Candidate statement: Darren Natale – Labor for Malvern

The following political statement has been supplied by Darren Natale who is running as a candidate for Malvern 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.


I believe everyone has the right to be who they are, and live life without fear of discrimination or vilification.

As a proud member of the queer community, it’s so important that any organisation I’m involved in – in the community, in business, or in politics – is inclusive to all.

Labor has taken great strides towards equality for LGBTQI+ identifying people in Victoria, introducing the Safe Schools program and banning ‘conversion therapy’.

Dan Andrews actively walks the talk, as powerfully symbolised in 2015, when he became the first Victorian Premier to march at the Midsumma Pride March.

But with the Liberals already talking about loosening discrimination law to fire or not hire LGBTQI+ staff, we can’t stop now.

I’m dedicated to continuing the fight for the safety, freedom and equality of all LGBTQI+ people in Victoria, and supporting great organisations like Aleph, who do amazing work to advocate for our voices to be heard.

Candidate statement: Steve Dimopoulos – Labor for Oakleigh

The following political statement has been supplied by Steve Dimopoulos who is running as a candidate for Oakleigh 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.


Dear Michael,

Thank you for the opportunity.

I have a belief that everyone should be able to live their life unencumbered by bigotry and prejudice.

I am very proud of the track record that the Andrews Labor Government has in supporting the LGBTQI+ community including the introduction of the Safe Schools program to create a safe environment for children, the banning of gay conversion therapy, the building and opening of the Gay Pride Centre in St Kilda and sponsoring the first Pride match at AAMI park. Premier Dan Andrews has marched in Pride March since the first year he became Premier and continues to do so. There is a lot more I can say about, the support of the Government that I am a member of, for the LGBTQI+ community including mental health and festival funding but I want to leave you with the following – a big part of the reason I can be out as a Minister and an MP in the Government is because of the culture of our Government.

I will continue to support and advocate for the LGBTIQ+ community.

Steve Dimopoulos

Caulfield Great Debate: Religious Discrimination

Audio extract from the November 3 2022 Caulfield Great Debate candidates forum, where the candidates discuss the proposed Liberal Party legislation to water down anti-discrimination legislation and how this may adversely impact LGBTIQ+ people.

Speakers: David Southwick MP (Liberal), Lior Harel (ALP), Nomi Kaltmann (independent), Rachel Iampolski (Greens), Julie Szego (moderator)

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.

Candidate statement: Lior Harel – Labor for Caulfield

The following political statement has been supplied by Lior Harel 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.


26 October 2022

Michael Barnett
Co-Convenor
Aleph Melbourne

Dear Michael,

It was a pleasure catching up with you some weeks ago to better understand the work of Aleph Melbourne as a social, support and advocacy group for LGBTIQ+ persons who identify as Jewish or who have a Jewish heritage.

As we discussed, I remember first meeting you when you came to speak to a group of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students at a Winter Conference in 1999. Your longstanding advocacy for the LGBTQI+ community is to be commended.

I am extremely proud that the current Andrews Government was the first government in the world to formally apologise to people convicted under historical laws against homosexual sex. Since its election in 2014, this Government has introduced a raft of reforms to better the lives of the LGBTIQ+ community. Some of these reforms have included:

  • Expunging old criminal convictions for homosexual activity
  • Establishing a Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ communities
  • Allowing couples to adopt regardless of their sex or gender identity
  • Banning practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity

I am especially proud of the release, earlier this year, of a landmark 10-year plan to drive inclusion for LGBTIQ+ communities, which was coupled with a $6.5m investment to make organisations safer and more inclusive for LGBTIQ+ Victorians, support the health and wellbeing of people with an intersex variation and continue peer support for trans and gender diverse Victorians. It is important that LGBTIQ+ Victorians have access to specialist and mainstream services that meets their needs, including healthcare services and mental health services.

The Victorian Pride Centre, opened in July last year, is exemplary of the current Andrews Government’s commitment to celebrate and honour all parts of the diverse Victorian community.

Whilst I do not wish to comment in any detail on the position of our political opponents on these matters, I note for the record my great disappointment at the Victorian Opposition’s recent policy pledge to wind back protections from discrimination in religious schools. I see this as an alarming step backwards for all Victorians.

As we discussed, I would be interested in hearing more about where the LGBTIQ+ community believes further funding and advocacy is needed, particularly in the healthcare space. It is my hope that if elected I can be part of an Andrews Government that leads the way in LGBTIQ+ equality, and the celebration of LGBTIQ+ culture and community.

I look forward to catching up again soon!

Kind Regards,

Lior Harel
ALP Candidate for Caulfield


20221026-Lior-Harel-Labor-for-Caulfield-Letter-to-Aleph-Melbourne

[PDF]

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

Zoe Goodhardt, Liebler Yavneh College, religious freedom and equality

One parent at Leibler Yavneh College is reported to not value “freedom and equality” for her children despite the school stating it won’t discriminate against LGBTIQ students and staff.

On the front page of The Australian today (“Keeping religion alive lies at heart of family’s values”; Dec 14 2018) Brad Norington and Elias Visontay write of parent Zoe Goodhardt’s decision to send her children to Orthodox Jewish school Leibler Yavneh College:

20181214 The Australian front page

When it comes to freedom and equality, she says there are plenty of other schools for parents to enrol their children, but choosing a school for Ezra, Rami and ­Jasmine was about choosing a community.

The article concludes with:

Mr Morrison confirmed yesterday that his government had ­accepted most recommendations of a review by former Howard government minister Philip Ruddock into religious freedoms.

Attempting to defuse a parliamentary impasse over the treatment of gay students within religious schools, Mr Morrison will refer this issue for further ­review by the Australian Law ­Reform Commission.

Legislation enabling same-sex marriage has created theological and ethical difficulties for several religious schools, including Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Coptic-Christian and Catholic, where it may clash with traditional teachings

On November 27 2018 J-Wire reported of Leibler Yavneh College:

Principal Cherylyn Skewes and Chair Avi Gilboa stated: “Our College ethos is underpinned by Jewish Law (Halacha) which mandates love and compassion towards our fellow. As such, we ask that the Senate Inquiry ensures that no student or staff member suffers any form of discrimination including those relating to sexual orientation and gender.

It’s unclear exactly what Zoe Goodhardt had in mind when she was responding to a question from The Australian on “freedom and equality”, but what is clear is the position Leibler Yavneh College has made on not discriminating against LGBTIQ students and staff.

It’s disappointing comment was not sought by The Australian from the school’s principal, as this would have offered the necessary degree of balance and perspective that is typically absent from this publication’s content.


Keeping religion alive lies at heart of family’s values

Zoe Goodhardt with her children, Ezra, 6, Jasmine, 1, and Rami, 4, at their home in Caulfield, Melbourne. Picture: David Geraghty
Zoe Goodhardt with her children, Ezra, 6, Jasmine, 1, and Rami, 4, at their home in Caulfield, Melbourne. Picture: David Geraghty

Sending her three children to Leibler Yavneh College at Elsternwick, in Melbourne’s southeast, is a form of “life insurance” for Zoe Goodhardt.

But this is an insurance policy like no other. It is the guarantee, Ms Goodhardt says, that her family’s Jewish faith and way of life can continue untrammelled.

So it is no surprise as rising secularism clashes with the beliefs and values of traditional faiths that Ms Goodhardt, 32, has rushed to support Scott Morrison’s pledge to protect religious freedom.

The Prime Minister’s commitment to overhaul federal discrimination laws, revealed in The Australian yesterday, is intended to introduce new provisions prohibiting discrimination against the right of individuals to practise their religions.

“I think it’s our right, and the right of the school, to cultivate a community at the school in line with their ethos and values,” Ms Goodhardt says.

When it comes to freedom and equality, she says there are plenty of other schools for parents to enrol their children, but choosing a school for Ezra, Rami and ­Jasmine was about choosing a community.

At Yavneh College, that community is based around the modern orthodox school’s mission to adhere to Jewish law (Halacha), ethical behaviour (Derech Eretz) and Zionist ideals.

Mr Morrison’s pledge on religious freedom will allow Yavneh to keep its strict admission policy permitting Orthodox Jews only.

“I know the kids could get a great education at a public school, but I want them to grow up in a community with our values,” Ms Goodhardt says.

“It’s problematic to think that the school I and my family have grown up in wouldn’t have the right to continue with their ­culture.”

Ms Goodhardt, a marketing manager, lives with her husband, Dan, and their children in Caulfield North, a suburb in the heart of Melbourne’s Jewish community, the nation’s largest.

Both also attended Yavneh.

Zoe Goodhardt’s parents were the children of Holocaust survivors, originally from Lodz, Poland, who arrived in Australia after the war looking for a safe Jewish community.

Mr Goodhardt, a counter-­terrorism analyst, arrived from England as a boy with his parents, whose similar quest was “for a free Jewish community”.

The family, says Ms Goodhardt, feels safe but with much thanks to the Jewish community in Melbourne that has been able to grow. Daughter Ezra, 6, has just finished Grade 1 at Yavneh while Rami, 4, has completed senior kinder at the school; Jasmine, 1, will start at the Yavneh creche next year.

In its mission statement, ­Yavneh says the school strives to develop resilient, independent learners equipped to “participate effectively as Jews in the outside world”. The school embraces Australian heritage as well, encouraging students to take pride in it and contribute to the nation’s future.

Mr Morrison confirmed yesterday that his government had ­accepted most recommendations of a review by former Howard government minister Philip Ruddock into religious freedoms.

Attempting to defuse a parliamentary impasse over the treatment of gay students within religious schools, Mr Morrison will refer this issue for further ­review by the Australian Law ­Reform Commission.

Legislation enabling same-sex marriage has created theological and ethical difficulties for several religious schools, including Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Coptic-Christian and Catholic, where it may clash with traditional teachings.

Moriah College rejects all discrimination against LGBTIQ staff and students

Moriah College’s statement on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Moriah College logo cropped.jpg

Aleph Melbourne warmly welcomes Moriah College’s statement rejecting all legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students and staff.

Further to their statement “We expect staff to act publicly in a manner that is not inconsistent with the ethos, tenets and values of the school.” the school advises “that Moriah’s expectations are the same for, and of, all staff”.

See our table of responses from Jewish schools across Australia.

20181206-Moriah-College-position-on-discrimination

UJEB’s statement on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

UJEB’s statement on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

UJEB logo

Aleph Melbourne warmly welcomes a statement from the United Jewish Education Board (UJEB) rejecting discrimination against students, parents, teachers or other members of staff on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

See our table of responses from Jewish schools across Australia.

20181204-UJEB-statement-on-discrimination-based-on-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity

Jewish community responses to religious discrimination in schools

Jewish Community responses to the removal of discrimination against staff and students at religious schools.

This table will be updated as further details come to hand.
Last update: 5:54pm 04-Dec-2018

Organisation (click for statement)StateRemove exemptions
Bialik CollegeVIC
The King David SchoolVIC
Mount Scopus Memorial CollegeVIC
Leibler Yavneh CollegeVIC
Mount Sinai CollegeNSW
Emanuel SchoolNSW
Institute for Judaism and CivilisationVIC
Aleph MelbourneVIC
Sholem Aleichem CollegeVIC
Moriah CollegeNSW
United Jewish Education BoardVIC
Yeshivah & Beth Rivkah CollegesVIC
NSW Board of Jewish EducationNSW
Board of Progressive Jewish EducationNSW
Carmel SchoolWA
Sinai CollegeQLD