitous or unrealistic, the images are shocking precisely because they portray the truth about abortion to the public” Iles concluded. “The world was awakened to the horrors of ISIS when we saw a young boy holding up a severed head on prime-time television reports and the front page of newspapers. Political action was fuelled by the shocking image of a drowned toddler on a Turkish beach, exposing the horrors of the European refugee crisis. Banning the overt communication such truth would be a travesty, as it is in the present case with respect to abortions,” Mr Iles said.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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The local arm of global banking giant Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) is offering customers the choice of multiple “gender neutral” honorifics as part of a push to accommodate those who do not identify as strictly male or female. The bank has launched in Britain a list of 10 new titles, and a spokeswoman confirmed that the options were also available to Australian customers. While a growing number of businesses and government agencies now permit people to identify as “Mx” on official forms and paperwork, the HSBC list introduces lesser-known honorifics such as “Ind”, short for individual, “Misc”, for miscellaneous, “Mre”, meaning mystery, and “Msr”, a combination of Miss and Sir.

The list was developed in tandem with HSBC Pride, the bank’s internal lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employee network, which played an advisory role in ensuring that new services reflected the “financial needs of the trans community”. The company said the titles chosen would be applied across customers’ accounts, including on their bank cards and all correspondence. A spokeswoman for HSBC Bank Australia, which provides banking and financial services through 37 branches and offices across the country, confirmed that the bank had the capability to record “whichever title a customer chooses via our branches and call centre. We are also looking at further enhancements to allow people to accurately reflect their identities online,” she said.

The push to eradicate gender, or at least binary assumptions around gender, has been gathering pace in recent times. Perth insurer HIF last year claimed to be the first Australian company to allow customers to identify as “Mx”, which is pronounced, “mix” or “mux” when it introduced the third gender category to its official paperwork. The Australian Electoral Commission has also recently started accepting “Mx” as a title, while last year’s bungled census was the first where people were provided the option to identify as male, female or “other”. Voters updating their personal electoral details before last year’s federal election were given an ­option to list their gender as unspecified. Government agencies are following the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, updated in November last year, and issued by the Attorney-General’s Department.

The guidelines, which introduce new gender identity categories alongside male and female on official governmental forms, also advise staff to refrain from assuming a person’s gender based on their name. The Australian Bureau of Statistics last year introduced an “other” category for the purpose of gathering data, which allows respondents the opportunity to describe their sex using a term they are comfortable with. The bureau said it had advised staff they “should refrain from making assumptions about a person’s sex and/or gender identity based on indicators such as their name, voice or appearance”. HSBC project manager Stuart Barette, who is transgender, told British media that updating one’s gender records should be as easy as changing one’s marital status.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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With Australian same-sex marriage activists saying there are no consequences to changing the definition of marriage, the Swedish Prime Minister has warned priests to perform gay marriages or “find another job”. Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said rebel Liberal MPs working on a same-sex marriage bill that supposedly protects religious freedom were naïve if they thought protections for freedom would stand the test of time. “Just eight years on from re-defining marriage, Sweden is now pressuring the church from the highest levels of government,” Mr Shelton said. “Given what we now know from Sweden and other countries, churches should be very concerned about the true agenda of this global political movement.”

As John Howard’s former Chief of Staff, Graham Morris, said on the ABC’s Q&A program, there are consequences to changing marriage: “Are we going to force the churches to have these marriages? Are we going to force the people who make the wedding cakes, can they opt out? What about somebody who runs a church hall in a country area? Can they opt out? There are a lot of questions to go.” Mr Shelton welcomed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s re-affirmation of his party’s people’s vote policy in the wake of Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne’s undermining of it. So far, more than 36,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Senate to allow the marriage plebiscite.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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