Candidate statement: Felicity Frederico – Independent for Brighton

The following political statement has been supplied by Felicity Frederico who is running as a candidate for Brighton District in the 2022 Victorian State Government election.

Aleph Melbourne will endorse all political candidates who unconditionally support equal rights for LGBTIQ+ Jews and whose values align with ours.


STATEMENT FOR ALEPH MELBOURNE
FROM FELICITY FREDERICO OAM
INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR BRIGHTON ELECTORATE

Equality is one of the cornerstone issues of my campaign as the Community Independent Candidate for Brighton.

I stand in solidarity with the LGBTIQA+ and allied communities in my electorate and in Victoria. 

I pledge to work constructively with these communities should I be elected the MP for Brighton, and will consult with LGBTIQA+ organisations on every question coming before the Victorian Parliament impacting upon their lives. This consultation will include Aleph Melbourne and the Victorian Pride Lobby amongst others.

In particular, I support the Victorian Pride Lobby “Vision For Victoria” statement very strongly, and will do everything in my role as MP for Brighton to help make this a reality. Their vision statement can be found on my campaign Facebook Page: 

www.facebook.com/felicity4brighton22

The State Opposition has announced that it intends to wind back hard won protections for LGBTIQA+ people and single parents in employment in faith based institutions and schools.

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) has stated that it is satisfied with the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act (EOA) that prohibit discrimination in the hiring and firing practices of schools. I support the JCCV position absolutely.

The Australian Jewish News has reported that JCCV president Daniel Aghion stated, “The JCCV is comfortable with the present legislative settings. In particular, we understand that the larger Victorian Jewish day schools have not expressed a desire to exercise this power or a need for it.”

The AJN also reported that Bialik College principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner reiterated his firm opposition to any form of discrimination in schools, which he had stated in his submission to the 2018 Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry into legislative exemptions for faith-based schools. I fully support his 2018 Senate Submission and his stance against discrimination.

As the Independent MP for Brighton, I will strenuously oppose Liberal & National Party moves to wind back current protections in the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act, and will stand up for equality in employment of all Victorians, free from discrimination. I will also strenuously oppose any moves to repeal or water down so called “Conversion Therapy” legislation in Victoria. These practices are currently unlawful in our State, and I intend to keep it that way, given the profound damage they do, and the expert medical advice we have.

There are many other important issues facing the Victorian and Brighton LGBTIQA+ communities in this election campaign. I want to assure you, that having read, studied and understood the Victorian Pride Lobby State Election Platform, I am in fullest agreement with all of their specific initiatives, and will work towards making these a reality in Victoria. I attach a copy of the VPL Election Platform below.

If Aleph Melbourne have specific initiatives you wish to see implemented in Victoria and the Brighton electorate, i invite your feedback, and i will do everything possible to make these a reality too.

With my warm wishes and best regards,

Felicity Frederico
Community Independent Candidate for Brighton.
Brighton Deserves Better!


LGBTIQ-ELECTION-PLATFORM-2022

[PDF]

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?”

JCCV not seeking law change | AJN

FAITH-BASED SCHOOL STAFF

JCCV not seeking law change

‘The JCCV is comfortable with the present legislative settings. In particular, we understand that the larger Victorian Jewish day schools have not expressed a desire to exercise this power or a need for it.’

By PETER KOHN
October 27, 2022, 10:24 am 

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy in 2017. Photo: Peter Haskin

THE Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) stated this week that it is satisfied with the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act (EOA) that prohibit discrimination in hiring and firing practices of schools.

The roof body was responding to reports that Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy has committed a Coalition government to amending the EOA to allow faith-based schools to discriminate in selecting teaching staff who share the school’s values and beliefs.

Guy’s commitment to the change surfaced last week after he reportedly raised it during a meeting with the Islamic Council of Victoria, according to The Guardian Australia.

Contacted by The AJN, a Liberal Party spokesperson responded, “The Liberals will protect religious freedoms to allow Jewish schools to employ people who are aligned with their values. An individual’s sexuality, gender and ethnicity would also be equally protected from discrimination under these laws. Any proposed changes would only occur after broad consultation and would need to protect every Victorian from discrimination.”

Apart from some latitude in hiring religious education teachers, Victorian schools have not been allowed to discriminate when hiring teaching staff since June, after changes to the EOA which prohibit staff selection made on sexual, gender identity or marital status.

Contacted by The AJN this week, JCCV president Daniel Aghion stated, “The JCCV is comfortable with the present legislative settings. In particular, we understand that the larger Victorian Jewish day schools have not expressed a desire to exercise this power or a need for it.”

Approached for comment, Mount Scopus Memorial College principal Rabbi James Kennard told The AJN, “Mount Scopus does not mandate, and never would mandate, that teachers’ and students’ lifestyles reflect the school’s religious values. Therefore this proposed change would not affect our school.”

Bialik College principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner reiterated his firm opposition to any form of discrimination in schools, which he had stated in his submission to the 2018 Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry into legislative exemptions for faith-based schools.

Independent candidate for Hawthorn Melissa Lowe stated, “Victorians have repeatedly shown that they don’t support discrimination based on gender or sexuality.”

Meanwhile, the Coalition stated it would provide an additional $3.3 million over the next four years to the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria to enable it to better serve multicultural communities, as well as a further one-off $100,000, should its application for charitable status be successful.

A sense of Jewish pride | AJN

‘FANTASTIC SUPPORT’

A sense of Jewish pride

The annual Midsumma Pride March received fantastic support from the community.

By AJN STAFF
February 13, 2022, 10:00 am 

The Jewish community was out in force at the annual Midsumma Pride March last Sunday. With crowds back to normal after the pandemic, there was rapturous applause for the 70 -strong Jews of Pride contingent, with everyone clapping and dancing along to the Jewish music.

Participating organisations included Aleph Melbourne, the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, Temple Beth Israel, Habonim Dror, Hashomer Hatzair, Zionism Victoria, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), Pathways Melbourne, SKIF and Temple Beth Israel.

Aleph co-convenor Michael Barnett told The AJN “I am heartened to see the fantastic support from Jewish youth groups, providing a safe and inclusive space for LGBTIQ+ people. We also have more parents and families of young people attending, crucial to the safe development of their children.”

The sentiment was echoed by regular participant, Naomi Barnett, who said it was her best ever Pride March yet, with so much enthusiasm from the sidelines for the Jewish presence.

JCCV vice president Doron Abramovici reflected, “It is a wonderful experience for all Jewish organisations to march together, as a unified group.

JCCV and ZV support new Israeli surrogacy statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Please see our statement alongside Zionism Victoria regarding Israel’s Supreme Court decision to remove restrictions for same-sex couples and single men to become parents.

“The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and Zionism Victoria (ZV) welcome the decision handed down by Israel’s Supreme Court that removes restrictions for same-sex couples and single men to become parents. As the elected Jewish Victorian roof bodies in our community, we advocate for the interests of all our constituents and fully support this inclusive statement on surrogacy in Israel.

The ruling said that “[a]s it has been determined that the [current] arrangement is unconstitutional, ‘a lack of political feasibility’ cannot justify the connotation of severe harm to basic rights.” The court ruled that restrictions on surrogacy for same-sex couples and single fathers in Israel must be lifted within six months, giving authorities time to prepare for the change.

Surrogacy was previously permitted for heterosexual couples and single women in Israel but the law excluded same-sex couples and single men.

Daniel Aghion, President of the JCCV states that “Good parents are defined by the love and care for children, not by the gender and sexual orientation of parents.”

Yossi Goldfarb acknowledges that Israel, once again proves to be a beacon of democracy and inclusiveness in the Middle East.

The JCCV and ZV stand by our LGBTIQ+ community members and wholeheartedly welcome this change.”

PRESS RELEASE: Jewish Care Victoria Welcomes Legislative Ban on Harmful LGBTI+ Conversion Practices

2021-MEDIA-RELEASE-Jewish-Care-Victoria-Welcomes-Legislative-Ban-on-Harmful-LGBIT-Conversion-Practices-FINAL

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Media Release: Aleph Melbourne welcomes Victorian Government protections against conversion practices

MEDIA RELEASE
FEBRUARY 7 2021
ALEPH MELBOURNE WELCOMES VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT
PROTECTIONS AGAINST CONVERSION PRACTICES

Aleph Melbourne welcomes the passage of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 and congratulates the Victorian Government for their unflinching support in this journey.

Many same-sex attracted and gender diverse Jews have been victims of disreputable people and organisations within and beyond the Jewish community who have performed destructive conversion practices, often with long-lasting negative or even fatal consequences.

This legislation sends a clear message that no longer is it acceptable or legal to tell someone they are broken because of their gender identity or sexual orientation and then attempt to make the person conform to an unnatural identity.

Knowing our state government, under the capable leadership of Premier Daniel Andrews, has taken this issue seriously proves it cares about the well-being of people with diverse sexual and gender identities.

Victoria has set a high bar on this important issue, and we hope that other states around Australia are motivated to tighten their laws similarly.

We acknowledge the tireless dedication of the Brave Network, SOGICE Survivors, Jewish Care, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Just Equal and Equality Australia, together with the many individuals and networks who have helped in bringing about this visionary change.

END

CONTACT
Michael Barnett – Co-convenor
0417-595-541
michael@aleph.org.au


Correcting the record

Whilst grateful for the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s sincere apology to Aleph Melbourne in 2019, the apology was not exactly for “[Aleph’s] 1999 exclusion from the JCCV” as stated here by outgoing President Jennifer Huppert:

Oboler takes the reins from Jennifer Huppert, who served two three-year terms. The lawyer and former Labor MLC told The AJN the JCCV’s role in the Victorian Jewish Community Bushfire Relief Appeal and in the Jewish Community COVID Taskforce were key developments on her watch, as was obtaining funding for communal security. Bringing in LGBTIQ group Keshet and the apology to gay-rights group Aleph for its 1999 exclusion from the JCCV were milestones. She noted, “Gen17 showed that Jewish people identify in many different ways.”

“Andre Oboler takes the JCCV reins” | AJN (Nov 19 2020)

The exact wording of the JCCV apology, as taken from the Motion to JCCV Plenum – April 2019, is:

Accordingly, this Plenum now apologises unconditionally to all members of our community who were impacted by the rejection of the membership application and for the unacceptable homophobic views expressed during the debate.

We apologise for the deep offence and humiliation caused by the hateful words spoken in the course of the debate.

We apologise for the subsequent distress, further marginalisation and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of Aleph Melbourne’s membership application.

Candidate statement: David Zyngier Greens for Camden Ward – Glen Eira Council

The following political statement has been supplied by David Zyngier who is running as a candidate for Camden Ward – Glen Eira Council in the 2020 Local Government elections.

Aleph Melbourne will endorse all political candidates who unconditionally support equal rights for LGBTIQ+ Jews and whose values align with ours.


David Zyngier, Greens candidate for Camden Ward, Glen Eira Council: Supporting our LGBTIQ+ Community.

I am running for elections for Camden Ward in the forthcoming Glen Eira Council elections and will be an advocate for the LGBTIQ+ community in Glen Eira. I am requesting the support of Aleph and its members.

Beginning with my university days at Monash in the 1970s, I have been an advocate for the equal rights of LGBTIQ+ people and for members of the Jewish LGBTIQ+ community in particular.

As far back as 1999, I wrote a letter of support for Aleph Melbourne which was published in the Australian Jewish News (and featured on Aleph website). I condemned the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s bigoted behaviour in rejecting the membership of Aleph Melbourne. I wrote at that time:

“In a momentous and shameful vote of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, on Monday 10 May, the Jewish gay support group, Aleph was refused membership of the JCCV. It has been only a generation since Jews and homosexuals were forced to wear badges of coloured cloth – how quickly we seem to forget that we are inseparably linked by a very common but tragic history. … I can only say how ashamed I feel to be part of such a community that has turned its back on our fellow Jews.”

Twenty years later, in 2019, I was contacted by Aleph Melbourne to support their efforts to right this wrong. I worked together with Aleph Melbourne to write and facilitate a formal public apology from the JCCV. This was a bittersweet victory – yes, an apology had been received, but only after two decades of struggle by the LGBTQI+ community and its allies.

In my role as an advocate for public education, I led a campaign together with Fairness in Religious Education (FIRIS) to remove the bigoted and homophobic Special Religious Education program from our public primary schools. I have been a strong and loud public advocate of the Safe School Program. I have joined the call for the scrapping of the federally funded School Chaplains Program. Along with other activists, I have called for those funds to be invested in secular, unbiased and inclusive support for students through counsellors and through antibullying initiatives such as the Safe Schools Program.

The Greens, more than any other political party, will always advocate for the rights of LGBTIQ+ residents in Glen Eira and beyond, championing diversity and calling out discrimination, bias, and bigotry. As the first party to support and actively campaign to remove discrimination in marriage, we are so proud of what a strong and united community campaign can do to make positive change.

Yet, we recognise that there is so much more to be done. Our MPs, councillors, and members are committed to stand at the forefront of efforts for equal rights, social acceptance, and human dignity for all.

The Greens Party is proud of our strong and active LGBTIQ+ membership who have led the way in developing the detailed statement of policies outlined here, https://greens.org.au/vic/policies/sexual-orientation-gender-identity-and-intersex-policy

Authorised by M. Shields 1/45 William St. Melbourne Vic 3000

Jewish community submissions to Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections

Aleph Melbourne, together with other Jewish Community organisations, have provided submissions to the Victorian Government Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections.

Details of the inquiry, along with links to the submissions, are presented here.


Terms of Reference

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.

Terms of Reference – Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections


Submissions

The following submissions have been accepted by the Committee:

# 26. Jewish Community Council of Victoria
# 38. Online Hate Prevention Institute [supplementary submission]
# 55. Australian Jewish Association [supplementary submission]
# 57. Union for Progressive Judaism
# 58. Aleph Melbourne [supplementary submission]


Hearings and Transcripts

 Past Hearings:

Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Meeting room G.1, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne

TimeWitnessTranscript
12:45pmJewish Community Council of Victoria
Jennifer Huppert, President
 Transcript

Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Meeting room G.6, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne and via videoconference

TimeWitnessTranscript
1:30pmAustalian Jewish Association
Dr David Adler, President
Ted Lapkin, Executive Director
 Transcript

Wednesday, 24 June 2020
Meeting room G.6, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne and via videoconference

TimeWitnessTranscript
11:20amUnion for Progressive JudaismTranscript

Tuesday, 25 June 2020
Meeting room G.6, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne and via videoconference

TimeWitnessTranscript
12:50pmExecutive Council of Australian JewryTranscript