Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A fair go for "all" Victorians please Mr Andrews


Victorians go to the polls this weekend and the bookies have Daniel Andrews as a hot favourite to be the next Premier of Victoria. Personally, I'm really worried at the prospect of potentially four years under an Andrews led Labor Government.

This is the Party that has a chequered history when it comes to managing debt. It is also the same Party that built the multi-billion dollar, and simply useless, desalination plant. There is the dodgy relationship with the CFMEU and the promise to scrap the East West Link contract and not pay any compensation. Never mind the jobs and property infrastructure that have been planned around that contract.

This being said, matters of wasted finances and relationships with corrupt union members doesn't really leave a lasting cultural effect on our state. Sure, it might cause some short to medium term financial pain. However, it's when a Government starts to tamper with deep-rooted, basic human rights that we start to see a real degradation in society.

During the current election campaign, Labor announced one deeply disturbing policy and a second radical policy that would be brought into place should they win on Saturday.

The first is one which boldly, and blatantly, restricts religious freedom and flies in the face of the term "equality" which is rammed down our throats every day and in fact forms a good part of the ALP's 2014 Election Platform.

Labor plans to restrict religious freedoms in Victoria by amending the Equal Opportunity Act ("The Act") so that Christian and other faith-based schools and organisations are no longer free to employ people based on their beliefs and values.

So what about other workplaces? Retailers? Professional service firms? Government institutions? Are they subject to the same employment restrictions? No, only faith-based schools and religious institutions will be restricted via a move to limit religious exemptions under The Act. Equality 101 right there. It's ironic that Daniel Andrews is sending his son to Mazenod College, arguably one of the most Catholic Secondary Schools in Melbourne.

Essentially, a religious school can only consider a potential employees' religious beliefs if that employee will have an inherent need for those beliefs in their role at the school. For example, the religious beliefs or background of a person interviewing for a religion teaching role can be considered when employing a religion teacher.  However, a math teacher's religious beliefs are not allowed to be considered to be employed at a religious school as religious beliefs are not inherently related to the teaching of mathematics, regardless of the ethos and culture of the religious school.

As if this wasn't discriminatory enough, as part of this policy that will target only religious organisations, Labor will seek to re-introduce 'own motion' investigations which will enable the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission ("VEOHRC") to investigate a school or organisation even without a complaint being made. Ouch to those that thought we lived in a democracy.


The second policy that was announced will see Labor introduce a radical policy agenda promoting same-sex adoption, recognition of foreign same sex marriages, a new role of Equality Minister and a new Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality within the VEOHRC (who will presumably be leading the 'own motion' investigations against faith based schools and organisations in Victoria). All in the name of equality of course. We'd hate to discriminate against anyone in Victoria.

So in short, Labor will discriminate against religious schools in order to recognise same sex couples in the name of equality.


 Ironically, on the very same page as the proposed amendment to The Act, the 2014 Victorian ALP Platform says, on page 69:
"Labor is committed to a fair go for all Victorians and believes equal opportunity laws should exist to promote recognition and acceptance of everyone's right to equality of opportunity and to eliminate discrimination."
Timothy Berryman, principal of Fitzroy Community School (which is not religiously based or aligned), wrote the following powerful letter about the proposed changes to Victoria’s law. In it, he discusses the necessity of selecting future employees based on their background and how that background fits with the broader philosophy of the school. Safe to say, he's not overly happy with Daniel Andrews' proposed changes, and he's not even a potential target.

Neither are the various religious leaders across the state who united together against the proposed changes. The following video provides some context of their stance.

Apply Labor's proposed policy to the property industry, which I work in. If I went to a job interview with no property experience and was rejected for a candidate who in fact had property experience, the employer could be in breach of The Act.

Voting for Labor (and the Greens who back them) is essentially voting for totalitarianism. This is not a Party that stands for multiculturalism. This is not a Party that stands for democracy. It is not even a Party that stands for a basic human right (religious freedom is enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights).

Nobody is asking people to become believers in their God. They're not even asking people to adhere to the principles of their school. All they are asking for is people to adhere to a basic human right. 


Come on Daniel Andrews, provide "a fair go for 'ALL' Victorians".

All the best,
Dom Meese

Picture source: www.acl.org.au

3 comments:

  1. You ask: "So what about other workplaces?"

    Then go on to say "Retailers? Professional service firms? Government institutions? Are they subject to the same employment restrictions? No, only faith-based schools and religious institutions will be restricted via a move to limit religious exemptions under The Act."

    You answer yourself. All other organisations were also subject to the Act. Now religious institutions are too. Where is the discrimination against religious institutions? It was the religious institutions that were being discriminatory based on potential employee's religion.

    Then this:

    "As if this wasn't discriminatory enough, as part of this policy that will target only religious organisations, Labor will seek to re-introduce 'own motion' investigations which will enable the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission ("VEOHRC") to investigate a school or organisation even without a complaint being made. Ouch to those that thought we lived in a democracy."

    We do live in a democracy. How is giving broad powers of independent investigation, rather than reaction to a complaint, anti democratic? Do our police forces only react to complaint? In any case, Victorians democratically elected the Labour Party, along with their policies.

    I don't think you know what you're actually talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comment. I wasn't aware it was a problem to answer a rhetorical question. Regarding your question: where is the discrimination against religious institutions? Labor's proposed plan to amend the Act is targeted at, and will only affect, religious organisations. And yes, these religious institutions will be restricted via the amendments as they will no longer be free to employ staff based on values and moral beliefs, even though this right remains for all other workplaces. If you don't believe that is discrimination, then we'll agree to disagree.

    How is a religious institution employing based on religious beliefs any different to a sporting team employing say on sporting ability? If someone doesn't have the sporting ability to fit the role, is that discrimination?

    Re the independent investigations; again, it will only be religious schools and organisations that can be investigated without a complaint. Teachers could be fined or worse if the investigators deem they employed someone based on religious values. This would be a blatant violation of religious freedom which is a large part of any democracy.

    Arguable as to who knows what they're talking about here.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dom, I take exception at most of your argument. I do not think it is unreasonable to expect that organisations hire on merit as opposed to faith. For example, as a parent, would you prefer to have your son taught by the most qualified teacher who just happens to be a non-Christian or would you prefer someone who is Christian but not as skilled or as passionate about their profession? Furthermore, I believe that organisations should not be able to discriminate on the basis of one's faith especially when said organisations enjoy tax exemptions (churches) and/or government funding (independent schools). Essentially you are criticising the actions of the state whilst endorsing the actions of organisations that happily put out a hand for government assistance.

      I also do not understand the logic behind the statement:

      "How is a religious institution employing based on religious beliefs any different to a sporting team employing say on sporting ability? If someone doesn't have the sporting ability to fit the role, is that discrimination?"

      The ability to be hired by a sporting team is based on sporting merit and skill just like a law firm will hire the most outstanding candidate on the basis of their knowledge of the law and advocacy skills. If you do not have the required skill and are not drafted by an AFL team, this is not discrimination. If say Luke Hodge was not drafted because he was a Buddhist for example, that would be discrimination as the decision was not based on skill but personal beliefs. This is stark contrast to a school disqualifying the best candidate for an Maths teaching position as they do not believe in god which has no impact on their ability to carry out the responsibilities of a math teacher.

      Delete