I hope you had a marvellous Christmas and New Year, reflecting on what God has done for you last year and looking ahead to what He has in store for you this coming year.
That is what I would like to do in this first email of the New Year for FamilyVoice.
2020 was a year like no other that I have experienced. It started smoothly enough and then got bumpy. God seemed to want to shake the world up somewhat. Nevertheless, He has continued to look after His people including us here at FamilyVoice. For this we are deeply grateful to Him.
As the lockdowns because of the virus became enforced, God’s people were not able to meet. Our State Directors could no longer speak in churches. The future looked dire indeed. But then with the help of some miraculous technology things open up. Using Zoom to conduct webinars we have been able to reach many thousands of people. Some were faithful supporters but many were new.
Praise the Lord!
These webinars covered a host of subjects. The response to them was overwhelming. For each webinar there have been new people added to our mailing list. This has given us a real lift.
In addition to the webinars, we have concentrated on several campaigns. Each State Director took these on in addition to their State’s responsibilities. The Lord has been pleased to bless these endeavours.
Peter Stevens is heading up the 365Life campaign that partners with 27 other pro-life groups. This is working to save babies. He also heads up the Age of Innocence campaign. This is bringing the message that “Porn Harms Kids” to our politicians. This is getting real traction for change in this area.
Greg Bondar is leading the Religious Freedom campaign to try to keep our hard-won rights. Mark Latham MLC along with Greg is leading the charge. Greg is also spearheading our campaign to limit the effects of problem gambling especially on our youth.
David d’Lima has taken on the Gender Dysphoria campaign. This is making real progress to help protect children from horrific treatments. New legal victories are helping to keep children safe. This includes the victory by Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler.
Darryl Budge is running a campaign to protect women from mail-in abortion pills. This new policy initiated during the coronavirus pandemic leaves women in a terrible situation. Darryl is working on this with some pro-life parliamentarians.
Jerome Appleby our National Policy Officer has been defending Margaret Court against her many attackers. Margaret is a world champion with an unbroken record. Instead of honouring Margaret Court, many in the “woke” community attack her for her stand on marriage.
In the New Year we are planning to continue to fight on various fronts including:
WA Liberal Senator Matt O’Sullivan has written to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, following the FamilyVoice campaign to stop funding for medical abortion approvals by phone.
COVID restrictions have meant that a woman can phone a doctor – who may not know her – and be prescribed the abortion pill RU486 to take at home. This can put the woman at greater risk.
“Due to the nature of a telehealth consultation, it is not possible to conduct a necessary ultrasound in order to determine the exact gestation of the pregnancy,” Mr O’Sullivan told Mr Hunt a month before the Budget.
“As medical abortion is only available in Australia for terminations of pregnancies less than nine weeks gestation, (an ultrasound) is an important detail to have correct before prescribing (abortion) medication.
“Another important issue is that of reproductive coercion, which has been noted as a serious problem by organisations like Children by Choice and Marie Stopes. With the virtual aspect of a telehealth appointment, it seems almost impossible that such a system could account for the insidious nature of coercion.”
Matt O’Sullivan (42) has two children with Montanique, his wife of 21 years. He was elected to the Senate last year.
He was formerly an electrical technician and a church youth worker. For some years he also helped train indigenous young people and place them in permanent jobs.
In his maiden speech on 30 July 2019, he told the Senate: “My faith is an integral part of my life. I am a Christian, and I believe and affirm the Apostles’ Creed.
“In my late 20s, I seriously considered studying theology and becoming a minister of religion. But, while my faith was, and still is, a very important part of my life, I came to the realisation that being a pastor wasn’t the right path for me.”
FamilyVoice WA Director Darryl Budge is delighted that Senator O’Sullivan is putting his Christian faith into practice by speaking up for the most vulnerable members of society – the unborn, and quite a few of their mothers.
“Medicare funding for phone abortions teaches society that children are an inconvenient cost during this COVID-19 crisis, even though they are our future,” Mr Budge said.
“The Australian government is facing the lowest population growth in a century, while it funds over 70,000 abortions each year. It should instead simplify adoption – and fund counselling, compassionate care, family-support services and pregnancy crisis centres.”
Members of the ‘left wing movement’ in the NSW parliament are again pushing ahead with a bill to legalise euthanasia.
If this bill goes ahead NSW will become known as the ‘Killing State’ having legalised Abortion and rejected Zoe’s Law.
Alex Greenwich MP announced last week that he will begin the process of drafting so-called “assisted dying laws” which is a euphemistic term for legalised killing.
Everyone in NSW must send a strong message to MPs that they cannot allow this proposal to go ahead as there is overwhelming anecdotal opposition to these laws within communities and indeed doctors, health practitioners and counsellors.
According to the Australian Medical Association, “Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient for the purpose of ending intolerable pain or suffering”. Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) occurs “where the assistance of the medical practitioner is intentionally directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life” and usually this involves the provision of a prescription.
“Moral opposition to both euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide has been a feature of both the Hippocratic and the Judeo-Christian tradition from earliest times. This is particularly striking in view of the commitment of both traditions to the relief of suffering and care of the dying,” said Greg Bondar NSW State Director.
“The legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide by its very nature places the lives of those in NSW at risk.
“NSW MPs should recognise the reality that an ‘appropriate’ legal framework to kill people, or to assist them to kill themselves is impossible.”
Last Sunday, Christian blogger Bill Muehlenberg commented:
“Just a few days ago I was asked if I thought we were living in the last days. I get asked this quite often. I replied as I usually do … In one sense we have been living in the last days for 2000 years now…”
True. At various times throughout history, there have been wars, rumours of wars, nations rising against other nations, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, false prophets, fearful events and great signs from heaven – all mentioned by Jesus as things that must take place (Matthew 24 and Luke 21).
The Apostle Paul wrote about the great increase in evil expected in the end times:
“In the last days … people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3)
These things certainly ring bells today. Not only have we had a horror year of COVID-19 pestilence, we are also seeing more and more horror laws proposed or passed in this and other countries.
Many states and territories now allow unborn babies to be aborted until birth, if two doctors (possibly at the same commercial clinic) agree. Laws even prohibit prayer near places where the babies are “terminated”.
Some 2000 years ago when Christ was born in Bethlehem, the world was full of suffering, fear, tension and evil. The Jews were an oppressed people, ruled by the occupying Roman Empire. Herod the puppet king had no qualms about slaughtering all the babies and toddlers he believed might threaten his position.
By contrast, when Jesus came, He taught us of the especial need to protect “little ones”. He said:
“Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.” (Luke 17)
In those days, Bethlehem was not a place of peace and goodwill (and still isn’t). But God sent Jesus – God with us. He told us to obey His commandments, even when obedience brings us hate.
We can be encouraged by Jesus’ words: “See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet… the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24)
We in FamilyVoice continue seeking to advance God’s kingdom. And we pray that you may hang in there with us – your support and prayers make this ministry possible.
And I wish you and your loved ones a Christmas and New Year filled with Christ’s love, peace, hope and joy.
The following is a copy of a speech Senator Chandler gave to Parliament on Wednesday, 9 December 2020.
Last week in the United Kingdom, a momentous judgement with international implications was handed down by the High Court. The court found in favour of the arguments put forward by the mother of a child with gender dysphoria and Keira Bell, a brave 23-year-old woman who had at 16 been prescribed puberty blockers after three short appointments with the Tavistock youth gender clinic.
The judges in this case observed that prescribing puberty blockers to children with gender dysphoria is an experimental treatment with real uncertainty over the short- and long-term consequences of the treatment and with very limited evidence as to its efficacy. Given the potential lifelong effects on fertility, sexual function, bone density and development of these treatments, as well as a lack of evidence of their full long-term impacts, the court found that children are very unlikely to be able to adequately understand and give informed consent to these experimental treatments.
This judgement has profound implications for Australia, not that you would know it from the muted — in some cases, non-existent — coverage by many Australian media outlets. Let’s look at what’s happening right now in Australia and how out of step it is with what has been found in the UK High Court.
Last month Bernard Lane, in The Australian, reported on the Family Court removing an Australian child from its parents because they wanted psychologists to consider other possible factors in their child’s gender dysphoria and the potential for other non-invasive treatments. The parents told the Weekend Australian that state authorities had said it was dangerous for their child to come back to their house because they want a thorough assessment by an independent psychologist and they hadn’t consented to testosterone treatment. The parents know their child needs help and support, and they want it to be provided by medical experts in an evidence based way. For this, the child has been taken away from them by the state. The mother told The Australian newspaper that their family and friends were shocked at their story. They just can’t believe it had happened in Australia.
Last week, just as the UK High Court was finalising its findings that puberty blockers are an experimental treatment for which young children are unable to give informed consent, the Victorian government intorduced legislation which criminalises discussion of the very same issues highlighted by the court. The Victorian legislation makes any conduct or practice that is not seen as gender affirming potentially illegal. The definition is so broad that it includes conversations and online discussion.
Under this bill, Keira Bell, a woman who has been through the transition process and had a court uphold the legitimacy of her concerns regarding the process, could be charged with a crime if she were to discuss her experience with a young Victorian experiencing gender dysphoria.
If the bill passes, the Victorian human rights commission will be given extraordinary powers to launch investigations into people questioning gender change practices and to “take any action it considers appropriate after conducting an investigation”. They will also offer education to persons and organisations engaged in change or suppression practices — practices which, as the bill makes clear, can include conversations about gender identity theory and the risks of experimental medical treatment on children.
Everyone familiar with how these commissions operate around Australia can foresee how these powers will be used and abused. Another round of guidance will be issued, threatening that it is against the law to question unproven medical practices such as puberty blockers. Investigations will be launched into parents and medical experts who question the single focus on gender-affirming medical interventions. More pressure will be applied to media not to report on any debate that questions medical interventions in children who have nothing medically wrong with their bodies.
If this legislation isn’t Orwellian and dangerous enough on its own, it has been introduced by the Victorian government at the exact time that the states are supposed to be working together to develop a service model for safe and appropriate care and treatment of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria.
How can the Victorian government play a central role in developing an evidence based model of care whilst simultaneously introducing a law criminalising any treatment that is not gender affirming? How can they take this position when the UK High Court has just handed down findings that puberty blockers are an experimental treatment for which children are unable to give informed consent? The same questions, frankly, have to be asked of the Queensland and ACT governments, who have also forced through similar laws in the past year.
In Australia, just as in the UK, the number of children and adolescents being treated for gender dysphoria with gender-affirming medical interventions has skyrocketed in recent years. Patient numbers at the Tavistock clinic in the UK rose from 97 in 2009 to 2,519 in 2018. We know from FOI data that referrals to Victoria’s Royal Children’s Hospital gender clinic rose by more than 1,700 per cent between 2012 and 2019. We have no idea what the national figures are, because states do not release the data on how many children have been given puberty blockers, hormone treatment and surgery. In fact, we don’t even know if this data is kept. If states do have this data, then they need to release it publicly now so that we can get a full picture of what’s happening.
The UK High Court in their judgement expressed extreme surprise the Tavistock clinic was not able to produce data on the treatment provided to their own patients, including the proportion of those on puberty blockers who move on to receive cross-sex hormones. Surely state governments have an obligation to find out if their own clinics are operating with the same absence of data.
We all want the best possible care for all children and adolescents who are suffering from any form of emotional distress. This care must be based on the most thorough evidence based approach so that mistakes aren’t made which have longer term consequences for these young people, consequences which Keira Bell and so many detransitioners have bravely detailed on the public record at great personal cost.
It’s clear from the Keira Bell judgement that there are many valid concerns about medical interventions on children experiencing gender dysphoria, yet for many years people raising those exact concerns, both here in Australia and around the world, have been labelled as hateful and transphobic and been accused of pushing children towards self-harm, just as those with legitimate evidence based concerns about women’s sport and women’s services have been defamed as transphobic and ignored by the mainstream media.
Thanks to the bravery of Keira Bell and the efforts of her supporters, the world can now see that silencing and pushing aside these concerns does not guarantee better outcomes for children who need care, support and the best possible medical assistance. This must be a turning point for Australia, away from silencing and slurs and towards proper evidence based outcomes and proper public discussion.