ABORTION BILLS WITHDRAWN IN QUEENSLAND DUE TO LACK OF SUPPORT
The withdrawal of two abortion bills, just a day prior to being voted on in the Queensland Parliament, was an important win for women and the community who rejected efforts to remove important safeguards for women and the unborn, according to the Australian Christian Lobby. “These bills contained no restrictions on the dismemberment of unborn babies, no requirement to administer pain relief while late term babies are being killed, no gestational limits and no restrictions on screening for girls or disabled babies to be aborted,” ACL QLD director Wendy Francis said. Ms Francis said it was clear the bills, championed by Cairns Independent MP Rob Pyne, were doomed once the LNP decided overnight to honour their election pledge not to tamper with current abortion laws.
“The withdrawal of the abortion bills by Mr Pyne is an admission that these bills, which had been rejected by 55,000 people signing petitions, rejected by two parliamentary inquiries and were about to be rejected by parliament, were unacceptable to Queenslanders,” Ms Francis said. “It was pleasing to see that the LNP could not support removing current legal safeguards in abortion law, as proposed by Mr Pyne’s abortion-to-birth bills. “These were dangerous and morally untenable bills.” However, Ms Francis said it was disappointing that the Labor Party now appeared to be intent on taking over ownership of abortion from Mr Pyne despite Labor’s pre-election commitment not change abortion laws.
“Queenslanders will be rightly confused as to why Labor Deputy Premier Jackie Trad appeared so intent to sponsor bills that originated from outside of her party,” she said. “Whose bill is this? Is this now a Labor led process? “This really is archaic law and it should not be entertained by the Labor Party. “Ms Trad will need to explain to Queenslanders why the bills, which have been subject to vigorous legal scrutiny, would now be referred to the QLD Law Reform Commission. “It would appear that this decision to refer the bills to the Law Reform Commission is an attempt to keep alive what has been found by the community and two parliamentary inquiries to be bad legislation.
“Queenslanders are understandably alarmed at the fanaticism from Mr Pyne and Ms Trad who seem intent on disregarding current legal advice because it does not suit their personal agendas,” Ms Francis said. “The move to refer the bills to the Law Reform Commission will only underscore growing concern in the community about laws allowing abortion on demand right up until birth. “Sadly, proponents of abortion have to put forward such radical legislation because they can’t say where the line should be drawn when it comes to ending the life of unborn babies. “What we have witnessed over the past few months is a groundswell of opposition to these bills, which would have brought to Queensland the worst abortion laws in the country and some of the worst in the developed world,” Ms Francis said.
More than 55,000 people signed two petitions against the bills while over 3,000 marched in Brisbane against the bills in early February. Of the 2,700 submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into the legislation, more than 80 per cent were opposed. “The LNP, the Katter Party, One Nation MP Steve Dickson, Labor MP Rick Williams and several other ALP members are to be congratulated for taking a stand against these flawed bills,” Ms Francis said. “If Labor plans to campaign at the next election in support of abortion, they will encounter strong resistance from the growing pro-life movement in Queensland. “There is no need for the Labor Party to support this bill.” The ACL is calling on Queenslanders to thank all MPs who took a stand against these bills which would have sanctioned the killing of the unborn.
Victorian government workers are being discouraged from using “heteronormative” terms such as “husband” and “wife” in a new guide to communicating with the LGBTI community. Instead, the workers are being schooled in adopting gender-neutral pronouns “zie” and “hir”. The Inclusive Language Guide, which has been designed for use across the public sector, also warns against derogatory terms, such as “dyke” and “fag”, as well as “offensive questions”, including asking a transgender person whether or not they have had surgery. In his introduction to the guide, Victorian Equality Minister Martin Foley says the government’s responsibility is to keep people safe, including the LGBTI community.
“The guide is one of the ways in which we are addressing and eradicating homophobia, biphobia and transphobia,” he says. Ro Allen, the state’s first gender and sexuality commissioner, encourages businesses also to use the guide, saying that equipping people with correct language will “promote safer spaces” for LGBTI Victorians. While the document aims to counter the prejudice and stereotypes experienced by LGBTI people, it has been ridiculed for pushing contested ideology about gender as a social construct. Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jeremy Sammut said the language guide appeared to have been dictated by “academics wielding their critical postmodernist theory of the world” who were “determined to force it on the rest of us”.
“It’s a totalitarian project dressed up as liberation theory,” he said. “I would think it is possible to treat people with respect and respect people’s privacy without resorting to this.” Dr Sammut said the state Labor government, which has been increasingly active in LGBTI causes, risked alienating those voters more concerned about economic management, crime and education standards. The guide, developed with support from Victoria’s LGBTI Taskforce which comprises activists and academics, says “it is important to challenge our thinking beyond the binary constructs of male and female”. “Some people may identify as agender (having no gender), bigender (both a woman and a man) or non-binary (neither woman nor man).
There is a diverse range of non-binary gender identities such as gender queer, gender neutral, genderfluid and third gendered language in this space is still evolving.” The guide cautions against “heteronormativity”, described as the assumption everyone is heterosexual. “It is better to use the word “partner” than wife/husband where the gender, sexual orientation, or relationship status of a person is unknown.” People talking about their children does not necessarily mean they are in heterosexual relationships, the guide cautions. The Coalition’s parliamentary secretary spokesman Tim Smith described the guide as “minority fundamentalism gone berserk”.
“Heaven help the next generation of Victorians who have been indoctrinated into a sinister postmodernist ideology.” Psychologist Laura McNally, a critic of the contentious Safe Schools program, which is based on similar ideology, said contested gender theory was being fast-tracked into public institutions. Ms McNally said the concept of gender as a continuum or identity, was incoherent. While gender was billed as fluid and evolving, “cisgender” was defined as a static match between identity and sex. “This theory makes fodder for navel gazing sociologists, but in terms of its own internal logic, the theory is redundant.”
DISTURBING NEW SOUTH AUSTRALIAN POLICY FOR TRANSGENDER STUDENTS
Transgender school students will be able to choose their preferred names, uniforms and toilets under a new South Australian Education Department policy. They will also be able to sleep alongside students of the gender they identify with on school camps. The department says the policy will ensure “consistent” treatment of transgender pupils by school leaders. “The difference is that this clearly articulates what we require from schools,” executive director of state-wide services and child development Ann-Marie Hayes said.
“We had a number of queries from schools and parents, and we needed to make it very clear what our legislative requirements were and how schools enact them, supporting principals in particular but also families in what they can expect from schools.” Hayes also defended the policy and said it could not be taken advantage of and that a boy could not pretend to be transgender in order to sleep in the same area as girls on a school camp. Hayes also felt that the policy is one of tolerance and would send an important message to other students that transgender children are not to be bullied.