Ashley Saunders begins his new ministry as FamilyVoice National Director on Monday 5 December

David and Ros Phillips, who have led FamilyVoice Australia and its predecessor Festival of Light as director and research officer for over 40 years, formally step down today (4 December).  Ashley Saunders will take over as national director tomorrow. 

Ashley comes to his new role as a former lawyer, alderman and senior church pastor in NSW and Queensland.  He and his wife Lindsay have four children.

“I have big shoes to fill,” Ashley says.  “But I am looking forward to working alongside people who are passionately dedicated to preserving the best of what this country has to offer. 

“There is a sense in which every generation stands at a crossroad, needing to choose the direction that it would take.  FamilyVoice Australia has a significant role in advocating wise choices that will not only well serve this generation, but also future generations. 

“Whether through its parliamentary submissions or publications, FamilyVoice has a message of hope as well as caution for the nation as a whole.”        

 Can Australians make the right decision about marriage when many facts are not on the table?

Yesterday (1/12/16) FamilyVoice Australia released a second “Marriage Reality” video in which former homosexual activist James Parker asks why Australia is being kept in the dark about important issues.

“Where is the wisdom in rushing to redefine marriage if Australians are not allowed to consider crucial information about homosexuality?” asks FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips.

“Public lobbying has greatly reduced the social rejection of LGBT individuals, but many measures of their wellbeing remain unchanged,” she said.

“Major LGBT groups blame higher rates of depression and suicide on discrimination, but a 2016 study found that in Sweden – one of the world’s most gay-friendly societies – married same-sex couples have nearly three times the suicide rate of their heterosexual counterparts.

“A 2014 Queensland study of gay suicides found that relationship problems, not family rejection or ‘homophobia’, were the biggest contributing factor.

“A 2006 Dutch study found that even in the gay-friendly Netherlands, rates of mental ill-health in the gay community were high. 

“Australians should take time to study all the evidence.  They should look at what is happening in the small number of countries worldwide that have redefined marriage.  They should ask whether there are better ways to address the mental health problems linked with homosexuality.”

The SA Labor government has quietly introduced a bill to almost eliminate preferential voting for the upper house

Last week, while media and most South Australians were focused on the euthanasia debate, SA Attorney-General John Rau quietly introduced the Electoral (Legislative Council Voting) (Voter Choice) Amendment Bill.  He incorporated most of his speech on 16/11/16 into Hansard p 7867 instead of reading it out.

“I and others are deeply concerned about the impact of this legislation if it passes both houses with Liberal Party support,” FamilyVoice South Australia director David d’Lima said today.

“The bill would eliminate voting tickets and private preference deals by ‘micro parties’ – that is a good thing,” he said.  “But instead of adopting the new Senate voting system, where people are required to number six parties above the line in order of their preference, the SA proposal would restrict people to voting for just one party above the line.  If they want to preference other parties as well, they would have to number every single box below the line – but few would do so.

“The result would be in effect, a ‘first past the post’ voting system,” Mr d’Lima said.  “The bill would make it very difficult for minor party candidates to gain seats. This would deprive parliament of significant minority views that deserve to be heard.”

Both Labor and Liberal parties are said to support the bill, believing it would give them more power.  “This view is short-sighted,” David d’Lima said.  “I urge them to think again!”  

Pro-life MPs Vincent Tarzia and Stephan Knoll (centre, rear) with some ‘Choose Life’ supporters outside the public gallery

FamilyVoice South Australia director David d’Lima has congratulated South Australian House of Assembly MPs who “chose life” by voting early this morning to reject a bill to legalise euthanasia.

David d’Lima was the lone member of the public in the public gallery when the third reading vote came at about 4 am.  Speaker Michael Atkinson used his casting “no” vote to maintain the status quo after the vote was tied, 23:23.

Mr Atkinson had taken an active part in the debate while Deputy Speaker Frances Bedford was in the chair, leading a clause-by-clause attack on the Death with Dignity Bill . 

“The Speaker’s first amendment – to change the bill’s ‘propaganda’ title to a more neutral Assisted Dying Bill – was successful,” David d’Lima said.  “This move demoralised and rattled the bill’s sponsor Duncan McFetridge and other pro-euthanasia MPs. 

“Labor MP Chris Picton worked hard to improve the bill with a number of amendments – but despite a 27:19 second reading vote, a majority decided that the bill’s final wording did not provide sufficient protection for vulnerable people.” 

Large child abuse study finds kids are safest in family with married biological parents

FamilyVoice South Australia director David d’Lima is asking state MPs to vote against a bill that would allow singles and same-sex couples to adopt children.

“A very large US study of child abuse of all kinds looked at substantiated reports in six different family types, among other factors,” Mr d’Lima said today.  “It found that by far the safest family type was where children were raised by their two married biological parents.  The most dangerous type was where one biological parent was cohabiting with an unrelated person. 

“Children released for adoption have suffered incredible loss,” he said.  “They cannot be raised by their married biological parents, but they deserve married adoptive parents with both mum and dad role models – the second-safest family type.”

David d’Lima said that fathers tend to parent differently from mothers, and that both are important.

“Gender matters,” he said.  “Men are different from women, and not only in their genitals.  For this reason I hope that the SA parliament will again reject moves to allow people to change the sex on their birth certificates, merely by presenting a GP’s letter saying they have received counselling.

“Such a move would trivialise what it means to be a man or a woman.  It would weaken current protections for women.  It would be a retrograde step for South Australia.”