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No freedom of religion for Australians

By enterfornone in News
Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 08:09:30 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

The Australian state of Victoria has decided to enforce Christianity for moviegoers this coming Good Friday. According to this article cinemas in Victoria will be banned from showing the film The Exorcist as it "may cause offence to Christians".

In related news, the Australian government has threatened to fine anyone who claims that their religion is "Jedi" in the upcoming census.

Interestingly, under section 116 of Chapter 5 of the Australian Constitution, freedom of religion is one of the few rights we do have.

In completely unrelated news, the government will also be paying women to become baby factories. Any recommendations on which country I should move to?


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No freedom of religion for Australians | 70 comments (66 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Census (4.50 / 6) (#2)
by Mashx on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 06:24:59 AM EST

I read that article, and was just wondering whether if enough people do put it down on their Census forms then will it become recognised?

IN the UK there is a Census on April 29th (assuming it doesn't get cancelled because of the Foot and Mouth crisis) and having had a look at the form to be filled in, the front page reads

Completion of the Census form is compulsory under the Census Act 1920. If you refuse to complete it, or give false information, you may be liable to a fine. This liability does not apply to question 10 on religion.
So the question is, is there legislation to say that if there is a certain number of people who say Jedi, will this become recognised? Anyone? Anyone?
UK Census (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by vrai on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 04:10:23 PM EST

As far as I know there's no such thing in the UK as a 'recognised' religion (the notable exception being Anglican which is the state religion). Most 'religious' groups simply register as a charity (i.e. they are non-profit making, which excludes Scientology) and so pay no tax.

As such I will be entering my religion in section 10 as 'Vrai-ist'. The main pillars of my new religion is that I'm the centre of the universe (all evidence to the contrary was put there by me to test people) and that I shouldn't have to pay any tax, ever. Of course, I will be writing to my MP to have all films that offend me (chick flicks, Battlefield Earth, historically inaccurate 'dramas', etc ...) banned on religious grounds :)

[ Parent ]

Section 116 doesn't apply to states... (4.50 / 4) (#4)
by Pseudonym on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 07:53:25 AM EST

...and the Victorian constitution has no such guarantee to freedom of religion.

Yes it sucks.

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
Good to see a little sense. (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by Jacques Chester on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 09:12:46 PM EST

For all of you curious yankees and underinformed fellow Australians, remember: we are a federation. We do not have a unitary government. Canberra cannot dictate all laws to the states.

If the Federal Censorship Board had banned "The Exorcist" on religious grounds, you might have been able to bring it before the High Court, who are currently keen to entrench citizen's rights in their rulings. They'd almost certainly pick it up with an eye to fleshing out freedom of religion.

However that's not going to happen.

Well now. We seem to be temporarily out of sigs here at the sig factory. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
[ Parent ]

This could make a really funny lawsuit (3.66 / 3) (#5)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 08:44:50 AM EST

In related news, the Australian government has threatened to fine anyone who claims that their religion is "Jedi" in the upcoming census.
All it would take is one wise apple with a good lawyer to make this into some great entertainment. The wise apple puts down Jedi as her or her faith. The lawyer contests the fine the wise apple gets slapped with. Given that large portions of Episode I were filmed in Austalia, it shouldn't be too difficult to find someone willing to claim that her or she had found Truth while working on the set.

Does Australia have anything similiar to the American Civil Liberties Union here in the USA? If so, I'd imagine they might help finance the aforementioned lawsuit if it comes to that.

ACCL (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by Pseudonym on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 11:08:05 AM EST

Does Australia have anything similiar to the American Civil Liberties Union here in the USA?

That would be the Australian Council for Civil Liberties. No, they don't appear to have a web site. Plus most states have their own organisation, like the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties.

These organisations have their hands full with real problems (as you've probably noticed, considering the news coming out of Australia to do with civil liberties recently). I somehow don't think they'd get involved with something like this.

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
I had once thought that about the ACLU (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 11:39:38 AM EST

Then I read this k5 article and while researching the ACLU to respond I found out that they did take up cases as frivolous as a high school student being barred from wearing a Rob Zombie tee shirt.

Regardless, it's an irrelevant point until someone get's fined for claiming to be a member of the Jedi faith.

[ Parent ]

This story is a little exaggerated...... (4.53 / 13) (#6)
by Mabb on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 08:46:25 AM EST

OK, first, it's not just The Exorcist, but all R-Rated films and is for Christmas day and Good Friday. And, it's under review according to this article that has far more background information than the one on excite. A rather more balanced approach to the issue as well.

While I think the law is bunkum, I just can't see how it impinges on freedom of religion. That's a bit of a stretch isn't it? It's more like pandering to the wishes of one religion in particular. That's political, not exclusionary.

Also, from the same newspaper and the article linked in this story, the government has not threatened to fine people who vnominate Jedi.... they've said that intentional falsehoods are liable to a fine. And of course, the email's wrong anyway, since it takes more than a bunch of crosses on a census for a "religion" to be recognised as such.

After the first two innaccuracies, I couldn't be bothered looking at the third link....

QuiltBlog: WIP, SEX, WOW, MQ, LQS, HST...

Worse yet (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by aphrael on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 11:19:45 AM EST

OK, first, it's not just The Exorcist, but all R-Rated films and is for Christmas day and Good Friday

Doesn't that just make it worse? In one case, it's saying "film [x] will be banned because it offends people who believe in religion [y]"; it's specific and to the point. In the latter case, it's "on the religious holidays of group [x], all R-rated films will be banned because they might offend practitioners of that religion." But the right (if such it is) to have films banned on their religious holidays isn't granted to adherents to any other religion; *only* Christians get this protection.

[ Parent ]

The head of state (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by dorward on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 07:14:15 PM EST

only Christians get this protection.

The country's head of state is also the head of the (Christian) Church of England.

[ Parent ]

Thus (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by aphrael on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 07:26:39 PM EST

no religious freedom. :)

[ Parent ]
Er, not really. (4.00 / 3) (#46)
by Jacques Chester on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 01:08:19 AM EST

There is ambiguity about whether the head of state is the Queen or the Governor-General. The G-G opened the Olympics. You know, the one who looked drunk.

All quips aside about drunken queens and opening ceremonies, fact is that most constitutional scholars nominated the G-G as Australia's head of state. This is because the Queen has one power in our constitution: the appointment of Governer-Generals. She and Britain are otherwise powerless in Australia. And she appoints the G-G on the advice of the PM anyhow (ie, the PM appoints the G-G).

In the meantime, the G-G can dissmiss governments, dissolve Parliament and (possibly) declare war. Who's the HoS? You make the call.

Well now. We seem to be temporarily out of sigs here at the sig factory. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
[ Parent ]

The GG is the man (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by driptray on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 03:43:13 AM EST

Disclaimer: IANAL BIHALD (But I Have A Law Degree)

In the meantime, the G-G can dissmiss governments, dissolve Parliament and (possibly) declare war.

Oh yeah, when you read the constitution its very clear that the GG is the man. He has all the power. There aint no such thing as "Prime Minister" in the Constitution.

This fact of the GG's total power is the hidden secret that underlies all the confusion over the "Republican" debate in Australia. Nobody quite wants to face the unpleasant fact that the constitution is so fucked up. Do we really want the GG (or President, or HoS, or whatever we call it) to have this total power? There don't seem to be any strong voices complaining about it.

And if we are OK with it, how do we choose the person who gets to have this awesome power. At the moment the PM gets to choose, and the GG then does the right thing by not exercising all that power. There's un unstated deal here - the appointment of the GG is undemocratic and he has no democratic legitimacy, so he carefully avoids exercising the total power given him by the constitution.

It's government by a gentleman's agreement. Now that seems a fundamentally unstable way to structure things, and I'm a little amazed at how well its lasted (despite 1975). However if you want to talk about unstable, how about the popular idea of democratically electing the GG? If we did this then we'd blow apart the terms of the deal I mentioned above. The GG would now have democratic legitimacy and would be unable to resist using the total power given him by the Constitution. And why shouldn't he use it - it's democracy after all, and totally legal. But it would be the end of parliamentary democracy, the end of the role of the PM, and the end of government as we know it in Australia. Maybe you think that would be a good thing, but you would at least want to replace it all with something coherent. This would just be a mess.

So tell that to the "direct electionists".

But I don't have a great deal of time for the ARM's minimalist position either. All they want to do is make the most superficial of changes, whilst keeping the fucked up constitution and the gentleman's agreement that goes with it. At present the debate is stuck between the direct electionists (who are clueless about the constitution) and the minimalists (who will keep the worst aspects of the constitution, while tinkering with the nationalities of the participants). It's not really republicanism that they're about but nationalism.

Who's the HoS? You make the call.

It's kinda unclear. The constitution clearly states that its the GG, but at the beginning it states that the GG is "the Queen's representative". I guess it depends on how you interpret "representative". But in practical terms it is a little hard to imagine a scenario in which the queen (or whoever replaces her) will want to have anything to do with Australian government. And if a situation arose where there was a genuine conflict between the queen and the GG as to who was running the show, well, that would be interesting...

We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]
wot? Someone knows what they are talking about? (none / 0) (#51)
by Dacta on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 07:31:58 AM EST

Nice summary, there!

It's government by a gentleman's agreement. Now that seems a fundamentally unstable way to structure things, and I'm a little amazed at how well its lasted (despite 1975).

Actually, that might be the very reason it has worked so well. Because the laws are so unclear, no body (except Kerr, of course) dares to do anything unconventional, becuase the country would be in chaos while the courts decided if it was legal or not.

Also, I believe the "gentleman's agreement" is actually a little more than that. After all, common law and precendent are both used to interprate the constitution, and both need to be taken into account when reading it.

The constitution alone is nothing - it is the interpretation that is everything.

[ Parent ]
Not a mess at all (none / 0) (#59)
by vastor on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 05:22:11 PM EST

There is no secret about the powers of the GG, everything is clearly spelt out in the constitution. I know there was a copy of it in my high school library and we've touched on various parts of it in the politics subject at uni I'm doing.

Why are there no complaints about it? Because it works well. The governor general doesn't quite have total power, there are both the written rules (constitution) and convention (which isn't legally binding but generally followed).

If you view the GG as a safeguard mechanism then it makes perfect sense. Lack of political legitimacy means he can't get involved in everyday affairs (like one girl in a tutorial proposed he refuse to sign anymore bills into power until the PM apologised to the aboriginals on behalf of the country), yet, when there is an urgent need for him to actually use those powers then he will have the popular support and thus temporary legitimacy in acting.

While 1975 was rather underhanded, the sacking would seem to be made legitimate in that Whitlam failed to be re-elected by a strong margin - if the GG had been totally out of line, Labor would have been re-elected (with a stronger margin even), but instead the opposite occured.

The constitution actually works very well, it isn't stuffed up at all. The governor general is the head of the armed forces which is another thing towards his claim to be head of state, while the Queen does have the constitutional authority to intervene directly in a number of aspects.

There is reference to an Executive Council in the constitution, which is generally interpreted to be what is now the cabinet. Things are somewhat messy because we've got a hybrid system of the UKs westminister system with conventions combined with a Federal system with a constitution. Constitution beats convention, but convention is still a strong force even if it lacks written authority.

I've little doubt that if the GG did try and rule by his own power (which would be tricky due to the constitutional checks against just that happening), that even if there wasn't any kind of civil disobedience that either the Queen would sack him or the courts would rule along the lines that democracy is implied within the constitution or something along those lines.

Simply put, self preservation makes the GG do a good job. If he really mucked it up he'd be replaced (either constitutionally or there would be a quick revolution and something like the minimalist republican constitution implemented to be made constitutional by a quick referendum). So he does a good job and we live happily ever after. If you're a bus driver and you abuse the passangers you'll get the sack, so you do a good job - same principle, applies to most jobs. Only difference is the GG is the nominal driver for 20 mil people.

Everything works pretty much perfectly, there is no problem with the constitution. It was a document to work out the details of the running of parliament and it does a pretty good job of doing so IMO.

Personally, I consider the Queen the ultimate head of state. We have her head on our coins. The GG is her representative and in every day circumstances functions as the head of state, but there are grounds for appealing to the Queen (which happened in 1975, but she wasn't inclined to get involved).

If there is to be a popularly elected president, the less power the better would suit me. The current system suits me just fine and the proposed republican models just threatened to make things less stable (by removing one side of the balance to the GGs powers).

An acceptable minimalist solution to me would probably be to remove the GG entirely and have no president replace him, or one which is very much just a figure head (no powers to sack gov't, reject bills, but perhaps still head of the armed forces) - I believe ireland has a president somewhat like this (though may be mistaken). Though this then runs the problem of having little balance against the PMs power (though a bill of rights might help alleviate this). But then again, I'm unlikely to vote for change in any referendum advocating a change unless it has rather more wide sweeping reforms to parliament (which IMO would refine things to make them more democratic than fiddling with the GG would affect things).

Convention states that the GG act on the advice of the executive council (cabinet), so the GG shouldn't be declaring war unless advised to do so by the cabinet (in which case the PM will probably just do so). Only in unusual circumstances is the GG supposed to disobey this convention (the sacking of the whitlam gov't being one example of where the GG was entitled to do, though it still went against convention). Convention gives a stable system that works well during normal times while also having the flexibility of not being set down in a binding manner like the constitution. Breaking convention is not a normal practice, as history shows us. We've had a good stable 100 years under a fairly respectable/sound constitution.

[ Parent ]
Hey man! (none / 0) (#61)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 08:08:29 PM EST

it's good to see you're still around; I haven't seen anything by you in a while. How are you doing? I thought about emailing you but I wasn't sure why you vanished ....

[ Parent ]
Vastor II (or: Like Snails along a Freeway) (none / 0) (#64)
by vastor on Sat Apr 07, 2001 at 01:15:55 AM EST

Yeah, I've been AWOL a while. Just fairly busy now I'm back at uni and having a slow link these days I seldom feel like sitting around waiting for k5 to load up (2k/sec for an 80k page makes for slow page load times).

But I'm doing quite well, I'm making an effort to get a big catchup diary entry done today. Could have e-mailed me - why would my reason for vanishing affect things? I kept on planning to make a comeback, just kept getting put off (though I did make two comments a week or so ago).

I hope you're in good health/spirits, I did stop in a couple of times to check up on peoples diaries, so I've not been fully vanished, more scarce I suppose.

[ Parent ]
Not sure (none / 0) (#66)
by aphrael on Sat Apr 07, 2001 at 05:13:16 PM EST

it just seemed like unsolicited email would be, well, unsolicitied. *shrug* i'm pretty shy that way sometimes ....

I'm stressed at work, but otherwise in reasonably good spirits. Trying to work up the courage to go out looking for a boyfriend. Hanging out in #k5 when I can. Trying to ship a product RSN ....

I injured myself pretty badly in a skating accident 3 weeks ago or so; my knee is still tweaked. :(

[ Parent ]

Oucha (none / 0) (#68)
by vastor on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 09:41:33 PM EST

Yep, I don't really go for cold e-mailing people either (though that's probably not a good term for it really). Still, you're welcome to e-mail me anytime, but hopefully I'm going to be more present here once more.

Stress at work seems to be an occupational hazard (in all occupations), hope things calm down for you once the product gets released.

What kind of methods are you considering to try and find a boyfriend? Good luck finding the courage, it's a tricky thing and something I'm rather uncertain about myself.

Ouch about your knee, did the doctors say it'll end up fine given time to heal or might you have to stop skateboarding?

[ Parent ]
Again, exaggerations.... (none / 0) (#49)
by Mabb on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 05:24:39 AM EST

While I disagree with the law as being silly and as pandering to one religious group (probably a minority to boot!), the facts are the facts.

The Victorian Law referred to has been in place since 1958 and requires all cinemas who want to show films on GF and CD to provide a submission to some government agency who make the decision. This relates to all r-rated movies and I am told was also 15+ ratings as well until a few years ago.

It's outdated now because we are not a primarily anglo-saxon-celtic-christian majority country. Truth be told there's probably more Jews and Muslims in Aus these days...

It's a stupid piece of legislation and should be protested, but let's get the facts straight and not go off half-cocked because we haven't read the background on the issue in full.

QuiltBlog: WIP, SEX, WOW, MQ, LQS, HST...

[ Parent ]
OK, fair enough (none / 0) (#60)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 08:07:43 PM EST

i'm unusually volatile this week, and I assumed that the person to whom I was responding was correct --- he's australian and i'm not. :)

[ Parent ]
Oh, for the love of Mike! (3.71 / 7) (#7)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 09:30:58 AM EST

"The Australian state of Victoria has decided to enforce Christianity for moviegoers this coming Good Friday."

Yikes! That's pretty scary. They'll probably have jackbooted thugs in the theater poised to administer baptisms and communion wafers. They may also force the patrons to say The Lord's Prayer and wear crucifixii. It's like a return to 15th century spain when Xians forced Jews to "convert".

"According to this article cinemas in Victoria will be banned from showing the film The Exorcist as it "may cause offence to Christians"."

Ummmm...that's it? Where's the part about "enforcing Christianity?" They are just refusing to show a movie? Guess what, that's not what "freedom of religion" means. Unless your religion is "watching The Exorcist on Good Friday in a public theater"-ism, you are still free to do whatever you want. Rent it at home. Watch another day. Go ahead and sacrifice goats, or whatever your religion does.

Don't misunderstand, I know where you are coming from. It sucks having the government be biased towards a religion (ANY religion). In the US, many (most?) communities have "blue laws" restricting the sale of liquor (and other items) on Sunday. But it's a far cry from a repeal of freedom of religion.

Given the hysterical and inaccurate nature of your main story, you'll pardon me if I express doubts about the level of reality-contact your other stories have.

Play 囲碁
What the hell is Xian? (1.66 / 9) (#8)
by regeya on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 09:46:11 AM EST

Is that some sort of Greek religion? "Hi, I'm a Zeean and I'm here to convert you dirty Jews."

Is the name Christ strictly verboten or what? Why don't you start screaming "YOUR GOD IS DEAD!" for a while too...we'll take you more seriously, then.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

"X" = "Christ" (4.33 / 6) (#11)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 10:09:05 AM EST

X is a rendition of the Greek letter "chi", the first syllable in the (greek) word "Christ". That's why Christmas is often abbreviated "Xmas". Similarly for "Xian" and "Xianity". The practice is hundreds of years old and no disrespect is denoted, connoted or intended.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Pfft, whatever. (1.33 / 3) (#31)
by regeya on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 05:23:48 PM EST

At one point in American history it was acceptable to refer to someone of African descent as a nigger. So, if I walk into, say, an African-American advertising agency and say, "You niggers do fine work," should I be shocked and upset when they take offense? I meant no offense. Or how about walking into a classroom of mentally-challenged children and announcing, "You retards are doing great!" No offense meant, really!

Really, that sounds like a ridiculous example, especially since I'd do no such thing (and don't even refer to anyone of African heritage in that way) but the point is that just because you intend no offense doesn't mean that none is taken. It may not have originally been used in a derogatory(sp) manner, but I often see it used that way...and whether you intended it or not, you further perpetuated the myth that all Christians (it's spelled "Christ" not "X") are alike. I know no-one who participated in the Spanish Inquisition; if I'm not mistaken, they're all dead.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

you don't even need to use "nigger" (none / 0) (#50)
by streetlawyer on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 06:08:13 AM EST

in your analogy. "Negro" is simply a word used by some anthropologists to describe a certain group of people, with no disrespect intended, meant, etc. But sit down in a co-op meeting and ask what everyone thinks about the new Negro family that moved in, and see what kind of looks you get.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
you are mistaken (none / 0) (#53)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 09:56:05 AM EST

I know no-one who participated in the Spanish Inquisition; if I'm not mistaken, they're all dead.
You are mistaken. The Inquisition still exists everywhere where Roman Catholicism has a sizable presense, including Spain. The name has been changed to something a bit more bland and beurocratic sounding and there is no longer the attached at the hip partnership between the Spanish government and the Roman Catholic Church that allowed the inquisition torture people to obtain confessions and turn heretics over to be executed by the state. Now the office of whatever-its-called mostly investigates priests and bishops that might be teaching doctrine that the Pope considers to be heretical.
It may not have originally been used in a derogatory(sp) manner, but I often see it used that way...and whether you intended it or not, you further perpetuated the myth that all Christians (it's spelled "Christ" not "X") are alike.
The etymology of offensive words is pretty curious. The term Christian itself was originally derogatory. It was used by educated Pagans making fun of the lower classes that flocked to the new faith. Look at all these little Christs. In the entire New Testament, the word Christian is only used twice and one of those is the place where it mentions that Pagans first labeled followers of Jesus as Christians.

I suppose some Christians are offended by using X as an abbreviation for Christ. Such use is ancient and was started by Christians. This is why the Chi-Rho is a Christian symbol, it is the first two Greek letters of the word transliteraed into English as Christ. So the Christians offended by being called Xians are ignorant of their own history. (This is not to say that their offense is any less real.)

Lastly, where do we stop with making sure we don't offend anyone? The terms black, negro, colored and African-American all offend significant portions of the collection of groups that those words attempt to describe. Some Gypsies are offended at being called Gypsies, while others take offense at being called Roma instead. Many groups in Asia are offended at being called Asian or Oriental. I'm pretty sure I can find some folks here in USA that would take offense at being called Occidental.

Heck, some people take offense if you call them normal and/or average. . .

[ Parent ]

have you ever heard of Xmas? (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by delmoi on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 01:46:48 PM EST

[see subject]
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
mild disagreement (4.25 / 4) (#9)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 09:59:56 AM EST

While I do agree that the keyboard of efn produced a bit more hype than was necessary, I think you are also doing a bit of disservice to the notion of freedom of religion.

If the state is prohibiting a specific course of action for no other reason than it offends people that adhere to a certain religion, every person that would like to undertake that specific course of action is being harmed. This applies to blue laws as well as theatre going on Great and Holy Friday.

In principle, freedom of religion is being undermined. In practice, I don't think that this is really that big of a deal.

I have to admit, though, if I lived in Australia this and other actions undertaken recently by the Australian government would have me watching my government with an increasingly paranoid eye. It almost always starts with the small things. . .

[ Parent ]

A fine distinction (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 10:06:35 AM EST

"If the state is prohibiting a specific course of action for no other reason than it offends people that adhere to a certain religion, every person that would like to undertake that specific course of action is being harmed."

I agree. And many is the time I've railed against this (in private).

"In principle, freedom of religion is being undermined."

I disagree. Everyone is still free to practice religion as they see fit.

I think you are confusing "freedom of religion" with "separation of Church and State".

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Missing the point (5.00 / 5) (#17)
by aphrael on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 11:17:04 AM EST

Where's the part about "enforcing Christianity?" They are just refusing to show a movie? Guess what, that's not what "freedom of religion" means.

No, it's not that the people who own the theatre are refusing to show a movie because it violates their religious beliefs. It's that the state is *prohibiting* a theatre which wants to show a movie from doing so on the grounds that it might offend members of another religion. Eg., the state is saying because we hold the believers in religion [x] in high regard, we will deny you the right to speak if your speech would offend them. This is violating free speech rights to protect religion; in US jurisprudence, at least, it would constitute an establishment of religion.

[ Parent ]

Blue laws (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by MrSpey on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 09:16:48 PM EST

As someone already mentioned, blue laws effectively say, "You can't sell alchoholic beverages on sunday because our religion says you shouldn't," but in reality all they do is regulate the selling of alchohol on certain days of the week. While saying, "you can't show R-rated movies on April 13th," might, in principle, be an infringement on your feedom of religion, it's just as legal as saying, "You can't kill people," or, "You can't drive faster than 65 mph."

Mr. Spey
Cover your butt. Bernard is watching.

[ Parent ]
Disagreement (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 12:20:38 AM EST

I find blue laws offensive, too. The idea that I should be forced to conform to the legal code of some religion to which I don't ascribe is deeply offensive .... I don't *believe* that shit, why am I being forced to adhere to it anyway?

[ Parent ]
It always starts small (4.00 / 2) (#22)
by gbd on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 12:43:37 PM EST

When Hitler (I know, I know .. Godwin's law) marched his troops into the Sudetenland in 1938, the world collectively shrugged indifferently. There was a little more apprehension when he invaded and annexed Austria, but still no action was taken. And so it went. Because the situation was allowed to get out of control, it took several years and millions of innocent lives to stop the evil. In many ways, people and places have still not recovered from the Last Great War.

Those who would say that the banning of free expression in a (supposedly) free country by a particular religion is No Big Deal need to look at the bigger picture. Okay, so maybe today you can't show R-rated movies. Ten years down the line, will you have a society where it is legal to stone adulterers? Will teaching evolution or heliocentrism be punishable by death? Will homosexuals be required to register their names and addresses with local churches to expedite threats and/or butcherings?

Now you may think that these examples are ridiculously contrived and over-the-top. You're right; they are. But the price of freedom, as they say, is eternal vigilance. Evil is allowed to flourish when good men stand by and do nothing. And it is for this reason that I cannot agree with your assessment that this sort of censorship for purely religious reaons is No Big Deal (TM). If we take this attitude, we will be more likely to ignore the next full frontal assault on liberty .. and that would be no different than spitting in the faces of the countless heroes who have given their lives to defend our freedom. I for one appreciate that sacrifice, and I will not let it slip away.

Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

Adultery and Theft (none / 0) (#52)
by Zukov on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 08:38:25 AM EST

A good friend of mine in school was from Iraq.

He said that hand of a thief was still cut off as punishment.

He was also clearly unused to porn, when he first saw a porn magazine in the dorm his eyes got real wide, and he said "You can get in real big trouble for having that". I asked him what he meant, and he said people were whipped in public, sometimes till they died, for "sex" offenses.

I never asked him about stoneing adulterers.

ȶ H (^

Yes, I have just bumbled upon Gnome Character Map. Please ! me.
[ Parent ]

Baby factories and mothering trends.... (3.25 / 4) (#13)
by yankeehack on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 10:46:34 AM EST

Why is this a bad move by the Aussie government? Have you ever tried to live on one salary while raising a family? I personally see the same trends here in the States, where I live in a middle class community.

For example, I am the youngest mother in any activity I attend with my little one during the day. I am also the youngest mother with a college degree and a part-time professional life. Why? Because usually young mothers are working and place their kids in daycare. And, usually, really young mothers don't anything better than a high school diploma. I think that your government is trying to do is not only increase the birthrate, but to increase the numbers of educated mothers having children.

And it has been proven time and time again in numerous studies that the one most important factor determining child's success in life is the level of education a mother has.

No one who was bad in bed has ever been good in life (i.e. liberals, I've never had sex with a liberal woman who knew how to use her body.) Keeteel :-P I'm *right*!

ooh, contentious (3.50 / 2) (#14)
by Glacky on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 11:03:56 AM EST

And it has been proven time and time again in numerous studies that the one most important factor determining child's success in life is the level of education a mother has.
*dons flameproof cap* and there was me, thinking that the most important factor determining a child's success was being a wealthy, middle class anglo-saxon protestant...

oh, I'm funny today.

[ Parent ]

right back at ya.... (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by yankeehack on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 11:57:05 AM EST

Don't worry I don't live in Greenwhich, Connecticut or Westchester, NY.... ;-)

And, if you look at my bank account, <wealthy> wouldn't be an appropriate adjective.

No one who was bad in bed has ever been good in life (i.e. liberals, I've never had sex with a liberal woman who knew how to use her body.) Keeteel :-P I'm *right*!
[ Parent ]

It's bad because (3.66 / 3) (#16)
by enterfornone on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 11:08:15 AM EST

it perpetuates the idea that women are around soley for the purpose of pushing out kids. If women want ot stay home and raise kids then good on them. If men want to stay home and raise kids then they should be able to do that too. But I don't see why the government should spend my tax dollars attempting to recreate a pre-war social system.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
So what you're saying.... (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by yankeehack on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 12:00:39 PM EST

Is if the gov't changed the wording from 'Mother' to 'Parent', you would then support it the measure?

As for a pre-war social system, the last time I checked male pregnancy wasn't possible quite yet, so if the politicians are going to support parenting efforts, there needs to be some attention made to the fact that mothers birth children.

No one who was bad in bed has ever been good in life (i.e. liberals, I've never had sex with a liberal woman who knew how to use her body.) Keeteel :-P I'm *right*!
[ Parent ]

That isn't the issue (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by aphrael on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 08:03:29 PM EST

single non-parents, and dual-parent households where both parents work, are being asked to subsidize dual-parent households where only one parent works. This seems unfair ...

[ Parent ]
maybe I'm not getting enough info (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by delmoi on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 01:42:19 PM EST

it perpetuates the idea that women are around solely for the purpose of pushing out kids.

Well, men certainly aren't any good for 'pushing out kids'. Now, I'm not from the AU, so I don't know the particulars, but this story doesn't say anything about 'staying at home' or who has to do it. All it's saying is that Australia is going to be screwed if it doesn't start producing more children.

If men want to stay home and raise kids then they should be able to do that too.

Why can't they under this plan?
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
darn thing (4.00 / 3) (#26)
by mami on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 02:40:36 PM EST

I can tell you, it's the kids who push out themselves and you really, really can't do anything about it (just try not to scream, because it hurts) ...

yeah, and last time I checked, it's a kind of twenty plus something years endeavour. Even if we wanted to be around for more than this "solely pushing purpose", it's kinda difficult, once we accepted allowing the kids to push themselves out of us and into our lives for the next twenty years or so (of course all that at the same time of going to school, working full time) to make this kid rasing business a short-term, freelance, third side-job kind of activity.

There is a lot of talk going on about all these lonely, left alone, neglected, frustrated, lowly self-esteemed, confused, attention deficit disordered, hyperactive, bullying, suicital kids, making schools and life a place of hell for themselves.

At the same time women realize that there might be a slight relationship between how we manage our kid pushing business and school/work business together with our non-kid pushing and absent minded partners and the way our kids turn out to be not so happy, not so strong and not so well adjusted and not so well educated.

So, when did you last complain about "jerk parents, who don't give a damn" about what's going on with their kids ? Which way do you want to have it ? Want to be progressive, supporting the women "to have it all", make that kid-pushing thing a sanitized version of "petri-dish-fertilization"-kind experiment, leaving the incubation and growing up phase to the laboratory technicians, to produce some weakly second tier human-like kiddie ?

What a nice government, who actually thinks about the kid-pushing business to be worth some attention. Germany has also a very low birth rate since quite some time, our government gives us a lot of monetary incentives and lot of social security to make us more willing kid-pushers. I think it's a nice first step, though it really doesn't cut the deal, you know.

You will find some women, who are old enough to know enough about your so-called pre-war social system and who are young enough to lived this post-war, progressive, feministic paradise of a social system, where you "don't have it all", but "have to do it all". They will tell you, that it just ain't that simple.

How about giving this kid-pushing business a royal treatment and ask everybody to pay the decent price it deserves for it ?

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#55)
by Betcour on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 11:33:55 AM EST

it perpetuates the idea that women are around soley for the purpose of pushing out kids They are certainly not around solely for that, but then they are still the only one who can do that. No mother = no mankind. But I don't see why the government should spend my tax dollars attempting to recreate a pre-war social system. Well, if the governement don't push fertility a little, then it will keep decreasing. Once almost no one reproduce, Australia will soon be a new wasteland waiting for another nation to colonize it and call it New Australia (or New China, New India, whatever...). You might like the idea of having your whole civilization and culture wiped from the map, but not anybody want that. Face it : reproduction is necessary for the nation survival.

[ Parent ]
a little xenophobic? (none / 0) (#69)
by enterfornone on Mon Apr 09, 2001 at 06:52:22 AM EST

Given that the world is overpopulated enough, why shouldn't first world countries cut birthrates and rely on immigration to sustain the population.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
not xenophobic (none / 0) (#70)
by Betcour on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 07:46:53 AM EST

Well for the same reason as you protect undangered species or put dying culture product into museums : to protect diversity as a whole and keep the human species varied both in appearance and culture.

The idea that we all should look the same, speak the same language and think the same thing doesn't seem that nice to me. Being for diversity is not being xenophobic, it's quite the opposite as it's enjoying different cultures and opinions. Being xenophobic is wanting culture separation with the idea that yours is better than the others, which is not what I advocated in the previous post.

[ Parent ]
Canada has my vote... (2.15 / 13) (#23)
by SvnLyrBrto on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 01:16:09 PM EST

Hell, the way things are going here in the US under the reign of king george the second and his junta, I've seriously considered an extended (say, four years or so) Canadian road trip myself. Stopping me, mostly, are the dismal weather (outside of summer) and the oppressive taxation.

But both Toronto and Vancouver are very nice (during the summer) places. Everyone I've met from either, while visiting myself, or transplants to the states, has been really nice. And both have killer partie scenes. Hell, my current fave DJ, Anabolic Frolic, LIVES in Toronto (and is currently banned from entering the states... thanks a fucking heap king george and your idiotc war on nightlife.... yep all good little xtian drones should be in bed by sundown.... early to bed early to rise... fuck you george).

As for the rest...

I can't offer much of an opinion on New Zealand... don't know enough.

Ireland might be nice... but stay away from the north half. If the weather there resembles England in any way tho.... pretty dismal again... outside of the summer months.

Afghanastan? You won't catch *ME* anywhere NEAR those theocratic barbarians... Climate? Well, I'm no fan of the desert; I like the warm weather, but it's too dry. And I can't imagine that it has much of a nightlife, under the yoke of the islamic moralists that run the show.

Israel? Never been there, but I know a few people who moved to the US from Israel to get away from all the crap. Good climate. Nice people. A pretty good nightlife. But there is the drawback that it's surrounded on all sides (except the sea, not that THAT does much good) by people who want to exterminate the locals and claim the place for their own. I'm not jewish, so at least I probably wouldn't on the TOP of the list of "people to slaughter when the jiyhad arrives". But then, neither am I a muslim, so I probably fall under the "miscellaneous infidel-- kill AFTER ze dirty jews are dead" category.


Imagine all the people...

Middle East (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by Maclir on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 05:49:31 PM EST

it's surrounded on all sides (except the sea, not that THAT does much good) by people who want to exterminate the locals and claim the place for their own.
Not that much of an unreasonable claim, since there is a strong argument that prior to 1948, the land their did belong to those people.

[ Parent ]
Well then.. (none / 0) (#47)
by Apuleius on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 02:01:29 AM EST

I guess I'll save them the trouble, How's the rule of thumb? "Down, not across"?

There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
New Zealand (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by hengist on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 09:59:19 PM EST

First off, you know there are more than five other countries in the world, don't you?

I can't offer much of an opinion on New Zealand... don't know enough.

I'm not the only Kiwi here, there are others who can probably give you a better handle on how things are in NZ

What I can say is that I have a good friend who came to live here from the US because he wanted to get away from the way things were going there.

Although I've only spent a couple of weeks total in the USA, I can also say that NZers are a lot friendlier on average than Americans. We also don't mistreat out working class so badly here. Most Americans would probably consider NZ quite socialist.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings.

There can be no Pax Americana
[ Parent ]
Five countries... (1.50 / 2) (#44)
by SvnLyrBrto on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 10:43:19 PM EST

>you know there are more than five other countries in the world, don't you?

Err... yeah. But those were the only five countries listed on EFN's poll. Unless you count Alderaan that is... Wasn't it blown up in Episode IV anyway?

Putting Canada at the top of those five sure does seem to have set off some downward modding tempers tho, doesn't it? Odd that... as I write this, it seems that about 25% of K5 agrees with me... yet here I am with a 1 rating, and my first 0 mod.

Tho I recognise at least one of the 1's as someone I replied to, disagreeing, awhile back... takes all kinds, eh?

>Although I've only spent a couple of weeks total in the USA, I can also say
>that NZers are a lot friendlier on average than Americans.

Well, I won't dispute that. As a navy brat, I've lived in many different parts of the US, and ran into plenty of unfriendlyness myself... and I'm a native. It does, however, vary A LOT depending on WHERE in the US you are.

For instance, I moved to San Francisco last year from Florida. And say this much: Getting the hell out of the bible belt is a VAST improvement. (and don't even get me STARTED on NYC) After kickin around the bay area for about a year, I've been AMAZED at how friendly and accepting the people are here compared to many of the places I've lived. It's WAYYYY refreshing.

The US is a HUGE fscking country... you get a lot of variety. Takes all kinds, eh?


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

The Exorcist IS a Christian movie (4.50 / 4) (#27)
by Blarney on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 02:48:09 PM EST

As a Jew, I don't understand what all the fuss is about. The Exorcist is obviously a Christian movie. The whole demon-possession myth, the priest heroically battling, isn't that what Christians always used to do in more superstitious times?

Demon possession is a major part of Christian doctrine - the Gospels have Jesus performing exorcisms. As far as "Satan" being involved - he is a Christian being too! Admittedly, Jews have the same book, but Satan is not considered a big deal in the Jewish religion - he is considered a personification of the Yetzer Ra, the evil impulse inside every human being, whereas to Christians and Muslims (I think) he is an actual creature.

Nothing in The Exorcist contradicts Christian mythology and doctrine.

As much as I agree with your position... (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by kevsan on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 06:00:39 PM EST

...Evangelical Christians, generally, don't. While we, as "sinful members of the world", may think of something as unobjectionable, there is a minority (albeit a very small one) who considers movies that do not glorify God to be sinful. Here's an interesting analysis of The Exorcist distributed by the CAP [Childcare Action Project] which states that the film scored a 51 on its index of appropriateness.

The organization stated that the movie displayed scenes which were objectionable, such as:

*self-stabbing in the vagina
*six uses of the "foulest of the most foul words", by the afflicted girl
It's ironic, however, that Christians are not more sensitive to other groups' opinions on issues. Oftentimes, they seem exponentially less tolerant than their religious counterparts.

Hopefully, throughout the future, our society will encounter a time of progressive tolerance as we strive for a tomorrow where our sons and daughters will not be persecuted for their religious beliefs, or the lack thereof. And, furthermore, let us assist those who express their religious views in a way that would make the great Transcendentalist philosophers proud.

[ Parent ]
another sinful memeber of the world... (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by Frigido on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 10:38:57 AM EST

That's me...I'm a sinful member of the world. Differense is, I claim Christ. This does not negate my sinfulness or all the sudden make me better than anyone else. Only thing it does is empower me with the obligation to show the world the love that I have been shown.

I'll be honest, there are a lot of people out there...the extremist, untolerant, holier-than-thou freaks who claim they are christians. Why I can't judge their hearts, I can judge their actions. I think the banning of R-rated movies on good friday and christmas is the dumbest idea I've ever heard. There may be things I find objectional in some movies...but then I don't go to those movies. Its as simple as that (this should also apply to all things...if you're offended...don't go). If christians in Australia are so easily offended that R-rated movies need to be banned on Good Friday and Christmas...there are problems much much deeper. Another part is, if R-rated movies could be banned on Christian holidays, who's to stop them from banning christian activities on Muslim, Jewish, Buddist holidays...or banning churches in general because an aethiest is offended by the site of church buildings...its riduculous to think that a gov't would attempt to ban something on the grounds that it could "offend" someone...

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence."
-Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]

Interesting (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by RangerBob on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 02:49:00 PM EST

I'd be interested to see how exactly Australia defines what a religion is. Is it something with a large group of followers? If anything, people camping out to see a movie about Jedis certainly appears to have cultish overtones :)

Seriously though, so why doesn't someone try to declare an actual religion called the Jedi's down there? It seems that people would then be able to claim Jedi on the census to their heart's content.

I've been thinking of Switzerland (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by weirdling on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 08:17:47 PM EST

I guess the whole freedom thing does go to pot over time. Here in the US, I feel constantly embattled over what few freedoms we still have. This is why when the government went after 'Big Tobacco', I began evangelizing against it. Once a society begins to let the principle of freedom be steamrolled, it is going to be an uphill struggle to stop it. There is an adage in the NRA: "gun rights are a bellweather for every other right". Essentially, if a society is willing to let its citizens be armed, then it has demonstrated trust in its citizens and respect for their freedom. As the freedoms erode, the right to bear arms is usually first.
The reason I support the freedom of any man to do as he pleases is that sooner or later, someone will come after my sacred cow, and the surest way to avoid that is to realize that we all have things we like to do and if we start outlawing one thing, nothing prevents us from outlawing another, and sooner or later, we have a police state with citizens unable to defend themselves from the power of the state.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Slippery slope argument. (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by a clockwork llama on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 09:05:39 PM EST

That's called a slippery slope argument.

"If we allow euthanasia or abortion, our respect for life will be compromised. Next thing you know, people will be murdered left and right."

"If we place restrictions on buying guns, our freedoms will be compromised. Next thing you know, they'll be sending people off to the gulag."

"If you give people freedom, they'll lose respect for restrictions. Next thing you know, people will be robbing the bank, detonating bombs in the streets, and refusing to flush the toilet."

Slippery slope arguments are a bad way to make a case. I agree that freedoms are important, but that's not the way to defend them.

[ Parent ]
You have a point (none / 0) (#58)
by weirdling on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 05:20:03 PM EST

However, it has been shown that failure to police for minor crimes results in an increase in major crimes, so violating the law in a minor case does lead to violating in a major case.
I guess my point wasn't so much that it will happen as that once a freedom is removed, the concept of freedom is no longer allowed as an argument. So, if we are allowed to keep arms as a freedom, when that freedom is removed, the argument that something is freedom and therefore sacrosanct won't bear as much weight, especially if the freedom is compromised 'for the public good' or 'for the children'.
In Australia, rather coincidentally, they outlawed private possession of firearms not too long ago, and enacted a massively costly arms-buyback program that removed almost all legally-owned guns from the market. This was done 'for the public good'. Now that that reason is an acceptable one in the face of a former sacred freedom, it isn't going to be as hard to challenge other freedoms.
So, I guess my point wasn't to argue slippery slope so much as precedence. I should have been clearer.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Tobacco Companies (none / 0) (#57)
by guinsu on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 01:40:49 PM EST

The reason the gov't went after the tobacco co's so hard was because they lied and supressed research that showed their products were harmful and made up research saying there were no ill effects. Its funny, if some company did this with a food product that caused millions to die everyone would want to string up the company executives. But Big Tobacco seems to have such strong support from the libertarian groups in this country. It would be different if they had come clean in the beginning, but they dug their own grave.

[ Parent ]
Fines for Jedi (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by hengist on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 09:50:09 PM EST

A similiar threat was made here in NZ before our last census.

As other comments have stated, it is impossible to prove that you are not a Jedi, thus it is impossible to slap anyone with a fine.

One advantage we have here, though, is that freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Human Rights act, and since we don't have states, there are no regions of exception.

There can be no Pax Americana
Ho hum...another week of news from Oz (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by Jambu on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 09:59:49 PM EST

This is not an atypical roundup of weekly news for Australia. Governmental bodies here are typically clueless when it comes to the basic principals of respecting individual freedom of choice and censorship. What I find is more disturbing is the tacit support that the Left here often gives to censorship. When Pasolini's film 'Salo or 120 days of Sodom' was finally released here (in the early 90's) after being banned since 1976, not only the expected Churches and Government were calling for censorship but also many feminists. The film was thus rebanned in 1993 in some states. Salo is a thoughtful if traumatic film about the evils of powerful elites; that many on the `left' called for it to be banned shows a deep distrust of human choice and `the mob'.
Partly because of such attitudes Australia has a poor record in terms of good European movies ever getting released here.
While `progressive' Intellectuals have condemned this `baby factory' comment, some have set themselves up for it by giving the Government support for their anti-immigration policies. It is quite a common position for the `Green' lobby here to claim that Australia is overpopulated, and therefore (get this logic), we should support anti-immigration laws that flout basic human rights. You can't support one illogial statement and not expect another one to follow using the same bad logic (ie Its okay to treat people like units if its for the greater good).
If I was going to jump ship though by emigrating it wouldn't be because of Australia's repressive laws (maybe because of the stuffed economy thought). An odd contradiction is that society here is actually fairly liberal even if our laws are not.

Ah, this gulag down under (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by pig bodine on Sat Apr 07, 2001 at 07:24:38 AM EST

These repressive laws which we deal with every day of our lives, from this uncaring and power-mad government. Why, pot has been decriminalised in only two places in Australia! Such harshness! Such oppression! Abortions can be obtained legally, though not without considerable consultation with members of the medical community...damn these fascists! During the last labour government's reign of terror, Australia was the among least censored nations in the world. Why must we labour under despots such as these?

I hope you were not serious when you claimed that Australia is repressive. Australia is probably one of the least repressive nations that has ever existed.

Salo was not banned for political reasons, it was banned for being obscene, by the standards and laws of that day. The political themes of the film have no particular relevance to the decision to censor, or the objections of any group to it. I don't consider censorship to be acceptable in any but the most extreme circumstances, but I don't see what politics had to do with the Salo censorship. Also, which government of Australia was calling for the censorship of a film which they themselves had just removed from the censored list?

As to hypocrisy among greens, are you sure that the same greens who are anti-"go forth and multiply" are also the greens who are anti-immigration? In fact, I have never heard this position on immigration from the green lobby. Searching the Australian Greens' web page reveals a much more permissive attitude towards immigration than you attest to them.

[ Parent ]

Valid points; to clarify.... (none / 0) (#67)
by Jambu on Sat Apr 07, 2001 at 11:28:21 PM EST

I think all your points are good valid ones so I'll try to respond by showing that my claims are in fact quite narrow and that I don't think that Australian society in repressive, just that Australian laws are.

I agree that our laws on pot are good for those who are fortunate to live in those two states. I live in Queensland. Further, abortion is part of the criminal code in Queensland so doctors and women face the risk of criminal charges. The so-called institutional left of the Labor party is dominated by anti-abortion Catholic men, and most political parties `censor' abortion with the misnamed `conscience' vote allowed.

However I agree with you that the structural effect of Australian laws has NOT so-far been to create a repressive society. My concern is more for the future. With some of the worse libel laws in the world the potential for top down censorship in this country worries me. Particularly as our media ownership laws guarantee that Australian print, radio and TV will be owned by three conservative older men. The worry is that with the `old-media' hopefully slowly giving way to a more Slashdot/kuro5hin model I still will get sued for saying that a certain media mogul looks and acts like a lizard.

My point about Salo was not that it was banned (I agree it was banned for reasons of decency and not politics). More what I found concerning was the high level of agreement in the left that adults such as myself, a fan of challenging European films, should not be able to even view this film to form my own opinions on it. I maintain that the intellectual elites in this country have a fear of `the mob' and are - much more so than in the US - pro-censorship.

As to your final query about the Greens, I should have made my point of view clearer since it is a bit of an idiosyncratic pet gripe. I was referring to the logic of (some sections) of the Green party which draws a political line around the `Australian" environment and that we should restrict Population Growth (euphemism for restricting immigration since Australians are not breeding much more that at replacement levels). My point is that it is a Nationalistic argument to draw a ideological boundary around what is a global ecology. This is another instance of what I think is a jingoistic mood of Australian laws and politics. It is this `us and them', `native and feral', approach to issues that can lead to news items like the recent one where a disabled person is denied immigration for family re-union because of being 'a burden to the economy'.

[ Parent ]
Not so much a violation of freedom of religion ... (none / 0) (#56)
by Robert Hutchinson on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 12:32:40 PM EST

... as it is a violation of freedom of association, and of private property rights. If this were about R-rated movies being banned for one day and the justification was "just because," this would be more obvious.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

Bracks Backdown (none / 0) (#62)
by garth on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 09:30:35 PM EST

For what it is worth, Bracks has backed down, and the movie can now be shown. Looks like the law that caused all the fuss is also under review.

What I want to know, is how many people actually go to the movies on Christmas day? I can imagine Good Friday, as that doesn't seem to be celebrated much by the non-christian community, but Christmas?

Of course we go to the movies on Christmas! (none / 0) (#63)
by isdnip on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 10:25:51 PM EST

In fact, it's sort of a tradition with my (non-christian) family. The theatres here in the Boston area are relatively uncrowded on Christmas day, and frankly there's not a whole lot more to do -- even TV is overwhelmed by holiday spooge. That and Chinese restaurants, which are usually the only ones open (and thus extremely busy).

[ Parent ]
No freedom of religion for Australians | 70 comments (66 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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