Caulfield Candidates Forum: Changing the Equal Opportunity Act

At the November 9 2022 Caulfield Candidates’ Forum and Q&A, candidates David Southwick MP (Liberal) and Lior Harel (ALP) discuss a Liberal Party proposal to amend the Equal Opportunity Act. Question asked by Caulfield resident David Zyngier on behalf of Aleph Melbourne.


QUESTION FOR DAVID SOUTHWICK BY CAULFIELD RESIDENT DAVID ZYNGIER ON BEHALF OF ALEPH MELBOURNE

“David Southwick has given an iron-clad guarantee that under a Liberal Government any amendment to the Equal Opportunity Act will protect the LGBTIQA+ community from discrimination.*

Hypothetical scenarios aside, can he state what genuine existing problem necessitates an amendment to the Equal Opportunity Act?”

* Candidate statement: David Southwick – Liberal for Caulfield

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION FOR DAVID SOUTHWICK BY LIOR HAREL

“If the roof body for the Jewish community says the law doesn’t need to be changed, and the major Jewish schools say the law doesn’t need to be changed, who are you changing the law for?”

“Activist for Life and Enlightenment” by Geoff Allshorn

Geoff Allshorn writes about the life of Holocaust Survivor and humanist Halina Strnad:

“As a cultural Jew and Holocaust survivor, she wrote to a Jewish community newspaper some decades ago calling for the inclusion of an LGBT Jewish group within formal Jewish community networks; one of her last attempts at activism came early this year when she offered to participate (as a longtime supporter and ally of LGBT rights) within a Rainbow Humanist group marching in Melbourne’s Pride March – an offer which sadly was ultimately unable to be taken up due to understandable caution over public transmission concerns regarding COVID in crowded spaces.”

AJN June 11 1999 Letters Halina Strnad
Australian Jewish News
June 11 1999 page 16

I WRITE to express my dismay at the JCCV’s decision to reject the Aleph gay group as an affiliate member.

As a consequence of prejudice and intolerance, Jews, gypsies and homosexuals were persecuted and, during the Holocaust, slaughtered wholesale.

Deemed ‘undesirable elements’ and separated only by barbed wire in extermination camps, these groups of people were brutally eliminated because in some ways they were not quite like the majority.

As a former undesirable Jewish ‘element’ but a survivor, I hoped that more than any other attitude, tolerance would be imprinted on the collective Jewish psyche.

Halina Strnad
Box Hill South

ajn-19990611-p16-Letters

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Rabbi Mike Moskowitz – powerful LGBTIQ+ ally

AJN What's On column: Rabbi Mike Moskowitz
AJN What’s On: Conversation with Rabbi Mike Moskowitz
L-R: Alexander Teh (AGMC), Susie & Dudi Danziger, Michael Barnett (Aleph Melbourne), Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, Colin Krycer (Aleph Melbourne)
L-R: Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, Michael Barnett (Aleph Melbourne)

Jewish submissions to inquiries for the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021

Enquiries

Submissions

Aleph Melbourne


Submission to Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry: Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and related bills

Religious-Discrimination-Bill-2021-and-related-bills-Submission-04

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Submission-15-Aleph-Melbourne-Senate-Standing-Committees-on-Legal-and-Constitutional-Affairs-Religious-Discrimination-Bill-2021-etc

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AUSTRALIA/ISRAEL & JEWISH AFFAIRS COUNCIL

AIJAC-Submission-to-the-Parliamentary-Joint-Committee-on-Human-Rights-Inquiry-into-Religious-Discrimination-Bill-2021-and-related-bills

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Submission-147-Submission-to-the-Senate-Legal-and-Constitutional-Affairs-Legislation-Committee-Inquiry-into-Religious-Discrimination-Bill-2021-and-related-bills

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Executive Council of Australian Jewry

ECAJ-Submission-to-PJCHR-re-Religious-Discrimination-Bill-2021-Final

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Submission-94-ECAJ-submission-to-the-Senate-Standing-Committees-on-Legal-and-Constitutional-Affairs-–-Religious-Discrimination-Bill

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Reports

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights – Religious Discrimination Report

Parliamentary-Joint-Committee-on-Human-Rights-Religious-Discrimination-Bill-Report

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Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs – Religious discrimination Report

Senate-Legal-and-Constitutional-Affairs-Legislation-Committee-Religious-Discrimination-Bill-Report

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Aleph Melbourne submission to Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry: Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and related bills

Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and related bills / Submissions

Religious-Discrimination-Bill-2021-and-related-bills-Submission-04

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NSW Jewish Board of Deputies votes to support ban on conversion therapy

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies votes to support ban on conversion therapy

27 October 2021

At the October 2021 Plenum, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) passed a motion recommending that coercive practices which are commonly referred to as ‘conversion therapies’ be banned.

This Motion supports moves already afoot in NSW Parliament to ban these coercive practices that seek to forcibly change someone’s gender, bodily or sexual identity.

LGBTQ+ people deserve the same dignity, respect and freedom to pursue their lives in peace as any other members of our vivid and diverse NSW society and the motion affirms the NSW Jewish Board of Deputy’s steadfast support for the Jewish LGBTQ+ community and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community more broadly.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies


The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Plenum: 

  • Recognises that coercive practices intended to change or impose a person’s sexuality, gender identity or bodily integrity are now rightly outlawed in jurisdictions in Australia, specifically Queensland, the ACT, and most recently Victoria; 
  • Recognises that work has begun to outlaw such practices in Israel as well; 
  • Recognises that these practices cause hurt to people who are vulnerable, and who seek community, belonging, and dignity; 
  • Opposes such coercive practices in all of their forms; 
  • Expresses its concern at societal and peer pressures that contribute to confusion around gender identity and sexuality and supports the rights of vulnerable people to understand and articulate their sexuality and gender identity on their own terms;
  • Calls on the Parliament of NSW to pass legislation to make these coercive practices unlawful; 
  • Offers support to the work of groups including the NSW Parliamentary Friends of the LGBTQ+ Community to seek cross-party endorsement of measures to prohibit these coercive practices;
  • Opposes attempts to ban legitimate and consensual prayer and pastoral counselling from religious figures and medical professionals regarding sexuality and gender identity that are freely entered into by both participants.

LGBTIQA+ Rights in Israel: An International Comparison | Nicholes Family Lawyers

MR: Walt Secord shames gay men in speech about racism and antisemitism

Media Release
July 11 2021

Aleph Melbourne notes that on June 8 in a speech calling out racism and antisemitism, whilst invoking survivors of the Holocaust, NSW MP Walt Secord used a derogatory term used to shame effeminate and gay men.

Calling a response “limp-wristed and totally inadequate” only serves to further shame men for their mannerisms. This is an example of toxic masculinity at its worst, and contributes to the negative mental health outcomes many same-sex attracted men experience.

Perhaps Mr Secord is unaware that gay men, some Jewish, also survived the Holocaust. Being effeminate may have been a reason they came to the attention of the Nazi regime.

Mr Secord has form in relation to making homophobic comments. In 2017 he was reported to have made a similarly unacceptable remark in Parliament.

People who stand up for human dignity must not pick and choose who they stand up for. Standing up for Jews must not come at the expense of gay and bisexual men.

Aleph Melbourne calls on Mr Secord to reflect on his behaviour and issue an apology for his unsatisfactory choice of words.

Michael Barnett
Co-convenor
Aleph Melbourne

CONTACT
contact@aleph.org.au
0417-595-541

Sources

[1] https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1820781676-85824/link/94

[2] https://www.starobserver.com.au/news/national-news/new-south-wales-news/labor-accused-homophobic-slur/155816


RACISM

The Hon. WALT SECORD (17:03): As the acting chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and the patron of the New South Wales Labor Israel Action Committee, I comment on the inadequate answer given by the education Minister in relation to a shameful anti-Semitic incident involving an employee of the education department. The Minister’s answer was woefully inadequate and did not respond appropriately to the seriousness of the matter. The Minister said that she and her department reject all forms of racism, but she refused to say whether that person is still employed in her department. I am referring to an article entitled “NSW government staffer behind Hitler slur”, which was published in the 4 June edition ofThe Australian Jewish News and was penned by senior journalist Gareth Narunsky.

The incident relates to an employee of the education department posting on Facebook a photograph of Adolf Hitler with the words “It’s such a shame he didn’t finish his job.” Such a posting is reprehensible for anyone, let alone an employee of the education department. To give an illustration of the community concern about this, as at 4.00 p.m. it was the fourth most-viewed news item onThe Australian Jewish News‘ The Times of Israel website. The incident is deeply offensive to the Jewish community, especially survivors of the Shoah, those who fought Nazism and fascism and any sensible member of the community.

I also concur with the Australasian Union Of Jewish Students activist Gabrielle Stricker-Phelps, who called on the education department to take action. Sadly, the response from the education department has been limp‑wristed and totally inadequate. The education department would only say, “Our code of conduct outlines the expected behaviour of staff,” and “We cannot comment on the particulars of any case.” You have got to be kidding. The education department and the Minister should have condemned outright the actions of the departmental employee in unequivocal terms. I have witnessed and seen this Minister for several years and I am absolutely surprised that she would let this go through to the keeper. I thought that she would have taken action on this and condemned it in unequivocal terms. I am deeply disappointed.

To assist honourable members, I seek leave to table a print out of the offensive social media post, which I referred to in my question and supplementary question for written answer.

Leave granted.

Document tabled.

Letters: Tackling vilification | AJN

Tackling vilification

I am deeply grateful to David Southwick MP for personally extending an invitation to Aleph Melbourne to provide a submission to the Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections.  I am also grateful to the committee of the inquiry for accepting our submission.

For many years I have witnessed vilifying comments originating within the Jewish community, directed at Jewish LGBTIQ+ people.  These hateful comments, which appeared in Jewish print, broadcast, online and social media outlets, formed the basis of Aleph Melbourne’s submission to the inquiry.

The committee found our submission sufficiently compelling that they quoted from it in their report.

The Jewish community does not tolerate an iota of hate directed at it, and it should not tolerate an iota of hate emanating from it.

The committee recommended strengthening anti-vilification laws, including adding protections for LGBTIQ+ people and those with HIV/AIDS.  Doing so will make Victoria a safer place for all people, whether they are Jewish, LGBTIQ+, or any other category.

Michael Barnett
Co-convenor, Aleph Melbourne

Australian Jewish News, March 19, 2021, page 19

Ban Nazi Swastikas, Protect Queer People From Hate Crimes, Recommends Inquiry | Star Observer


Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections 

In addition to commentary on race, religion and ethnicity, the Committee also heard evidence that disproportionately negative media commentary has serious consequences for various other groups, such as the LGBTIQ community. For example, in its submission, Aleph Melbourne stated: 

Since 2001 there have been numerous hateful and vilifying attacks on LGBTIQ+ people in print and social media, originating in or closely connected to Melbourne’s Jewish community. Had such attacks been anti‑Semitic in nature it is likely there would have been justified outrage from the Jewish community and attempts made to seek legal remedy under anti‑vilification legislation. At present there is no equivalent protection available for attacks on LGBTIQ+ people.64 

202103-Inquiry-into-Anti-vilification-Protections

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