PRIME MINISTER SAYS PLEBISCITE MUST SHOW SAME-SEX MODEL
The same-sex plebiscite cannot be restricted to a simple yes-or-no question but must be based on a specific model or proposal for same-sex marriage similar to a referendum process, Malcolm Turnbull has said in a press interview. The Prime Minister’s statement means his cabinet and party will need to debate and finalise a same-sex marriage proposal that would become the substantive measure being put at the proposed post-election plebiscite. Given divisions in the Liberal Party run deep on same-sex marriage and the conservative wing is suspicious or hostile towards the Prime Minister on this issue, Mr Turnbull faces a daunting task of presiding over such a proposal without provoking an open split.
“I think a plebiscite that said ‘do you support same-sex marriage — yes or no’ would not be adequate,” Mr Turnbull said. “It would have to be a question premised on a specific proposal. That could be set out in a bill; basically the government would have to say ‘here is the model’, just as you would in a referendum, do you agree with it or not. “And if the people say we agree with it then you would have to implement it.” Although Queensland MP Warren Entsch is pressing for legislation to be passed before the election, to be triggered only upon a successful plebiscite, many Liberals from the conservative wing are hostile to this idea and argue that legislating a model before any plebiscite effectively prejudges the issue.
The risk for Mr Turnbull is that legislating a same-sex marriage proposal this term will reopen internal ruptures that effectively were settled by the plebiscite idea. The critical question becomes the timing of the legislation setting up the plebiscite — whether that happens before or after the election. Liberal sources say Mr Turnbull prefers such legislation before the election. However, he refused to be drawn on this issue. Mr Turnbull said the “mechanics” of the plebiscite are “something we will consider very carefully and I am not going to prejudge that”. With the same-sex debate under Tony Abbott’s leadership pivotal in leading to the Turnbull challenge, the new Prime Minister is fixated on proper process in an effort to secure the best possible settlement within the party.
“I have inherited a position of having a plebiscite to take to the next election,” Mr Turnbull said. “But the mechanics of that have a deal of complexity. I know people have different views and I welcome those views. But this is going to be considered by the cabinet with great care and then by the party room.” Mr Turnbull made the obvious point that the government would honour the result. He said: “You would have to be living in some kind of paranoid echo chamber to spend $150 million for a standalone plebiscite and then ignore it, whichever way it went.”
Australia is home to over 200 Indigenous Tribes and language groups. Many Indigenous groups have lived throughout the continent and the surrounding islands, for thousands of years. Aboriginal Christians have amazing life stories that show how their Christian faith has positively impacted their lives and helped shape today’s Indigenous community. For many decades, faith has helped Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities overcome significant barriers– such as addiction, illness, poverty, racism and various other social deprivations such as access to education. The prevalence of mental health, substance abuse and social issues can grow out of control if the right support and assistance mechanisms are not available within local communities.
Projects such as 40 Stories and religious groups often provide guidance to community members who are struggling – giving them the much needed support and guidance to help develop their identity and futures. Rod Schneider (Co-ordinator from Partners in Prayer) said, “We’ve been travelling Australia – filming 40 amazing stories of how Christianity has transformed the lives of Indigenous Australians, their families and communities”. “By producing and distributing these short films, Indigenous Australians are given the opportunity to share significant personal events that have made them who they are today. Every story is welcome good news to people who are searching for hope.
40 Stories is a unique project to promote an Indigenous Australian perspective of how the Christian faith shaped daily lives. 40 Stories has produced 40 short films of 40 Indigenous Christians from many different localities across Australia telling their stories. One short film will be released every day during the National 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting from 10th February to 20th March 2016. “Our hope is that these stories will go viral on the Internet during that time. The 40 Stories team believe that these stories will contribute to healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and have a positive impact in remote Indigenous communities. The stories give the hope that real, lasting, positive change is possible, even in the most difficult of circumstances”, said Mr Schneider. For further information go to www.40daysofprayer.com.au
VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT TO OUTLAW HOMOSEXUAL CONVERSION THERAPY
The Victorian government will attempt to crack down on gay conversion therapy through a new public body with the power to investigate people purporting to “cure” or suppress homosexuality. Legislation will be introduced into parliament later this year to establish a new watchdog – the Health Complaints Commissioner – with the power to investigate and sanction anyone claiming they can treat homosexuality. Registered practitioners can already be investigated by authorities. The legislation will close a loophole that currently exists regarding unregistered practitioners making claims that they can covert gay people. “If they are found to be making false claims and acting in a manner that puts people’s physical or mental health at risk, the Commissioner will be able to ban them,” said Health Minister Jill Hennessy.
In Canberra, Greens senator Robert Simms will also move a motion when federal parliament resumes this month, calling on the Turnbull government to investigate potential reforms and urging the states and territories to implement laws banning conversion practices. Meanwhile, in Victoria, state Greens MP Sam Hibbins has called for a parliamentary inquiry to uncover the extent of the problem and assist in preventing it. It is understood the government would be prepared to consider an inquiry if or when details are provided. Last April, COAG’s health council also agreed to the terms of a National Code of Conduct for health care workers, which is designed to keep a tighter check on unregistered health practitioners. Gay conversion therapy is expected to fall under the code.
This year’s National Day of Prayer and Fasting will be held in the Great Hall of Parliament House Canberra on Sunday 7th February 2016 from 10.00AM till 4.00PM. Christians from all denominations will unite together in prayer in our seat of Government as a powerful testimony to our leaders. For more information go to www.nationaldayofprayer.com.au
Source: National Day of Prayer and Fasting Organisers