Aleph Melbourne is pleased to receive the following statement from David Southwick MP, Member for Caulfield and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.
STATEMENT ON DISTURBING EVENTS ON THE STEPS OF PARLIAMENT HOUSE – 18 MARCH 2023
The past fortnight has been a difficult time for Victoria’s LGBTQIA+ and Jewish communities.
The shocking events we’ve seen outside Parliament House, where neo-Nazis displayed open hate and vilification towards our Transgender community, do not reflect who we are as a State.
I want to reiterate my support and alliance with the entire LGBTQIA+ community.
Throughout my parliamentary career, I have fostered deep connections with LQBTQIA+ community and have a genuine appreciation for all they do to make our state a better place. Together, we have campaigned to legalise same-sex marriage, ban gay conversion therapy, and stood shoulder to shoulder at pride events.
Victoria is a place where everyone should be free to be their authentic self, regardless religion, race, gender, sexual preference and identity.
My party will work with the government to ensure Victoria Police have the powers, resources and training to stamp out these shocking acts of hate.
As Deputy Opposition Leader and Member for Caulfield, I will continue to call out discrimination wherever I see it and work to make Victoria a more tolerant and inclusive place.
The following political statement has been supplied by David Southwick who is running as a candidate for Caulfield 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.
2 November 2022 Mr. Michael Barnett Co-Convenor Aleph Melbourne Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leading into the state election this November, I wanted to reach out to you and affirm my support for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Over the years, I’ve been pleased to join you and members of Aleph at Midsumma and show allyship with a community that gives so much to our state. Our diversity – whether it be diversity of sexuality, religion, race, ethnicity, or gender identity – is our strength. Supporting all people, no matter where on the spectrums of sexuality and gender identity they may sit, is a fundamental part of what I believe in.
Recently, the Victorian Liberals supported the Andrews Government in passing laws to outlaw Gay Conversion Therapy. There is no place in Victoria for such barbaric practices and changing these laws ensured that.
The Liberals will protect religious freedoms to allow Jewish schools to employ people who are aligned with their values. These laws will not grant schools any power to terminate staff based on values and no existing staff would be impacted by the changes. Just as importantly, an individual’s sexuality, gender identity and ethnicity would also be equally protected from discrimination and unfair dismissal under these laws. Any proposed changes would only occur after extensive community consultation (including with Aleph) and would need to protect every single Victorian from discrimination.
I want to give you my iron-clad guarantee that any amendment to the Equal Opportunity Act will protect our LGBTQIA+ community from discrimination. As Liberals, our belief in equality is non-negotiable.
In 1981, it was a Hamer Liberal Government that decriminalised homosexual activity. In 2014, I was proud to be part of a Government that took the historic step to expunge these archaic convictions from the record. In 2017, as the Turnbull Government delivered gay marriage, I watched with pride as my former colleague Tim Wilson proposed to his now-husband Ryan on the floor of Parliament. A year later, a Federal Liberal Government put PrEP on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for the very first time.
A future Victorian Liberal Government will deliver a dedicated professional legal support service for the LGBTQIA+ community, which will be based at the Pride Centre. We will also invest $1 million over 4 years into Joy 94.9, so they can continue to bring the community together.
I look forward to continuing working with Aleph to determine where funding, support and advocacy can be most impactful.
After the 26th of November, I hope to stand with you as part of a Victorian Liberal Government that supports, respects and protects every community and every Victorian. We will always defend equality.
David Southwick Member for Caulfield Deputy Victorian Liberal Leader
‘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.’
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.
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
Put David Southwick and the Liberal Party last in Caulfield in the 2018 Victorian State Education
Liberal Party candidate and Caulfield incumbent David Southwick declared at the Caulfield Candidates Forum that he will scrap Safe Schools, a program that specifically supports LGBTIQ youth.
Disappointingly he has fallen for the perfidy of ultra-conservative forces both within and beyond the Liberal Party.
David Southwick could have informed himself of the facts around the Safe Schools program, he could have spoken to young people who have benefitted from Safe Schools, and he could have spoken to Jewish Care and the JCCV about Safe Schools, but he didn’t.
David Southwick, Matthew Guy and the Liberal Party are not friends of LGBTIQ people because their policies will harm LGBTIQ people.
In the 2018 Victorian State Election Aleph Melbourne recommends voters in the district of Caulfield put David Southwick LAST on the Legislative Assembly ballot paper and favour a progressive party that prioritises LGBTIQ issues on the Legislative Council ballot paper.
Authorised by M Barnett 2/24 Winbirra Parade Ashwood VIC 3147
Australian Marriage Equality
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.