About Regional revealed this week that a bizarre series of emails with purported links to the Catholic Church claiming that God has forsaken Eden-Monaro have been denounced by candidates from all major parties and by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. In their report they said "In an attack that appears to mirror the campaign against independent Wentworth candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps last year, the emails allege that Labor candidate Kristy McBain trained witnesses “to wrongly accuse priests to get pay-offs”. One email attacked both former Bega Mayor, Ms McBain, and former Eden-Monaro MP Dr Mike Kelly, for their “witch hunt against our Catholic Church” and urged voters to vote for Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs to restore order to the region. The emails allege that George Pell’s accusor, Witness J, is Kristy McBain’s half-brother and has died, and that God is punishing the electorate with bushfires, and Dr Kelly, as recompense for denying Pell’s innocence.
There is no evidence to suggest Witness J has died and Dr Kelly sustained his injuries while serving in the Middle-East with the Australian Defence Force before entering Federal Parliament in 2007.
The emails have been referred to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), but the Commission says it cannot do anything about them.
Parallels are being drawn to the homophobic emails which were during the 2019 Federal election attacking independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps running in the seat of Wentworth. This raised the curiosity of the Beagle to dig a little deeper as to who might have been behind such a smear campaign
In a submission by GROUP 2 to the Religious Freedom Review, called by the then Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, presented to an Expert Panel assembled to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion. The following points were tabled as issues presented by Group 2 which included the names of those who "presented submissions which were substantially similar to, or variations of, this submission":
Freedom of religion is more than freedom to worship, it is freedom to live out one’s faith in public.
People should be free to speak publicly about their religious view of marriage without fear of being taken to a government tribunal, as was Archbishop Julian Porteous in Tasmania.
Parents should have the right to be notified of and then withdraw their children from classes teaching radical LGBTIQ sex and gender theory.
In the same way, a Muslim printer should not be forced to print copies of the Torah, wedding service providers should not be forced to participate in a vision of marriage that violates their sincerely held beliefs on marriage. We should make reasonable accommodations for each other’s views and live and let live.
Religious charities should be allowed to hold their view of man-woman marriage without fear of losing government funding or charitable status.
Preachers should be allowed to place their sermons regarding man-woman marriage on-line without fear of being taken to an anti-discrimination tribunal or commission.
Religious schools should be allowed to teach children their view of marriage without fear of being reported to a government commission.
People should not be forced into making statements about marriage or gender with which they disagree.
Religious schools and organisations should be allowed to positively discriminate in employment for people who adhere to their beliefs on marriage.
State and federal anti-discrimination law should be amended to ensure that no-one can be prosecuted for expressing the view that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Celebrants should be allowed to practice freely in accordance with their conscience.
People should not fear being sacked from their jobs (as happened to a young Canberra woman) because they express their views on marriage.
People should not be coerced under threat of losing their job into resigning from the boards of religious organisations that dissent from the state’s new definition of marriage.
There should be no legal detriment to anyone who expresses the view that marriage is between one man and one woman.
I ask that this submission be considered by the Panel and I give consent for this submission to be published by the Panel among its default, public list of submissions received.
It is not known if the Liberal Candidate still holds the same views. If you have concerns and issues with any of the above points you might like to seek clarity around where the candidate now stands on Samd Sex Marriage and LGBTIQ