Sep 29

Michael and I have been away for another couple of days in the Grampians.  One of my most favourite places.  A couple of days there feels like a couple of weeks.

One of the things I love about being there is the sheer difference between the macro and the micro.

Michael and I walked part of the way up Mt William, the Grampians’ tallest peak.  We sat for a while and looked across the Mt William Range to the Major Mitchell Plateau and the Serra Range.  An amazing macro view.


Our senses are filled with the wondrous view.  The warm sun on your faces, the cold wind whistling between the rocks, the smell of eucalyptus trees.  Then if you take the time to look closely you can see the micro.


You can see the dew clinging on the sun-dew flowers, the droplets glisten in the sunshine.

The micro world is getting ready to burst forth with its array of colours as the weather warms up. The orchids are just starting to bloom and they are always a treat.


Leopard Orchid


Waxlip Orchid

Somewhere between the big mountains and the tiny flowers is the wild life.  A treat is the local sulphur-crested cockatoos that visited our room for the chance to nibble on some sunflower kernels.

Nothing like a few seeds to bring in a crowd.  Each cockatoo has its own personality, this one carefully picks up each kernel to eat, another one would gather 4 or 5 at once, yet another would peck at your hand and others would be gentle.  There were some that would approach carefully, headed cocked on one side to keep you in its view and one that jumped on our shoulder to get to the seed.

There are always plenty of birds in the Grampians, I could and do stand, stare, point and admire.



As we’re walking down from the Picaninny, I can hear some twigs breaking so I stop and listen carefully, slowly spinning my head until I find a family of Gang-gang cockatoos sitting in a native pine eating the nuts.


Gang-gang Cockatoo

The highlight of the weekend however was the journey home.  We stopped to take a short walk up Mt Noorat, just out of Terang.  It’s a dormant volcano.  The crater is an inverted cone.  As we walked around the rim a flash of movement caught my eye as I turned my head to the left there was a single flap of wings and I came eye to eye with the wedge-tail eagle.  We seemed to make eye contact and he let out a couple of short squawks as he glided past us.

We couldn’t believe our eyes.  We had seen eagles before, off in the distance.  This was close.  We watched as he flapped and began to circle, keeping one eye us.  It was just amazing.

As he circled back around and dipped back below the crater rim we waited for him to reappear.  However, not everyone was as excited as us for this moment.  As he flew over the tree tops the local magpie clearly thought he was a little too close for comfort.

An aerial battle began.  It was very one-sided, the eagle not really very interested in the magpie.  The magpie would be flapping its wings rapidly and I could hear that swooping noise as it flew towards the eagle.  The eagle on the other hand effortlessly flapped twice and kept just ahead of its attacker.  With an extra burst of flappiness the magpie managed to catch up and it swooped down on the larger bird and the eagle flapped a couple of times and continued on its way seemingly unconcerned.   The magpie continued its assault and saw the bigger bird off.

The presence of this bird of prey had the mountain buzzing.  The magpies began warbling, and as the eagle circled around the local population of birds began calling out their warnings.

Here’s a short video of the battle:

As we continued our drive home we stopped numerous times to take photographs of other birds, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon, a Black-shouldered Kite


Nankeen Kestrel


Brown falcon


Black-shouldered Kite

Each a delight to look at.

Take some time to flip through Michael’s photos – They are well worth it!



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Sep 11

This column in today’s Australian by Maurice Newman is worthy of a closer examination.

What do Jeff Kennett and Julia Gillard have in common? They both believe in same-sex marriage and that it is far too important to be left to the people to decide.

I’m sure there’s a lot more that they have in common, but ok.

Apparently, a cultural norm that has endured for millennia has become an issue of such urgency and controversy that it can’t even wait 18 months for a plebiscite to decide it.

No, apparently the debate has been raging in earnest for the last decade, but its history goes back much further.  Are you just catching up with the news now?

People of various faiths have been taught throughout history that marriage is between a man and a woman.

As strange as this may sound, people of various faiths now accept that marriage is between two people.  Sometimes they are same gender people, sometimes they are opposite gender and sometimes they are transgendered.

Now these beliefs are pushed by the media as hateful and backward, and those who hold them are bigots. Who knew? There’s a lot of unlearning to be done if traditional religious teachings are to be outlawed.

Apparently some who hold this belief of marriage as only between a man and a woman think that GLBTI people are sinners and need fixing.  I’d suggest your start your unlearning there.

This is not to pass judgment for or against change, but to remark on the increasingly censorious, “we know better” attitude of today’s elites.

Actually, it is to pass judgement.  Because nowhere is anyone saying that you can’t hold on to your traditional thinking.  What we do know is that allowing full participation in marriage will help to reduce the stigma that is wrapped around the relationships of non-heterosexual people while not undermining the relationships of heterosexual people.

We should worry that not only Kennett and Gillard but a large number of federal and state parliamentarians on all sides of politics are opposed to the people making a decision on something that is so fundamental and culturally sensitive. Surely from time to time, on matters of deep social significance, there is much to be said for a plebiscite. A popular mandate will provide an ­endorsement that parliaments can’t provide.

Why are we worried?  We elect politicians to make decisions.  There was no plebiscite to insert clauses into the marriage act and the parliament does not need the endorsement of the people to change it.  The reality is, that regardless of the result, it is only the politicians that get to vote on the change.

The same-sex marriage movement follows what has become a well-trodden path for progressives. Social media commentary attracts interest among progres­sive journalists. Their prejudices are amplified through mainstream outlets that in turn excites more chatter on the internet. And so what may have started as an issue of marginal interest to the majority gathers momentum to become a fully fledged campaign engaging all members of the community, not least the political class. Woe betide anyone who gets in the way.

This is astute of you.  The ‘movement’ has its history well before the advent of the internet.  There has been plenty of people opposed to the concept and they have used the media to its full extent to spread their campaign, and in fact, here you are using the media to do just that.

Those who follow the global warming debate will be particularly familiar with this pattern. Indeed, the abuse and contempt meted out to anyone who strays from that authorised text suggests we are observing a disturbing evolutionary change in public discourse that has sinister undertones for those who believe in freedom of thought and freedom of expression. Rather than encourage discussion, doubt-free progressives ensure that only one voice will be heard.

This is a rather blinkered approach.  Not only is freedom of expression alive and well, it works both ways.  There are plenty of others expressing a counter view on the public discourse, just like you’re doing now.  I have received abuse and contempt from loving christians on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and I consider myself to be respectful of others points of views.

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the influence of this use of the media than the cancellation of Bjorn Lomborg’s contract with the University of Western Australia because of an unpredicted “pas­sionate and emotional reaction” to his views that the dangers of climate change are overstated. Or Mark Latham’s resignation from Fairfax Media’s business paper, The Australian Financial Review, after pressure from feminists who found his views offensive.

And just perhaps this was the correct response to a misguided person’s use of their skills.  It actually shows that people can and do influence others around them.  Just because you don’t agree with that approach doesn’t mean that it isn’t right.

It doesn’t matter whether the issue is international in scope or local, the approach is the same. The Left saturates the formal and informal communication channels so effectively that it crowds out or suffocates alternative views. It is a triumph for leftist ideology and the culmination of decades of indoctrination from primary class to journalism school. As Yes Minister co-author Antony Jay says of the BBC: “Almost anything that made the world a freer, safer, more prosperous place, we were anti-it.”

Oh rubbish.  The Right has plenty of voices out there – go check Devine, Bolt or Henderson.  Then follow that up with the ACL, the Marriage Alliance and van Gend.

This pretty much sums up the philosophical disposition of the ABC, SBS and the Fairfax organisation, along with The Guardian, Crikey, The Conversation, The Monthly, New Matilda, The Saturday Paper, The Green Left Weekly and sundry others. They represent by far the major media presence in Australia and, from their bully pulpits, they present a common position on most social, economic and political issues.

Maybe, just maybe you’re on the wrong side.  Suddenly, because you’re not getting your way you want to find all those that oppose you, so much so that you even include “The Green Left Weekly and sundry”.  I’m sure that The Conversation, Monthly, New Matilda and the Saturday Paper are all delighted that you think that they represent the major media presence in Australia.  I can’t think of the last time SBS was at the top of the ratings, or that the ABC news service out performed a commercial TV station’s 7.00 p.m. slot.

This makes it difficult for any dissenting voice, let alone a government, that fails to conform immediately to the approved collective narrative. Take Syrian migration, an open-and-shut case. No debate allowed.

I can’t believe that someone who has a column in a national newspaper is so uninformed.  Go check more carefully.

With blind faith in big government and central planning, is it any wonder that the media Left has long decided the Abbott government should serve just one term? It’s smaller government, freer markets and family values policies don’t resonate with today’s hip intelligentsia. Every misstep or policy slip must be emphasised and exaggerated. Successes have to be downplayed or portrayed as mistakes. When it comes to the opposition, best not to look back.

Let’s ignore the fact that Abbott is not well liked, not even by the people who elected him.  There is no blind faith in big government, this is no longer the Menzies’ era.  The electorate will toss out a government that fails to meet its expectations, regardless of what the media thinks.

This is not accidental. The editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald was found by a Federal Court to have acted with malice against Joe Hockey. Yet he remains in his role. His colleagues follow a similar vindictive line, at times making things up when the facts don’t fit the conclusion. Anonymous sources and false ­assertions are no problem. The ends justify the means.

Have you ever seen the front page of the Telegraph before the last election?  Seriously.  Get a grip.

The ABC, too, is shameless in its partisanship. Its choice of subjects and resort to tame, sometimes obscure “experts” to push a narrative is thoroughly predictable. It is often at odds with its editorial policies, yet it seems to be a consequence-free zone.

Love a good ABC bashing.

The “hate Abbott” propaganda is unrelenting. It is so pervasive that to buy it as advertising is beyond the capacity of most corporations. Because of its universality, and the consistency of the mes­sage, it must affect the electorate.

The “hate Rudd” or “hate Gillard” propaganda was just as unrelenting – did you write about that?

Media guru Marshall McLuhan believed the medium shapes and controls “the scale of human association and action”. As he predicted in The Gutenberg Galaxy, Twitter and Facebook have subtly redefined the medium of communication. When added to the mainstream, they bring ­mutually reinforcing authenticity to the message, warranted or not.

Uh huh – the world changes.  The last thing we want is people influencing others when they have a counter point of view.  Can’t have anyone on the right logging onto Twitter and having to fend off views of the Left.  Heavens no.

While Abbott may not be for turning, too many influential people are. Conformity has attractions. It quarantines leaders and organisations from coercion and allows for a more comfortable life. However, it also results in groupthink, ignorance and poor risk management.

You’re a really good example of just that.  You want ‘groupthink’ your way.

So long as shareholders decline to exercise editorial control, journalists will fill the space and seek to influence public opinion with their interpretation of reality. To quote journalist Brendan O’Neill, “The right thinking and progressives might not realise it yet, but they are the vanguard of a new dark ages.”

Oh yes, that’s right the Murdoch press has never exercised editorial control.

Kennett and Gillard, please note.

What’s the bet that they don’t care?

Maurice Newman is chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council. The views expressed here are his own.

Oh yes, now it all makes sense.

Aug 14

Do you know how much my stomach sinks when I hear talk of a referendum to change the law about marriage.  This isn’t about making it legal for me to marry, this is about the conservative government putting a big barrier into the constitution to prevent marriage equality.

That’s just mean.  Really mean.  To build discrimination into the laws of the land.

That’s what Howard did when he changed the laws in 2004.  He didn’t consult the people.

What about a plebiscite?  You’re kidding me right?  More and more people are saying let’s put it to a vote.  Thanks to everyone who has told me that they’d vote for it – but you do realise, I don’t want you to vote in any such plebiscite.  Why should my right as a gay man be determined by everyone else.

This has been a shocking week.  People rabbiting on about equality, marriage, men and women.  It’s distressing, nasty and completely unneeded.

Finally, Liberal Party folk – I don’t give a fuck if you had a respectful debate in your party room.

You have shown no respect to me, stop saying it.


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Aug 11

Sometime ago I was standing in the kitchen, getting ready to go out for my birthday dinner.  I was listening to the radio as the vote on changing the marriage act to include “between a man and a woman” was finishing up.

I felt devastated.

Sometime ago I watched the live vote on TV on a marriage equality bill and saw Prime Minister Gillard cross the floor and vote with the Liberal party to maintain the marriage act as is.

I felt devastated.

Sometime tonight I watched as the now Prime Minister said that the marriage act was not going to change and he hinted that he would hold a referendum to protect the current act.

I feel devastated.

It’s my birthday this week.

All I want is to be allowed to be married to the love of my life.  The man who I share my life with.

Instead I get rejection.

I’m devastated.

I need your help.



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Aug 05

There’s a new anti-marriage equality group in town, apparently the ACL isn’t up to the task of hating the homosexuals enough. Ya!

Doug Pollard at The Stirrer has some good back ground on Marriage Alliance who say that they’re an independent alliance, despite the fact that the key stakeholders are all catholic.

The Alliance has just four questions it would seem:

  • Should children have the right to know their biological history?
  • Do we know the impacts of raising our children in a changed society?
  • Are you happy to have your family redefined as a social unit?
  • Are we asking the right questions about the proposals to redefine marriage?

Let me get those for you:

  • Should children have the right to know their biological history?

Yes.  Of course.  Who is saying that they shouldn’t?

  • Do we know the impacts of raising our children in a changed society?

Do you mean to ask if we know what happens to kids raised by gay parents?  Yes we do. They turn out well-adjusted just like other kids.

  • Are you happy to have your family redefined as a social unit?

Nobody is redefining your family.  As a social unit it will still be there a guess what, families will be just as diverse as they are now.

  • Are we asking the right questions about the proposals to redefine marriage?

Well yes, I think so.  Do you have any real questions?

Until these questions and more are debated and answered, we are not ready to have same sex marriage in Australia.

ToothActually, these questions have been asked, and more, and answered.  We’re ready for marriage equality.  So close your website and go back to your normal business, whatever that is for catholics these days.  (Perhaps start a support group for abused children?)

p.s. your tooth logo probably needs a root canal. 

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Aug 04

Just last week in Jerusalem, at their annual pride march, a man described as an ultra-orthodox Jew stabbed 6 people.  He was heard to say that he was doing the work of god.

We balance this with the news this week from the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) who admitted Keshet, a group for gay Jews into their association.  Showing us that despite religion, you can actually accept people for who they are.

MBThe JCCV decision comes at the end of a very long road of agitation and negotiation by my husband, Michael Barnett.  He has no direct involvement with Keshet, but he has been tirelessly working away in the background.

Several years ago he broke off communication with the JCCV, well, the other way around, they stopped communicating with him, he has been working hard to change opinions, to challenge the status quo and to break through.

The journey for Michael goes back to 1999 when the JCCV decided not to admit Aleph,  another support group for gay Jews, into their ranks.  In fact, not only were they against it there were a number of ultra-orthodox organisations that said some particularly nasty things.

I haven’t known Michael for that long.  In our time together I have watched him take on the JCCV leadership and tell them things that they just didn’t want to hear.  And this journey has not been easy.

I recall sitting at a meeting with Aleph and the JCCV and the response from the JCCV leadership was less than desirable and amounted to Michael being abused and yelled at.

The JCCV then established their own GLBTI Reference Group and froze Michael out.  Despite this he continued to do his work of trying to break down the barriers for young gay Jews, always with the aim of removing those barriers to help reduce the suicide rate for those growing up in the Melbourne Jewish community.

Michael may never be recognised for the job he has done.  You can’t take your finger and trace a map of the 1999 Aleph knock back to the Keshet acceptance.

Keshet becoming an associate of the JCCV is a lot of work by many people, the current JCCV leadership has steered the way and the Keshet team have been fully engaged.

Michael has also been putting in and talking with people along the way, doing what he does so well.  Making connections.

The road to today has been carved by Michael Barnett, others have come along behind him and been able to take advantage of his work.  That’s the way it works.

I and indeed our family have supported Michael in this journey, we’ve been the sounding board, his personal advice centre.  We’ve had the tough conversations, we’ve acknowledged when the good things happen.  We heard his pain, we saw it on a regular basis.  Above all we took this man and loved him.  Because he was right.

The important part here is that finally we have the orthodox part of the JCCV supporting the gay people, accepting them, becoming a better and more whole community.   The same people who opposed this move all those years ago.  This will have an effect on those young questioning people.  Maybe this acceptance will save lives.

My admiration for Michael is boundless.  In the face of adversity he has stayed the path.

I’ve told Michael that he should take pride in this result.  It is his work that delivered this result.

I’m proud of him, the work that he has done.

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Aug 04

I recently stood in the supermarket having a chat with a friendly guy from Telstra, recontracting my mobile phone service, which was nice.  Saved me $10 a month.

Telstra then sends me a bunch of emails and finally a feedback request:


Dear Gregory,Thanks for recontracting your Mobile service with us.

You can track the steps we’ve completed here.

I appreciate you being a Telstra customer and I hope you’re enjoying your service.

We really care about your honest feedback, which helps us do things better, so it would be great if you can answer three quick questions about your experience with us.

Click here to access our short feedback survey or paste the following link into your browser

If you’re experiencing issues with your service, clicking the survey link above will give you options for help. Also, if you want to reply to this email, you can do this through the options in the survey.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. If there’s anything else we can help you with, our contact us page has all the details you need.

Best regards,

Andy Ellis

Head of Customer Service and Contact Centres

I like to give feedback when asked.  So I did it based on the phrase:

“We really care about your honest feedback, which helps us do things better, so it would be great if you can answer three quick questions about your experience with us.”

1st question:  Have we finished the job we said we do?  Yes/No

2nd question:  On a scale of 1 to 10 how likely would you recommend us to a friend or colleague?

3rd Question: Why did you give us that ranking?

Answers: Yes, 2, You’re a telco why would I recommend you to anyone?

I clicked the next button and got “Thanks” and all was over.

So, where did I get to give my honest feedback about my experience?  How will my answers help you do things better?  The answer is that they won’t. All this will do is help you better hone your skills to get more customers.

Telstra don’t appear to be too interested in my feedback at all.  If asked I would have said that the salesman was pushy, didn’t check if now was a good time, rushed through his explanations.  I would have said it was great to hear from Telstra to help me reduce my phone bill, but seriously Andy Ellis, Head of Customer Service and Contract Centres, you don’t seem to be too interested in what I really think.

Instead of your survey being about market research, why don’t you make it about genuine feedback?  You know, actually give a care about what your customers have to say.

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May 27

Just putting this out there for you to think about.

The Australian Christian Lobby and other religious people are always telling us that allowing same-sex couples to get married will mean that they will want to have children.  They tell us that this is unnatural as it deprives the child of either a mother or father.  The argument is that it doesn’t matter about children who find themselves without one of their biological parents from desertion, accident or some other misadventure, from their recent media release:

“Every time a child loses their mother or their father, whether by family breakdown, death, desertion, it is a profound tragedy.”

But why doesn’t it matter?  Why don’t they agitate to fix what they must surely see as a huge social issue.

In June 2012 there were 641,000 single parent families with dependents in Australia1.  Of those families 84% where single mothers.

In the 2011 Census there where around 33,700 same-sex couples.  Of those couples, 6,300 children live with them2

toddlerpinkI would think that since the ACL is so worried about thinking about the children that they would be much more concerned with the amount of single parent families.  After all, it’s clear that they see a child’s right to be raised by their biological mother and father. Where is their campaign to either restore both parents or prevent them from having children in the first place?

This seems like a much bigger issue from their moral ‘christian values‘ and one that they seem happy to overlook.

Instead we find their focus on the children of gay couples, children that have two parents and live in really happy circumstances, children that are wanted, loved, nurtured and doing really well.

The only reason I can think of is that the ACL is determined to victimise gay people as evil.

Society’s focus should be on the children, and we should look after all of the kids, regardless of their family situations.  Families need our support, if they are struggling then lets help them.

Just so we’re clear, plenty of single parents raise really good kids.

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May 25

It seems like only yesterday that I wrote about the ACL trying to force their opinion on the rest of the world.  Oh, wait it was.  I just can’t help myself when they release another ill-thought out media release.


For release: 24 May 2015

The Australian people should have a say on same-sex marriage through a national plebiscite, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

Why?  There was no plebiscite when the government amended the marriage act to exclude same-sex couples from getting married.  We don’t have plebiscites on any other issues.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said he respected Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s view that marriage was probably not an issue for a constitutional referendum.

“Probably not” – I don’t think it’s probable at all.  There is no constitutional change, unless you’re trying to insert something into it?

“However, changing the definition of marriage in law is a monumental and very divisive issue with big consequences.

rainbow flagHow?  Allowing same-sex couples to marry won’t fundamentally change anything, it will just allow adults to marry whomever they wish.  How is that divisive?  And what are the big consequences?  Has New Zealand disappeared up its own long white cloud?  Has Canada stopped exporting maple syrup?  Has the UK stopped ruling the waves? Has Ireland disappeared overnight?  No.   Let’s just say some whacky things and hope nobody notices what a monumental cock-up this media release is.

“The people should have a say through a plebiscite before it goes back to the Parliament,” Mr Shelton said.

It’s still not clear why you would advocate for such a thing Lyle.

“Those seeking to change the definition of marriage always seem confident of public support. Let them put it to the test by asking for the peoples’ endorsement.

And then what?  If we get 70% as the polls indicate what happens then?  If we get 40% what happens then?  Since when should the rights of people be dictated by others?

“A plebiscite would allow parliamentarians to then cast their votes in Parliament guided by the will of the Australian community.”

Strange as this may sound, our parliamentarians seem quite able to cast their votes now without a plebiscite, that’s how it works.  We elected one of our community to represent our views in the parliament so that we don’t have to keep telling them what to do every time a vote comes up. I suspect, more to the point, a plebiscite would allow the christian right to put their case.  Can you imagine the rhetoric?  It’d be about crazy things like “natural marriage” “think of the children” and something about gay people not being able to breed.

In designing the conduct of a plebiscite, Mr Shelton said two conditions should be laid out.

  1. Modest but equal public funding for the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ case.

  2. A prohibition on international donations.

Oh, so now he wants conditions least the big gay lobby should find big gay supporters to support their big gay weddings.

Plebiscites are non-binding but can help settle matters of great national importance, Mr Shelton said.

Hmmm… plebiscites help settle matters of great national importance do they?  Wow.  The power of the people!  Since Federation we’ve had 3.  The first two about 100 years ago were about military conscription and the last one in 1977 was about which song we should sing at football grand finals (and other times).  Yes, I can see why Lyle thinks that they are useful for settling matters of great national importance.

It’s actually time that we got this off the table and simply amended the marriage act to remove the discriminatory language placed in there in 2004.  To continue to treat part of our society as second class citizens is wrong and divisive.  Trying to suggest it needs everyone to have a say is just playing for time.

It’s really not a big deal.

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May 24

My eyes have been focussed on Ireland as they voted in a referendum to change their constitution to broaden the definition of marriage in that country.

“marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”

Just so we’re clear, it’s not gay marriage nor is it the right to marry a dog, several hundred other people or a bridge. It’s the right to contract in accordance with the law the right to marry another person.  You could be gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered or just plain and simply you.  All you need is another single person and you can get married.

vote yesThe people said yes.

There has been much celebrating in Ireland and around the world.  It’s historic as it’s the first country to vote on marriage equality.  Of course, there are those that are upset about the result, such as Lyle Shelton – head straight man at the Australian Christian Lobby – scared of anything that isn’t just like him.  He very quickly published a media release to tell everyone else just what we should be thinking!  He sums up his whole approach right there in the headline:

Irish marriage referendum a blow to the rights of children

He seems to ignore the 18 countries where it’s ok to get married and guess what, the kids are ok!  He’s not focussed on the Royal Commission on Institutional sex abuse where the rights of kids have been ignored and destroyed.  Nor has he focussed on the rape and abuse of asylum seekers.  No, no, he in his writings suggest that gay people are somehow causing harm to the rights of children.

The redefinition of marriage and family in Ireland this weekend is a wake-up call to Australians who value the rights of children and freedom of belief.

Yes, it’s a wake up call – the decision has been made by the people.  Not by a few lobbyists who head an outdated religious lobby group.   Of  course, family has not been redefined in Ireland.  Just who is allowed to get married, and even then, it’s not so much as a redefinition, but simply a small adjustment.  Opposite-sex couples are still able to marry.   As to the rights of children, last time I check my two were still ok, as are my nephews and nieces.  No impact at all.  Also, it’s Sunday today, no churches have been harmed so freedom of belief endures.

The Australian Christian Lobby is disappointed that the Irish movement to redefine marriage, funded by $16 million US dollars, has succeeded at a national referendum today.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said, “Over $16 million US dollars has been provided to organisations to deliver same-sex marriage over a period of 12 years in Ireland.”

Actually Lyle, that would be illegal.  Foreign entities may not fund or donate to Irish referendum campaigns. It is rather naughty of you to suggest it, especially since you seem to ignore the counter claims that the No vote has been funded by extreme right-wing American fundamentalist organisations.

Mr Shelton said despite the result in Ireland, Australia was different and he called on parliamentarians to carefully consider the consequences for children and to freedom of conscience.

“Australia should not pass a law which forces millions of Australians to pretend that a same-sex couple with children is the same thing as a mother and father with children.

Lyle is right – we are different.  Our marriage act can be changed by parliament.  No referendum is needed.  In fact, it was former Prime Minister Howard, ably assisted by the current PM Abbott that changed the marriage act to make it clear that in Australia marriage is between one man and one woman for life.  It’s ok, you can ignore the ‘for life’ bit if you like and get a divorce, but you can’t ignore the man and woman bit.

As to this rather silly notion that the law will force millions – millions I say – to ‘pretend’ that there’s something wrong with the kids of gay couples.  I mean really Lyle.  What are you going on about?  You do know that already there are plenty of couples who aren’t married raising children?  Some of those couples are married overseas but their relationship is not recognised here.  And some of them are same-sex parents.  And guess what – their kids are ok!  Perhaps you should go and meet with some of them to find out how well they’re doing.

“The redefining marriage movement in Ireland made a big effort to downplay the rights and interests of children, which ought to be at centre stage of all public policy.

The No vote played this game very well and made it front and centre of their campaign.  And guess what?  The rest of Ireland saw through it and told them how silly they are.

“Because marriage confers the right to form a family, it will be very difficult to resist further law changes allowing the exploitation of women through commercial surrogacy.

No, marriage does not confer that right.  We have a right to form a family and plenty of people do that without marriage.  Even those who get married may choose not to have children.   Surrogacy is an issue that is quite separate from marriage equality.  In fact, the attempt to wave a red flag about the exploitation of women while talking about marriage equality is a nice attempt at distraction.  The two aren’t connected.

“The only way the benefits of marriage equality can be provided to two men is to reform surrogacy laws so they have open access to donated women’s eggs and through the provision of ‘carrier’ wombs.

Uh huh.  Benefits of marriage equality?  What has this to do with two people getting married?  It would seem Lyle that you are suggesting that the reason people get married is to have children.  I don’t understand what makes you think this is a benefit of marriage as it can and does happen outside marriage.  Surrogacy again is a separate issue not connected with marriage equality.

“While some same-sex couples are already acquiring children through various means of assisted reproductive technology, this does not make severing the primal bond between a child and their mother or father right.

Acquiring?  Are you talking about a couple of women – you know, lesbians?  Nobody acquires children.  We have them.  You also turn a blind eye to those thousands of children already adopted by same-sex and opposite-sex parents.  This is the reality now and has been for a very long time.  Quite frankly Lyle, this is a furphy.

“Marriage equality abolishes in law and culture the idea that, wherever possible, children have a right to both their mother and father.

Perhaps you can point to which law and which culture that says a child has this right.  When you’ve found it then please embark upon a campaign to remove children from single parents, divorced parents and same-sex couples.  Of course, marriage equality does not abolish anything of the sort.

“If gender matters for company boards and jury selection, then how can we deny that it matters for parenting?”


Mr Shelton said the freedom of Christian and Islamic schools teaching the truth about gender complementarity in marriage would likely come into question if marriage was redefined.

You forget about the Jewish faith.  And so it should come into question.    You seem to be of the misunderstanding that christian and islamic schools have some sort of truth that places them outside reality.  They don’t.  What you’re saying is that homosexuality is morally wrong according to your ‘truth’.  Time to get out and face the reality that there is nothing wrong with being gay, there is nothing wrong with being straight.  How long must the rest of us sit back and allow you to use your religion to deny reality?  The world isn’t flat anymore Lyle.

People providing services to the wedding industry, who because of conscience declined to participate in a same-sex wedding, would risk being punished under Australia’s anti-discrimination laws.

OK.  So we don’t yet have marriage equality in Australia – so this isn’t really an issue.  However, I would hope that if you are a baker, for example, and your website says that you make wedding cakes, then that’s what you do.  If a couple arrives and you refuse to make a cake because of your conscience, then I’d suggest you are probably in the wrong business and if you are breaking the law then you should be prepared for the consequences.  Are you really saying that religious people are outside the law?  We get to work with lots of people every day and we don’t get to discriminate based on our conscience.  It’s how we get along in life Lyle.  And my suggestion to you is that you take a good hard look at your opposition to gay people getting married.   The thing that is driving your protests is your christian belief.  Let me quote it for you straight from your bible:

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

So, if you want to talk about the right to exercise your religious conscience – is this what you mean?



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