Monday, December 27, 2010

Church free to ban homosexual foster parents

This is a big improvement on Britain, where the verdict went the other way. The picture below is of Cardinal Pell outside St. Mary's cathedral. It appeared with the story below but the court case actually involved a Protestant organization. Apparently His Eminence makes a better demon

CHURCH groups are free to discriminate against homosexuals after a landmark judgment in which a tribunal ruled religious charities are allowed to ban gay foster parents.

The ruling, made in the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal, has been hailed by the Catholic Church but has outraged civil libertarians, who are demanding religions no longer be exempt from anti-discrimination laws if they receive public money, reported The Daily Telegraph.

The Council of Civil Liberties suggested more children might end up in orphanages because church-based service providers could now knock back couples who did not conform to their beliefs.

Even the tribunal itself, whose judgment came down in favour of the ban, said it was effectively bound to reach the decision because of the very broad exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act relating to religious groups. And, it went as far as suggesting that Parliament may wish to revise those laws.

The decision marks the end of a seven-year legal battle for a gay couple who attempted to become foster carers through Wesley Mission Australia but were knocked back because their lifestyle was not in keeping with the beliefs and values of Wesleyanism, a Methodist order of the Uniting Church.

The ADT initially awarded the couple $10,000 and ordered the charity to change its practices so it did not discriminate but an appeals panel set aside that decision and ordered the tribunal to reconsider the matter.

The tribunal then said it had little choice but to find that the discrimination was "in conformity" with the church's doctrine because the test in the law "is singularly undemanding".

Council of Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy said churches who received taxpayers money to provide services for the state -as was increasingly the case -should no longer be exempt from discrimination laws. "It's outrageous," he said. "If a non-religious organisation tried to do this they would be in breach of the law.

"If they want to run a foster care agency they ought to be looking after the best interests of the child, not trying to push their religion on the community.

Cardinal George Pell welcomed the decision and said churches must be able to choose who they wanted to use in the provision of services.

Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann said it was high time groups were no longer able to discriminate for religious reasons.

A spokesman for Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said if the matter came before Parliament the Liberal Party would allow a conscience vote.


Christmas Day "asylum" boat will take island's detainee population close to 3000

THE Christmas Island Detention Centre will be one boatload shy of housing 3000 people in coming days after another vessel was intercepted.

A suspected asylum-seeker boat carrying almost 60 passengers is en route to the island after being picked up off Ashmore Island yesterday.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said initial indications suggested there were 57 passengers and three crew on board the boat.

Acting opposition immigration spokesman Michael Keenan said the boat arrival was a poignant reminder that people-smugglers don't take holidays.

"Nothing will stop the people-smugglers; not Christmas Day, not the monsoon season, not life-taking tragedies," Mr Keenan said in a statement.

"It's well past time that the Labor government understood that the only thing that will stop the boats coming and prevent more lives being lost is an urgent change of policy."

The latest arrivals will be transferred to Christmas Island by HMAS Maitland where they will undergo security, identity and health checks.

They will take the number of people being housed at the centre to 2970, despite an official capacity of 2600.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen responded to calls from Christmas Island resident Kane Martin to cap the number of detainees on Christmas Island by acknowledging the system was under strain.

Ten days ago 50 asylum-seekers died when their boat broke up in rough seas on approach to Christmas Island.

The Chief of Navy Russ Crane asserted on Friday that HMAS Pirie mobilised as soon as it received the call for help from the stricken vessel off Christmas Island.

THE Coalition has rejected a push by the Greens to boost the country's refugee intake to 20,000 people a year, arguing it could encourage more asylum-seekers to attempt the dangerous journey to Australia.


'No-fault' model for firings

SENIOR Liberals are ramping up a push for another industrial relations overhaul - including considering a "no-fault" dismissal system that would eliminate the need for arbitration to decide if sackings are fair or not.

Even though the federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has declared that Work Choices is "dead, buried and cremated", a Coalition's post-election review is working on a policy to take to the next election to replace Labor's Fair Work system.

One plan being considered is to replace unfair dismissal laws, blamed for discouraging employment by small businesses, with a radical system modelled on the concept of no-fault divorce introduced in 1975.

The idea has been floated by the industrial relations consultant Grace Collier in a paper to be published next month in IPA Review, the journal of the free-market leaning Institute of Public Affairs.

"Our current unfair dismissal system encourages Australians to behave like greedy whingers," Ms Collier writes. "A no-fault dismissal system would set our heads right on the issue and provide for dignity of exit; allowing people to focus not on legal conflict but on managing departure in the chosen way whilst being encouraged to embrace the future opportunities that are always just around the corner."

Under the proposal, which is being cautiously supported by influential Liberals, employers would be able to sack workers with impunity, provided they offer a reasonable paid notice period, an assistance package and job transition services.

Labor's Fair Work system, which broadened unfair dismissal laws, triggered a 63 per cent increase in unfair dismissal applications in its first year, Ms Collier writes.

"Every working day, regardless of fairness, truth or the merits, of their case, Australian employers collectively pay somewhere between $80,598.50 and $127,804.77 in 'go-away money' simply to avoid government arbitration."

Opposition industrial relations spokesman Eric Abetz said that although he did not want to comment on the merits of the proposal, "it is a concept I would be willing to look at".


All pervasive cronyism in the NSW Labor party

"Jobs for the boys"

WHEN Karryn Paluzzano, the former Penrith MP, rolled over to the Independent Commission Against Corruption back in May, admitting she had fiddled parliamentary expenses, Labor was in trouble and it knew it.

Internal party polling ahead of the Penrith byelection showed voters would abandon the ALP, fed up with the political circus in Macquarie Street while infrastructure and services worsened.

With its back to the wall, Labor needed just the right candidate in Penrith. The right candidate in those circumstances being someone who was under no illusion they could win and who would go to their slaughter with the minimum of fuss. Someone willing to be the face of humiliation.

Up stepped Penrith Labor councillor John Thain, looking like the most optimistic man in Sydney. He did all that could be expected of him, having been abandoned by the Premier who refused to set foot in Penrith during the entire campaign to protect her image from being associated with the defeat. Thain was left alone to wear the biggest swing against a government in the state's history.

It would be tempting to feel sorry for Thain but don't, he's fine. After all, this is NSW. This is Labor. Thain is now an adviser to Housing Minister Frank Terenzini. The job, which was not advertised publicly, comes with a six-figure salary.

He should not be singled out. A glance around his colleagues on the Penrith council reveals that virtually every Labor councillor either has or has had a paying job with a Labor state MP or the party.

Councillor Greg Davies was a staffer for retiring Mulgoa MP Di Beamer, councillor Karen McKeown worked for MLC Helen Westwood.

Councillor Prue Guillaume was employed directly by Sussex Street as training and campaigns co-ordinator until last year. In announcing Guillaume as Beamer's replacement to contest Mulgoa, the ALP preferred to dwell on her current job with the charity MS Australia.

The ALP has been at pains to present the clean-out of Labor's ranks - executed with aplomb by general secretary Sam Dastyari - as a renewal and an injection of fresh faces. Actually some familiar faces will benefit most. With the polls suggesting disaster, Labor can only expect to win seats in March with more than a 15 per cent margin.

The seats in that category include David Campbell's seat of Keira where Ryan Park, a former chief of staff to Campbell will contest. In the safe seat of Shellharbour, union organiser Anna Watson takes over from Lylea McMahon.

Swimming against the tide is Joe Tripodi's replacement in Fairfield: Guy Zangari, a teacher from Bonnyrigg. It's surely only a coincidence that Zangari's brother Peter worked as an adviser to Tripodi when he was minister for housing.

The stench of cronyism in NSW lingers. It's going to take an electoral thumping to bring about any genuine renewal in NSW Labor. Fear not, it's coming.



Ruby of Qld said...

I wish I could be sure that Labor are going to be defeated. They have the support of nearly all of the mainstream papers no matter what they do. The Coalition is lucky to even be mentioned and it is mainly negative.

The people are so apathetic or they don't realise how bad Labor's ethics are. Surely Kristina Keneally's latest gaffe in closing down Parliament and trying to prevent a Committee from investigatiing the sell off of the Electrical Services Industry should be enough to dislodge them. Why should a multi national be the one charging the Australian people whatever they like for electricity. What happened to our Essential Services watchdog?

Labor has the "whatever it takes" philosophy and we are the losers.

Paul said...

Some people I know will now go off about the church and homphobia/discrimination/repression etc etc, and they'll ask me if this upsets me, which it doesn't. The Church is a free organisation of the people and it has never hidden its beliefs. We aren't compelled to agree with them if we so choose. Really, if adoption/caring was so important to you then why fight seven years for nothing when you could just go to another non-church agency instead. What's the bigger agenda here exactly? Churches are changed by the people from within, not by angry challenges from without. The church will change some views, slowly, and in its own time as it always has. That said, I wonder how they'd go if a Moslem family approached them for help adopting? Would they disapprove of THAT "lifestyle"? Now that would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Surely any religous organisation should and must allow adoption according to their creed. It is not an issue that should be raised in parliament by those whose bias flows differently.

The church is a private organisation and should be treated as such. You have the option to take up their offer but they have the right to refuse. At no point is government intervention warranted or legitimate under any current act of parliament.

If the complainant had his/her way then all public funding for private schools should cease immediately along with funding to all religious hospital, aged care and other such organisations on the same basis as the original complaint.

Idiots that pursue these ideals have no comprehension how much more public money would be required if charities closed up shop tomorrow purely because so called do gooders decided that they were offended.

Get a life and grow up.