Friday, May 13, 2022

Homosexual marriage issue divides Anglican Church in Australia

The people of the church were clear on what their faith demands. They understood the Bible command in 1 Corinthians 7:2: "Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband".

Or as Jesus himself taught: “And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Matthew 19:4-6)

But it was the bishops who let the Anglican laity and clergy down.

I have long been supicious of the Anglican episcopate. I think a lot of them are just dressup queens, more in love with their vestments and displays than with the Bible.

I doubt that most of the recent archbishops of Canterbury even believed in God. Runcie clearly did not At least the present Cantuar seems to believe in something

The Anglican Church is teetering on the brink of a conservative walkout after church leaders narrowly voted down a bid to define marriage as being exclusively ­between a man and woman.

In a boilover at the first Anglian General Synod to convene since gay marriage became law in 2017, a 24-strong panel of metropolitan archbishops and senior diocesan bishops held out against the majority of clerical and lay delegates to sink the controversial motion. Even then, the two members of the so-called House of Bishops who abstained could have turned the vote that went down to the wire there, failing 12-10, after it sailed through the houses of clergy and laity on Wednesday.

In aggregate, the statement sponsored by the conservative Archbishop of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, affirming orthodox church doctrine that marriage was of a man and woman and condemning ceremonies to bless gay nuptials, passed 133-86 before the bishops exercised their casting vote.

A bitterly disappointed Archbishop Raffel warned the church in Australia was at the “tipping point” that caused its counterparts in the US, Britain, Canada, Brazil and New Zealand to splinter over same-sex marriage.

Describing the situation as “perilous” for the church, he told The Australian: “What we have seen over the last 20 years or so in mostly Western churches is where people have lost confidence in the goodness and trustworthiness of God’s word as it has been expressed in Anglican liturgy and practice for 500 years … those churches have fractured. We don’t want that. But we know what has happened in many countries and I guess it is perilous in that sense.”

The chair of the Australian arm of the Global Anglican Future Conference, Bishop of Tasmania Richard Condie, said a shadow church had been set up as a “lifeboat” for those who left. Entire congregations and their priests could shift across to Gafcon’s nascent Diocese of the Southern Cross.

“I am not a prophet to say what I think will happen next, except to say what has happened everywhere else this bridge has been crossed,” Bishop Condie said. “People who hold a deep conviction about this matter have left their Anglican Church … because it is of such seriousness.

“I expect there will be people in the Anglican Church of Australia today who will feel that pressure.”

The Anglicans’ day of reckoning on same-sex marriage has been coming since Australians voted for it in a national plebiscite nearly five years ago and was put off twice when the usually triennial General Synod had to be cancelled in 2020 and last year because of Covid-19. Church conservatives backed by the wealth and numbers of the powerful Sydney Diocese fought tooth and nail to have the parliament-like assembly reinforce the orthodox position that only heterosexual couples could be wed by a priest.

But progressives argued that denying a blessing to gay couples who wanted their civil vows recognised was cruel and un-Christian and would leave the church out of step with mainstream culture and inclusive social values.

The infighting is set to continue, as conservatives reacted with anger and shock to the defeat. Some predicted the dioceses of the 12 archbishops and ranking bishops who voted against the same-sex statement would be the first to be hit by defections.

In a personal statement to the General Synod, Archbishop Raffel said the national church’s federated structure and processes were at risk. “We may very well become a church where every clergyman relates to his bishop in the 23 dioceses,” he told delegates.

“And in that case we ought to stop wasting each other’s time by gathering in this way.”

Speaking against the statement ahead of Wednesday’s vote, vicar Shane Hubner of St Peters Anglican Church, Box Hill, in Melbourne’s east, said the notion that marriage was the union of a man and woman was “deeply painful” for him to accept when he had two gay siblings.

He could not reconcile his experience with them and a statement seeking to deny God’s blessing. “It is deeply painful … to have discussions where I have to state that the church I serve does not recognise the blessing of God in their relationships,” he said.

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A $741m home resilience scheme that will allow Queensland properties to be raised, repaired and retrofitted - or voluntarily bought back - has opened to homeowners

This will be gladly greeted by Brisbane flood victims in Rocklea and elsewhere

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk plugged the $741m package, which is joint funded by the Commonwealth, as she gave a weather update on flooding across the state due to heavy rain over the past 24 hours.

Ms Palaszczuk said Queenslanders whose homes were damaged recently could register now for the scheme as "for the second time in three months, widespread heavy rain is leading to floods and loss of life".

"What’s worse, these events are becoming more frequent and more severe," she told parliament.

"While we cannot stop the rain from falling we can help the people of our state recover and be better prepared for whatever comes next. "That is why I am pleased to announce the launch of our $741 million Resilient Homes Fund.

"She said it was the largest home resilience program of its kind to ever be delivered in Australia.

"Queenslanders whose homes were damaged by floods will be able to access grants to rebuild more resilient homes, raise homes or buy back homes at high risk," she said.

She said it was under a similar scheme that "Grantham was literally moved to higher ground" following the 2011 floods, and that town had escaped disaster again in February because of it.

"Those who choose to stay can gain access to grants that replace floor coverings with more flood-resilient finishes like tiles or polished concrete," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Power outlets can be raised.

"Buy backs will be on a case by case basis based on a range of factors including the frequency and severity of flooding and future flood risk."


Seven surprising changes to the way Qld. children will be taught at school in 2023

Students will be taught about tax and superannuation, Australia’s women’s movement, domestic violence and how to “make active choices” as part of a curriculum overhaul being rolled out next year.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority on Tuesday unveiled its new “stripped back and teachable” curriculum coming in 2023.

Mathematics and STEM programs were given a vast overhaul while English and physical education programs will have sweeping changes.

A “Deep Time indigenous History” has been added to the curriculum as a compulsory component of Year 7.

The new curriculum will include the rollout of “making active choices” lessons in classrooms to probe Australian students to strategise how they can increase physical activity in their day-to-day lives as well as reduce sedentary behaviour.

The lessons around healthy choices regarding activity and inactivity will be introduced from Year 5 onwards.

The changes come off the back of alarming data in recent years by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare which categorised 1 in 4 Aussie kids, 24 per cent, as being overweight or obese.

Here are seven surprising additions to the curriculum you may have missed.

Physical education

By the end of Year 1, students will have explored how to seek, give or deny permission respectfully when sharing possessions or personal space.

By the end of Year 8, students will examine how roles, levels of power and coercion and control within relationships can be influenced by gender stereotypes.

By the end of Year 10, students will have investigated how gender equality and challenging assumptions about gender can prevent violence and abuse in relationships.


By the end of Year 7, history students will understand more about the early First Nations Australians, their social organisation, cultural practices and their continuity and change over time.

By the end of Year 10, history students will have learnt about the significant events, individuals and groups in the women’s movement in Australia and how they have collectively changed the role and status of women.

Business and social science

By the end of Year 8, students will be taught about the importance of Australia’s taxation system and how it affects decision-making by individuals and businesses.

By the end of Year 10, students will have learnt about the importance of Australia’s superannuation system and how it affects consumer and financial decision-making.


Leading changes to mathematics and STEM, designed to prepare Aussie kids for the jobs of the future, was Year 1 students being taught to connect numbers to 20 – up from 10 – and order numbers 120, up from 100.

Percentages will also be introduced at Year 5 instead of Year 6 and line graphs will be taught in Year 5 science classes instead of Year 10.

But Year 1 kids will no longer learn to tell time on an analog clock, with fractions – including ‘time telling’ – pushed back to Year 2.


Under changes to the English components of the new curriculum, by the end of Year 10, students will no longer be required to “consolidate a personal handwriting style that is legible, fluent and automatic and supports writing for extended periods”.

By the end of Year 4, students will understand past, present and future tenses and their impact on meaning in a sentence.


Radical policies likely under a Labor government

If you read the mainstream press a lot – not that I’m recommending that – you might believe that Labor is hoping to win the election using a small-target strategy in which the policies being proposed are not too different from current government settings. It’s a common refrain.

But as they say, the devil is always in the detail. And, in this case, it’s often more important what isn’t said by Albo and his shadow ministers (maybe I should reverse that order) than what is said.

There is an important, forgotten element in the suite of policies that Labor is taking to the electorate and that is the ongoing compromises needed to keep the Right and the Left (and the various sub-factions) of the party from declaring civil war. While it’s easy to dismiss Albo’s external political appeal, he has demonstrated real political skills calming down the party, particularly the parliamentary wing, and maintaining a degree of stability.

After the Right’s Bill Shorten surprisingly lost the 2019 election, it could have been on for one and all. The Left, including Albo, never liked Shorten but tolerated him because they thought he was going to become prime minister. A new settlement was required, including new policy positions.

Even though the Left was in favour of many of the tax proposals Shorten had run with – think here removing cash refunds for franking credits, limiting negative gearing, lifting capital gains tax, higher taxes on trusts – it was widely acknowledged that the path to election would involve ditching them. Over time, this is what Albo achieved – there is really nothing remaining of the Shorten tax agenda in 2022. This left Albo with the task of finalising new policies that both the Left and Right could sign off on. That the Morrison government had abandoned any sense of fiscal responsibility was a plus – gone are the days (at least for the moment) of having to answer that pesky question: how are you going to pay for it?

In order to simplify the process, the factions were initially given certain portfolios – climate and education, for instance, were bagged by the Left. Defence and treasury went to the Right. Even so, the final policy positions were negotiated between the Left and Right so that the outcome looks like a small target – very little different from the Coalition’s policies, nothing too radical – but is actually the result of this compromise.

The importance of this insight is that were Labor to win office, particularly in its own right rather than as lead in a minority government, the actual policies enacted may look quite different from those presented to voters prior to the election.

There is also the point that the very vagueness of many of Labor’s policy documents leaves a great deal of wriggle room in practice. In other words, we don’t really know what to expect from a Labor government in terms of policy because of the skimpiness of the proposals being made public.

Take, for instance, industrial relations. Based on a few pages and using the theme of insecure work, Labor is in fact (potentially) proposing to make a number of radical changes to the regulation of industrial relations. The numbers are completely dodgy – all self-employed people are in insecure work, evidently – but that doesn’t really matter.

Labor is intent on killing off the gig economy to the greatest extent it can, ensuring labour hire firms have no place in the labour market and thwarting any further growth in casual employment. The fact that there are plenty of participants in the gig economy who are very happy with their arrangements, with gigs often undertaken in addition to day jobs, is neither here nor there for Labor.

Similarly, labour hire firms fulfil a useful role in providing short-term workers for companies as well as facilitating recruitment, training and induction. They don’t do a big job in the labour market – around three to five per cent of employed persons work for labour hire firms – but it is useful. They are important in parts of mining, particularly in Queensland.

But what gets Labor’s goat – or, in reality, the trade unions’ goat – is that labour hire workers are not very inclined to join unions. Ditto gig workers.

In addition to attempting to mandate higher wages – that always works well – Labor in government will alter the laws to impose a series of new restrictions on employers that are in keeping with the trade unions’ agenda. In all likelihood, the new Senate will simply wave through these legislative amendments.

Another area where the dulcet tones of Labor’s policy disguise quite radical measures is climate. Mind you, the government can largely blame itself for the loss of competitive political advantage in this area – as in the 2019 campaign – by signing on to the net zero emissions by 2050 pledge.

Labor’s line is that, given that both parties are heading to the same end point, it is simply quibbling with details to think there are any real difference in the climate policies of the two parties.

The reality is that there are important, impactful differences between the policies of the two parties that are likely to have consequences in the near term. The Coalition is sticking with the 2030 target of lower emissions of between 26 and 28 per cent (from a 2005 base) whereas Labor has opted for 43 per cent – not significantly different from its target taken to the 2019 election. (Confusingly, the Coalition claims it will achieve 35 per cent.)

One of the means whereby Labor will achieve its higher target is the Safety Net Mechanism to force Australia’s 215 biggest emitters to reduce their emissions or purchase (expensive) carbon credits.

But instead of providing clear guidance as to the rules that will apply across-the-board to these big emitters – mines, electricity plants, smelters, waste management facilities – Labor is proposing individual backroom negotiations with the Clean Energy Regulator. This is the antithesis of good policy but is one reason why the managers of these big emitters have been very quiet publicly during the course of the election campaign.

The bottom line is that Labor is happy with the description ‘small target’ in relation to its pitch to win government at this election. When in government, Labor is hoping to implement a range of radical policies – and well beyond IR and climate, including defence and border protection – of which the voters will have been largely unaware. ?




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