The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), led by Martyn Iles, has been undertaking an enormously popular tour of Australia called The Truth of It, named after Iles’s regular online broadcast. Thousands have turned out to attend the in-person events in cities around the nation.
But in Western Australia, the ACL team has encountered a roadblock: a WA government venue has cancelled their booking, citing ACL’s “views” as the reason. “Sadly, the Albany Entertainment Centre have cancelled us,” Iles wrote on his Facebook wall yesterday. “Asked why, we were told it’s because our views are not the WA state government’s views.”
“Welcome to China,” Iles then quipped. The ACL asked for a copy of the policy on which the decision had been based. Iles described the document subsequently presented to them as consisting mainly of “anti-ACL talking points” — and alarmingly, as having tracking information revealing that it had been edited the same day it was sent to them.
In regards to facilities, Section 62 of WA’s Equal Opportunity Act explicitly states that it is unlawful to “discriminate against another person on the ground of the other person’s religious or political conviction”. This provision should especially be upheld by a public venue that is supported by taxpayer funds. “Albany ratepayers top up their coffers by about $400,000 every year,” Iles explained in his post.
Australian political theorist Dr Stephen Chavura has since posted a video on his social media channels, encouraging concerned Australians to be informed about the issue and to speak up. He began by saying:
If I wanted to go to a place where events are cancelled because the views expressed there don’t align with the government’s, I’d go to China or I’d go to North Korea. I wouldn’t have gone to Australia, at least not until last night.
Chavura went on:
The venue says that the views of the ACL don’t align with the views of the Western Australian public. What is this conjured-up ‘public’ that they’re thinking about where all Western Australians agree on all things?
Last I heard, it was a pluralistic public here in Australia, 52 percent of whom are Christian, 38 percent of whom voted ‘no’ at the same-sex marriage survey. We don’t all agree on things, and this should be reflected in the government’s approach to freedom of speech.
“This is a key moment in Australian history,” Chavura argued. “This is not a private venue cancelling something: it’s the government…” He also drew a comparison to ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ which is allowed at Perth library — and is therefore presumably in alignment with the WA government’s views, whatever those rather disturbing views might be.
Chavura presented this as a fulcrum moment for freedom of speech in Australia. “You’ve got to speak out, otherwise our voices are going to be cancelled,” he warned, suggesting that this will be the result if Australians don’t act now.
If you live in Western Australia, you are encouraged to contact the Minister for the Arts, David Templeman MLA, on (08) 6552 5400 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you live in the Minister’s electorate of Mandurah, you will be more likely to be heard at (08) 9581 3944 or email@example.com. If you live in the Albany area, you can also contact your mayor and local counsellors to discuss the issue.
Please do not contact the Minister if you are not from Western Australia. Martyn Iles has suggested that to do so would harm rather than help in this situation. And if you get in touch, remember to be courteous: you are acting as an ambassador of Jesus.
You can also send a message of encouragement and support to Martyn Iles by using the Contact Us form on the ACL website.
These events are a reminder to everyday Australians that in this moment of cultural revolution, freedom of speech now comes with a motto: use it or lose it.