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What policies are on the agenda?

By RosemaryJ36  

Please will someone tell me why we are paying our Parliamentarians? And why is religion in the headlines? And why is the government so ignorant on science?

The Coalition went to the election with only one, 3-stage tax policy, with regular reminders, as soon as they were re-elected, that they had a mandate to get the policy accepted and passed into law by the new Parliament.

Under its new leader, Labor protested at being expected to pass laws affecting the future economy when we were in no position to predict with any accuracy whether that policy would be economically viable at the time. They unsuccessfully sought amendments to change the timeline and omit the third stage.

Having made their protest, and despite having previously been criticised when they indicated that, if in power when the third stage of the policy was to become active, they would repeal it, then instead of honourably abstaining from supporting it, they voted for the unamended policy. In this process, IMHO, they have unnecessarily created a possible problem should they get back into power but that is in the (uncertain) future.

The Coalition, led by an evangelical individual (feel free to replace that last noun by a less respectful one) who seems incapable of distinguishing between fact and fiction, appears to have little more work set down in its agenda.

The only item they see as being of any immediate importance is to ‘honour’ an unnecessary promise to present to Parliament legislation providing religious protection.

I am far from being alone in thinking that this is duplication of effort, because the Australian Constitution, in s116, provides that the Commonwealth government cannot make laws which prohibit the free exercise of any religion.

Importantly, it also ‘precludes the Commonwealth of Australia (i.e., the federal parliament) from making laws for establishing any religion’.

The world has many religions and most if not all of the major ones would be practised by some of the existing residents of this country. Christianity is only one of many, but it tends to be favoured by many of European heritage because, through a variety of guises, it was the religion of most of Europe and many colonised by European countries.

Not all Australians follow any religion at all, many being either agnostic or atheist, and the governments of Australia are all regarded as being secular. Irritatingly, despite this, many Parliaments act as if Christianity was indeed the national religion, by holding prayers at the opening of Parliamentary session. Again, I am not alone in deploring this divisive action.

Few would deny that the ethics which are recorded as having been preached by Jesus Christ during his lifetime, if accepted by all, could provide a basis for a harmonious community. But there is no need to insist that you need to believe in one, or any, gods in order to behave ethically.

The story of the Good Samaritan is a clear picture of the benefit of treating others as you would wish to be treated.

One could list many features of ancient religions which resulted from ignorance and much that we take for granted today would have caused the ancients to either claim a miracle had occurred, or cause uproar and refusal to accept reality.

It is more than 2 millennia since the founding of the Jewish nation was recorded in the books of the Old Testament, and in that time much has changed.

There are many laws and rituals concerning food in Judaism (as well as for Islam and many other religions) which, when first devised, were sensible, given that refrigeration was not yet invented. Now, of course, in the context of kosher and halal foods, they are conscientiously adhered to by the faithful as embedded in religious life, even though they were simply commonsense health rules in the first instance.

Christianity has many branches and some sects seem to rely more heavily on the Old Testament, despite calling themselves Christian, and in consequence they ignore or even warp the message of love for all mankind embedded in the message in the gospels in the New Testament.

Others put more emphasis on the Book of Revelations and the much looked for second coming of Christ and the end of the world. Members of many sects regard it as their duty to bring the word to others so that they can be forgiven their sins and enjoy life after death. In a secular country this is misplaced.

But more importantly, much that was unknown in ancient times has now been clarified by science. Most, if not all, that is now achieved by modern medicine would definitely have been regarded by the ancients as miraculous!

Many anomalous situations associated with birth have been linked by the religious with miracles or manifestations of gods. Conjoined twins, formerly known as Siamese twins, have for some time now been able in many cases to be separated successfully but some of these events have been accorded fame as religious manifestations.

But it’s when fact and ‘belief’ clash that the real problems arise.

We now know as fact that not all babies are born as straight male or straight female. Those classifications exist at either end of a rainbow spectrum which covers the LGBTIQ community.

Some babies, who appear to be ‘straight’, develop into a confused individual whose sexuality does not match their apparent gender. Some actually are born with both sets of sexual organs, and in the past, doctors have operated to remove visible ambiguity, but not necessarily to match the later adult’s mentally-accepted sexual orientation.

We have laws which make it illegal for a child to be sexually abused by an adult or a person in a position of power over the child. This is paedophilia, and science tells us that the mental state of the offending adult is often resistant to re-education.

Until very recently in history, many countries had laws banning sexual relations between two adult males, and such laws still exist and are enforced in some countries, mainly ones which were colonised by Britain and adopted British laws.

Now, the knowledge revealed by science that same sex attraction is not an aberration, but a natural phenomenon for a minority, has resulted in a complete revision of laws in this area and a recognition that many old attitudes and expectations need to be totally revised.

So, if there are a few verses in the bible which appear (the translation has been challenged) to condemn homosexuality as sinful and abhorrent, we can now ignore them as made in ignorance of modern knowledge.

To continue to ‘believe’ homosexuality is sinful on the basis that ‘it is in the bible’, and to condemn those who are gay, is not acceptable in today’s world. It is also harmful to young people who are coming to grips with the apparent mismatch between their body and their sexuality.

Unlearning is always harder than learning. It is really great that so many sporting codes are taking the initiative in requiring their players to be inclusive in accepting as equals fellow sportspeople of any sexual orientation. This is necessary if we are to prevent the continuation of ignorant prejudice.

There are still some problems to be ironed out. Women athletes like Caster Semenya, who naturally produce high levels of testosterone, have been challenged by sporting authorities as having an unfair advantage in competing against other women.

So, making laws to protect people’s religious freedom, when it is already enshrined in the Constitution, is redundant. If anything, we need the non-religious to be protected from those whose ill-founded ‘beliefs’ indicate a refusal to accept the facts of life!

Apart from the polling errors in relation to who would win the election, the polls have for some time been consistent in indicating that at least 60% of the population accepts, as fact, that mankind is contributing to climate change and we need, as a matter of extreme urgency, to take action to reduce emission from burning fossil fuel.

I seriously wonder whether hope for entry into the rapture and the consequent end of the world is at the root of Scott Morrison’s concentrating on religion and ignoring science.

We have wasted nearly 40 years in ignoring the evidence and we are now too late to prevent temperatures from rising to levels which will cause severe problems.

The Coalition would do well to accept the science and work with the Opposition to develop the necessary policies to deal as effectively as possible with the Climate Emergency. Life on earth is seriously threatened and needs priority consideration!

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12 comments

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  1. Baby Jewels

    Tell me about it. It’s enough to make a sane person cry.

  2. Terence Mills

    I have noted that the Sky-after-Dark (SAD) enthusiastic presenters are all nodding sagely and saying that we definitely need religious protections – mainly for Christians it seems – but so far nobody has explained in which way religions are in need of protections that they don’t already have : anybody ?

    When this legislation is finally released let’s hope that this government leaves it on the table so that there can be mature and robust community discussion rather than trying to ram it through in two days as has been their approach in the past.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition.

    Sounds good to me.

  4. pierre wilkinson

    hard to see how they can disguise their religious freedom legislation to exclude all of other faiths
    but a good read, thanks RosemaryJ36
    and when will the Labor party start standing up for the truth about the fiscal responsibility lacking in the government?

  5. anonymous

    In my humble opinion it will become apparent that the “Religous freedom” legislation will really be about ensuring that religious organisations can maintain their charity and tax free status regardless of what crap they come out with and who they offend or damage.

    As always, its more about money than anything else.

  6. Kerri

    Dare I mention the simple fact that prior to the conception of his first “miracle” “god’s Plan” daughter, the pious ScoMo seemed happy to put faith in the science of In-Vitro Fertilisation??
    Seems science is believable at times of convenience?

  7. Florence Howarth

    Do the people who demand religious freedom also respect the spirituality of Indigenous people? I suspect there is little difference between their Dreamtime & creation story? I have heard it said they had no problem adopting Christianity as it fitted in with their own beliefs.

    Tell me if am wrong in that they have their own gods but they are of the earth, not in some faraway place like heaven. Their sacred places are not massive cathedrals but in the lands around them. Places that have been important for them for many thousands of years.

    I would love someone to take the time, give us an outline of where Indigenous spirituality comes from.

  8. Lambert Simpleton

    Religious Freedom in the Tory context only involves the employ of Freedom of Religion concepts as a means to actually shut down freedom of speech and movement for anyone not abiding by the strict rules that fundamentalism imposes to ensure mindless conformity.

  9. Wobbley

    Ayatollah Horriscum anybody??? I think there should be legislation to protect the wider community from RWNJ’s religious fanaticism. Don’t forget that lurking fascist happy clapper, the member for Menzies. They’re all religious fascist nut jobs in this “govment”. Revolution NOW!!!!!

  10. Keitha Granville

    Terence – I admire your use of the terms “mature and robust community discussion” in the same sentence as “this government”, a contradiction in terms I believe.

    None of the current mob would know a Christian if they fell over one. I can only imagine what Jesus would think of them.

  11. Wam

    The LNP went to the election determined to lose as honourably as possible. Labor went to the election expecting to win and the loonies went to get as much cash as they could by using any tactic available.
    Scummoused ming’s strategy ’me, me, me, trust me and minimised the loss in 7 states and territories and achieved his miracle in Queensland.(Rosemary, any ideas on why shorten and labor got smashed 23 to 6?)
    It is hard to argue against his god given win entitiling the government to continue to govern as before and mandates the policy taken to the election.
    Religion revolves on truth. Truth is what you believe. Faith keeps this truth safe from questioning. Faith is learnt.
    As we teachers know children can be taught and the earlier the better. Once taught reinforcement fixes the learning. The more often the reinforcement the better the learning. How quick it becomes permanent depends but once permanent the learning is almost impossible to change.
    Jews, Christians and Muslims have a common god and the same major common approach to god’s gifts.
    Bonk for breeding on earth and bonk for ever in heaven. This bonking is natural and between those made by god himself a man out of the earth and a woman made from man. All other bonking is in-natural devil driven and against god law.
    It must be remembered that, until very recently, fear and loathing of homosexuality has been the norm in Australian society (with murder of gays still being condoned by law, in South Australia) and ‘gay baiting and bashing’ encouraged in religious schools.
    There are Christian and Muslim communities, in Australia where homophobia is still taught to children, as an unnatural, learned trait.
    Sadly science and maths have lost its way in schools. The vast majority, over 90%, undertake neither of those subjects at grade 12. Indeed in our town the chances of a middle student having a maths/science teacher with university qualifications in either field is close to zero as the maths/science faculties have primary trained teachers whom I think would not excel at year 9 naplan.
    As for global warming it is serious but like climate change put it in the too hard and too long term basket.

  12. Paul Davis

    Channel surfing and saw 2 minutes of Bolt on DarkSky…. he is still doubling down on Adam Goodes situation… wanker. Heard that Deadhead Maguire has ‘apologised’ for his part in appearing to make racist comments all those years ago …. yeah nah.

    Meanwhile caught Tony Burke addressing parliament this arvo on why Labor wanted HolyMo to postpone drought relief bill for 24hrs. He made a lot of sense as he carefully itemised and explained each point. Not that it mattered ‘cos the usual vile toads on the other side of the trough lyingly claimed Labor was opposed to helping starving farmers etc etc and the f##kheads in the meeja took up the tune. This grubment and its suckhole friends are totally warped and rotten.

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