Recommendation 6 6.1 Adapt school curricula across the disciplines from years K-12 to include:
in primary school, the development of a respectful understanding and de-stigmatising of difference (eg race, religion, disability)
from Year 7 in high school, addressing specific forms of racism and bigotry eg anti-Jewish, anti-Indigenous, anti-Muslim, anti-Asian, anti-LGBTIQ; and teaching students to self-reflect about their own prejudices
from Year 10, focusing on the destructive effects of racism and bigotry both in Australia and in other parts of the world, both historically and in contemporary society
in Years 11-12, reinforcing those themes in more depth in optional subjects.
Join us in calling for an end to violence and criminalisation against LGBT+ people and for a global ban on conversion therapy. We recognise that certain religious teachings have, throughout the ages, been misused to cause deep pain and offense to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex. This must change. That is why we have launched the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, which aims to provide a strong and authoritative voice from religious leaders across the global faith community who wish to affirm and celebrate the dignity of all, independent of a person’s sexuality, gender expression and gender identity.
Australian Jewish organisations demand end to cruel treatment of ‘boat people’
Seven years have now passed since the then Australian government announced that all people seeking asylum who arrived on unauthorised boats would be processed offshore and that none would ever be resettled in Australia, a policy that has been continued by all Australian governments since.
A July 2020 report by the Refugee Council of Australia shows again the immense suffering thus caused for thousands of despairing men, women and children, including self-harm, 12 deaths offshore, by suicide or for want of medical care, and other deaths while in limbo in Australia. Despite the passage of seven long years and expenditure of $7.6 billions of taxpayers’ money, hundreds of people still remain trapped in Papua New Guinea or Nauru or, having been brought to Australia for proper medical care, are in detention and not receiving it.
Only last century, thousands of Jews fleeing persecution in Europe were denied entry to other countries, or escaped only by recourse to ‘people smugglers’. As a result, all states, including Australia, now have obligations under the Refugee Convention of 1951, its 1967 Protocol, and international humanitarian law, to receive people who claim asylum because of well-founded fears of persecution and to process their claims expeditiously and compassionately. Australia has repeatedly breached those obligations and shamefully continues to do so in respect of the asylum seekers still in Papua New Guinea and Nauru or evacuated for medical reasons and detained in Australia.
Together with many fellow Australians, we demand that our Government take immediate and effective action to resettle these people safely and give them some hope again in what remains of their interrupted and damaged lives.
Signed as of 30 July 2020
Aleph Melbourne | Ameinu Australia | Australian Jewish Democratic Society | Betar Australia | J-Greens (Vic) | Jewish Labour Bund Melbourne | Jewish Lesbian Group Victoria | Jews for Refugees (Australia) | Jews for Refugees (Sydney) | Jewish Voices for Peace & Justice (NSW) | Kehilat Koleinu | Habonim Dror Australia | Hashomer Hatzair Australia | Inner West Chavurah | Meretz Australia | Music for Refugees | NIF Australia | Progressive Judaism Victoria | SKIF
Aleph Melbourne is a signatory to the sections of this report that address sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).
SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION, AND SEX CHARACTERISTICS
Since 2016, Australia has recognised marriages between two people regardless of gender.52 States have amended laws to make it easier for legal gender to be changed,53 to allow adoption by couples regardless of gender,54 and to expunge convictions for historical homosexual offences.55 Some states may soon prevent so-called ‘conversion’ practices which seek to eliminate or suppress the affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities.56
Despite such reforms (and sometimes accompanying them57), discrimination, harassment and violence on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and bodily variations in sex characteristics, remain prevalent.58
Within 18 months, Australia must:
advance reforms in remaining states which impose unjust hurdles (including requirements for surgery) on people seeking official identity documents reflecting their gender;59
implement recommendations on ending harmful practices (including forced and coercive medical interventions) to ensure the bodily integrity of children with intersex variations;60
ensure access to redress, independent affirmative peer support and psychosocial support for people with intersex variations and their families;61
capture SOGIESC data62 in its 2021 national census and other significant collections to provide a robust evidence-base for future public policy and government interventions; and
implement effective measures to reduce SOGIESC-based bullying, harassment and violence, particularly targeted at youth.63
EQUALITY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION
Australia protects against discrimination through multiple inconsistent and overly technical anti-discrimination legislation. Australia’s piecemeal approach does not provide remedies for intersectional discrimination, and creates significant exceptions and barriers to individuals bringing complaints.
Australia must enact a comprehensive Equality Act that addresses all prohibited grounds of discrimination, promotes substantive equality and provides effective remedies, including against systemic and intersectional discrimination.
Religious discrimination is not currently addressed by standalone federal discrimination law. In 2019 the federal government released a draft Religious Discrimination Bill. The proposed Bill goes far beyond protecting against religious discrimination and provides people and faith-based institutions with a licence to discriminate on religious grounds, including when delivering healthcare. The Bill privileges religious views over patient health needs, and removes existing anti-discrimination protections, including for women, people with disabilities, SOGIESC, and people from minority faiths.
Australia must not enact the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.
Jews have also experienced the deep silence that follows atrocity and genocide, the experience of being abandoned by humanity, the struggle for recognition of confronting truths, and the tormenting powerlessness of not being heard.
In this year of 2020, which marks the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the British in Australia and dispossession of its original inhabitants, it is very important to recognise how much work and structural change is still needed to heal the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The health crisis this year in Australia is but one of many issues that highlight the continuing vulnerability and powerlessness of First Nations in their own country.
We reaffirm our full-hearted support for:
amendment of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act to enshrine a First Nations Voice in the Constitution;
establishment by legislation or letters patent of a Makarrata Commission to oversee a process of truth-telling about our history as a path to reconciliation between First Nations and other Australians and to oversee the making of agreements between First Nations and Federal and State governments.
Despite what has happened over the past 250 years, the First Nations of Australia have shown great dignity, patience, tenacity and generosity of spirit, inviting all Australians to walk with them to create a fuller expression of our shared nationhood.
We accept the invitation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart with gratitude and pledge to work with First Nations, all Federal and State politicians, local and city authorities, religious, ethnic and civil society organisations, business leaders and our fellow citizens in moving together towards a better future.
All Australian Jewish organisations are invited to declare their support for this statement during 2020 and the following have done so as at 27 May 2020, the 53rd anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and three years after the release of the Uluru Statement from the Heart:
ALEPH Melbourne, Ameinu Australia, Australian Union of Jewish Students, Betar Australia, Emanuel Synagogue, Habonim Dror Australia, Hashomer Hatzair Australia, Inner West Chavura, Jewish Labour Bund,Jewish Voices for Peace & Justice (NSW), Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, Jews for Refugees (Victoria), Kehilat Nitzan, Meretz Australia, Music for Refugees, Netzer Australia, NIF Australia, North Shore Temple Emanuel, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Progressive Judaism Victoria, SKIF, StandUp
The third potential outbreak which concerns me is anti-LGBT vilification. That is, attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals – and the LGBT community more broadly – claiming that we are somehow responsible for promulgating the coronavirus, or deserving of infection because of our supposed ‘sinful lifestyles’.
This is not a hypothetical fear, either. At the start of April, Melbourne Jewish radio station J-AIR broadcast the following homophobic and transphobic comments from a Rabbi Kessin:
But there is also no anti-LGBT vilification coverage in Victoria[iii] (meaning the earlier comments on a Melbourne Jewish radio station were likely lawful), or in Western Australia, South Australia or the Northern Territory.
Received from the Legislative Assembly on 12 September 2019:
An inquiry into current anti-vilification laws, their possible expansion, and/or extension of protections beyond existing classes to the Legal and Social Issues Committee for consideration and report no later than 1 September 2020.
The Committee should consider:
1) The effectiveness of the operation of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (the Act) in delivering upon its purposes; 2) The success or otherwise of enforcement of the Act, and the appropriateness of sanctions in delivering upon the Act’s purposes; 3) Interaction between the Act and other state and Commonwealth legislation; 4) Comparisons in the operation of the Victorian Act with legislation in other jurisdictions; 5) The role of state legislation in addressing online vilification. 6) The effectiveness of current approaches to law enforcement in addressing online offending. 7) Any evidence of increasing vilification and hate conduct in Victoria; 8) Possible extension of protections or expansion of protection to classes of people not currently protected under the existing Act; 9) Any work underway to engage with social media and technology companies to protect Victorians from vilification.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Resolution on Brunei passed at Plenum April 16 2019
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Resolution on Brunei passed at Plenum on April 16 2019.
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies:
Reaffirms its policy and that of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ):
calling for respect for the sanctity of the lives and dignity of all people; and
opposing any public or private conduct that incites hatred, ridicule or contempt of another person or class of persons on the ground of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Joins with the ECAJ and:
deplores the recent criminalisation of same-sex relationships between consenting adults under Brunei’s Syariah Penal Code, with punishments ranging from whipping and imprisonment through to death by stoning;
condemns the government of Brunei for introducing a law that mandates the brutal repression, persecution and death of LGBTIQ people;
commends Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong, among others, for publicly expressing to the government of Brunei their strong opposition to the new law; and
calls on the Australian government to make known its opposition to the legally-sanctioned persecution and vilification of LGBTIQ people to the governments of all countries in which such persecution and vilification occurs.
AUJS and the AZYC, in partnership with the Australian Jewish News, are proud to present The Great Debate for the federal seat of Macnamara. In the lead up to the federal election, it is vitally important for our community to ask questions and receive answers about the most pressing issues concerning us. This year, we’re giving YOU the power to ask those most burning questions on your mind. We’re opening up submissions now, so click here to submit your questions. Venue will be announced closer to the date. Confirmed to attend are: Josh Burns (Labor) Kate Ashmor (Liberal) Steph Hodgins May (Greens) This event is open to members of our community of all ages. We’re looking forward to stimulating debate and thoughtful dialogue!
Question by Michael Barnett:
“What is your party doing to ensure that all students, and also all teachers and other staff members, at religious schools are fully protected from both direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or intersex status?”
Listen to the question followed by responses from Steph Hodgins-May (Greens) @ 1:10, Josh Burns (ALP) @ 2:19, and Kate Ashmor (Liberal) @ 3:47:
.@josh4macnamara: "It is my belief and the belief of the @AustralianLabor that no one should be discriminated based on religion, gender or sexuality. Labor will help build the Pride Centre in St Kilda." #auspol#greatdebatemacnamara
Al M Fein Michael Barnett asking a question about religious discrimination against LGBTQI people.
Hannah Aroni Next qu: what is your party doing to ensure all students and teachers at religious schools are protected from direct and indirect discrimination re their gender, sexuality or intersex status
Al M Fein People in the audience are talking and giggling. How gross. But good applause.
Hannah Aroni Clarifying this is about uniforms, bathrooms, discrimination re parents, hiding relationships or identity, being forced to attend religious ceremonies w hurtful statements
Al M Fein Steph Hodgins May talking about support for Safe School and oppose religious based discrimination.
Al M Fein Talking more about funding mental health.
Al M Fein Huge applause.
Hannah Aroni Steph noting Greens are long time advocates of safe schools and oppose teacher exemptions from protection against discrimination. Also coming back to mental health funding and hoping to continue working w schools and community to keep kids safe. Big youth applause on that!
Al M Fein Josh Burns talking about most of the Jewish schools making statements condemning homophobia.
Hannah Aroni Josh referencing statements from many specific Jewish schools re not wanting the power to discriminate, saying he’s happy about that, saying we shouldn’t be able to discriminate against students or staff.
Al M Fein Josh sinking the boot into Scomo for bringing religious based discrimination back – funding a Pride Centre in St Kilda
Al M Fein Kate Ashmor talking about being in the Midsumma Pride rally.
Hannah Aroni Josh saying last year the PM sent kids home after reversing onthis issue. Says people should imagine kids going home for summer thinking about that. Noting in this electorate 82% voted for marriage equality, noted Labor commitment to building Pride Centre in St K
Al M Fein And Kate says she voted ‘yes’ in the marriage equality debate BUT she’s saying that she will ensure freedom of religion – and institutionalised homophobia.
Al M Fein Talking about funding in the budget for mental health – to applause.
Hannah Aroni Kate saying she voted yes bc as a Lib she supports freedom and human rights. But saying freedom of religion is a cornerstone of the comm and that parents should be able to choose the values taught in schools and saying she will be a strong voice for that. Saying she was happy w the 720 mil funding and 30 new headspace centres, 4 new ED clinics
Hannah Aroni Being pulled back on this to topic by the moderator. Moderator correcting Kate – Kate tried to claim changes to law didn’t pass parliament bc labor refused, Mod says no, this was bc Libs refused to pas Lab changes
Hannah Aroni Kate saying she supports law to protect students, but stands w the PM re teachers and is … wow how do I do justice to this
Al M Fein More men yelling over women.
Hannah Aroni She’s going on about not being a typical pollie and the crowd thinks she’s full of shit, and Josh has pushed back to say this shows where she stands on the issue
Al M FeinJosh just put Kate back in her box after she claimed that she was talking shit because she is not a ‘staffer’
Hannah Aroni Next qu is about pill testing and harm reduction re drug users