FamilyVoice Australia is concerned that 600 schools across the nation are receiving anti-bullying training from the Project Rockit organisation that (according to The Australian, 24/10/18) is a group that has an “active role in sexuality and gender politics”.
The group runs workshops in primary and secondary schools to tackle bullying online and in schools. Founded by Melbourne sisters Lucy and Rosie Thomas 12 years ago, the organisation has influenced more than 200,000 students.
“Schools considering this program should firstly obtain the permission of parents, since classrooms exist to serve mums and dads in their natural role to train and educate children,” said FamilyVoice National Secretary David d'Lima.
“Parents should be concerned that their children are being exposed to programs whose leaders hold behaviours and philosophies contrary to what parents may want for their children.”
Perhaps the answer is that Western civilisation was emerging from a time when children were still regarded as chattel – to be seen and not heard, not to be spoilt or doted upon because some childhood disease might snatch them away and leave us with an unliveable grief.
Whatever the reason, the National Apology holds us to account - children must be loved and protected. Sorry is not enough, nor is an institutional response if it does not spring from a new national appreciation of the preciousness of every child no matter how young, how foreign, how unwanted, how naughty or nice, whether born or unborn. This moment must not be lost to politics or ideology. We must seize it while our hearts are illuminated with humility.
The Prime Minister repeated the comment that this apology was being made in humility. At this time it is as if the crimes committed are beyond forgiveness. These crimes must be paid for. The children must be compensated. The perpetrators must be punished. These were crimes against humanity – powerful adults preying upon powerless children. This was predatory. This was merciless. This was totally indefensible. Inhuman.
This is a moment for institutions to strengthen their codes of conduct, to reduce the opportunity for abuse and to compensate victims. As we implement the National Redress Scheme we will reflect upon the value of every child, or anyone else who is unable to defend themselves. We will weigh up the cost to society of turning a blind eye or a deaf ear. We will search for the moral strength, for the social commitment to ensure it never happens again. If we will allow it, this can be a moral watershed for the nation.
When the grieving time has lessened sufficiently for other conversations, we may ask if there are any other situations remotely like this? Are we collectively allowing anything else that we will profoundly regret in days to come? Are we dehumanising someone else and in the process dehumanising ourselves? In this moment of illumination, other memories may be standing in the shadows of our minds, some personal, and some collective.
And how much better our private lives and public conversation would be if the silent witnesses were not there? And they can be sent away but not without a name, the light of truth, personal humility and willingness to make our peace with God and Man and to fix what can be fixed. Dare we use this moment in time to make peace with someone, especially someone in our own families that we may have offended?
Imagine a gentle flood of reconciliation moving across our land, bringing grace and forgiveness to families and communities as a heartfelt response to the suffering of so many children in our institutions. Their suffering would not be in vain.
Join 3000 Australians in our Cleanfeed Campaign for safer internet for young Australians: https://familyvoice.org.au/cleanfeed/cleanfeed-campaign
Reflecting upon the Centenary of Armistice Day, 11th November 2018.
The impact of World War One on our young nation was huge and is still being felt today. Australia was a very Christian nation in the early Nineteen hundreds. There had been some large spiritual revivals, the churches were full and there was an expectancy of a glorious future ahead. And then came the Great War…
The Population of Australia at the outbreak of the Great War was about 4.5 million. (In the Census year 1911 the popuation was 4.45 million.)
330,000 young men went to war and 2,500 women served in the field as nurses.
60,000 young soldiers lost their lives and of the nearly 272,000 Australians who survived the war, 170,000 suffered from wounds or illness.
In 1938, there were still 77,000 incapacitated soldiers and 180,000 dependants still on pensions.
Every family, every town and community endured years of grief and loss and the nation carried the cost of war pensions and care of the incapacitated.
The impact on the family life and faith of the nation was very deep. The psychological impact - what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) greatly affected private and family life. Returned soldiers generally kept silent about their war-time experiences. They did not or could not talk about their sense of loss - not just of mates, or health but of confidence in political and religious leadership. They would resort to their local RSL where other returned soldiers understood their silence.
Many of those killed had been active members of churches. Many who survived ceased to attend church or engage in social life. It was hard to explain the Great War as a triumph of good over evil. Some chose to redirect their energy toward a more humanitarian approach – to doing some social good as evident in the growth of Legacy and other service organisations.
The issues that had engulfed the world were not resolved by the Great War. The Great Depression soon followed with high unemployment and men separated again from their families in search of work. All too soon the world was once again at war.
There is a strong case for the view that the Christian Church lost faith too. Certainly their hope for a better world arising from Christian mission and revivalism had not occurred. The formal training institutions were soon producing church leaders more focused on the social gospel.
The loss of faith that we see today is in some ways the result of what happened one hundred years ago. Back then, it was silent and personal. Now it is strident and public. A common cultural narrative now is that those wars were follies. They were fought to defend Western Imperialism (and Christianity) which is now viewed by revisionists as a primary reason for all that’s wrong in the world. There is a selective blindness to the horrors of Communism, Fascism and other religious cultures.
The reality is that Christians are susceptible to the political and ideological narratives of their time. This is a powerful reason why we use Scripture as the final authority for what we believe and how we live – not just in terms of personal faith but also in terms of public faith – the causes we support and the way we spend our time and money.
Our current conflicts are more ideological than military but their impact can be painful and divisive. The role of Scripture is as vital as ever in this age of fake news and false science. Let’s end this reflection in prayer together.
Our Father in Heaven, as we remember that it is one hundred years since the end of the First World War on Sunday 11th November, we pray the nations will rediscover Christ as the Prince of Peace.
We pray for older Australians who still remember the impact of the loss and grief upon their family.
We pray for world leaders - that they will be sobered by reflecting upon the Great War and resolve to be people of peace and good faith.
We pray for our nation, that we will not squander the privileges of peace. We pray for those in our parliaments - that they will not allow the desire for political advantage to hinder what is best for our Nation and our States.
We pray for your church in this nation. We pray you will help us reach all generations and people of all ethnic and cultural communities with the Gospel of Christ.
We pray especially for the younger generations, remembering that those who served in the Great War were once young too and full of prospects. Help them Father to hear your call and to find You as their Saviour and Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen
Source: National Australian Archive ( http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/snapshots/shell-shocked/index.aspx)
Will Kathy Clubb’s case be judged on reason rather than emotions?
October 9th marked the first day of a momentous battle over free speech in the High Court of Australia.
At the federal level, we have an ostensibly conservative government lead by an ostensibly Christian Prime Minister.
Sadly, Australia’s Attorney General Christian Porter has ordered his department to join with the States in defending abortion mill buffer zone laws in the High Court case involving Kathy Clubb and Graham Preston.
In 2017, Ms Clubb, a pro-life activist and mother of 13, was found guilty in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court of breaking the law when she offered a leaflet to a couple about to enter an abortion facility on Wellington Parade in Melbourne.
The magistrate stated: “There is no evidence of duress or violence of any kind. The engagement between the Accused and the couple is brief and appears polite.” Despite this, the magistrate found her guilty and fined her $5000.
Ms Clubb said in an October 8 media release: “Our founding fathers intended that Australian citizens would be free to express their opinion on political matters, to act in accordance with their religious convictions and to defend human life. This legal challenge is all about protecting those rights. The outcome of this case will be very important for all Australians and not only for the pro-life community. It’s crucial that everyone – even those with whom we disagree – is free to dissent from popular opinion. We believe that the public and politicians must be free to hear the truth about abortion, rather than being swayed by a fashionable narrative. And we also want to secure freedom for women in crisis who may feel forced to abort their children because they think they have no other option.”
Ms Clubb’s counsel Guy Reynolds submitted to the High Court that “avoidance of psychiatric harm” is an important aim but “the avoidance of hurt feelings is not”, arguing that criticism and “the resultant loss of dignity” are “inherent in political speech”.
Mr Reynolds compared anti-abortion views that may harm the dignity of women seeking abortion to “criticism of bankers” or “criticism of men by feminists” as “part and parcel” of political speech.
In their submission for an ongoing High Court appeal, Ms Clubb’s barristers outlined a number of reasons why the verdict should be overturned, the principal one being that Ms Clubb’s action was political in character and is safeguarded by the right to political discourse guaranteed by the Australian Constitution.
The barristers argue, “To change one’s mind on the ethics of abortion is apt to change the person’s mind on the politics of abortion. Further… protest on the topic of abortion outside abortion facilities is also inherently political, particularly when 20 police officers are present.” The law is also criticised for its vagueness.
“It is inherently difficult to predict whether conduct is apt to cause distress or anxiety, particularly once those concepts extend to mere discomfort,” they add.
“There is no bright line between communications which are in relation to abortion and those which are not. Is a communication seeking a vote for a political party the speaker knows to be pro-life a communication in relation to abortions?” The limits of the “Safe Access” are inherently unclear. For example, if abortions are provided at a large hospital or at a university or shopping complex, does the 150 metres extend beyond the limits of the hospital or just the building or room where the abortions are provided?
The submission gives a series of prohibitions under this law which burden the freedom of political communication.
The prohibition applies:
• To any communication relating to abortion that is able to be seen or heard (whether or not it is in fact seen or heard);
• Whether or not the recipient consents.
• Where abortions are administered by way of a drug, which includes private residences;
• Whether or not distress or anxiety is in fact caused, or intended;
• To communications by Members of Parliament and during election periods and referendums;
• Where the communicator is seeking to discourage a person from obtaining an unlawful abortion.
Kathy’s barristers ultimately argue: “What the law does, in fact, is to burden one side of the abortion debate more than the other. It discriminates, and it distorts political communication. And it does so to a viewpoint that is properly described as a minority viewpoint.”
The below document examines the harm evidence given to the High Court in affidavits from Dr Goldstone, a medical doctor, and Dr Allanson, a psychologist, who work for abortion clinics.
This article concludes that the evidence has "substantial limitations" and that it may be difficult for the Court to rely on this evidence in assessing the extent to which individuals communicating outside abortion clinics may harm, or even help, women and others accessing the premises.
Here are some quotes from the paper:
"Failing to take account of the possible differences in the impact of such various types of conduct may lead to the conclusion that the presence of all individuals outside abortion premises is equally likely to cause harm to patients or employees of the premises.
"Such a conclusion is likely to be false considering that conduct such as respectful offers of assistance may not produce any harm and may even help women considering abortions to avoid harm.
"For example, some women may experience adverse mental health consequences from abortions that they may have avoided if they had been provided with support that would have allowed them to continue with their pregnancy.[v] More precise studies that account for the variability of conduct outside abortion clinics may indicate that broadly operating laws such as those that exist in Victoria and Tasmania may harm some persons, especially women considering abortion, and that more nuanced laws are required to ensure that at least respectful offers of assistance remain lawful.
"A further problem is that any medical procedure can be an adverse emotional experience for patients due to a range of factors such as the pain experienced from the medical condition, the health risks involved in the procedure, patient perception of vulnerability and the loss of privacy. Abortion may be a particularly emotional experience for patients or employees of clinics when compared to other procedures due to the nature of the procedure, the patient’s perception of the significance of the procedure, the possibility that the patient is being coerced to undergo the abortion by third parties, and the substantial community disagreement regarding the ethics of abortion.[vi] Dr Goldstone, Dr Allanson and the studies relied upon by them do not address whether and, if so, to what extent, the adverse emotional states identified by them could be due to the stressful nature of any medical procedure nor to the possibility that participation in abortion as a patient or employee may be particularly stressful."
View the entire paper here: https://walta.net.au/2018/10/01/the-high-court-abortion-clinic-speech-restrictions-and-the-assessment-of-harm/
1. Surrogacy constitutes a human rights violation of the women and children involved. It commodifies children and exploits women.
2. It creates demand for a ‘perfect baby’, and selective abortion of unwanted babies (the ‘products’) is eugenics in action.
3. Women carrying surrogate babies face high risk health risks i.e. cervical cancer and ovarian cancer hyper stimulation of eggs (see more information below).
4. It may result in an increased risk of pre-mature births or children with special needs.
5. Altruistic surrogacy heralds the “choice” of the donor mother, but the baby has no choice except to be separated from their birth mother.
6. Large scale studies by Dr Paul Sullins (2016) and Dr Mark Regnerus (2012) cast strong doubt on claims of no differences between same-sex parents and opposite-sex parents. ‘No difference’ studies are based on small, non-random samples, which generally ensure a no difference result.
7. Government data shows no single female has applied for surrogacy in WA since legalised in 2008. Instead of allowing surrogacy for single men, surrogacy for single people should be removed.
8. Children need and deserve a mother and father.
You could remind MPs that a convicted child sex offender in WA ordered a child via surrogacy in Thailand. His sperm donation became twin children, a girl and ‘Baby Gammy’, a boy with Down syndrome who was abandoned by his father. Thanks to the bravery of his birthmother, Chanbua Pattharamon, Gammy is now living a happy life in Thailand, whereas his twin sister Pipah was ordered by an Australian judge to live with her ‘father’ and his wife in Western Australia. This 2014 case ended commercial surrogacy in Thailand, but the exchange of money was not material to the tragedy of the case.
Why Oppose Surrogacy?
Stop Surrogacy Now is a resounding ‘No!’ Whether for love or for money, the fact remains that surrogacy is the commissioning of a baby by affluent heterosexual or homosexual couples using a woman of usually lower economic standing as a baby incubator - a breeder.
Surrogacy is dangerous
The surrogate mother - often callously called a “gestational carrier” - is required to submit to a three to four week drug regimen in order to prepare her womb for pregnancy. These drugs can make her very sick, possibly with long-term effects.
In addition to the battery of prenatal tests she must undergo, there is also the risk of pregnancy complications - including ovarian torsion, ovarian cysts, chronic pelvic pain, premature menopause, loss of fertility, reproductive cancers, blood clots, kidney disease, stroke and, in some cases, death.
Women who become pregnant with eggs from another woman are at higher risk for pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure. The health risks are even worse for women who donate eggs, with the increased prevalence of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) and ovarian cancer many years later. (I’d commend the eye-opening documentary Eggsploitation for stories of women hurt by egg donation.)
What is demanded of a surrogate mother is the manufacture of a perfect baby - this is eugenics in action. If the product is deemed flawed, she will be pressured to consent to an abortion, selective reduction or foetal surgery in the womb.
At birth, the baby is most often removed by caesarean section, with the birth mother frequently not given the chance to see her child. What is left is a woman with milk in her breasts but nothing in her arms. The attention that for nine months had been lavished on the woman - who is called a hero, an angel, a giver of life by the commissioning couple in an altruistic surrogacy arrangement - in the great majority of cases disappears very quickly. Once the job is done, and the baby handed over, the birth mother, in whose body remain cells of her child for decades, is left to her own devices.
Many surrogate mothers say it was their “choice.” What sort of choice is it when one cannot predict the effect of the drugs, the pregnancy and the birth on the woman? And what sort of choice is it for the baby? Did she or he really “choose” to be separated from their birth mother?
Surrogacy is reproductive slavery; a violation of the human rights of both the birth mother and her offspring.
Compared to the United States, India, Ukraine and Mexico, Australia is still in the fortunate position of prohibiting commercial surrogacy, and altruistic surrogacy is well regulated in all states except the Northern Territory which has no laws. Moreover, the actual number of babies born through altruistic surrogacy arrangements is negligible.
The National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU) publishes yearly reports that include data supplied by 37 fertility centres in Australia and New Zealand. The latest available 2011 and 2012 reports state: “There were 177 gestational surrogacy cycles in 2011, including 131 gestational carrier cycles and 46 cycles undertaken by intended parents. Among the 131 gestational carrier cycles, 34 (26.0%) resulted in a clinical pregnancy and 21 (16.0%) resulted in a delivery. Of all 23 babies born to gestational carriers (21 singletons and one set of twins), 22 were liveborn and one singleton’s outcome was unknown.”
Would this change if Australia legalised commercial surrogacy in future? Perhaps unemployed women might think that $30-40,000 is worth the risk and discomfort of pregnancy; or that they could always resort to selling their eggs four, five, six times for $5,000 per batch. For the commissioning parents - euphemistically called “intended parents” - the price would be much higher because the surrogacy industry’s lawyers, counsellors, surrogacy brokers and, last but not least, the IVF clinics who delight in this new business opportunity, would all demand their share. The government too might be eager to collect taxes from the various players involved in commercial surrogacy - surrogates and egg donors included. A $100,000 price tag for a baby can easily be countenanced. And because of the high failure rates, repeat pregnancies make the procedure harder for the birth mother and more expensive for the buyers.
It was only in 2013 that then Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered a heartfelt apology to mothers and their children who were forcibly removed for adoption in the 1960s and 70s. We would do well to remember the trauma and depth of feeling this apology elicited in discussions about surrogacy, which is the intentional removal of a child from his or her birth mother. Do we really want to find ourselves in the position forty years hence of having to deliver yet another apology to children who were harmed by surrogacy.
The first order of business would be to lower the demand for all forms of surrogacy, including so-called altruistic surrogacy. There is no right to a child. A deep desire for a child does not justify the narcissistic exploitation of another woman’s body and soul, as well as her health - two women, in fact, if an egg donor is also needed.
People who long for children should be encouraged to look to permanent care arrangements for the thousands of existing children in Australia who need a loving home. Having a baby with your own genes is not a prerequisite: it is love and dedication that counts.
Children are not commodities to be bought and sold, and women are not containers to be used as baby makers and then discarded. Let’s stop surrogacy now.
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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