The Age, Monday, Dec 20: "Freedom of religion is...specifically guaranteed by the Australian Constitution. The freedom to worship as one chooses is entrenched as a right...The same cannot be said of free speech, for which there is no constitutional guarantee." click for full article
Friday, Dec 17: Catch The Fire Ministries and co-respondents Pastors Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot were found to have breached Section 8 of the Religious and Racial Tolerance Act 2001. The judgement summary was handed down in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal today by Judge Higgins, in favour of the complainant, the Islamic Council of Victoria.
In his summary Judge Higgins named statements said to be made by Pastor Scot at the seminar, and then concluded that Pastor Scot vilified. Many of these statements were direct references from the Qur'an.
The truth is no defense against either vilification or defamation in Australia. I was issued with Supreme Court writs several years ago for acurately quoting a letter from a politician.
It's time for something to be done.
#2 In a democracy, if the outcry is sufficient, almost anything can be changed. Click to write to the Attorney General Mr Philip Ruddock, your State Attorney General and the Prime Minister, Mr Howard.
- If you are concerned that defamation and vilification be subject to the truth of a matter, let them know. Ask them to tell you what can be done to change the law/act.
- If you are concerned that your rights to express your beliefs as a Christian or to quote the Bible (on such subjects as homosexuality, etc) are in jeopardy, let them know.
This is a timely issue - they are hearing from a wide cross-section of the community at this time because of the Gunns/Greens writs*, so strategically your email or letter is important...now.
* On the same day the judgement against the Melbourne pastors was handed down, Senator Nettle (Green, NSW) said, "...This is an attack on free speech and democracy." He was referring not to Pastors Nalliah and Scot, but to writs issued against 20 Greens.
"This case is putting free speech on trial. If Gunns are successful in getting injunctions against protesters then they will have effectively made political protest against corporations illegal.
"This suit is clearly intended to bully into silence politicians, protesters, and anyone attempting to exercise their democratic right to speak out," said Sen Nettle.
See the full report
As seldom as we seem to have anything in common with the Greens, the fact that we are lobbying at the same time on similar issues is a tremendous advantage.