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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:49 pm 
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Gay asylum seekers on Manus Island write of fear of persecution in PNG
by Oliver Laughland
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

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The Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island. Photograph: Getty Images

Gay asylum seekers detained by Australia on Manus Island have written of suicidal thoughts, experiences of sexual assault and fear of persecution in Papua New Guinea in a series of handwritten letters seen by Guardian Australia.

The six letters, written by four different men, paint a vivid portrait of life in the detention centre for gay asylum seekers – due to be resettled in PNG where homosexuality is illegal and can carry a jail term of over a decade. Many of the men write of their decision to flee societies where they were persecuted for their sexuality and detail instances of abuse and bullying inside the Manus centre and in their lives before arriving in Australia.

The letters – all written by Iranian men and mostly in Farsi – were translated independently by Guardian Australia.

‘I am so sorry that I was born gay … I wish our boat had sunk in the ocean’

In a suicide note to his mother, one man, Omid*, writes:

    I couldn’t return to Iran and be executed by the Iranian government. Hence living in PNG was not any better, because being gay is considered a crime in PNG as well, and the punishment for such crime is 14 years imprisonment. I am so sorry that I was born gay. I never meant to hurt you, mum. I wish our boat had sunk in the ocean and stopped me living the most painful year in my life. I thought Australia and its people would be my protector, but they taught me otherwise.


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Guardian Australia has been told by sources that Omid attempted to take his own life but did not succeed. It is understood three gay asylum seekers on Manus have recently been placed on watch for self-harm and suicide in recent weeks.

Fears of persecution in PNG:

All the authors express fear about life in PNG if they are resettled. Ahmed* writes: “I am hoping that I will not be sent to PNG prison because I don’t want to be killed by indigenous people living in PNG like my fellow countryman did in February.”

Ahmed continues:

    I have to hide my sexuality because in this country, like Iran, there are a lot of people – fanatics – whom if they find out anyone is gay they would harass them and maybe even try to kill them. I have to hide my personality once again. I have to live as someone else. It feels like this is a disease that is consuming me for all these years and society will never leave me alone. It feels like the universe doesn’t want you to live in the serenity of one moment, I don’t know what I have done to the universe, or what it has against me. I can’t live one moment without anxiety stress and sadness, it doesn’t let me live happily with anyone who I love or feel love, I don’t know what is my crime that I have to be punished so harshly.

In an extended five-page letter, another gay asylum seeker, Farhad*, tells the story of his time in Iran. He says he was gang-raped at the age of six by a group of older boys. “I remember that I couldn’t comprehend what was happening to me, although because of the enormous physical pain I was crying the whole time,” he writes. Farhad says he discovered he was gay years later and fled Iran decades after, when members of his family found out. Homosexuality is also illegal in Iran, where the punishment can be death. Farhad is the only asylum seeker on Manus to have also written a letter in English. It reads:

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Orientation message: ‘People have been imprisoned or killed for performing homosexual acts’

Guardian Australia has obtained a copy of an orientation presentation shown to asylum seekers on Manus after they arrived on the island. It was prepared by the Salvation Army and shows a picture of two men kissing with a large red cross through it. The delivery notes attached to the presentation warn: “Homosexuality is illegal in Papua New Guinea. People have been imprisoned or killed for performing homosexual acts.”

A spokesman for the Salvation Army confirmed the slides were used in the presentation to asylum seekers and said they formed part of a “broader education program about life in PNG”. “The Salvation Army developed these modules in consultation with PNG immigration officials, as well as officials from the DIBP both in Australia and in Manus Island,” a spokesman said. “So that there is no misunderstanding, The Salvation Army has always and will continue to provide services to all people in need regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, without discrimination, in accordance with its strong principles of social justice and in line with its international mission statement,” a spokesman said.

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A slide from a Salvation Army orientation presentation shown to asylum seekers soon after their arrival on Manus Island. Photograph: Supplied

A December report by Amnesty International first warned of the danger for asylum seekers detained on Manus. The report said that senior Australian immigration department staff told asylum seekers that if any homosexual activity occurred in the centre it would be reported to PNG police as a matter of protocol.

The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, denied that was the government’s policy. He conceded that asylum seekers were provided “clear advice” on “relevant laws” in PNG but declined to go into detail. Morrison, who did not respond to a request from Guardian Australia for comment on the letters, said in December he was “unaware of any claims or declarations of homosexuality” from asylum seekers on Manus.

But a former Manus immigration caseworker, Liz Thompson, told Guardian Australia on Tuesday she was aware of at least three cases where asylum seekers on Manus had presented their sexuality as a reason for their persecution during protection interviews since September last year, indicating the department would be well aware there were gay asylum seekers on Manus.

Ben Pynt, director of Humanitarian Research Partners, who is in regular contact with a number of asylum seekers on Manus and who initially received the letters, said he estimated there were around 36 gay men detained. “There are even more who we don’t know of because they’re too scared to be ‘out’ in PNG,” Pynt said.

Allegations of assault and bullying on Manus

The writers relate detailed allegations of bullying and assault at the hands of other asylum seekers on Manus.

In a letter Farhad writes in Farsi: “They [other asylum seekers] started bullying us, disrespecting us because we were gay, there are always people who are waiting to find a way to harm us, some want to rape us, we are tired this and we have no hope.”

Another author Karim* writes: In this camp I suffer a lot. For example about four month ago I had to protect myself from a vicious man who tried to rape me, I lodged a complaint against the man, but I’ve got no reply yet. Life in the camp became harder because after that incident everyone stopped talking to me, I am completely alone, they are bullying and humiliating me at all time. I asked the psychologists to help me, but I’ve been ignored.

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Guardian Australia understands that a number of gay men on Manus have elected to repatriate following alleged bullying in the camp and fear of persecution outside of it.

Australia accused of breaching non-refoulement obligations

Advocates argue that the cases of gay asylum seekers on Manus highlight that the resettlement deal with PNG, announced by former prime minister Kevin Rudd on 19 July 2013 is in direct violation of Australia’s non-refoulement obligations under the refugee convention.

Pynt said: “The fact that so many gay men have been sent to Manus highlights obvious shortcomings in the already inadequate pre-transfer screening processes. Further, the circumstances under which the men are sent to Manus and the punishment that will follow as a necessary consequence, should they be resettled in PNG, leads to serious questions about whether this amounts to people trafficking.”

Graeme McGregor, Amnesty Australia’s refugee campaign coordinator said Amnesty had “consistently raised the issue of gay men on Manus with the immigration department” but had “never had a clear response”. McGregor said the presence of gay men on Manus was a clear example of refoulement. “There is a specific irony for gay men on Manus who want resettlement and stability but that release and resettlement brings other dangers,” he said.

A spokesman for the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) in New South Wales also said it had consistently raised the issue of gay men on Manus with the department for immigration but had no response. “The GLRL is extremely concerned by reports that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex (LGBTI) asylum seekers in detention feel unsafe not only in detention centres, but in PNG itself, a nation that criminalises homosexuality,” the spokesman said. “We are particularly alarmed that some have either self-harmed or contemplated taking their lives. This highlights the need for improved medical, social and legal support for all detainees, and particularly for groups who are already vulnerable to violence, discrimination and even further imprisonment in these circumstances, particularly LGBTI people.”

• All names in this article have been changed to protect identities.
Source: Guardian UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:27 am 
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Biggest crowds in years turn out to watch the 2015 Sydney Mardi Gras parade
7 March 2015
By Andrew Potts

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One of the floats in this year's Sydney Mardi Gras Parade. Photo by Andrew M Potts/ GayStarNews.com

Hundreds of thousands of people have packed the streets of Sydney’s gay village tonight to watch the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras take place for the 37th year in a row.

There were thick crowds all the way to Moore Park which meant that participants had to give their best along the entire parade route to wow the crowd and many were visibly exhausted by the end. And the plastic stools and milk crates that many spectators bring to the parade each year to see over the rows of people up in front were to be seen well down Flinders Street in 2015 and even on Anzac Parade – meaning this was one of the biggest audiences for the parade in years.

Nearly 150 marching groups and floats and tens of thousands of people participated in this year’s parade, including one consisting of members of Australia’s armed forces and for the first time ever they were lead by the most senior enlisted military figures in the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force.

Warrant Officer of the Navy, Martin Holzberger, Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army, David Ashley, and Warrant Officer of the Air Force, Mark Pentreath lead the military contingent – who were allowed to march in uniform for only the third time this year – though Australian military personnel have been able to participate openly in the parade since 2008. Ahead of the event Vice Chief of the Australian Defense Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said the troops’ participation in the Mardi Gras parade demonstrated the force’s commitment to evolving the Defence culture around diversity. ‘Defense values all its members and is absolutely committed to ensuring a diverse and inclusive culture,’ Vice Admiral Griggs said ahead of the parade. The Sydney Mardi Gras is an opportunity for Defense to communicate its support for and inclusion of members within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community.’



The parade began at 7pm with the traditional roar of the Dykes on Bikes along the parade route. They were followed by 42 Boys on Bikes and by a visiting contingent from Victorian LGBTI biker group the Melbourne Motorcycle Tourers. Next were a large group of indigenous Australians, with a bus carrying respected members of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities with modern and traditional dancers following them.

Also marching were the ‘78ers – veterans of the first ever Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 1978 which descended into a police riot after officers attacked the marchers. In the parade’s 37th year there are growing calls for an official apology over how they were treated. There was also a large contingent of LGBTI community sporting groups, followed by a float from the ANZ bank – this year’s Principle Partner with the festival.

Legendary Mardi Gras costume maker Ron Muncaster returned to the parade after 9 years with another of his spectacular outfits. Following Muncaster were a series of floats and marching groups representing Australia’s response to HIV as well as national depression initiative Beyond Blue and the campaign to legalize medical cannabis in Australia.

GSN spoke to one of the independent marching groups this year, the Unique Snowflakes, who are a new entry this year. ‘The Unique Snowflakes float brings together a group of friends from diverse backgrounds, marching in a celebration of sexual and gender diversity,’ Unique Snowflakes co-organizer Nikki Ponymeadow said. ‘As “unique snowflakes” we represent the inherent differences between all of us, and we show that these differences need not be a reason for isolation. Rather, they can bring us together, unified rather than separate – a snow storm of togetherness rather than a flurry of lost and lonely snowflakes.

GSN asked Ponymeadow what Mardi Gras meant, in a nutshell, for her. ‘Mardi Gras is a time of year where everyone has a chance to express themselves without fear of persecution,’ she said. ‘It's also a chance to be super creative and make amazing costumes. And it's the only time of the year that you can walk through the city half naked and covered head to toe
in paint and glitter.’

Another highlight of the parade were marchers from Australian Marriage Equality, with 100 marchers wearing Passion t-shirts dancing to the tune of Bruno Mar’s song ‘Marry You.’ This year the Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust, Amnesty International NSW LGBTQI Network and the TGD SGLMG Working Group joined together to highlight transgender issues and their entry featured giant puppets and a ‘Beacon of Bodily Autonomy.’ The entry from People With Disability Australia is always a crowd favorite and this year featured a pair of giant lips sending the message that people should be free to love without discrimination regardless of their ability.



One of the largest corporate entries in the parade was the Google entry – with over a thousand people, including Australia’s first ever Eurovision entry Guy Sebastian, Megan Washington and band The Jezabels, marching to raise awareness for LGBTI youth charity Twenty10. The Google entry also broadcast vision from a number of popular viral YouTube coming out videos from recent years on giant screens on either side of a massive truck.

A large contingent of LGBTI religious groups marched in the parade this year -including Jewish, Catholic, Metropolitan Community Church and Uniting Church groups.

Groups from regional Australia dominated part of the parade and they were followed by a large number of political groups including Rainbow Labor, the Greens, the Liberals, Socialist Alliance, the City of Sydney and openly gay Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich and the Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore. There are too many entries in this year’s parade to mention by name and many of their participants will already be partying at the Mardi Gras Party parade after party – for which some tickets will still be available for on the door. GSN is a proud supporter of the 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival for the third year running as its Global News Supporter.

Source: GayStarNews.

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:56 pm 
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Australia politician: Anti-bullying campaign is 'gay plot' to promote homosexual 'lifestyle'
12 March 2015
By Darren Wee

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Peter Abetz. Photo via parliament.wa.gov.au

An Australia politician has said a government-funded anti-bullying campaign crosses the line into advocacy and is 'little more than a gay lifestyle promotion program.'

Peter Abetz, a Western Australia state government backbencher, made the comments in a private briefing to fellow Liberal MPs at parliament, the Western Australian reported. The Safe Schools Coalition Australia program, funded by an $8 million grant from the federal government, will be implemented from the middle of this year.

'The militant gay lesbian lobby is trying to get this into our schools to "normalize" what they consider the LGBTI agenda,' he said. 'I think in Australia most people are quite tolerant. Most people know someone among their relatives or workmates who is a lesbian or gay or whatever, and they don't bat an eyelid - they just accept them as human beings with inherent value and you treat them with dignity and respect.' The former pastor added that encouraging teenagers to self-identify as LGBTI could be harmful in the long term as most young people with same-sex attraction or transgender feelings lost them as they matured.

LGBTI rights activist Rodney Croome said that Abetz’s comments displayed exactly the kind of stigma that the program was designed to counteract. 'The idea that homosexuality is a "phase" belongs in the 1950s, where most people left it,' he told the Guardian Australia. 'About 10% of students in Western Australia are gay or transgender, and about 10% of the adult population is too.'

Croome said anti-gay bullying had been linked to higher rates of suicide, self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse and poor performance at school. 'The safe schools program is giving teachers the skills and information they need to effectively combat LGBTI bullying in the classroom,' he said. 'He can call that propaganda if he wants. I call it saving lives.'

Source: GayStarNews.

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:59 am 
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Australian woman who flashed breasts at Google car to face court
2 April 2015

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Australian woman who flashed breasts at Google car to face court - © Peter Steffen, dpa

Sydney (dpa) - A woman who flashed her breasts at a Google car in suburban South Australia and then boasted about it will have to answer in court, police said Thursday.

Karen Davis, 38, recalled in reports this week how she had chased after the Google Street View car in Port Pirie two months ago and hitched up her sweater to tick an item off her "bucket list." "I flashed as he went past and then he came back and did another one, I'm assuming to make sure he got the shot," she told The Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide.

The image was captured by the car and displayed via Google Earth and Google Maps. But the media exposure Davis has received in recent days has landed her in trouble with police. She will be summoned to appear in court to face a charge of disorderly behaviour, a spokeswoman for the South Australia Police said. "We received numerous complaints from the public," the spokeswoman told dpa. Davis is likely to face a fine or, at worst, a prison term if convicted, she added.

Source: dpa.

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:59 am 
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:?

Prison term? That's all?! No summary execution?

I mean it's totally outrageous and unacceptable what she did! An act of urban terrorism!! I'd say first 100 lashes (to please the islamists), then a tar-and-feathering (to please the yokels), then another round of lashes (to please the good christians, who don't want to seem 'easy' in the eyes of the islamists).

And of course she should be fired from her job (to please the local business community) and evicted from her house if it's rented (as the owner doesn't want to be seen harbouring such criminals), fined massively (to please the local crats who don't want to be seen as 'easy' by everyone else).

She should then be barred from supermarkets and shops in general (for unhygienic behaviour in public), going anywhere near schools (for flaunting her female body and promoting an untraditional lifestyle). Her children (if she has any) should be taken into social custody (unfit parent) and her husband (if she has one) will be forced to divorce her (not wanting to be seen as 'weak' in the eyes of his mates).

Did I leave anything out?

:x

I remember Australia as a country of fun-loving people. And this would definitely be classified as having a bit of fun, flashing your tits at the Google car.

WHAT HAPPENED???!!

:( :sad:

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:49 pm 
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Growing calls for same-sex marriage in Australia
29 May 2015

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Growing calls for same-sex marriage in Australia - © Dan Himbrechts, EPA

Sydney (dpa) - Australian corporations and big banks on Friday indicated support for same-sex marriage, as parliament prepares for a possible vote on changing the law to make it legal.

"Join the growing list of corporate Australia supporting marriage equality," airline Qantas, the Commonwealth, ANZ and Westpac banks, and other companies, said in a full-page advertisement in The Australian newspaper.

Ireland's recent "yes" vote on same-sex marriage reignited debate in Australia and prompted Prime Minister Tony Abbott to clear the way for a conscience vote within his Liberal Party. Australia's marriage equality lobby says he has opened the door to a federal parliament vote that will lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage within months. Abbott describes himself as the only member of his family who does not believe in the marriage between two people of the same gender.

His sister, a Liberal Party councillor who is in a relationship with a woman, predicted in an interview with ABC television Thursday night that same-sex marriage would be legal in Australia by the end of the year. Christine Forster said she did not expect Abbott's personal view on the issue to change but believed he accepted that change as inevitable. "The Irish vote, the very comprehensive, decisive, wonderful Irish vote over the weekend, it's the watershed," Forster said. "It has proved to everybody that this very important reform that has been a long time coming, far too long coming from my opinion, is inevitable."

Source: dpa.

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:07 pm 
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Australians rally for same-sex marriage
31 May 2015
By Benita van Eyssen

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Same-sex marriage equality rally in Sydney - © Paul Miller, EPA

Sydney (dpa) - Hundreds of people attended a rally in support of same-sex marriage in Australia on Sunday, as the country considers the changing the law to make it legal.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's sister was among the speakers in central Sydney. Christine Foster is in a relationship with a female city councillor for Abbott's Liberal Party.

Ireland's recent "yes" vote on the marriage between people of the same gender reignited debate in Australia and prompted Abbott to clear the way for a conscience vote within his party. Politicians across the political spectrum, big local businesses and celebrities have joined growing calls for marriage equality. "This is a matter that transcends politics," Tanya Plibersek, the deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party told the crowd.

Labour leader Bill Shorten is due to introduce a bill that defines marriage as a union "of two people" rather than a "man and woman" in parliament on Monday. The party has called on the Liberal-led coalition government to support the legislation.

Abbott, who does not support same-sex marriage, is seen to have opened the door to a federal vote when he signalled a possible conscience vote among Liberal Party lawmakers after the Irish referendum. "I've made it very clear that while this is an important issue the government has an absolute focus right now on getting the budget measures through parliament," Abbott was quoted as saying Sunday.

Forster earlier this week said she did not expect her brother's personal view on the issue to change, but believed he accepted that change as inevitable.

Source: dpa.

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:13 pm 
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Australian opposition to push for gay marriage law reform
By ROD McGUIRK
30 August 2016

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australia's opposition said Tuesday that it would test Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's weakened grip on power following last month's general election by proposing its own legislation to legalize gay marriage.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten used the first meeting of Parliament since the election to announce that he would propose the bill on Wednesday. The bill underscores a stark policy difference between the conservative government and the opposition center-left Labor Party on gay marriage. While Labor wants Parliament to decide the divisive issue quickly, the government wants to first hold a popular vote on whether the public thinks Parliament should create marriage equality.

Dismayed gay rights advocates warn that a stalemate over how to proceed could mean there is no vote on gay marriage before the next election is due in 2019. Turnbull's authority was undermined by the election, which cost his government 14 seats and left it with a single-seat majority in the House of Representatives.

Government lawmakers are also divided on whether gays should be allowed to marry and the wisdom of holding a 160 million Australian dollar ($120 million) opinion poll known as a plebiscite. Labor will need the support of 76 of the 150 lawmakers in the lower chamber on Wednesday for debate on its gay marriage bill to start. Labor has only 69 seats, so it will rely on government lawmakers to break ranks from the ruling coalition, as well as the backing of up to five independent lawmakers.

Labor gained the power to veto the plebiscite after two balance-of-power minor parties said they would not support enabling legislation in the Senate, where the government holds a minority of seats. All three parties are in favor of gay marriage, but argue that the plebiscite is a waste of money, and that government-funded advertising of arguments for and against same-sex marriage could give legitimacy to homophobic views.

Turnbull agreed to hold the plebiscite in a deal with gay marriage opponents within his party. In return, those opponents backed Turnbull in an internal leadership ballot that toppled Prime Minister Tony Abbott a year ago. Turnbull, a gay marriage advocate, had previously spoken out against such a public vote that could create painful divisions in Australian society.

Gay marriage lobbyists are generally opposed to the plebiscite, which they argue was initiated by lawmakers who hope it fails. Opinion polls show that most Australians support same-sex marriage.

But plebiscites and referendums - which are legally binding popular votes - rarely manage to change the status quo in Australia. Some marriage equality advocates warn that a lost plebiscite could likely set back their cause for decades.

Source: AP

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:01 am 
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No wedding for Minogue until Australia changes same-sex marriage law
6 October 2016

Sydney (dpa) - Kylie Minogue and her fiancee want to tie the knot in Australia but will not be doing so until there is marriage equality, Joshua Sasse, the British actor engaged to the singer, said on Thursday.

"There are chances of a Melbourne wedding ... We will not be getting married until this law has passed in Australia," the 28-year-old actor told local broadcaster Channel Seven. "Me and Kylie have talked about it and we are not comfortable getting married until this law has passed. When I found out that gay marriage was illegal in Australia, I was astounded," he said.

The couple announced their engagement in February. Sasse has since started a campaign called Say "I Do" Down Under, backed by a host of celebrities including Australian singer Sia, which supports making same-sex marriage legal in Australia. Last week, Australian actress Margot Robbie also supported the campaign by wearing a T-shirt on the set of American television show Saturday Night Live.

Recently, Minogue, 48, had said Australia was "backward" on the issue of same-sex marriage, saying "the earth didn't cave in" when other countries made it legal. "Love is love," she said.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has proposed a plebiscite on marriage equality for February 2017, but the opposition Labor party has said they would like a parliamentary vote on the topic. A recent poll found that 57 per cent of Australians were in favour of gay marriage.

Source: dpa

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:37 pm 
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Gay rights advocates welcome Australia rejecting public vote
By ROD McGUIRK
8 November 2016

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Gay rights advocates on Tuesday welcomed Australia's Senate voting down a government plan to hold a nonbinding public vote on recognizing gay marriage and called on Parliament to legislate for marriage equality soon.

The Senate voted 33-29 late Monday against holding the plebiscite Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative government had planned for Feb. 11. Marriage equality opponents had supported the plebiscite while most gay marriage advocates had opposed it, warning it would spark a divisive public debate.

Parliament should decide the issue during the current three-year term, said Ivan Hinton-Teoh, a spokesman for the gay rights group just.equal.
"Clearly in the last 24 hours we've had a very significant and historic step in the path to achieving marriage equality and that's to get the campaign of marriage equality back on track to where it should've been," Hinton-Teoh told reporters at Parliament House. Hinton-Teoh said he and other gay rights advocates would work with the minor Greens party to draft a marriage equality bill that would attract cross-party support. "It's just a matter of time. We know that we're going to win this," said Greens Sen. Janet Rice, who was married to transgender Nobel Prize-winning climatologist Penny Whetton.

Christopher Pyne, a senior government minister who supports gay marriage, said the government would not make a quick decision on how to proceed now that the plebiscite, estimated to cost 170 million Australian dollars ($130 million), had been scuttled. Pyne accused opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten, who supports gay marriage, of refusing to support the plebiscite for political advantage. "He couldn't care less about same-sex marriage and he doesn't care less about the many couples around Australia who'd like to have the same legal status as my wife and I enjoy," Pyne said. "The sensible thing to do is let the dust settle on this issue and get on with the rest of our agenda," Pyne added.

Turnbull's predecessor, gay marriage opponent Tony Abbott, decided on the plebiscite to avoid division within the conservative government's ranks. Turnbull, who supports marriage equality, agreed to hold the plebiscite in return for the most conservative elements of his party supporting his successful challenge to Abbott's leadership a year ago.

Shelley Argent, spokeswoman for PFLAG Australia which represents parents of gay children, said the plebiscite had been designed to fail. "The plebiscite if it had gone ahead would have been devastating. There was nothing positive about it," Argent said.

Opinion polls show most Australians support gay marriage, but plebiscites and referendums to change the constitution rarely change the status in Australia. The public vote would have carried no legal weight and lawmakers would still have had to change the law in Parliament. Some government lawmakers had said they would vote down gay marriage in Parliament even if a majority of Australians voted for marriage equality.

Source: AP

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:53 pm 
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Thousands strip off for Sydney nude swim
By Allison Yee
20 March 2017

The sun wasn’t out but the guns most definitely were when thousands of people stripped off to take part in The Sydney Skinny annual charity race.

Close to 1400 swimmers flocked to Cobblers Beach in Sydney’s Middle Harbour, daring to bare as they swam the 300 and 900 metre course. But before your inner prude kicks in, all that nudity was for a good cause.

With the event about “personally challenging yourself to step ever-so-slightly outside your comfort zone”, it’s all about the journey – and not the nudity - for everyone who takes part.

In fact, no spectators are allowed and all swimmers are given sarongs as they come out of the water. Oh, and swimmers are encouraged to raise money for charity partners including Foundation for Parks and Wildlife and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

For surfing legend Layne Beachley, the day was about having fun without any inhibitions whatsoever. “It’s amazing how many excuses people have when I say ‘you want to come swim nude with me?’ and they’re like ‘Uh, maybe give me another 12 months when I’ve lost all little bit more weight,’” Layne told the TODAY show. "We're all born, flesh and blood, and it's a matter of just going outside, having some fun and swimming with thousands of people."

Source: Yahoo! Australia

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 11:38 pm 
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Australian state apologizes to men convicted for gay sex
11 May 2017

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) -- An Australian state parliament on Thursday apologized to hundreds of men convicted decades ago for having homosexual sex, as the government introduced legislation to throw out their criminal records.

Queensland State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk delivered the apology to those affected by a prohibition on homosexual sex, which was repealed in 1990.

Once the legislation is passed, Queensland will join three states and the national capital in expunging criminal records for homosexual sex, which is no longer illegal anywhere in the country. Two states and a territory have not.

"You have been maligned and shamed, and for that we express our deep regret for the hurt you have suffered," Palaszczuk told the Legislative Assembly. "In criminalizing homosexual activity between consenting adults, the Legislative Assembly of this state dishonored its citizens and institutionalized prejudice and discrimination," she added.

Alan Raabe was convicted of aggravated sexual assault after what he said was a consensual homosexual act in 1988, and was in parliament to hear the apology. The 63-year-old said his ambition of being a teacher had been dashed by his conviction, but he is happy to finally have his criminal record wiped clean. "It was like a cloud lifted, somebody cared," Raabe said.

Although homosexuality is no longer illegal, those convicted still have to declare their criminal records to potential employers to work in public service, education and childcare industries. Under the proposed changes which appear almost certain to become law, a man will be able to apply to the Justice Department for his conviction for an "act of gross indecency" to be expunged.

Queensland is regarded as Australia's most conservative state. Homosexual acts between consenting adults in private were punishable by up to 14 years in prison in Queensland and state police were renowned throughout Australia in the 1980s for the priority they gave to arresting and harassing gays.

In the late 1980s, the Australian government threatened a public attack on the Queensland government over media reports that undercover police were propositioning gays in public toilets to make arrests and charging established gay couples for having sex in their own homes. The then state premier replied in a letter that he was doing his "level best for this very difficult issue" of police harassment of gays. The government was changed for the first time in 32 years before the law was reformed.

Source: AP

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:33 am 
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Australians to soon post ballots in gay marriage survey
By ROD McGUIRK
12 September 2017

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australians begin receiving their postal ballots on legalizing gay marriage from Tuesday as a new opinion poll showed that most of those who intend to vote are in favor of marriage equality.

More than 16 million registered voters among Australia's population of 24 million will receive ballots in the coming days requesting their opinion on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to wed. An Ipsos poll published in Fairfax Media newspapers on Tuesday found 65 percent of respondents said they were certain to take part in the survey. Of those certain to post their ballot papers back, 70 percent said they would support gay marriage.

If the postal survey finds most Australians want gay marriage, the Parliament will vote by December on legislation to lift the prohibition on gay marriage. But several lawmakers have said they would vote against gay marriage regardless of public opinion.

The Ipsos poll was based on a survey of 1,400 voters between Wednesday and Saturday last week. It had a 2.6 percentage point margin of error. The result was consistent with previous polls in recent years which have shown around two-thirds of Australians support gay marriage.

But a similar proportion also want legal protections for churches' rights to refuse to marry same-sex couples and to teach that marriage should be between a man and woman.

Critics of the government's approach have argued that the public should see how these rights would be protected in proposed legislation before they decide whether gay marriage should go ahead. But the government refuses to release a draft bill until after the survey decides whether the Parliament will consider any bill.

Conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and center-left Labor Party opposition leader Bill Shorten are both campaigning for law reform. But two past conservative prime ministers, Tony Abbott, who remains a government lawmaker, and John Howard, both oppose the change.

Source: AP

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