In recent weeks I have mentioned three people who have been denied freedom of speech: Israel Folau, Drew Pavlou and Dr Peter Ridd.
Each case is different. Israel Folau warned people of the consequences of sin. Drew Pavlou warned of undue Chinese Communist Party influence in the University of Queensland. Peter Ridd warned of flawed research about the Great Barrier Reef.
The common factor is fundamental freedom of speech.
For 27 years Dr Peter Ridd was a professor of physics at the James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville, Queensland. His research focused on the Great Barrier Reef.
He has had over 100 papers on his research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals across the world. His students liked and respected him.
But in May 2018, the university sacked him.
The university said a key reason was his lack of “collegiality”. He had publicly disagreed with some of his university colleagues, who claimed their research showed the Great Barrier Reef is dying.
Dr Ridd recently explained: “In the final analysis, I was fired for saying that, because of systemic problems with quality assurance, work from the JCU coral reef centre, which also publishes extensively on climate change, was untrustworthy. I believe what I said was true and have given plenty of published evidence to support the statement.
“After I was fired, it was proven beyond doubt that I was correct when a group of seven international scientists who audited eight of the major studies from the JCU coral reef centre found them ALL to be 100% wrong. You can’t get much more scientifically untrustworthy than that.”
Dr Ridd sued the JCU for unfair dismissal in the Federal Court last year. The judge found in his favour and awarded him $1.2 million in damages.
But the university appealed that decision. Last month two judges fully upheld the appeal, and a third wanted a retrial. The majority said that the university’s code of conduct takes priority over the academic freedom (or freedom of speech) guaranteed in Ridd’s employment contract.
In effect they said that academic freedom no longer means what it once did, and universities have the right to tell their employees what they can and can’t say, whether or not it is true.
Dr Ridd has now decided to appeal to the High Court of Australia. This action will be stressful, time-consuming, very costly – and vital.
“This case … ultimately affects what academics are prepared to say on controversial topics such as climate change, or the fate of the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.
I and many others are praying that the High Court upholds Dr Ridd’s freedom to speak the truth.“He was convicted of the need to warn people about the consequences of sin.”
Last week at our FamilyVoice webinar, committed Christian and former rugby star Nick Farr-Jones commented on Israel Folau’s sacking. “I believe there were better ways for Israel to express his faith, but I absolutely understand why he did it,” Nick said.
Nick said all the Tongans on Israel’s team felt marginalised by Rugby Australia’s action. “Rugby Australia botched it!” he said.
Two fundamental freedoms – of speech and religion – are now at risk.
Peter Downie - National Director
Enough is enough. The people and politicians must put an end to complaints before Queensland Human Rights Commission which are frivolous and/or vexatious and do nothing more than to try and silence everyday Mums and Dads.
Lyle Shelton is a Queensland father, husband and an average law-abiding Australian who is being dragged before a government commission for writing a blog about why drag queens are not for kids.
The Queensland Human Rights Commission is demanding that Mr Shelton appear before it for conciliation with a couple of aggrieved ‘drag’ queens – really?
Lyle posted last January about the dangers of putting LGBTIQA+ drag queens in front of children has triggered action against him under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act of 1991. Under the law, it is compulsory that he turn up. If he does not, he could be forced to by court order. If he still refuses, he could go to jail.
In NSW Mark Latham MLC has taken steps to end the thought police with a bill to protect free speech online. For anyone keen to express their religious point of view online via social media, Latham’s proposed bill offers the much-needed protection.
What say you Queensland? With the State election just around the corner every politician needs to remember that family, faith, freedom of speech and life issues still swing votes.
Frivolous or vexatious claims made against Lyle Shelton is nothing less than using the QHRC as a weapon by certain activists to ‘silence’ those whom they disagree with – so much for free speech.
Drag Queen activists are using the legal system to try to score the political points they cannot achieve by democratic means, or even worse, they are using the legal system to try to destroy their opponents financially to break them with the cost of using lawyers and going through tribunals to defend themselves. This is not justice nor is it Australian.
“We have countless numbers of mums and dads such as Brisbane mum Katrina Tait, mother of four, Israel Folau, Brisbane dad Bernard Gaynor, and UQ student Drew Pavlou all being victimised by ‘socially spoilt’ LGBTIQA+ activists. Enough is enough,” said Greg Bondar, Spokesman for FamilyVoice Australia.
FamilyVoice will be contacting all its supporters in Queensland to urgently contact their MP asking them if they support Lyle Shelton’s freedom of speech and secondly, asking them if they are committed to putting an end to frivolous and/or vexatious claims being lodged with the Queensland Human Rights Commission.
I don’t always agree with Senator Stirling Griff (or any other politician for that matter). But last February this Centre Alliance MP gave a very good speech – against “legal” child pornography.
He told the Senate about graphic, sexualised animated videos and comic books featuring children. They are produced in Japan and sold in many shops in Australia. They are classified only as “M” for mature audiences. Anyone can buy or view them.
Sadly, most media did not report Senator Griff’s speech on 25 February – nor that his motion passed unanimously by the Senate the next day, asking the government to take action.
And unless you follow Senator Griff on Facebook, you wouldn’t know how the Classification Board outrageously defended its permissive ruling on this material – by saying that sexualised animations of children are considered acceptable in Japan!
I only heard about it last week, but here is part of what Stirling Griff told the Senate on 25 February:
“As legislators, we have a critical role to play in stamping out child exploitation. There is much more to be done, such as the child abuse material that comes into Australia via Japanese anime and manga.
Anime is a style of Japanese animation and manga are the graphic novels which serve as the basis for anime. They both share a unique visual style and they are popular the world over, especially amongst teenagers.
“But there is, unfortunately, a dark side and a disgusting side to anime and manga, with a significant proportion of the two media featuring child abuse material. They contain depictions of wide-eyed children, usually in school uniforms, engaged in explicit sexual activities and poses, and often being sexually abused.
“Experts say that explicit anime and manga can be used by paedophiles as tools to groom children. It makes me sick to the stomach to even speak about this.
“Incredibly, sexualised images of children are legal in Japan, provided they don't involve full nudity.
“The law in Australia is very clear. The Commonwealth Criminal Code prohibits the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and abusive material that depicts a person, or is a representation of a person, who is or appears to be under 18.”
One anime series called No Game No Life “features incest themes between the two main characters: a brother and sister. The Classification Board's decision report states: ‘Throughout the material the female characters are frequently depicted in sequences that feature panning visuals of or close focus on their crotches, breasts, legs and/or buttocks.’ They are describing images of children.
“These images are in contravention of the law, plain and simple.”
Senator Griff has written to the federal government seeking immediate bans on this type of material.
I too have now written to the federal Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher. I asked him:
If you too are concerned about this issue, you can send a short email to Minister Paul Fletcher (Paul.Fletcher.MP@aph.gov.au including your name and street address, or use his contact form: https://www.communications.gov.au/who-we-are/contact-us).
You could ask him my questions, or put your concerns in your own words. Your email could make a real difference. And a copy sent to us at email@example.com would be great!
Peter Downie - National Director
Christian advocacy group FamilyVoice Australia has applauded concerns about safety raised by Liberal Senator Claire Chandler and World Rugby (the governing body of Rugby Union).
Senator Chandler is concerned about biological males competing in women’s sport, while World Rugby is considering a ban on transgender players to prevent injuries and unfairness.
According to a report in The Australian (25/7/20), World Rugby experts have evidence of a 20-30 per cent higher risk of injury for women tackled by biological males who identify as female, and new research showing biologically male players lose little of their physical advantage after taking drugs to lower their testosterone in line with 2015 International Olympic Committee rules.
“These findings are consistent with concerns raised by many athletes, participants and administrators about biological males competing in women’s sport,” said Senator Chandler.
The concerns of Senator Chandler and World Rugby are commended by FamilyVoice Australia National Director Peter Downie:
“A key reason society has developed gender-specific sporting competitions is to safeguard players in the rougher games such as rugby,” he said.
“Additionally, it is patently unfair when men and women compete in such events as running, boxing, wrestling or gymnastics.
“Women are more flexible while men are physically stronger,” he said.
“We reject the ideologically-driven ambition for gender fluidity that makes a mockery of biology, fairness and sporting safety.
“It is time to restore common sense to gender in sport.”
The General Register Office for Northern Ireland has apologised after threatening to no longer recognise marriages conducted by Northern Irish churches that decline to indicate whether they will or will not perform same-sex weddings.
Officials recently wrote to Northern Irish churches, demanding to learn if they would hold same-sex marriages, and threatening to no longer recognise wedding rites if those churches did not answer to the state’s satisfaction.
However, the General Register Office has apologetically withdrawn its threat, after the Christian Institute reminded officials that churches have the legal freedom to conduct male-female weddings (or opt into a scheme recognising same-sex weddings).
Same-sex “marriage” was legalised in Northern Ireland earlier this year.
“The problem of statist overreach can eventually be expected here in Australia,” said FamilyVoice spokesman David d’Lima.
“As the culture and the law increasingly accept same-sex behaviour, churches holding to the created order and biblical teaching will become marginalised and targeted,” he said.
“Governments historically served the community by recognising wedding ceremonies conducted by faith institutions, without interference.
“Increasingly governments want to control the meaning of marriage and the conduct of faith institutions, which is a trend in the wrong direction.”
FamilyVoice Australia upholds Christian values and the family: permanence of marriage, sanctity of human life, primacy of parenthood and limited government.
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