Submission on Second Draft of Religious Discrimination Bill

Associate Professor Neil Foster writes about the Second Draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill –

“In short, I think this legisation is an important step in improving protection of religious freedom in Australia, and the second draft is an improvement on the first. But I recommend some clarification or change of approach in the following areas:

Church Society responds to the C of E House of Bishops statement on civil partnerships

“Church Society welcomes the recent pastoral statement from the House of Bishops concerning civil partnerships.

Specifically, we are grateful to the House for reaffirming the traditional and orthodox view of marriage (see paragraphs 7 and 35), and for clarifying that “sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings” (paragraph 9).

The statement also helpfully points out some of the inherent ambiguity about the place of sexual relationships in civil partnerships …

However it is disappointing to see that once again the clear statement regarding sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage is not followed through with respect to the sacraments and godly church discipline …”

– Read the full post from Church Society.

Sound an Alarm: Gender Activism is about to silence us

“The Victorian government intends to pass a law very soon that may see ordinary citizens imprisoned if they speak up against the chemical, psychological and physical mutilation of confused adolescents. …”

– Retired Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Stuart Lindsay, writes this opinion piece in Quadrant.

Douglas Murray interviewed by John Anderson

British author and journalist Douglas Murray is interviewed by John Anderson in the latest in his series of Conversations.

Very helpful for anyone seeking to understand the collapse of western culture. Watch right to the end. 109 minutes.

Watch here.

Opposing same-sex marriage is not “vilification”

“The recent NSW decision of Passas v Comensoli [2019] NSWCATAP 298 (18 December 2019) provides an example of someone who has been penalised for “homosexual vilification” as a result of comments concerning same-sex marriage.

However, it does provide clarification that merely to express disagreement with the introduction of same sex marriage does not amount to such vilification under NSW law.”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster’s latest post is worth reading in full.

Losing a job for believing that biological sex is immutable

“An astonishing decision from an Employment Tribunal in the UK has ruled that it is acceptable to dismiss an employee because of their view that sex is biological and immutable (unable to be changed).

In a preliminary ruling in Forstater v CGD Europe (18 Dec 2019; Case No 2200909/2019, Employment Judge Tayler) this view was found to be ‘incompatible with human dignity and [the] fundamental rights of others’ (para [84]), and hence not a protected ‘belief’ for the purposes of a claim of “belief”-based discrimination under the UK Equality Act 2010.

While this case is not based on a religious belief, it brings into sharp focus a number of issues connected with religious beliefs and the workplace. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster looks at a case which might have been unthinkable a very short time ago.

Conversation between former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and Journalist Melanie Phillips removed from YouTube

[Update, Tuesday 17 December: The video appears to have been reinstated.]

Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson has been continuing to post his Conversations series on his website,

There, he explains his motivation. In part, he says:

“Increasingly in Australia our famous commitment to a fair go for all, mateship, and rubbing along with people who have different views, seem to be under threat.

It often seems to me that the old adage, ‘I may disagree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,’ is giving way to a notion which says, ‘if you dare disagree with me I’ll do whatever it takes to silence you.’

The good policy that Australia desperately needs now will not come out of a bad or silenced debate, which is the inevitable outcome of a loss of respect for other people and the views that they hold.“ (emphasis added)

On Friday (13 December), he published his latest Conversation, this one with Melanie Phillips, Journalist, Author and Broadcaster. Today (Monday 16 December), the video of the conversation has been “removed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service”.

In a message to subscribers, John Anderson says,

“We are currently trying to determine if taking down the video was an honest mistake and are working to have it reinstated as soon as possible. We’ll let you know if and when it is available to view again.

In the meantime you can listen to the discussion on podcast at these links: iTunesSpotify.“

Second draft of Religious Discrimination Package released

“The Commonwealth Government has released a second version of its draft legislation dealing with religious discrimination issues, for further comment before it is formally introduced into the Federal Parliament in the New Year. There are a number of important changes from the previous drafts which in my view make it a much better package of amendments. But there are areas for improvement…”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Associate Professor Neil Foster, shares his response to the updated draft legislation.

Freedom of religion vs Freedom of Expression

From Assoc. Professor Neil Foster, at Law and Religion Australia:

“I presented a paper at a continuing legal education seminar entitled ‘Freedom of Religion vs Freedom of Expression: Critical Legal Issues’. A copy can be downloaded here. And yes, it mentions issues raised by the case of Mr Israel Folau!”

Responding to Victorian government moves to ban preaching on Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6

In today’s episode of The Pastor’s Heart, Dominic Steele speaks with Murray Campbell, Pastor of Mentone Baptist Church, on how Christians should respond to moves by the Government of Victoria which would restrict Christian freedom.

This could well include restrictions on teaching from passages such as Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6.

“A new definition of Conversion Therapy proposed to the Victorian Government defines teaching Classical Christianity as harmful.”

Watch or listen here.

The relevant discussion begins 7:20 into the programme.

Newcastle Synod Decision a “Stitch-Up”

Last week the Synod of the Diocese of Newcastle approved two controversial bills relating to human sexuality. reports on some concerns and unhappiness as to how the bills came to the synod.

(Photo: Diocese of Newcastle.)

The Draft Religious Discrimination Bill and possible impact on healthcare professionals

Associate Professor Neil Foster presented a paper tonight on the topic “The Draft Religious Discrimination Bill and possible impact on healthcare professionals” at the meeting of the Newcastle University Clinical Unit in Ethics and Health Law.

He has made his paper available for download at Law and Religion Australia.

Bendigo Cathedral Priest enters Same-Sex Marriage

“A few weeks ago we reported on the self-publicised plan of Bendigo Cathedral priest to enter into a same-sex marriage.

The Bendigo Advertiser reported on the actual marriage itself.

Drew Reid and Father Noel Richards have become the first same-sex couple to be married in a Bendigo church.

The couple said ‘I do’ in front of family and friends at St Andrew’s Uniting Church in Bendigo on Saturday.”

– via (Image: Bendigo Advertiser.)

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