University professor Dr Peter Ridd has been granted special leave to appeal to the High Court about his sacking from James Cook University over his comments disagreeing with colleagues’ work regarding the Great Barrier Reef.

As FamilyVoice reported last year:

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 will have his appeal heard by the High Court later this year.


NSW gamblers fed a staggering $2.17 billion to poker machines in late 2020 – the highest yearly increase since 2017 according to a latest report.

Gamblers in New South Wales lost millions more to club poker machines in the second half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 confirming FamilyVoice findings that gambling has bloomed under COVID-19.

Gambling, whether casinos or other forms, is a serious wealth hazard with a recent report showing that people who bet 3.6% of monthly outgoings were a third more likely to miss a mortgage payment. It is a proven fact that each game one plays at a casino has a statistical probability against that person winning.

“FamilyVoice is committed to ensuring that families do not suffer additional hardships under COVID-19 which has resulted in job losses, confinement, and unfortunately deaths which has severely impacted the family,” said FamilyVoice Gambling Reform spokesman Greg Bondar.

“Gambling is blatantly anti-family, soul-destroying and harmful when mortgages go unpaid, family violence increases, mental health suffers, jobs lost, increase in on-line gambling by the young, and worst of all children growing up in a culture of ‘sport betting’ which sends the wrong parental and societal message.

“We call on all media to stop promoting gambling in the guise of ‘talk-back’ shows and advertising in peak viewing/listening times,” added Mr Bondar.


Foetal homicide laws in Queensland need immediate strengthening, according to advocacy group FamilyVoice Australia.

A couple and their unborn child were allegedly hit and killed by a driver while out walking on Australia Day in Brisbane last month resulting in a triple fatality.

While a 17-year old teenager is facing charges over the deaths of Matthew Philip Field and his partner Katherine Jane Leadbetter in the tragic incident, QLD Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd has confirmed that no charges will be laid with respect to their unborn child due to legal advice. 

“This is a direct contravention of Section 313* of the Queensland Criminal Code which includes an offence of killing an unborn child,” said Greg Bondar, NSW/ACT State Director.

"The law is quite clear and anyone who prevents a child from being born alive by any act or omission - excluding legal abortions - would face life in jail. The advice from the Queensland Law Reform Commission to Queensland Police is flawed and only appeases the pro-abortion lobby", said Mr Bondar.

This tragic incident also highlights the need for NSW parliament to adopt foetal laws that protect the unborn.

*Queensland introduced specific foetal homicide laws in 1997. 

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WA Liberal Party candidate for Victoria Park, Amanda-Sue Markham, was speaking to media about her work in intensive care at a nearby Perth hospital when she was ambushed by aggressive questioning on homosexuality.

A Channel Nine reporter challenged her about her husband’s so-called “extreme views” about homosexuality.  Her husband, Rev Campbell Markham, is studying for a PhD at the University of Western Australia.  He had explained in his blog some standard Christian teaching on homosexuality.

Before she could answer the belligerent reporter, WA Liberal leader Zak Kirkup stepped up to the microphone saying that was not the purpose of the media conference.

After checking Campbell Markam’s blog, Kirkup said that he and the Liberal Party rejected his views.  However, he considered them irrelevant for Amanda-Sue’s candidature, adding that he believed she was an excellent candidate for the Liberal Party.

Kirkup was no doubt aware of the media furore surrounding Israel Folau and Margaret Court, due to their public comments on homosexual behaviour. Until relatively recently, people who rejected Christian morality may have merely disagreed with people like Israel Folau, Margaret Court or Campbell Markham.

No longer. In recent times people are attacked personally and condemned as “haters”, and sacked, removed or “cancelled”. Amanda-Sue, a committed pro-life campaigner while living in Tasmania, is facing a media onslaught.

Two days later, she responded to questions about her views of religion and homosexuality. 

On religion, she said, “I don’t believe my faith – which I have never sought to make an election issue – should be the subject of constant interrogation by the media.”

She said the issue of homosexuality was addressed in Tasmania during the 2019 federal election, when she was asked whether gay people went to heaven or hell.  At that time she said the answer was simple, “The basis of Christianity is that we are all sinners, we are all sinful people, and that’s a fundamental teaching of Christianity. It’s not specific to any one group of people, it’s just the foundation of Christianity.”

As a candidate in the current WA election Amanda-Sue said, “I believe in the values of individual responsibility, the importance of volunteering, caring for those who need help, and the freedom of religion.”

She said she should be judged on her own merit. “I am ready and able to represent the people of Victoria Park,” she said.

Amanda-Sue’s husband, Rev Campbell Markham is familiar with hostile attacks.

Like Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous, Pastor Markham was hauled before Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner in 2017 for explaining why he opposed legalising same-sex marriage. It took a year of stress and legal costs before the complaint was ultimately dropped.

Back in July 2018 Campbell wrote a confronting article: “Australian Church Leaders, Prepare your People for Persecution”.

He said we should expect persecution for our faith. It is, in effect, “the new normal”.

He began: Last year [2017] an 18-year-old Australian Christian named Madeline was dismissed from [her job] after putting an “It’s OK to Vote No” filter on her Facebook profile…

The ACT Fair Work Ombudsman upheld Madeline’s dismissal, and said that it would “pursue no further action.”  There was no outcry against this decision. In fact there was no response at all…

We live and worship within a growing hostile environment … How must we respond to this change?

Clearly, we need to prepare for this “new normal”.

Peter Downie - National Director

FamilyVoice Australia

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Church sermons will be required to be submitted to the state, under a proposed new law in Denmark.

The draft law will require churches to translate, if necessary, and submit sermons to the government in a move which has been opposed by numerous Christian churches.

“I am sure it comes from a genuine concern about the security of the estate and the monitoring of all religious minorities who might be perceived as a security risk,” said Robert Innes, the Church of England’s bishop in Europe.

“I share the ambition of the Danish government to ensure safety and security and the desire that all religious organisations in Denmark conduct their act peacefully but to require translation of sermons into the national language goes too far. It goes in a concerning anti-liberal direction.

“In a democratic society I would hope the government would strive for better cooperation with religious organisations than hastily resorting to legislation interfering with their freedoms.

“This is a first which is why it is so important we find a way to address and encourage the Danish government to find another solution. Because my real concern is that if the Danes do it other countries may copy. That would be a very worrying development indeed.”

The Danish Government claims the purpose of the law is to “enlarge the transparency of religious events and sermons in Denmark, when these are given in a language other than Danish”.

“Preachers don’t always write full text of their sermons, they might write notes. They might preach extempore as the archbishop of Canterbury sometimes does and there are questions of idiom and nuance which requires a high level of skill in translation of course. It is a high bar. It is a skilled art and it is an expensive skill as well,” Innes added.

“I think overall there is a suspicion of people using languages that are not the native languages of the country concerned and that is in contravention of the article 9 of the convention of freedom of thought, comment and religion, which does guarantee for people to manifest their own religion and belief in worship teaching practice and observance, which must include the freedom to worship in your maternal tongue.”

If passed, if won’t be the first time a government has asked churches to turn over sermons.  In 2014, the City of Houston subpoenaed a number of pastors requiring them to hand over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s then lesbian Mayor.