ACON must sort out the PID Mark Allaby LMI IBM mess

ACON’s Pride in Diversity Program is a disgrace due to a serious conflict its foundation member IBM has.

ACON says of its Pride Inclusion Programs:

Pride Inclusion Programs are social inclusion initiatives of ACON. ACON was established in 1985 as the AIDS Council of NSW and is now Australia’s largest HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health organisation. An important part of ACON’s mission is to help make the places where our community members live, work, study and play more inclusive of LGBTI people, improving the mental health and wellbeing of our community through the reduction of stigma, discrimination and social exclusion.

Pride in Diversity is one of these programs:

Pride in Diversity is the national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion specialising in HR, organisational change and workplace diversity. Pride in Diversity publishes the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), Australia’s national benchmarking instrument for LGBTI workplace inclusion from which Top Employers for LGBTI people is determined.

Amongst the Pride in Diversity Foundation Members is IBM:

ACON Pride in Diversity Foundation Members.png

Foundation Members

Pride in Diversity, together with ACON, proudly acknowledges the dedication and support from our foundational members who were the early leaders in Australia for recognising and pursuing LGBTI workplace inclusion.

– Australian Federal Police (AFP)
– Department of Defence
– Goldman Sachs
– IBM
– KPMG
– Lend Lease
– Telstra

Included in the 2017 Principle Partners (Sponsorship) is IBM:

2017 Principal Partners (Sponsorship)

Principal Partners generously support Pride in Diversity over and above membership through sponsorship or substantial support of signature events and/or publications. We sincerely acknowledge and thank our Principal Partners for 2017. Pride in Diversity Principal Partners (via membership) are recognised on the List of Members page.

– Accenture
– Deloitte
– Dell
– Deutsche Bank
– Goldman Sachs
– IBM
– Lendlease
– Macquarie Group
– Out Leadership
– PwC
– The Star Entertainment Group
– The University of Queensland

In 2017 IBM declared their “support of the LGBT community” by introducing a rainbow logo:

Mark Allaby is IBM’s Financial Market Expert:

20180707 Mark Allaby IBM Financial Market Expert

As of May 31 2018 the public ASIC register indicated Mark Allaby was still a Director of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute:

20180531 Mark Allaby LMI Director ASIC Register

In March 2017 The Australian reported that Mark Allaby had resigned as a board member of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, but either that news story was lacking factual accuracy, or LMI had breached their requirements to update ASIC of a change in board membership.

To help understand the ideology of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, it is helpful to know that it is an initiative of the Australian Christian Lobby.  This is evidenced in the ACL’s July 5 2018 newsletter:

20180705 ACL Newsletter LMI.png

It is also evidenced in the WHOIS record for lmi.org.au, which shows the domain name is currently (and was previously) registered to the Australian Christian Lobby:

Domain Name: LMI.ORG.AU
Registry Domain ID: D407400000000366462-AU
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Last Modified:
Registrar Name: TPP Wholesale Pty Ltd
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone:
Reseller Name:
Status: serverRenewProhibited
Registrant Contact ID: C2008705-AU
Registrant Contact Name: John Austin
Registrant Contact Email: natoffice@acl.org.au
Tech Contact ID: C804789-AU
Tech Contact Name: Digerati Solutions
Tech Contact Email: domains@digeratisolutions.com.au
Name Server: NS1.CWS-SERVERS.COM
Name Server: NS2.CWS-SERVERS.COM
Name Server: NS3.CWS-SERVERS.COM
DNSSEC: unsigned
Registrant: AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN LOBBY
Eligibility Type: Non-profit Organisation
Eligibility ID: ABN 40075120517

>>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2018-07-07T08:19:45Z <<<

Alongside LMI’s Mark Allaby is Lyle Shelton, also a Director on the board:

20180531 LMI Director Lyle Shelton

Lyle Shelton is the immediate past Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.  He stepped down from the role, and the organisation’s board, on Feb 2 2018 to pursue a career in politics as a senatorial candidate for the Australian Conservatives.

Martyn Iles, the current ACL Managing Director, also happens to be on the LMI board as Secretary:

20180531 LMI Director Martyn Iles.png

Adding to the litany of anti-LGBTIQ equality personalities on the LMI board is Lyle Shelton’s disgraced ACL predecessor, Jim Wallace:

20180531 LMI Director Jim Wallace

The ACL and Lyle Shelton have a strong record of opposing equal rights for LGBTIQ people and eroding their dignity.  This has been an obsession of Lyle Shelton and the ACL going by an analysis of Lyle’s Twitter output while he was employed by the ACL.

The Lachlan Macquarie Institute board is peppered with people whom many would consider to be the arch enemies of the LGBTIQ community.

Mark Allaby’s presence as a Director of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, an organisation that in no way distances itself from the hateful and intolerant values of the Australian Christian Lobby, makes it clear that he shares the values of the board members he sits amongst, and of the organisation that enables his board.

LMI claim they “prepare Christian men and women for leadership and public service”:

As a centre for leadership and public service, we offer a range of short and long programmes for people of varying ages and professions. Each programme targets specific areas of public engagement, including public service, policy, politics, law, education, not-for-profit, and church. Programmes combine Scripture, social analysis, Christian apologetics, lawmaking, political science, and philosophy.

It is beyond belief that as an employee of IBM, a foundation member of ACON’s Pride in Diversity program, Mark Allaby shares an iota of his employer’s values when it comes to LGBTIQ inclusion and diversity.

It is beyond belief that Mark Allaby could be considered a role model in providing respect and dignity for his transgender and gender diverse co-workers or clients.

It is beyond belief that Mark Allaby could, with any shred of sincerity, afford respect for his co-workers or clients in same-sex marriages, considering the gargantuan campaign the ACL promoted and funded to oppose the passage of marriage equality.

It is beyond belief that IBM, by employing a person who is a Director of an organisation that prepares people to erode the legal equality of LGBTIQ Australians, could be sincere in its responsibility as a foundation member of ACON’s Pride in Diversity Program.

It is beyond belief that ACON are genuinely committed to “improving the mental health and wellbeing of our community” by keeping IBM as a member of their Pride in Diversity Program while Mark Allaby is simultaneously an employee of IBM and associated with the prominent anti-LGBTIQ-equality Lachlan Macquarie Institute.

ACON needs to sort this mess out, because until they do, their programme will remain a disgrace.

In which Stephen Chavura goes hunting for gays (and completely misses the point)

Stephen Chavura incorrectly insinuates I wanted to shut down free debate in the Coopers Brewery case.

Stephen Chavura insinuates I want to shut down debate (“Beware the martinets who would silence all debate”, The Australian; December 27 2017):

One of the most prominent activists of the Yes campaign, Michael Barnett, summed up a common attitude to the legitimacy of public debate in his tweets to Coopers Brewery:

“So you’re saying it’s acceptable to debate the merit of supporting discrimination @coopersbrewery? Seriously?”

Of course, the very issue in the debate was whether traditional marriage unjustly discriminates in the first place.

Barnett had the right to make his statements, but apparently he thought those with whom he disagreed had no similar right. He was not alone.

Unsurprisingly he gets me completely wrong.

In the Coopers Brewery situation my intention was definitely not to shut down debate, but rather to highlight to the business my dismay at them hosting a debate on my rights and equality.

It takes a special sort of stupidity to fail to understand that denying consenting same-sex couples the legal protections bestowed by marriage is actually genuine discrimination.

It’s also a no-brainer that businesses that buy into hateful discrimination should prepare for angry public backlashes.

If Coopers Brewery wants to run a series of debates putting the For and Against arguments for denying people equality on varies issues, and test the market’s response to such debates, I say bring it on.

Incidentally, Pauline Pantsdown recalls that Stephen Chavura came to my attention in connection to an entirely unrelated conversation around the Pride in Diversity programme:

This is my tweet she refers to:

Let’s remember that Stephen Chavura is no friend of LGBTIQ people and our families by virtue of his active involvement in the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, an entity run by the grotesque hate organisation the Australian Christian Lobby.


OPINION

Beware the martinets who would silence all debate

STEPHEN CHAVURA
The Australian
12:00AM December 27, 2017

Until relatively recently we in the West have defined oppression largely in terms of the absence of political and civil freedoms, and the solution was to introduce new rights such as universal suffrage, freedom of conscience, freedom of movement and freedom of speech.

This is what we call liberal democracy, or that tradition of political thinking that sees the expansion of freedoms as the solution to oppression rather than its cause.

Recent controversies in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia regarding race, culture, sexuality, and gender indicate a shift from political oppression to cultural oppression. Cultural oppression is caused by, among other things, feeling excluded from prevailing cultural norms regarding sexuality, gender and nationality — norms that are said to solely benefit white, heterosexual males.

Those who feel excluded from these norms based on their professed identity seek to change the prevailing culture and make it more “inclusive”. This is the essence of identity politics.

And yet identity politics co­exists uneasily with liberal democracy, and for good reason.

Culture is to a great extent carried along by the words we use — “male and female”, “husband and wife”, “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Australia Day” and so on — and the texts, images, movies and songs we encounter. This is why identity politics must be at odds with liberal democracy, for if culture is to be made more inclusive then what we can think, say and see needs to be more tightly controlled.

In other words, freedom of speech and thought are part of the problem rather than the solution..

The same-sex marriage debate in Australia confirmed this, for many citizens sincerely believed that Australians had no right to a public debate in the first place. Bill Shorten spoke for many when he castigated Malcolm Turnbull back in August as the person who “licensed this debate”.

Recall the boycott of Coopers beer by some pubs back in March. Same-sex marriage was the focal point of a “lighthearted” discussion over a Coopers beer organised by the Bible Society between MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie. Within minutes of the Bible Society uploading the debate, a storm of Twitter protests ensued, resulting in Coopers disassociating itself from the video and pledging its support for same-sex marriage.

The problem with Coopers, the Bible Society and advocates of a plebiscite was never that they criticised same-sex marriage. The crime was that they dared to suggest that anyone had the right to debate the issue in the first place.

One of the most prominent activists of the Yes campaign, Michael Barnett, summed up a common attitude to the legitimacy of public debate in his tweets to Coopers Brewery:

“So you’re saying it’s acceptable to debate the merit of supporting discrimination @coopersbrewery? Seriously?”

Of course, the very issue in the debate was whether traditional marriage unjustly discriminates in the first place.

Barnett had the right to make his statements, but apparently he thought those with whom he disagreed had no similar right. He was not alone.

The case made against Coopers and the legitimacy of a same-sex marriage debate was that inevitably things would be said that would be detrimental to the mental health of members of the LGBTQI community, which could lead to an increase in self-harm.

But these sorts of catastrophic harm arguments are very dangerous for freedom of speech and, therefore, democracy.

Of course the state should be concerned about mental health and suicide, but its approach to these matters needs to be sensitive to other goods that are profoundly beneficial for societies, especially freedom of speech. Indeed, I invite LGBTQI rights advocates to name all the countries without a robust tradition of freedom of speech that have strong and effective LGBTQI rights movements.

There is a democratic danger of linking what we can say publicly to mental health and other social maladies such as ethnic alienation from national culture.

Identity politics correctly assumes that for many of us part of our self-esteem comes from being integrated into a wider community or culture. However, if the wider cultural norms conflict with one’s own identity as transgender, or genderless, or gay, or Muslim, or indigenous, then one can feel alienated.

If one also believes one has a right that the wider culture embrace their identity, then this exclusion has all the weight of an injustice, and the person either becomes increasingly alienated from mainstream culture or seeks to manipulate culture, and therefore control others’ speech and information. Enter Safe Schools here in Australia, demands to widen 18C to include anti-Islamic speech, and demands to change the date of Australia Day.

The conflict between identity politics and freedom of speech in a nutshell is that freedom of speech means unpredictable speech, and unpredictable speech means no guarantee against words that will emotionally wound, or the emergence of cultural norms that will exclude. Thus, to enjoy a life free from the anxiety of offence and cultural exclusion, speech and even thought needs to be controlled.

This is why movements to snuff out cultural oppression, unlike movements to snuff out political oppression, see freedom as the problem rather the solution. That is, they are deeply illiberal. Certainly this mood against liberal democracy is taking hold among sections of the youth in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia.

One of the great challenges for developed societies going into 2018 and beyond is the extent to which they can accommodate millennials’ longing for inclusiveness while at the same time convincing them that the difficult task of balancing inclusiveness with freedom of speech and other liberal rights is worthy of their efforts. If this can be done then we would have achieved definite social progress.

But if not, then the future of liberal democracy becomes uncertain, for there is no shortage today of counter movements willing to take its place. Furthermore, recent debates in Australia over race, gender, sexuality and Islam have revealed no shortage of martinets who are willing to beat our brains and hearts into shape, always for the sake of love, diversity, and equality.

Stephen Chavura teaches politics and history at Macquarie University, Campion College and the Lachlan Macquarie Institute.

Eric Abetz: liar and deceitful homophobe

In his address to the Australian Senate on the afternoon of November 28 2017 Senator Eric Abetz claimed that Dr Steve Chavura was hounded because of his position on marriage:

There is the academic Dr Stephen Chavura, in New South Wales, who has been confronted because of his views in relation to the issue of marriage.

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Senator Eric Abetz has lied to and deceived the Senate by making this allegation lacking in substance, facts and truth.

The facts are here:

https://mikeybear.com.au/2017/09/21/david-marr-do-you-fact-check

If this homophobic and transphobic senator has any integrity, he will familiarise himself with the facts and retract his deceitful claims.

#YESASHY

Ashburton says Yes to marriage equality. #YESASHY

On the morning of Sunday September 24 2017 I approached the shopkeepers in High Street Ashburton, offering them the opportunity to display a “YES” placard in their shop, to indicate their support for marriage equality.

20170924 Bakers Delight Ashburton say yes
Bakers Delight says Yes to Marriage Equality (Sep 24 2017)

I have previously documented an incident that arose that morning while I was attending Bakers Delight.  As a side note, I’m overjoyed to say that to date, almost a week after the Yes vote was announced on Wednesday November 15, Bakers Delight still have their YES placard on prominent display in their shop window.

On the morning of Saturday November 18, as I was driving down High Street, I spotted a massive YES symbol carefully spray painted on the exterior wall of the barber shop.  This was in the same design of the placard I supplied to the shopkeepers in the street, presumably inspired by the several placards visible along the street.  Adorning the placard was the hashtag #YESASHY, by way of saying “Ashburton says Yes”.

As a resident in the adjoining suburb Ashwood, I am proud to associate myself with the #YESASHY campaign, and thank the artist for their time, money and initiative in furthering the cause of equality.

#YESASHY Nov 11 2017

#YESASHY.

A welcome apology from the ABC

On March 22 this year ABC’s Religion & Ethics Report ran a story The culture war of marriage equality in Australia that alleged my activism around Mark Allaby’s employment at IBM was linked to marriage equality.

On March 26 I documented various inaccuracies in this ABC story in my article Straightening out Professor Iain Benson and followed this up with a complaint to the ABC.

On May 18 the ABC responded to my complaint, which in part advised:

ABC Radio advises that although you were not referred to by name, your activism was one of the issues discussed in the program. In response to your complaint, Radio has acknowledged that listeners would likely have drawn the conclusion that your activism concerning Mark Allaby focussed on the issue of same-sex marriage rather than Pride in Diversity. Radio apologises for this oversight. The following clarification has been published on the program page:

Editor’s Note:
Michael Barnett, one of the key activists behind the campaign around IBM’s Mark Allaby, has contacted the ABC to explain that his activism on this issue was in support of broader issues of LGBT equity in companies, rather than focussing on the specific issue of same sex marriage. The ABC is happy to provide this clarification.
(http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/the-culture-war-of-marriage-equality-in-australia/8376570)

20170518 ABC clarification - Religion & Ethics Report March 22 2017

Further details about my activism on this issue can be found in my September 21 article David Marr, do you fact check?.

The two faces of Eventbrite

Eventbrite does not walk its talk and fails the LGBTIQ community in the process.

Eventbrite is an organisation familiar to many of us.  They facilitate the online ticketing of events.

On September 28 2017 I wrote this letter to Eventbrite, outlining a concern of mine:

Dear Eventbrite,

With reference to your Community Guidelines:

====
Hateful/Dangerous Content and Organisations

• Eventbrite does not tolerate content or organisations that promote or encourage hate, violence, or harassment towards others and/or oneself. Specifically, content or organisations that promote hate towards or the harassment of individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity will not be permitted on our site.
====

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), a prominent anti-LGBTIQ organisation that is heading the No campaign against same-sex marriage in Australia at the moment, and is using Eventbrite for two of its events:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/tickets-external?eid=36709287467&ref=etckt https://www.eventbrite.com.au/tickets-external?eid=36708397806&ref=etckt

It concerns me that they are in breach of your Community Guidelines on account of them using your platform to promote their anti-LGBTIQ agenda.

For example, refer to this 2016 article about the Managing Director of the ACL, Lyle Shelton:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/australian-christian-lobby-likens-gay-marriage-and-safe-schools-to-unthinkable-nazi-atrocities-20160531-gp8ff2.html

Sincerely,
Michael Barnett.
Melbourne, Australia

I received this response from Eventbrite on Oct 6:

Hello Michael,

I’m reaching out on behalf of the Eventbrite Trust and Safety team to follow up with you regarding the event listing you reported to us.

At Eventbrite, we believe in everyone’s fundamental right to free speech and assembly even though we may not agree with all views and opinions expressed on our platform. Diverse thoughts are not only essential to our vibrant community, but vital to our mission. We want to offer an open opportunity for anyone to gather for their chosen purpose, but we do not promote nor intend to profit from events that support harmful behaviors, including direct and indirect threats of violence, promotion of terrorism, targeted harassment/bullying, unjust or prejudicial treatment of a category of people, promotion of self-harm, and sexual exploitation. These behaviors and more are not welcome on our platform and we have a team dedicated to removing event listings that violate our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.

We carefully reviewed the National Conference listing in question and, although this organization has views many do not agree with, this event listing abides by our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines today.

Best,

Matthew
Eventbrite Trust and Safety

I sent this response the same day:

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for your response.

While I agree that the ACL has a right to gather, there seems to be a disconnect between your standards and your actions.

The ACL does not directly encourage violence. However, even a cursory review of their material that they have produced for the “No” campaign would show hatred towards the LGBTI community and it certainly amounts to harassment.

With the LGBTI community suffering greatly under the current political climate we have heard of increases in demands for mental health services and we have been subjected to an unjust treatment, primarily driven by the ACL.

Your continued support of their event is indeed regrettable and Eventbrite is contributing to the negative impact of the mental health of those that it seeks to protect.

I urge you to review this decision in light of my comments above.

Regards,
Michael.

I will post an update if I receive a response to the above email.

Hilton Sydney should donate the proceeds from hosting the ACL conference dinner to the Yes campaign

Hilton Sydney should donate the proceeds from hosting the ACL conference dinner to the Yes campaign.

Hilton Hotel & Resorts has made a commitment to the LGBT community:

At Hilton, we are proud to support the LGBT community as a way to further the Hilton brand promise of ensuring that every guest feels cared for, valued and respected.

On November 17 2017 Hilton Sydney will be hosting the Australian Christian Lobby’s Embolden Conference:

ACL 2017 Embolden Conference

The Australian Christian Lobby is committed to eroding the rights of LGBTIQ Australians.  They are actively campaigning against marriage equality, Safe Schools, and the dignity, respect and inclusion of every same-sex attracted, intersex, and gender diverse Australian.

In short, the ACL are a hate group that considers homosexuality immoral and does not believe same-sex couples should be parents.

It is unclear to me how Hilton Sydney are “supporting the LGBT community” by hosting an event for an organisation that is actively destroying the lives of LGBT people.

It appears that Hilton are not walking their talk by taking a booking from a prominent anti-LGBTIQ hate group.

At the same time, the ACL have form in booking their events at venues that are known to be openly supportive of the LGBTIQ community, as demonstrated by the 2014 debacle where the ACL booked the pro-LGBTIQ Hyatt Canberra for an event that resulted in Hyatt forging a stronger relationship with Australian Marriage Equality.

It is clearly a tactic of the ACL, to further their victim status, to knowingly book a pro-LGBTIQ venue on the expectation the venue will be called out for doing business with an anti-LGBTIQ hate organisation.

By hosting an ACL event, and with the ACL fulling engaged in the No campaign against marriage equality, Hilton Sydney are complicit in the devastating effect the postal survey on marriage equality is having on the mental health of the LGBTIQ community.

In lieu of Hilton Sydney hosting the ACL event on November 17, the least they can do to show their support for the LGBTIQ community is to donate, up-front, the proceeds from this event to the Yes campaign.  An additional donation toward the Yes campaign would go a long way to demonstrating their commitment to LGBTIQ people.

Going one step further I would like to see Hilton Hotels issue a statement advising they will not take bookings from hate groups and organisations that actively lobby to degrade the human rights and dignity of any group of people.

Stand up for equality Hilton.  You are better than this.