AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER
SYDNEY’S GAY AND LESBIAN MARDI GRAS IN TURMOIL
Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has been plunged into turmoil over proposed measures to prevent criminal activity, mismanagement and nepotism within the organisation that runs the event. An extraordinary general meeting of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Limited is to be held to vote on 13 resolutions raised by two directors, James Brechney and Silke Bader. The resolutions, which are opposed by the other 6 directors, are proposing measures to prevent theft and mismanagement within the organisation as well as demanding an end to the search for alternative routes to Oxford Street, Darlinghurst for the Mardi Gras parade. However, in a sign of increasing animosity, Mardi Gras’ co-chairs Fran Bowron and Greg Small said: “One of the director’s calling this meeting is the subject of numerous internal complaints.”
Two resolutions concerning theft ask members to vote on a demand that directors are notified of suspected theft within the organisation and compel the board to press charges for suspected theft exceeding $10,000 by employees or volunteers. Other resolutions seek to avoid conflicts of interest by barring directors from being employed by the organisation or seeking contracts for themselves or family relatives, and a clamp down on paid excursions to other gay and lesbian events. Mardi Gras members will also be asked to vote on a motion to demand the chief executive and directors reveal information including any police reports filed by or against the organisation”.
But many of the issues raised by Brechney and Bader are old and have been addressed by Mardi Gras, according to Bowron and Small. “The two instances of staff related theft were referred to police at the time of discovery,” they said. “Complaints within the organisation are handled in accordance with the organisation’s iCare and dispute resolution policies. Mardi Gras is a not-for-profit, member-based organisation that runs the Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade and festival. The event has had a chequered history: it went into bankruptcy in 2002 and has been marred by financial struggles. There were allegations of police violence in 2013. But it is also one of the signature events on Sydney’s calendar and attracts worldwide attention.
Mr Brechney said the conflict between Mardi Gras directors could affect next year’s parade and festival. But he said: “We shouldn’t be afraid to go to the members to have these robust discussions. These sort of things can be quite healthy in the long term, but absolutely in the short term it’s been a frustrating experience.” Mr Brechney said he was worried about a lack of transparency in the running of Mardi Gras, which was having a dramatic overhaul, including a possible re-routing of the parade. Members will be asked to vote on a resolution that states the parade’s home is Oxford Street. A move to either Sydney Olympic Park or the Barangaroo Precinct had been muted.
Another resolution seeks to ensure fundraising events such as Lip-Sync Duels, held in May at Paddington Town Hall, are run in accordance with rules laid down by NSW Fair Trading. Mr Brechney said he was bound by confidentiality provisions from speaking openly but “obviously we’ve called a meeting where six directors don’t agree, so it’s a very tense time”. Mr Brechney is the founder of the DIY rainbow movement, which chalked a rainbow pedestrian crossing on Oxford Street in 2013, and was elected to the board of Mardi Gras in 2014. ”I think, with robust change, the organisation will flourish and next year is going to be fantastic,” he said. “But we need to have these conversations in order to move forward.”
Source: Compiled by APN from media reports
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SAFE SCHOOLS DEFIES GOVERNMENT ORDERS TO GET OUT OF PRIMARY SCHOOLS
More than three months after Education Minister Simon Birmingham ordered the inappropriate “Safe Schools” program out of primary schools, the minister’s directive is being widely ignored. The Australian Christian Lobby’s children’s spokesperson, Wendy Francis, said revelations in the media and a check of the “Safe Schools” website showed primary schools throughout the nation remained signed on to the program which teaches children their gender is fluid. “We have seen little evidence that “Safe Schools” is taking the concerns of parents and the wider community seriously,” Ms Francis said. “State governments are calling Minister Birmingham’s bluff, some openly defying the Federal directive while others seem to be dragging the chain.
“Each day that passes new revelations about the program’s extreme agenda for children emerge and yet “Safe Schools” continues to thumb its nose at parents. The directive, issued in March recognised the inherent problems with the sexualised nature of the program and warned against using the content on children,” Ms Francis said. At the time, Minister Birmingham said he was “requiring local programme managers to ensure the distribution and promotion of Safe Schools Coalition Australia program material is restricted to secondary school settings only. Yet, the Safe Schools Coalition continues to promote contested gender theory to children as young as four while primary schools across the country are still listed as ‘members’ of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA) on its website.
According to the SSCA website, at least 35 primary schools in Victoria still are running the program, as well as around six in Queensland and more than 11 in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. “In Queensland, the Labor Government has done all it can to hide ‘Safe Schools’ from parents by refusing to release the names of the schools signed up to the sexualised and age-inappropriate material. “It’s actions show it is more concerned with protecting rainbow ideology then it is for the welfare of children in Queensland. It has snubbed a Right of Information request as well as a petition of more than 11,000 citizens.” A recent poll in Fairfax Media shows low support for “Safe Schools” with more than 70 per cent of respondents saying the program should be removed.
Please watch this impressive video explaining what the safe schools program is all about and pass on to friends. Click here to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Source: Australian Christian Lobby
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PRESBYTERIANS WILL CUT STATE TIES OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
The Presbyterian Church will cease to co-operate with the state on the matter of marriage if same-sex marriage is legalised. It will refuse to conduct state marriages. In one of the most radical actions taken by a mainstream Christian denomination in Australia, the Presbyterians will divorce themselves from the state, and institute ecclesiastical marriages instead, if its General Assembly accepts the recommendations of a church committee charged with reviewing the issue. The Rev Darren Middleton will present a report to the next Presbyterian General Assembly. “We will recommend that no Presbyterian minister would conduct any marriage under the new Marriage Act.” Mr Middleton said. He has spoken with the Attorney-General’s Department about the handing back of the church’s official marriage licence.
If the General Assembly takes that decision, it will apply to all Presbyterian ministers in Australia. Under Mr Middleton’s proposal, the church would establish its own independent register of ecclesiastical marriages, which would have nothing to do with the state. The ecclesiastical marriages would have no legal standing but be recognised by the church itself. It would be up to individual couples whether to also go through a registry process to have their marriage recognised by civil law. “The church and state have traditionally shared a common understanding of marriage so it’s been sensible for them to co-operate.” If same-sex marriage is legalised, there will no longer be a common understanding and so co-operation no longer makes sense, he believes.
Would other churches join the Presbyterians? “We’ve had discussions with other reform churches,” Mr Middleton said. “I don’t see the Catholic and Anglican churches joining us as yet because they still see themselves as state churches for historical reasons. Perhaps when anti-discrimination laws come into play and they are forced to solemnise homosexual marriages, they might reconsider.” There is believed to be some sympathy for the Presbyterian position among Sydney Anglicans. Mr Middleton believes it is only a matter of time before anti-discrimination laws are used to stifle religious freedom. “Those who seek to redefine marriage will seek to redefine freedom of speech and freedom of religion, as surely as night follows day,” he said.
Source: Compiled by APN from media reports
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