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Welcome to the September newsletter. Again the SSM debate dominates with the selection of articles offered in eNews this issue, particularly focussing on the need to protect religious fre edom. I found Stephen MacAlpine, Akos Balogh and Greg Sheridan’s contributions really helpful, and respectful argument on both sides. Two other highly recommended articles are Greg Sheridan’s piece on ‘Is God dead?’ and Bruce Ashford’s piece on ‘a man named Lesslie’ (Newbigin).

Term 3 is rapidly coming to a close. Have a good break.



Short Updates

The High Court challenge to the SSM Postal Survey failed and the polls have opened on 12 September and close on 7 November. You might have already received your survey forms…

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Next Equal Oppor tunity ‘Cab Off the Ranks’ – NT

The Equal Oppor tunity – Human Rights campaign to extend anti-discrimination rights and restrict other rights like religious freedom continues, this time in the…

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The New ‘Safeguards’ Legislation

On Sept 13th the Commonwealth Parliament passed the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017 in a rare example of rapid bipartisan work so as to…

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Some Notes on the SSM debate

When we know the outcome of the survey and the legislative consequences I will provide an advice paper on ‘where to from here’. Any input or questions to be addressed…

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How To Speak Well When Engaging with the SSM Debate

Akos Balogh in his blog (11 Sept) opens with the question: “And so how should Christians talk about SSM? Is there a Christ-honouring way of discussing a subject that is so…

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This is Not About the Postal Vote

Stephen McAlpine writes an excellent piece in Ethos (August 18) stating that the postal vote result is not half the issue that religious freedom is. There are so many good paragraphs it was…

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Yes to SSM and to Religious Fre edom

Greg Sheridan, a fine journalistic voice from the conservative Catholic perspective explains in The Australian (Sept 6) why he’ll be voting ‘yes’ and also why religious…

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Human Rights and Fre edoms are for all Australians

In a paper from the Institute for Civil Society they argue the case that “human rights and fre edoms are for all Australians including those who support traditional marriage”.

Click here for I4CS paper.

Is SSM only about SSM?

A number of commentators including the federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham have said that they believe SSM to be a very simple issue. The Minister was…

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Howard Weighs Into the Debate

The Adelaide Advertiser (Sept 9) reported on John Howard’s views. “John Howard has called for proposed SSM legislation, including full…

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Religious Fre edom at Risk

Paul Kelly in The Australian (August 22) makes a good case for addressing the religious fre edoms sooner than later. He states, “The myopic failure of parliament to confront the need for…

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Religious Fre edom Must be Prot ected Says Liberal Senator

I suspect that Liberal senator James Paterson’s argument in The Guardian (August 25) for immediate attention to religious fre edoms prot ection. Now that the survey has opened it could well be…

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Deception on Fre edom of Religion

Paul Kelly, a strong advocate for the ‘No’ case, makes some strong points about the vulner ability of religious institutions in The Australian (13 Sept). A most worthwhile…

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Can We Still Have Our Own Opinions on SSM?

John Wilson from the Presbyterian Church wrote about prot ections for those expressing opinions that stand in contrast to SSM or, what occurs in schools when teachers might be…

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The Nashville Statement

While I would agree with many of the ‘affirm’ articles of the Nashville Statement (they appear clear and faithful to my understanding of the Scriptures), I have a few reservations. My concerns are…

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Girls Win the Right to Wear Shorts and Trousers in Victorian State Schools

Girls’ uniforms has become a hot topic in a number of jurisdictions as a more gender-neutral approach gains ascendancy. A ridiculous possible logical outworking of imposed…

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Perth Girl Wins Campaign for all Students to be Able to Wear Shorts

“According to 9 news, an 11-year-old girl has won her campaign for female students to have the right to wear the same the same shorts to school as her male counterparts. The girl wrote a letter to the…

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Parents Sue Christian School Over Boy Permitted to Wear a Dress

I wasn’t going to run this story because it is in the UK and I’m not sure about its relevance. However, one paragraph stood out for me, “Gender dysphoria is something…

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Prove Teaching Skills in Classroom or Fail Course

The federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, has announced that from 2018 all teaching students will need to pass a teacher performance assessment before they can…

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Rigour, Practice and Mentoring get the Best into Every Classroom

An excellent Opinion piece accompanied the above story (The Australian, Aug 31). Some key paragraphs: “An effective teacher understands where every child in a…

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We Don’t Stop Praying for our State and its Flourishing

Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, the Chairman, Stephen Baxter gave a wonderful introductory speech. Here is an abridged version: “Over the years, these changes have left some…

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How a Man Named Lesslie Changed the Way I Think

It is a real challenge to wisely know the best way to express our Christian voice into the public square. Bruce Ashford writes in Christian Living (Sept 1) providing a…

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What Parents Look for in Christian Schools

A Barna Update (August 22) reveals latest research findings when asking what parents are looking for in a Christian school. [Parents] “process of choosing a school…

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Proportion of Male Teachers Drops

This article in The Age (Sept 9) explores a few angles on why there is a disproportional drop in male primary teachers. Interestingly it suggests a range of reasons that are…

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Disability and Discrimination

Emil Ford Lawyers’ Education Law Notes offer some helpful advice. Here they use two case studies in addressing the question of, “If a school suspends or expels a student with a…

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For Long-term Improvements Schools Need to Slow Down

his offering was found in The Conversation (Sept 8). Here are the first and last paragraphs: “Australian schools, like those in other developed countries, are caught up in…

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Religion and Politics in Australia

The Conversation ran a series of article on religion and politics in Australia in late August. Michael Quinlan from Notre Dame, Sydney wrote (August 24) the most relevant article…

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I Love a Sun-Smart Country

As we enter spring and summer I am sure schools will be prepared for this with Sun Smart policies and procedures.

Click here for a reminder from School Governance (Sept 14).

Orphanage Tourism

I recently listened to the spokesperson from Sa ve the Children addressing the issue of longer term negative outcomes regarding ‘orphanage tourism’ or…

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Is God Dead?

Greg Sheridan in The Australian (August 26) wrote an outstanding piece on the loss of Christian influence, why it is happening and what the consequences will be. This brilliant piece of journalism is…

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For Australian Students Academic Potential Still Outweighs Social Circumstances

While in this The Conversation (Sept 12) article there is an egalitarian bent it does reveal some interesting observations about the influence of genes (academic potential) verses…

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Research Shows the Importance of Parents Reading With Children Even After They Can Read

Writing in The Conversation (August 28) Margaret Marga explores “why is it so important for us to keep reading with our children for as long as possible?” This would be a great article for…

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The Christian Influence Within the National Parliament

Jonathan James argues in The Conversation (August 21) that whilst Australia becomes increasingly secular our Parliament is still strongly influenced by ‘Christian’ politicians. He says…

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