Tag Archives: politics

Invoking Religion in Australian Politics

Anna Crabb has produced an article that examines whether there has been a rise in religion, in particular the Christian religion, being invoked by politicians here in Australia. From the site:


As religious engagement in the Australian population continues to decline, the apparent increased prominence of religion in Australian politics is puzzling. This article examines the characteristics of 2422 speeches given by prominent Australian federal politicians between 2000 and 2006 to assess whether religion has become more prominent in early twenty-first century Australian politics, and whether or not the explanations provided to explain the increase are compelling. It is argued that the framing of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent ‘war on terror’ as a religious conflict weakened adherence to Rawls’ (2005) liberal consensus (exclusion of religious beliefs from the public forum) and normalised the use of Christian terminology and ideas in Australian political discourse.

I haven’t read it all yet, it’s quite in-depth (being an Honours thesis), but it looks interesting. You can download the pdf of her thesis from this page.



Filed under politics, religion

Guide to Australian Internet

How the internet works according to Senator Conroy and his Internet Filter.


Internet filter flow chart courtesy of (well, OK, I stole it. Hope they don’t mind too much?)  crikey.com.au

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Filed under atheism, internet censorship, internet filter


I’m sure by now you all know the American government is going to bailout the US car industry?

Well here’s the advert for the bailout. TIC

Bailout Advert

Bailout Advert

click to embiggen – make sure you read the fine print


Filed under economy, politics

Aussie Atheist Bus Campaign – an update

A couple of days ago it came to my attention that the AFA’s Atheist Bus Campaign has hit another snag. From the transcript of the Religion Report radio broadcast the other day:

… the Atheist Foundation of Australia, who have been refused permission to buy advertising space on public transport.

You might have read in recent weeks that the British Humanist Association, assisted by crusading atheist Richard Dawkins, have been raising money to put their message on London buses. The ads, planned for January, will read, ‘There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.’

And in Washington, buses are already trundling around with a Christmas message from the American Humanist Association: ‘Why believe in a god? Just be good, for goodness’ sake’.

Well the Atheist Foundation of Australia wants to mount its own campaign, and says that its members and supporters have pledged $16,000 to fund advertisements on buses in Australia. So they’ve approached APN Outdoor, the company that manages public transport advertising in most Australian capitals.

According to the Atheist Foundation’s president, David Nicholls, APN Outdoor said that they had problems with the wording of the proposed message. But then after the Foundation made two sets of changes to the wording, APN Outdoor said they simply weren’t able to accommodate them.

WHY? Just because. David speculates that APN has rejected any and all atheist bus slogans because of the cultural belief that religion has some sort of privileged status. Even mild criticism of religion is shunned.

I suggest you have a read of the transcript or listen to the podcast, it’s quite interesting, After the host finsishes talking to David he contunes the discussion with Greg Clarke, Director of the Macquarie Christian Studies Institute who is open to allowing the atheist bus slogans “as long as it’s done with a level of civility”, which it was.

The radio show continues with a discussion about a new book, ‘In Your Shoes: Interfaith Education for Australian Religious Educators’, which provides advice for teaching students about different religious traditions. Some interesting comments from the author.

Back to APN censoring advertising, it appears that it’s not just atheist slogans they refuse to advertise. APN has also refused to carry the Catholic’s Respect Life Office (RLO) anti-abortion adverts which were going to display graphic pictures [to scare women into not having abortions]. Whilst I think the idea of showing graphic pictures and trying to scare women into not having an abortion is not very productive and amounts to not much more than psycological warfare against women at a time they can be very vulnerable, I’m not sure it’s really up to the advertisers to be censors? Or is it? Who should be ultimately responsible for what gets advertised?

In the article about the RLO’s advertising ban, I thought it was ironic that the RLO are worried about women’s mental health following an abortion. According to them:

Many women seeking help had experienced substance abuse, anxiety, sleep disorders, suicidal thoughts, psychiatric illness, risk-taking behaviour and relationship problems as a result of their abortion.

Well I’ve heard the same thing about women who had found out they were pregnant and didn’t want the child. I’ve also heard of womens lives that have been completely ruined because they were coerced into having a child they didn’t really want, some of these women have experienced the exact same symptoms the RLO described. So who is right and who is wrong? Should abortion be banned because some women feel bad afterwards? NO, I don’t think so, in fact I think if abortion wasn’t so stigmatised, especially by the religious, and women were provided with non-judgemental guidance before, and afterwards if required, a lot less women would have psychological problems with abortion. What do you think?

One more Bus advert banned by APN, ‘The Chasers War on Everything’ DVD release was going to carry the slogan:

“The only good thing to come out of APEC.”

with pictures of their APEC stunt. However APN has banned the advert for being “too political”.

I’m starting to wonder how APN makes any money, as they seem to not want to advertise anything even remotely political or anti-religious.


Filed under abortion, activism, APEC, APN, atheism, atheist, Atheist Bus Campaign, billboard, Catholic, censorship, christianity, freedom of speech, politics, religion

I’m taking my bat and going home

The Independent Schools Coucil of Australia (ISCA) has threatened to close private schools if the schools funding bill is not passed by Federal Parliament by the end of this year. This is just a scare tactic by the ISCA to bully the government in to handing over money to predominately religious bodies and to try to avoid being properly accounatble for it.

Not surprisingly the ISCA is not happy about having to reveal their funding sources.

“We consider this to be intrusive and unnecessary and will almost certainly lead to a divisive public debate,”  (from abc.net.au/news)

How is it any more intrusive for other money making companies that have to reveal their sources of funding and submit fully audited records? If you want my tax dollars I want to know your financial affairs.

What is so wrong about a public debate on public spending to private schools anyway? Yes it might be divisive when people finally have the blinds removed from their eyes and see how much taxpayers dollars are being spent in order to further religious dogmas. It might be divisive when people wake up and realise that the very rich religious organisations put very little of their own money into their schools. I think the only reason the ISCA are woried about the “divisive public debate” is because they might lose their golden goose.


Filed under isca, politics, private school funding, public school funding, religion

Americans have voted – Obama Wins!

Well what else is there to talk about?

Americans have elected Barack Obama as their next President, but I don’t envy his position. As the ABC says:

Senator Obama, 47, will be inaugurated the 44th US president on January 20, 2009, and inherit an economy mired in the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and a nuclear showdown with Iran.

Well, it will be interesting to see what happens now.

It looks like he didn’t just win, he thrashed the opposition.

update 7pm

Got back from a run and turned on the TV to find Christopher Hitchens opinioning. The ABC was doing an election special and they were into the run-down of the election phase. A bunch of heads gabbing on about what they thought this means, blah blah blah. Hitchens was being a bit belligerent, disagreeing with everyone, but what else would you expect from him?

I’ve now poured myself a Southern Comfort (only American spirit I could find in my bar) in one of my ‘naughty’ glasses, as a tribute to the American election. Cheers All.

One of the things I think this election result shows is an increase in the maturity of the American voting public. It was only 40 years ago that segregation ended and now you have elected a black president. Well done all.

Now to wait and see what, if anything changes or improves.


Filed under election, politics


Americans – VOTE!

It’s one simple thing, once every four years. Don’t think that just because Obama will probably win that this is an excuse for you not to vote. Your vote may just be the one that swings the final outcome. If you don’t vote you only have yourself to blame if the outcome is not to your liking.

So quit reading the Interwebs and go and VOTE.

PS. in the unlikely event that you end up with another 4 years of right-wing religious republicans running your country and want to get away from it all for a while and visit my wonderful country (even if it is also run by politicians with strong religious leanings)  I now have two spare bedrooms, and a large empty bed to share.  LOL

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Filed under politics