Sunday, March 13, 2022

Women who preach

As the epistles of the apostle Paul reveal, women have always had a role in Christian congegations -- and they still do. What they MAY NOT do is take a leadership role in the congregation. Specifically they must remain silent during worship sessions. So for believers in the Bible, congregations led by women are simply not Christian. They deliberately defy a clear command from the Christian Holy book.

It is perfectly reasonable in this day and age for spiritually oriented organizations and meetings to be led by women but any pretence that they are Christian is a fraud.

That does mean that those congregations which allow women to preach -- mainly in the Anglican and Uniting denominations -- are practicing a fraud. They could trip up genuine faith-seekers into a false belief about the true Christian life.

Such churches would label themselves post-Christian if they were honest. That they do not is revealing. They are drifting anchorless in a sea of secularism. In Christ's words they are of "the World", not his called-out followers

The women described below obviously get personal satisfaction out of their preaching but it is at the expense of practicing an imposture. They are deceivers, not Christians. And Christians know who the Great Deceiver is

"Preaching is such a gift", says Reverend Radhika Sukumar-White, a minister and team leader at Leichhardt Uniting Church in Sydney.

"Throughout history, great changes happen through great oratory. Preaching has the ability to change hearts and change lives, call people to action and call people to account."

Sukumar-White was 20 when she had a call to ministry.

It was, she says, a "God speaking to me in Morgan Freeman's voice … kind of experience."

Sukumar-White had always wanted to work with people and was studying physiotherapy at university at the time.

Her life would take another path, however.

With her calling came the realisation that "I was going to be able to walk with people and help people using the gifts and skills that I have in the Church, which I so loved," she says.

Sukumar-White, whose parents migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka in the 1970s, grew up in the Uniting Church.

"My parents' parents were converted by American missionaries in Sri Lanka in the early twentieth century," she says.

"When they migrated to Australia, the Church was the first thing they sought in making Australia their home."

Once called, Sukumar-White began the "rigorous process" to become a Minister of the Word, including three years' study at United Theological College in Parramatta, plus numerous interviews and field placements.

She was ordained in 2016, and in 2019, joined Leichhardt Uniting Church, an affirming church that welcomes LGBTQI+ people in its congregation.

"It's a young community of faith — two-thirds would be under the age of 35," says Sukumar-White.

"The community is incredibly switched on when it comes to justice, not just queer inclusion, but climate action, First Nations issues, asylum seeker policy."

'Gender is just not a factor for us'

The role of women in the Church — controversial in other denominations and dioceses — has been resolved in the Uniting Church in Australia.

"It's not even a question," says Sukumar-White.

"We ordain men and women equally — there's no difference in ordination, there's no difference in who gets to be in the pulpit or not. Gender is just not a factor for us."

Sukumar-White believes women have a lot to offer as preachers of the gospel.

"There's something powerful about women in the pulpit," she says. "I think we bring a different energy."

Giving women a platform to preach

The saying "You can't be what you can't see" has particular resonance for Tracy McEwan, who recently completed a PhD examining the participation of Catholic Gen X women in the church in Australia.

In Catholicism, church law forbids laypeople – including all women — from delivering the homily during Mass.

In the dozens of interviews McEwan conducted with Catholic women during her research, she heard a "recurrent story about feeling isolated and marginalised".

The lack of visible female leaders in faith communities "has a huge impact" on the young women in their congregations, she says.

"Having another woman in your line of sight makes a difference."


World’s best weather equipment couldn’t predict deadly Qld floods

But they can predict the global temperature in 50 years' time!

Forecasts issued by the Bureau of Meteorology during last month’s floods failed to predict how long a deadly supercell would remain over southeast Queensland despite Australia having the world’s best equipment, experts say.

Analysis of the deadly southeast Queensland flood event indicates the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and authorities were shocked by the slow-moving nature of the cell, which lingered above the region to dump one metre of rain over four days.

Questions have been raised about the accuracy of forecasts, which led to delays in warnings for people in low-lying areas.

During the height of the floods Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who staunchly defended authorities’ response, declared the amount of rain and flood levels were “not foreseeable”.

Experts say the severity of the rain event, which would become the south east’s wettest three days since records began, was “very difficult” to predict.

Queensland University of Technology Adjunct Professor Mark Gibbs, a specialist in weather research, said the BOM forecasts were made using the world’s best equipment.

He said the bureau accurately predicted the region and severity of the supercell system, but declared it tough to forecast which towns and suburbs would be hardest hit.

“It was more than a typical summer storm and they are very, very difficult to predict,” he said.

“The thing is very sensitive and there’s a tipping point – a little bit less rain it would have been fine but it hung around for that little bit longer and the flood compartments in the dam filled up.

“People want everything perfect these days … we want to know when it’s going to rain, where and how much – the science is very very good but it’s not at that stage.”

Prof Gibbs said the BOM issued “carefully worded and thought-out forecasts”, which he said people often misread or expected to be certain.

“Economic forecasts are mostly wrong yet we seem to accept that – whereas with the weather forecasts people expect them to be 100 per cent right all the time,” he said.


More bureaucratic bungling. Helicopters not used during floods

Private helicopter operators say they were never called upon by the NSW government to assist during this month’s flood emergency, even though it pays them to be on standby so they can rapidly respond to natural disasters, including floods.

Multiple businesses confirmed to the Herald that their aircraft – specially equipped to respond to catastrophic situations such as the flooding event – remained grounded throughout the crisis while they awaited a call to help that never came.

The pilots said they were perplexed and frustrated at the decision not to draw on their resources, amid reports locals were so desperate for help they were forced to charter helicopter flights themselves or use crowdfunding campaigns to cover the expense.

The owner of one of the businesses approached by the Herald, Mark Harrold of Sydney Helicopters, said the situation was ridiculous.

“We have the capabilities and the community, I understand, has been screaming for these kinds of resources.”

Mr Harrold said he was blindsided when his aircraft were deployed to Cooma on March 1, while on the other side of the state, Ballina was being evacuated and two people died as floodwaters peaked in Lismore.

“We were expecting the phone call to go to Ballina and were told to go to Cooma, and it was like, okay, really? So we flew from Penrith to Cooma,” Mr Harrold said.

“We sat there for a day and-a-half in Cooma and obviously didn’t do anything, and then we were stood down.”

The revelations are likely to reignite controversy over authorities’ handling of the flood disaster, with both state and federal governments already under fire over allegations an anaemic official response left locals to fend for themselves.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) operates the State Air Desk, which tasks aircraft to assist during fires, floods and storms.

At its disposal is a growing fleet of in-house RFS aircraft, as well as a pool of helicopters belonging to private operators who are under contract with the RFS to assist during emergencies.

An RFS spokesman said the NSW SES was the lead agency during the flood disaster and was responsible for determining the number of aircraft required and where they were deployed for flood rescues, transport, resupply and reconnaissance purposes.

“All requests for aviation support received from the NSW SES were actioned by the State Air Desk,” the spokesman said. “Alongside government aircraft … private operators were and continue to be utilised across the state as part of this flood emergency.”

However, the manager of a helicopter business that wasn’t contacted by the State Air Desk during the floods said they were “absolutely” surprised about it.

Their government contract requires the business’ helicopters are fuelled and have crew on standby so they can be deployed with fifteen minutes’ notice.

“We’re still on one of those contracts and haven’t been deployed which says to us that we’re not needed. But it’s contradictory to what we’re hearing in the reported media,” said the manager, who declined to be identified due to concerns about repercussions for the business.

The manager said their helicopters were highly specialised and fitted with winches and hooks to meet strict government requirements. “It’s not feasible for the general public to charter that calibre of aircraft. It’s not fair.”

Ross Meadows spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign to source helicopters privately to drop supplies to flood victims across northern NSW.

He was stunned when the Herald put it to him that private helicopter operators were given the impression there was no demand for their services. “If someone from the government told them that, they’re being lied to.”

Mr Meadows said his team’s helicopters arrived to find the town of Coraki “decimated”.

“We were the first ones there and the only ones there. I’d say nearly every single person we went to had received no food and had pretty much no food left.

“There could have been another five aircraft in the air, without a shadow of a doubt.”


Unemployment is near record lows, wages are recovering and the economy is booming... yet BOTH political parties want to increase immigration... putting pressure on homes, schools, roads, and our Aussie lifestyle

Australia's economy since World War II has largely been been fuelled by immigration.

Both major political parties, in government, have relied on immigration to provide workers, since Australia's first immigration minister Arthur Calwell, from the Labor Party, in 1945 declared the country needed to 'populate or perish'.

Migrants from eastern Europe helped build the Snowy Hydro scheme in the 1950s, as Australia began accepting new arrivals who weren't Anglo-Celtic and didn't have English as their first language.

Australia's immigration policy evolved from assimilation to modern-day multiculturalism, which debuted in 1973, with the scrapping of the racist White Australia policy.

People from Asia, locked out in 1901 by the post-gold rush Immigration Restriction Act, had gradually returned during the 1960s as students and are now a major source of skilled migration.

For much of the 20th century, Australia accepted 70,000 new permanent arrivals a year, on average.

From 1959 to 2004, Australia's population doubled, from 10million to 20million.

Australia added 5million migrants between 2004 and 2018 - with the respective passing of the 20million and 25million population milestones.

This surge coincided with net annual immigration climbing above the 100,000 mark in 2002 and the 200,000 level just 11 years later.

Sydney and Melbourne are together home to 40 per cent of Australia's population and are increasingly congested.

The push for more migrants, from both Labor and the Coalition, has caused house prices to surge while wages growth has stagnated.

This has stopped younger Australians from being able to afford their first home after almost a decade of lousy pay rises.

Despite the evidence, big business interests are now actively campaigning for skilled immigration levels to be ramped up in a bid to 'unshackle the private sector' - even though the federal government is already escalating arrival numbers.

The Business Council of Australia - a powerful the lobby group - and Treasury bureaucrats argue a high immigration intake is needed for economic growth - despite the fact Australia's economy has rebounded strongly post-Covid despite immigration almost completely drying up.

Dr Bob Birrell, a sociologist who heads The Australian Population Research Institute, is warning a surge in immigration again will 'massively worsen' the housing affordability crisis and suppress the wages of young Australians.

Employers in particular like high immigration because it boosts the supply of labour and spares them from having to train workers locally.

'There is a strong argument that the huge rate of workforce growth is attributable to immigration,' Dr Birrell told Daily Mail Australia.

'Businesses are able to utilise extra labour without having to worry about the cost of investing in new equipment.'

Treasury has also traditionally pushed higher immigration based on reaping more tax revenue.

'Treasury is obliged to ensure that revenue rises at the expected rate - population growth therefore taxable persons is the ironclad way to ensure this happens,' Dr Birrell said.

Dr Birrell said the Liberal Party was traditionally more receptive to the big business push for high immigration than Labor, which is now promising to train more Australians for skilled jobs.

'A big majority of Australian voters do not support that policy.'

Without immigration, Australia's economy has strongly rebounded from lockdowns and unemployment fell below 5 per cent.

In December and January, it was at a 13-year low of 4.2 per cent.

The national jobless fell to four per cent twice in 2008 but it has not fallen below that level since the Australian Bureau of Statistics began compiling monthly labour force data in 1978.

Westpac is now expecting the jobless rate to fall to 3.8 per cent by the end of 2022, a level unseen since 1974, which chief economist Bill Evans predicted would gradually see wages growth climb closer to 3 per cent - the long-term average.

Per capita economic growth, averaged out for every Australian, last year grew by an impressive four per cent.

Gross domestic product climbed by 3.4 per cent in the December quarter, following lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne, marking the strongest quarterly surge since 1976.

While high immigration increases the supply of consumers and labour, it also suppresses wages growth and causes house prices to increase beyond the reach of average-income earners.

This exacerbates mortgage stress and depresses retail spending.

Dr Birrell said with many international students continuing to stay in Australia, a greater supply of low-paid labour had done more to keep wages down.

'The numbers leaving are far shorter than those arriving - they have a huge impact on what we call entry-level labour market, on younger domestic workers,' he said.

Since the June quarter of 2013 the wage price index, as measured by the ABS, has remained the below the long-term average of three per cent.

Pay levels last year rose by 2.3 per cent as headline inflation surged by 3.5 per cent.

An average, full-time income earner on $90,329, with a 20 per cent deposit, would have a debt-to-income ratio of 6.4 paying off a $582,427 loan.

APRA, the banking regulator, considers six to be very risky.

In Sydney, the median house price now stands at $1,410,128 following an annual surge of 26 per cent, making a typical home with a backyard a financial stretch for a dual-income couple.

'A new impetus from immigration will massively worsen the problem,' Dr Birrell said.

As Australia prepared to open again, Prime Minister Scott Morrison in November suggested 200,000 new arrivals would be allowed in - far surpassing the entire 194,000 intake of 2019-20, as estimated by Treasury.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last week rejected a suggestion from Melbourne 3AW broadcaster Neil Mitchell it was time to rethink high immigration levels.

'Firstly, I think Australia is stronger for having a very well targeted and considered immigration policy,' he said.

'Again, getting the immigration settings right is an important part of growing our economy.'

Even though the government is already committing to pre-Covid immigration levels, the Business Council of Australia wants the annual permanent cap raised to 220,000 for 2022-23 and 2023-24.

The club for CEOs, including Qantas boss Alan Joyce and the Commonwealth Bank's Matt Comyn, described its push for higher immigration as a 'top priority'.


A handful of Sydney students were shocked when they opened up their email on a Friday night to find some “bloody awful” news waiting in their inbox.

On Friday night, at 5.15pm, journalism students from Macleay College, a private college based in Sydney which also has a virtual Melbourne campus, found a “life-changing” email waiting for them in their inbox.

Two weeks into their first trimester, they were informed that the Diploma and Bachelor of Journalism courses had been cancelled due to “low enrolments”.

Earlier that day, the first-year students had gone to class and had been assigned homework for the following week.

In fact, their tutors and lecturers were only warned 25 minutes before them about the course terminations.

It has left staff facing unemployment and students with their life turned upside down; pupils in the middle of their degree may only be able to leave with a statement of attainment, not even a diploma or a degree to show for their hard work.

Meanwhile, first year students have quit full-time jobs, moved interstate and turned down other university offers for a now defunct degree and it is too late to apply to another university for this term.

“To be told on a Friday afternoon after hours is really heartless,” new journalism student Chelsea Caffery told

Students are wondering why Macleay College allowed their classes to continue for two weeks with the knowledge that enrolment numbers were too low to keep the course going.

The college has offered up an alternative degree, Digital Media, which is not a pure journalism course like the one they signed up for.

Now students have just one week before the census cut off date to decide whether to drop out of the course or enrol into the alternate degree.

For students where this is not their first year in the course, they have a “teach out” option which involves them studying as much as they can until their trimester ends on May 20, by which time they will either have finished their degree or will only receive a statement of attainment.

Contractors revealed to that their contracts were never renewed for this year, and instead they were being paid through weekly invoices, in what could be a sign that the future of the course had been uncertain for some time.

Ms Caffery, 20, who was two weeks into the $54,000 Bachelor of Journalism course, gave up a full-time job and another university offer to land her dream degree at Macleay.

“It’s really really tough, we’re angry and we’re upset and we’re really confused,” she said.

“We’re literally four business days [until the census date] away from making a life-changing decision.

“This was the next two years of my life, I had it all planned out. This degree I was so excited for. I’ve been sitting here for the next 24 hours wondering what do I do with my life now.”

In a move that students have labelled as even more insulting, their queries to Macleay College have gone unanswered, some claim.

The bombshell email was sent 15 minutes after close of business on a Friday and students have been unable to get in touch with college executives since.

Students have taken to social media to express their outrage, with one person calling the situation “unconscionable”.

Macleay College was purchased by fashion entrepreneur Sarah Stavrow last year.

Ms Stavrow had previously assured staff that the program would be retained as it was what Macleay was “known for”.

But at the meeting outlining the course closure, Ms Stavrow was not present and refused to take calls afterwards


Lawyer of Iranian origin fires up over man's old-fashioned email greeting as 'lazy' and 'ignorant'

She is right that the form of address is silly but attitudes to women in Iran are a lot worse than silly. One would think she would forgive a little silliness among Australians

A female lawyer has slammed a man as 'lazy' and 'ignorant' after he referred to her and other female colleagues as 'Sirs'.

Making matters worse, the email to Alexia Ereboni Yazdani, the principal solicitor at a Sydney legal practice, came from an unexpected source. 'He's a solicitor, which made it all the more annoying,' Ms Ereboni Yazdani told Daily Mail Australia.

It began simply enough with 'Dear Sirs'. Though it was sent to a woman whose first name also appeared in her email address, it could just have been a simple mistake.

Ms Ereboni Yazdani sent a polite reply on Monday, February 28, first dealing with the matter being discussed, then saying 'Also, please note, there are no Sirs here.'

If she thought that would change things, she was mistaken. On Wednesday, March 2, Ms Ereboni Yazdani got another email from the same person, again beginning with 'Dear Sirs'.

'Sometimes people just assume that is the correct way to address a law firm because they've seen it in other correspondence. But I definitely think that sometimes it is a power thing.'

Shockingly, even other women have referred to Ms Ereboni Yazdani as if she was male.

'I often get emails from female solicitors that use 'Dear Sir'. That's a bit more annoying than getting it from a male, because there's another female on the other side who is using that really old school way of addressing another law firm,' she said.




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