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Yes, it’s rational to vote Sex!
09 October, 2014 by Meredith Doig

Last year the RSA did a “Secular Scorecard” in the lead-up to the Federal election – see here. Unsurprisingly the Secular Party of Australia came out scoring very well, but the Sex Party also got an “A”. Sex Party convenor Fiona Patten explains why rationalists should vote for Sex!

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The Abbott government’s ‘freedom’ agenda is breathtakingly hypocritical
Ben Saul | theguardian.com, Tuesday 7 October 2014

By co-opting the language of rights to protect their own business and political interests, the Abbott government denigrates those rights most Australians actually value

As the Australian parliament adopts more stringent laws on terrorism and refugees, it is timely to ask how well the government is fulfilling its traditional “freedom” agenda. It famously retreated from its battle to maximise free speech by minimising racial hatred protections. It lost that battle but its ideological war for freedom continues.

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Peta Credlin backs burqa ban in Federal Parliament
October 1, 2014 | James Massola, Latika Bourke

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s most senior adviser, Peta Credlin, has told Liberal National MP George Christensen she is sympathetic to a burqa ban in Parliament House on security grounds, but warned him not to inflame community tensions while debating the head wear.

Fairfax Media can reveal that Ms Credlin, who is considered one of the most influential figures in the Abbott government, spoke to Mr Christensen about the prospect of a ban last week soon after the MP said that: “Team Australia needs to make this decision [to ban the burqa]” in public spaces.

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Questions for PM Abbott on his comment concerning separation of church and state

PM Tony Abbott says he is committed to separation of church and state. In this press release his commitment is questioned.

MEDIA RELEASE | 20 September 2014 International Freethought Day

On ABC’s AM radio program on 15 September 2014, Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, said:

I would like to see over time an understanding by all people, and cultures, and religions, that there should be a separation of church and state, that there is a sense of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

Prime Minister, on 12 December, 2013 a petition signed by 370 citizens requesting the House of Representatives to legislate for constitutional separation of church and state was entered into Hansard. The Attorney-General, George Brandis, was evasive in his response to the petition. He has not responded to a faxed letter seeking clarification. Given your stated commitment to separation of church and state, will you ask the Attorney-General to respond?

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Q&A: How Australia has moved faster to fight Islamic State
17 September 2014 | Andrew O’Neil

How much has Australia committed to fighting Islamic State?

Australia has pledged 600 military personnel and up to eight Super Hornets, which is expected to cost up to $500 million per year. There has also been no time limit placed on its commitment.

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Rise Up Australia campaign launch attacks Islamic law
September 15, 2014 | Henrietta Cook

Maverick MP Geoff Shaw and UK climate sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton are expected to join forces and attend a campaign meeting for a hard-right Christian party.

Rise Up Australia’s firebrand leader Danny Nalliah said he recently spoke to Mr Shaw and the balance-of-power MP would attend a party meeting in Frankston this weekend.

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Tony Abbott: Military action against Isis will cost half a billion dollars a year
Daniel Hurst, political correspondent | theguardian.com, Tuesday 16 September 2014

Prime minister confirms 600 Australian defence force personnel are heading to the Middle East, ready for deployment in Iraq

Australia’s military involvement in Iraq is likely to cost half a billion dollars each year, Tony Abbott has revealed, as he confirmed some personnel had already left for the Middle East.

The prime minister said Australian special forces deployed to the region would be armed, but based in Iraqi and Kurdish military headquarters in an advisory role rather than directly fighting in the field against Islamic State (Isis) militants.

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Changing the soul: are conservatives the new radicals?
3 September 2014 | Shaun Crowe

Few members of the 20th-century political right were more important than Milton Friedman. As an academic, author, television presenter and adviser to Ronald Reagan – who once described his show Free to Choose as a “survival kit” for the Cold War – Friedman helped initiate the free-market revolution that swept the world in the 1980s.

For all that, there was one title Friedman would never accept: “conservative”. In his book Capitalism and Freedom, he made the observation that economic liberals weren’t there to preserve the status quo, nor maintain the “state interventions that interfere so greatly with our freedom”.

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George Brandis’s religious liberty is really about the right to define marriage
David Marr | theguardian.com, Monday 1 September 2014

The Catholic church’s inclination to censor opposing views on sexuality reveals the limits of its supposed tolerance

I felt for George Brandis this weekend. Only days after delivering a theological tour de force to a high-end Catholic crowd about Christianity and liberty, he woke to discover the Catholic Weekly had banned ads for a speech by the former president of Ireland Mary McAleese.

Such ingratitude. It’s not every day a 21st century attorney general is willing to credit the church with inventing the notion of universal freedom: “Of freedom enjoyed by all, irrespective of status, caste or indeed gender.” Brandis sees this revelation by St Paul as “an obvious precursor to modern liberalism’s injunction to tolerance of divergent views”.

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The evidence is in: science gets an F
August 17, 2014

Four months ago in this space we described the federal cuts in science funding as vandalism. We lamented the government’s stance in an area of such vital importance. We said that it ought to be clear in this era of technology that throttling back on funding ”is more than merely stupid or blinkered; it is vandalism”.

It gives us no pleasure that events of the past week have only reinforced that view.

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SATURDAY, 26 JULY 2014 | Sam Butler | GNN

Bill Shorten’s decision to deliver the keynote speech at the Australian Christian Lobby’s 2014 national conference in October proves Labor has learnt very little from its mistakes of the past.

Julia Gillard was only too happy to engage with this organisation whose long, tawdry list of offences against GLBTI people and families confirm it’s not so much the Australian Christian Lobby as the Australian Anti-Queer Lobby. She drew the line only when Jim Wallace equated homosexuality to smoking for lifestyle risks – and was widely praised when she did for calling out an extremist organisation on its extremist minority views.

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Bill Shorten is Christian Lobby’s keynote speaker
Matt Akersten | Tue 22nd Jul, 2014

The Australian Labor Party is cozying up to the Australian Christian Lobby again, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten now confirmed as the keynote speaker at the increasingly fringe lobby group’s upcoming 2014 National Conference.

The fight against marriage equality is still a central platform for the Christian Lobby, and something its leader Lyle Shelton has been particularly vocal about again since a new poll found 72% of Australians wanted the reform.

In a press release strangely titled ‘More mature marriage debate needed’, Shelton steered well clear of maturity last week as he expressed his slippery slope fears about same-sex marriage, including the strange idea that children would be taken from their biological parents, and that polygamy or even ‘child marriage’ could result opening up marriage laws to same-sex couples.

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Australia ‘unsettled’ before the British came? Tony Abbott knows better
Paul Daley | theguardian.com, Friday 4 July 2014

The prime minister doesn’t need a history lesson on the colonial settlement of this continent. So what’s he playing at?

“I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settled, great southern land.”

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Gospel truth: Catholics come to power
April 20, 2014 | Jonathan Swan and Lisa Visentin

The federal Coalition’s cabinet is the most powerful collection of Catholics ever assembled in Australia, with almost half its 19 minister being members of that faith, nearly double the proportion of Catholics in the general population.

The Prime Minister, Treasurer and finance, trade, communications, education, agriculture and social services ministers are Catholics, and at least four others belong to other Christian denominations.

Asked by Fairfax Media about their Easter plans, half the Abbott cabinet confirmed they would be attending church. And while almost a quarter of the population ticked “no religion” in the 2011 census, nobody in the Coalition cabinet would admit to being an atheist.

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Mr Abbott, keep God out of politics
March 16, 2014 | Anson Cameron

The prime minister spoke recently to an audience of loggers. I can’t decide whether it was merely deluded or a snide declaration of war against the Greens because they collaborated with Labor against him. Was he abasing himself for votes before woodchippers or unveiling a scorched earth policy?

Worryingly, he namechecked God. Before the election, Tony Abbott’s deity was rarely mentioned. His advisers would have warned him against co-opting his Lord into a campaign in which a quarter of Australians have no god, almost half a million are Muslim, and even like-minded believers are squeamish about declaring for a personally interventionist god.

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PM Tony Abbott says he is ‘in the business of doing better every day’

TONY Abbott says he thanks God every day for the “honour” of being Prime Minister, has described some of the experiences of the top office as “exhilarating” and admitted there were things he could have done better in his first five months in the job.

The Prime Minister, appearing on the ABC’s 7.30 last night, said it was an “extraordinary honour and a privilege to be Prime Minister of this amazing country” and he had been thrilled by what Australians were capable of.

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