‘A Key Moment in Australian History’: ACL Banned from WA Government Venues

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 minister.templeman@dpc.wa.gov.au. If you live in the Minister’s electorate of Mandurah, you will be more likely to be heard at (08) 9581 3944 or david.templeman@mp.wa.gov.au. 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.

By |2021-07-13T18:32:26+10:00July 13th, 2021|Australia, Faith, Freedom|2 Comments

About the Author:

Kurt Mahlburg is Canberra Declaration's Features Editor. He also works as a primary school teacher and a freelance writer. He blogs at Cross + Culture and is a regular contributor at the Spectator Australia, MercatorNet, Caldron Pool and The Good Sauce, among other online publications.

Kurt has published a book, Cross and Culture: Can Jesus Save the West?, with rigorous analysis of the modern malaise in Western society.

He has a particular interest in speaking the truths of Jesus into the public square in a way that makes sense to a secular culture and that gives Christians courage to do the same.

Kurt has also studied architecture, has lived for two years on a remote island in Indonesia, is fluent in several Indonesian languages, and among his other interests are philosophy, history, surf, the outdoors, and travel.

2 Comments

  1. George Battese July 16, 2021 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    A sad commentary on what seems to be happening in Western Australia! This is not consistent with freedom of speech, religion, etc. Jesus said “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). It seems that our governments are overstepping their domain in different matters in our day, but don’t recognize their subordination to the true and living God, who has revealed Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are commanded to be subject to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1ff), to pay taxes, honour leaders, love one another, etc., but governing authorities need to know that they are “God’s minister(s) … for our good” (Romans 13:4a) and not for evil and ungodliness.

  2. Max Hancock July 17, 2021 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    I would like to encourage Martyn lies to continue this very important tour “The Truth of it” Our Government has over stepped the line and our freedom is now been challenged.
    My prayer is that you will be kept safe and be bold as you express the Truth.
    May God through Jesus Christ be your guide in this spiritual war,

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