8 year old Abbey writes a letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Marriage Equality

Aug 5, 2014

It really doesn’t get more heart-felt or political than this letter written by our 8 year-old niece Abbey today.

Tony, listen to the kids!

Michael.

To Tony Abbott
my name is Abbey and I am 8 years old.
My unkls are gaye and we had to go to
New Zeland to have ther wedding it is going
To be on TV it’s called Living with the Enemy they
wont to get marred in Astralea but thats eligle
I will write to you once a day for a week.
P.S. I wold like the law changed.

20140805 Abbey's Letter


A letter to Teresa Gambaro

Aug 8, 2013

August 8, 2013

Dear Ms Gambaro,

Some 17 years ago, in your first speech to Parliament and the people of Australia you made the following statement:

I was delighted to achieve a swing of 12.59 per cent in Petrie. Su Mon Wong, your words stay with me always: marketing is giving people what they want. The reason the coalition won by such an overwhelming majority is that we listened to people and their needs and we gave Australians what they wanted. As social analyst Hugh Mackay has said, people are more likely to listen to us if we listen to them.

You went on to say:

We must not forget our youth, their dreams, their ambitions and their self-esteem. Bert Weir, a personal friend and teacher of mental strength to the staff of businesses and government organisations all over Australia, in his book What happened?, said:

Kindness, generosity, ability to cooperate, inquisitiveness, confidence, sense of humour, creativity and calmness are only some of the . . . important qualities of human worth. How often are these praised? For a child to have a strong, balanced sense of self-esteem, it must be anchored in many different aspects of human beauty and worth.

Reflecting on these statements, and the 56% support for marriage equality in your seat of Brisbane (News Ltd Poll – Same-Sex Marrige 2010) along with the other 19% not opposed to marriage equality, how can genuinely say you are listening to the people in your electorate and giving them what they want?  It sounds more like a case of you not listening to your electorate and not giving them what they want.

As for the youth in Brisbane, these fragile and beautiful people who all to easily fall by the wayside as collateral damage of political expediency and the ego of the self-absorbed politician, what are you doing to further their dreams, their ambition and their self-esteem?  The alarming rates of youth suicide in this country, especially amongst same-sex attracted youth, tell me that you are actually doing nothing.

Dear Ms Gambaro, I am thoroughly disappointed, nay, I am disgusted, that you are taking your electorate for fools.  You are sitting on 1.1% margin and honestly, you do not deserve to be re-elected.  Give your voters the representation you promised them.  Give them marriage equality, and you may redeem yourself.

Sincerely,

Michael Barnett.
Ashwood, VIC.


Bnei Akiva’s Machane Keshet (Camp Rainbow) advertised outside Leibler Yavneh College

Dec 22, 2012

I was driving along Balaclava Road after lunch today and a billboard outside Leibler Yavneh College caught my attention, no doubt a testament to its effectiveness.

20121222 Bnei Akiva Machane Keshet billboard outside Leibler-YavnehIn particular I was drawn to the stylised rainbow, the word “keshet” (Hebrew for rainbow), the message underneath (“Show your true colours”) and that it was affixed to the fence of Yavneh College.

I parked my car so I could get a closer look at the billboard and I saw it was for the summer youth camp run by Bnei Akiva.

My initial reaction to seeing the billboard was that it was for the Keshet Australia program but I quickly realised that this wasn’t the case.  The reason I thought it might have been for Keshet Australia is because they are “developing an array of engaging education campaigns and initiatives for, and in partnership with, Jewish communal organisations; especially schools, youth movements, aged care-homes and synagogues”.

Optimistically, it would be ideal if Keshet Australia was associated with Bnei Akiva Australia.  The kids who participate in those programs definitely need the education about sexual orientation and gender identity that Keshet Australia intends to empower leaders in Jewish organisations with.

A collaboration between Bnei Akiva, Keshet Australia and Yavneh College would help safeguard the welfare of the most important assets in the Jewish community, the children.  Intolerance of homosexuality contributes to poor mental health outcomes, self-harm and suicide.  Ignoring the reality of this situation compounds the problem, only to the community’s detriment.

I actually had a quick look to see if there was any material online that Bnei Akiva had made available to help understand sexual orientation or homosexuality.  I only found one page on Bnei Akiva UK’s web-site discussing “controversial topics” that had a rough scan of some questions about homosexuality from a religious perspective.  Sadly, there were no answers, just questions.

I urge the educators in the Jewish community to work with organisations like Keshet Australia and Safe Schools Coalition Victoria and invest in the health and happiness of community that really does show its true colours.


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