Tuesday, 16 October 2018

North Coast Voices Update


Due to illness North Coast Voices will not be posting this week.

Hoping to be back by 22 October 2018.

Apologies to our regular readers.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Australian Politics 2018: Liberal and Nationals hard right agenda revealed


It appears the rigid hard-right core of the Liberal and National parties, whose face for public consumption is Prime Minister Scott Morrison, thought that Australian voters would find it acceptable that the only people that religious institutions of any denomination would not be able to discriminate against will be heterosexual individuals and those born with absent or ambiguous secondary sexual characteristics.

Everyone else would apparently be fair game for every rabid bigot across the land.

Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender citizens and their children are not to be afforded the full protection of human rights and anti-discrimination law in this New World Order.

It doesn't get any clearer than the main thrust of the twenty recommendations set out  below.

However, now the cat is out of the bag Morrison is backtracking slightly. Just hours after arguing schools should be run consistent with their religious principles and that no existing exemption should be repealed, Scott Morrison told Sky News that he was "not comfortable" with private schools expelling gay students on the basis of their sexuality. 

Rejecting new enrolment applications by gay students was something he was careful not to directly address.

It should be noted that "not comfortable' leaves a lot of wiggle room to look the other way as state and federal legislation is either amended or new Commonwealth legislation created which would allow this blatant discrimination to lawfully occur.


Recommendation 1
Those jurisdictions that retain exceptions or exemptions in their anti-discrimination laws for religious bodies with respect to race, disability, pregnancy or intersex status should review them, having regard to community expectations.

Recommendation 2
Commonwealth, state and territory governments should have regard to the Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights when drafting laws that would limit the right to freedom of religion.

Recommendation 3
Commonwealth, state and territory governments should consider the use of objects, purposes or other interpretive clauses in anti-discrimination legislation to reflect the equal status in international law of all human rights, including freedom of religion.

Recommendation 4
The Commonwealth should amend section 11 of the Charities Act 2013 to clarify that advocacy of a ‘traditional’ view of marriage would not, of itself, amount to a ‘disqualifying purpose’.

Recommendation 5
The Commonwealth should amend the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to provide that religious schools can discriminate in relation to the employment of staff, and the engagement of contractors, on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status provided that:
The discrimination is founded in the precepts of the religion.
The school has a publicly available policy outlining its position in relation to the matter and explaining how the policy will be enforced.
The school provides a copy of the policy in writing to employees and contractors and prospective employees and contractors.

Recommendation 6
Jurisdictions should abolish any exceptions to anti-discrimination laws that provide for discrimination by religious schools in employment on the basis of race, disability, pregnancy or intersex status. Further, jurisdictions should ensure that any exceptions for religious schools do not permit discrimination against an existing employee solely on the basis that the employee has entered into a marriage.

Recommendation 7
The Commonwealth should amend the Sex Discrimination Act to provide that religious schools may discriminate in relation to students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status provided that:
The discrimination is founded in the precepts of the religion.
The school has a publicly available policy outlining its position in relation to the matter.
The school provides a copy of the policy in writing to prospective students and their parents at the time of enrolment and to existing students and their parents at any time the policy is updated.
The school has regard to the best interests of the child as the primary consideration in its conduct.

Recommendation 8
Jurisdictions should abolish any exceptions to anti-discrimination laws that provide for discrimination by religious schools with respect to students on the basis of race, disability, pregnancy or intersex status.

Recommendation 9
State and territory education departments should maintain clear policies as to when and how a parent or guardian may request that a child be removed from a class that contains instruction on religious or moral matters and ensure that these policies are applied consistently. These policies should:
Include a requirement to provide sufficient, relevant information about such classes to enable parents or guardians to consider whether their content may be inconsistent with the parents’ or guardians’ religious beliefs
Give due consideration to the rights of the child, including to receive information about sexual health, and their progressive capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Recommendation 10
The Commonwealth Attorney-General should consider the guidance material on the Attorney-General’s Department’s website relating to authorised celebrants to ensure that it uses plain English to explain clearly and precisely the operation of the Marriage Act 1961. The updated guidance should include:
A clear description of the religious protections available to different classes of authorised celebrants, and
Advice that the term ‘minister of religion’ is used to cover authorised celebrants from religious bodies which would not ordinarily use the term ‘minister’, including non-Christian religions.

Recommendation 11
The Commonwealth Attorney-General should consider whether the Code of Practice set out in Schedule 2 of the Marriage Regulations 2017 is appropriately adapted to the needs of smaller and emerging religious bodies.

Recommendation 12
The Commonwealth should progress legislative amendments to make it clear that religious schools are not required to make available their facilities, or to provide goods or services, for any marriage, provided that the refusal:
Conforms to the doctrines, tenets or beliefs of the religion of the body
Is necessary to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents of that religion.

Recommendation 13
Those jurisdictions that have not abolished statutory or common law offences of blasphemy should do so.

Recommendation 14
References to blasphemy in the Shipping Registration Regulations 1981, and in state and territory primary and secondary legislation, should be repealed or replaced with terms applicable not only to religion.

Recommendation 15
The Commonwealth should amend the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, or enact a Religious Discrimination Act, to render it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a person’s ‘religious belief or activity’, including on the basis that a person does not hold any religious belief. In doing so, consideration should be given to providing for appropriate exceptions and exemptions, including for religious bodies, religious schools and charities.

Recommendation 16
New South Wales and South Australia should amend their anti-discrimination laws to render it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a person’s ‘religious belief or activity’ including on the basis that a person does not hold any religious belief. In doing so, consideration should be given to providing for the appropriate exceptions and exemptions, including for religious bodies, religious schools and charities.

Recommendation 17
The Commonwealth should commission the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative information on the experience of freedom of religion in Australia at the community level, including:
Incidents of physical violence, including threats of violence, linked to a person’s faith
Harassment, intimidation or verbal abuse directed at those of faith
Forms of discrimination based on religion and suffered by those of faith
Unreasonable restrictions on the ability of people to express, manifest or change their faith
Restrictions on the ability of people to educate their children in a manner consistent with their faith
The experience of freedom of religion impacting on other human rights
The extent to which religious diversity (as distinct from cultural diversity)
is accepted and promoted in Australian society

Recommendation 18
The Commonwealth should support the development of a religious engagement and public education program about human rights and religion in Australia, the importance of the right to freedom of religion and belief, and the current protections for religious freedom in Australian and international law. As a first step, the panel recommends that the Attorney-General should ask the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to inquire into and report on how best to enhance engagement, education and awareness about these issues.

Recommendation 19
The Australian Human Rights Commission should take a leading role in the protection of freedom of religion, including through enhancing engagement, understanding and dialogue. This should occur within the existing commissioner model and not necessarily through the creation of a new position.

Recommendation 20
The Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Attorney-General should take leadership of the issues identified in this report with respect to the Commonwealth, and work with the states and territories to ensure its implementation. While the panel hopes it would not be necessary, consideration should be given to further Commonwealth legislative solutions if required.

Because Scott Morrison made no secret of his dislike of same-sex marriage and his intention to make new laws protecting so-called religious 'freedoms'. he is now going to have a fight on his hands every single day until the next federal election - these recommendations have made that a certainty.

So who do you trust in the Australian media landscape in 2018?


On 9 October 2018 Essential Research released the results of survey questions concerning trust in the media.

Once again public broadcasters, ABC and SBS, were the clear winners across all categories in which they were listed.

Q. How much trust do you have in what you read or hear in the following media?

Total a lot /some
trust

A lot of trust
Some trust
Not much trust
No trust at all
Don’t know
Don’t use
% change

Total a lot /some
Oct 17
ABC TV news and current affairs
62%

19%
43%
14%
9%
5%
10%
-1

63%
SBS TV news and current affairs
61%

18%
43%
14%
6%
5%
15%

61%
ABC radio news and current affairs
57%

17%
40%
17%
8%
4%
14%
-1

58%
Commercial TV news and current affairs
48%

8%
40%
29%
12%
5%
7%
+3

45%
News and opinion in local newspapers
47%

6%
41%
27%
9%
4%
13%
+3

44%
ABC radio talkback programs
44%

8%
36%
22%
10%
5%
20%

44%
News and opinion in daily newspapers
44%

6%
38%
28%
10%
5%
12%
+2

42%
Commercial radio news and current affairs
44%

5%
39%
28%
11%
5%
13%
+3

41%
News and opinion websites
39%

4%
35%
32%
11%
5%
13%
-1

40%
Commercial radio talkback programs
35%

4%
31%
29%
14%
5%
18%

35%
Internet blogs
17%

2%
15%
34%
22%
6%
20%
-3

20%

Overall, there has been little change in trust in media since this question was asked 12 months ago.

The most trusted media were ABC TV news and current affairs (62% a lot/some trust), SBS TV news and current affairs (61%) and ABC radio news and current affairs (57%).

The least trusted were internet blogs (17%) and commercial radio talkback programs (35%).

Q. How much trust do you have in what you read in the following newspapers and news websites?

Total a lot /some
trust

A lot of trust
Some trust
Not much trust
No trust at all
Don’t know
ABC news websites
69%

21%
48%
16%
9%
6%
The Australian
59%

12%
47%
22%
11%
9%
The Guardian Australia website
55%

10%
45%
23%
11%
12%
News.com.au
55%

10%
45%
27%
12%
7%
Sydney Morning Herald
54%

13%
41%
25%
11%
10%
The Age
53%

9%
44%
24%
13%
11%
Nine.com.au
53%

8%
45%
27%
13%
6%
The Telegraph
49%

10%
39%
26%
14%
11%
Herald Sun
46%

8%
38%
27%
15%
11%
Yahoo 7 News website
45%

6%
39%
29%
16%
9%
Courier Mail
44%

6%
38%
30%
15%
13%
Daily Mail website
39%

6%
33%
31%
21%
10%

* Note : Percentages based only on respondents who had read/used each newspaper/website

Overall, among those who have read or used them, the most trusted news sources were the ABC news websites (69%), The Australian (59%), The Guardian Australia (55%) and news.com.au (55%).

The least trusted were The Daily Mail (39%) and The Courier Mail (44%).

Q. Overall, do you think the news reporting and comment on the ABC is independent and unbiased?


Total

Vote Labor
Vote Lib/Nat
Vote Greens
Vote other
Yes
40%

50%
40%
52%
28%
No
34%

24%
43%
23%
50%
Don’t know
26%

25%
17%
25%
22%

40% think that the news reporting and comment on the ABC is independent and unbiased and 34% think it isn’t.

Those most likely to think the ABC is not independent and unbiased were LNP voters (43%), other party voters (50%) and aged 55+ (40%).

As for the general public's attitude to the recent attacks on ABC independence - 36% of survey respondents thought that the Government has too much influence over the ABC, 16% think they have not enough influence, 17% think they have about the right level of influence and 31& did not know.