Macnamara Candidates Forum – Question on Discrimination in Religious Schools – April 7 2019

Macnamara Candidates Forum – 2019 Federal Election – Question on discrimination in religious schools

Great Debate Macnamara 2019 banner

The Great Debate: Macnamara (at Glen Eira Town Hall)

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:


Live-blogging via Galus Australis Community:

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 Fein Josh 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

Danby – principled politician with genuine convictions?

Guest article by Gregory Storer.

Michael Danby MP

Michael Danby MP has let us all know, well before the next election, that he won’t be standing again.

The member for Melbourne Ports has been in the seat since 1998.  That’s twenty years.

While Danby may have enjoyed the support of his Jewish constituency, that can’t be said about other demographics within his electorate.

Letters of congratulations and thanks have been pouring in for him.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry issued a glowing summary of Danby’s retirement, saying that it is sad news.  They talk about him being a ‘fearless champion for the arts and for many human rights causes, most especially those which have not been fashionable or popular, or which have attracted the ire of powerful interests.’

They then give two examples, Danby meeting with the Dalai Lama and his ‘passionate advocacy for Israel’.

Danby’s record isn’t so wonderful when it comes to human rights.  Despite his electorate being in the heart of a diverse area with not only a large Jewish population, but also a GLBTIQ cohort, he had to be dragged kicking and screaming into a supportive role for his ‘gay community’.

When the horrid knife attack at the Jewish Pride March of 2015 happened, the best he could do was like a tweet from Aleph Melbourne.

Michael Danby Twitter favourite re Jerusalem attack

It was a pretty simple ask. However, Danby has always kept his support for all things Jewish separate from his support for the GLBTIQ community.

When it came to the election in 2010 where I stood against him in Melbourne Ports, it soon became apparent that he didn’t want to muddy the waters.  He never addressed Jewish concerns or GLBITQ issues in the one media release. He ensured that his advertising was separate and had different messages for different audiences.  Which in itself may not be a big issue, except that he failed to represent the views of organisations such as Aleph, barely even acknowledging their existence. His main bragging point to the Jewish voters was how much he and the then-Labor Government had spent in the community; he called it “The golden era of Labor and Jewish Schools”.  Never once did he mention anything about gay rights or all the work he purported to do for the GLBTIQ community.

It’s also worth recalling his response to the horrific shooting of two young people in a gay community centre in Tel Aviv in 2009.  He didn’t have one.

When he was busy crowing about how he managed to change moderation policies on crickey.com.au and newmatilda.com.au, which he described as the “Dark and Ugly Recesses of the Internet” he simply ignored a local orthodox Jewish blog that was blatantly homophobic.  He took issue with Crikey and New Matilda for posting comments regarding the holocaust and talks about the anti-Semitism on their sites. He used his position to persuade them to make the changes. However, he couldn’t bring himself to address that hate blog from his own community that was almost daily pumping out the hate towards the GLBTIQ community.

The whole lack of support can be summed up with his approach to marriage equality.  So while he had been busily chasing the ‘gay vote’ for years in his electorate, he didn’t support equality at all in the parliament, despite claiming he was supportive.  I asked him during a candidates debate and he said that the Labor party would address the matter in the next parliament. He never did. When it did come to a vote, he abstained, he left the floor of the house.  He never attended one marriage equality rally to show support. He barely acknowledged the Pride March that went past his office every year.

So, while everyone is saying how much he’ll be missed and what a great supporter of the community he has been, just remember, the man played politics with the lives of those he was supposed to be representing.

He sought the vote of the gay and the Jewish community, but made sure that he never mention it to either community.

He went out of his way to call out human rights transgressions, but never once publicly supported Aleph in their attempts to raise sexuality and gender identity issues in his electorate.

He really hasn’t been a hero of Melbourne Ports.

Even in departing, he can’t even muster a few gay people to stand with him in front of his Yes window like he did on other occasions.

Danby office rainbow yes
Danby office Hands off our ABC
Danby office team

AME Media Release: Labor MP accused of “Taking orders from Abbott” over Marriage Equality – Michael Danby “Not representing his electorate”

Michael Danby letter on Marriage Equality - April 11 2013


Labor MP accused of “Taking orders from Abbott” over Marriage Equality – Michael Danby “Not representing his electorate”

Australian Marriage Equality
Media Release
Tuesday April 16th 2013

Marriage equality advocates are furious that Melbourne Ports MP, Michael Danby, has again refused to declare unconditional support for the issue.

In a letter to constituents Mr Danby – a Labor MP who has a conscience vote on the issue – has said he will not vote for same-sex marriage until the Coalition allows a conscience vote.

Spokesperson for Melbourne Ports for Marriage Equality, Tony Pitman, said Mr Danby’s position is absurd.

“Michael Danby’s decision not to vote for marriage equality until Coalition members are given a free vote means he’s effectively taking orders from Tony Abbott.”

“Melbourne Ports voters should be very angry that their local MP is showing no leadership on this issue and is again side-stepping it.”

“Quite simply, he’s not representing the views of the vast majority of his electorate.”

Mr Danby was absent from the parliamentary vote on marriage equality in August last year, something which it has taken him almost nine months to explain despite repeated requests to do so from constituents.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said Mr Danby is playing politics with an issue that is about people’s lives.

“Mr Danby should not be playing political games with an issue that directly affects many families in Melbourne Ports.”

“Making his vote conditional on something another party does shows a deep deficit of moral courage and leadership.”

“Either he is prepared to vote for marriage equality when it is next proposed or he is not.”

Mr Danby’s Liberal challenger in Melbourne Ports is Kevin Eckendahl who is a supporter of both marriage equality and a Liberal conscience vote on the issue.

In his letter to constituents Mr Danby wrote,

“I abstained from the vote on that bill (in August last year) because I did not think it fair that half the Parliament – the Labor Party – had a a free vote, while the other half – the Coalition parties – were ordered by the Leader Mr Abbott to vote against the bill. My position is that when the Parliament has a genuine free vote on a marriage equality bill…I will support such a bill.”

For more information contact Tony Pitman on 0431 150 788 or Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Two reasons why the ECAJ must vocalise its support for marriage equality « mikeybear

Two reasons why the ECAJ must vocalise its support for marriage equality « mikeybear.

Union for Progressive Judaism endorses ALP’s support for Marriage Equality

Following on from their May 2011 call for full marriage equality, the Union for Progressive Judaism issued a statement this week endorsing the decision by the Australian Labor Party to support marriage equality under Australian Law.

מוֹעצת הרבנים המתקדמים
Rabbinic Council of Progressive Rabbis

The Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ) together with the members of the Moetzah, the Rabbinic Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, Asia and New Zealand, support marriage equality under Australian law and welcome the decision of the Australian Labor Party to do the same.

Judaism teaches that all human beings are created betzelem Elohim (“in the image of God”) (Genesis 1:27) and are therefore entitled to full dignity and equality. The Jewish people are all too familiar with discrimination and worse, and we reject it however rationalised.

We believe that Australian law should guarantee equality in marriage and giving equality in religion and in terms of civil status. There is no reason for Australian law to limit or discriminate against the civil or legal rights of any individual or group.

We hope that the message “It’s time” will be embraced by the Australian Parliament and legislation granting full marriage equality will soon be enacted.

Steve Denenberg
Executive Director