Clarifying the authority of the ECAJ

January 11, 2013

Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Australia
legcon.sen@aph.gov.au

January 11 2013

Dear Committee Secretary,

I wish to clarify some potentially misleading information presented in submission #242 by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) on the Exposure Draft of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012.

The ECAJ describes itself as “the officially elected representative organisation of the Australian Jewish Community and speaks on its behalf.”

If you review the ECAJ web-site (www.ecaj.org.au) you will see on the front page it lists its constituents and affiliates.  These are the organisations and communities it represents.  To help you understand this better, let me give you an example.

One of the constituents of the ECAJ is the Jewish Community Council of Victoria.  The JCCV represents approximately 60 member organisations in the Victorian Jewish community.  There are many organisations it does not represent, including a number of schools, synagogues and other organisations.  The JCCV claims to be the voice of the Victorian Jewish community, yet it has no authority to be the speak on behalf of the organisations it does not actually represent.  Similarly, the ECAJ has no authority to claim to represent those organisations, communities or citizens who are not affiliated with its constituents.

It is also important to understand that the ECAJ does not represent in any way the best interests of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the Jewish community.  The ECAJ, and its constituents have no formal GLBTI representation, and have never engaged in any formal consultation with the GLBTI community to understand and cater for the specific needs of this highly disadvantaged, marginalised and victimised minority section of its community.

In fact it is clear from the ECAJ submission to your committee that they believe GLBTI people should not have any protection under anti-discrimination legislation.  The ECAJ also give tacit approval that same-sex couples should be denied the right to equality under the Marriage Act, which is further evidence that the ECAJ do not represent the interests of GLBTI people.

To this end you will have a better understanding that not only do the ECAJ not represent the entire Australian Jewish community, but they do not and cannot speak on its behalf.  Further, I can state with absolute authority that the ECAJ do not speak on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the Jewish community.

Finally, I would like to make it clear that it is imperative that anti-discrimination legislation afford full protection to people on the grounds of gender identity, gender expression, biological sex characteristics and sexual orientation.

I will be glad to assist in clarifying any of this information.

Sincerely,

Michael Barnett
Convenor
Aleph Melbourne
www.aleph.org.au
0417-595-541

Advertisements

The Potential Wedding Album

October 26, 2010

In Australia it is currently illegal for two men, two women, or two people who just don’t identify as a male-female couple to get married.

There is no logical or valid explanation for this discrimination.  The legislation was put in place in 2004 under the Howard Government and remained in place under the Rudd Government and the current Gillard Government.  None of these “leaders” can justify this decision aside from a woeful “because”.  We all know they did it so they didn’t lose the vote of the hateful and bigoted Christian lobby.

Let’s pretend for a moment, however, that instead of legislating hate, the government decided to legislate love.  What might this love look like?  The Potential Wedding Album is a beautiful glimpse into this dream of what could be, and dare I say it, what will soon be.

Take a wander through the pages of this magnificent piece of work.  Journey through the lives of the photos you see, and the happy people in them.  There is a lot of love and joy there.  If marriage was permitted to be between any two consenting adults, just think what a better society we would have.

The world will still go on when same-sex couples can marry.  The sky won’t fall in.  There won’t be a cataclysm or a rapture, but there will certainly be enrapture.  What there will be is an abundance of love, happiness, acceptance, inclusion, and so much more.

Religious fundamentalists, whether they be Jewish, Muslim, Christian or whatever, will increasingly be shown to be the intolerant, narrow-minded bigots and haters that they are.   Their beliefs, or more accurately, their make-beliefs, which are based on antiquated, irrelevant nonsense, have no place in the 21st century.  These ideologies and dogmas need to be expunged from humanity because of their destructive and hurtful capacity.

Sooner than later our society will accept and nurture the relationships between homosexual couples, bi-sexual couples and couples that simply don’t conform to the stereotypical male/female gender binary.

Love is, by far, the best option.


%d bloggers like this: