Religion

  • Cabinet divided over Israel embassy policy

    Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has said that keeping the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv is “like Israel saying that they intend to put their embassy in Sydney and pretend that Canberra isn’t our capital”, as Cabinet remains publicly divided on the issue. Last month Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested that his government is considering relocating the Australian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which has been claimed by Israel as its capital since its occupation in ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 10 November – 18 November 2018

    UK, EU agree on draft Brexit deal In a diplomatic breakthrough, UK and European Union officials have agreed the draft text of a Brexit agreement after months of negotiations. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Morrison reverses “foolish” decision to cut Foodbank funding Prime Minister Scott Morrison has intervened to boost the Government’s food relief budget to ensure a charity that feeds 710,000 people a month retains its funding. See OPMG’s coverage of this ... ► Read more

  • Moving Australian embassy to Jerusalem could increase terror attacks, warn Indonesia and Malaysia

    Indonesian and Malaysian politicians have warned that moving the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could result in increased Islamist terror attacks against Australians. Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated in October 2018 that the Australian Government is considering relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv to the de facto capital Jerusalem, although Jerusalem is not recognised by the United Nations. The potential policy change has caused concern regarding Australia’s relationship with Muslim-majority nations, ... ► Read more

  • Gaza Strip: three Palestinians killed in Israeli air raids

    At least three Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air raids in the Gaza Strip, according to health officials, in the latest escalation less than 24 hours after a deadly covert Israeli operation in the besieged enclave. Hamas, the group administering the Strip, said one of Monday’s air attacks destroyed the building of its television station. There was no immediate word of any casualties in the strike on Al-Aqsa TV, which reportedly took place after ... ► Read more

  • Nearly $100,000 raised for man who charged terrorist with trolley

    An online fundraiser has raised over $100,000 for a homeless man who confronted the Bourke Street terrorist with a shopping trolley during the attack on Friday. Michael Rodgers has drawn widespread attention since he repeatedly pushed a trolley at Hassan Khalif Shire Ali while the 30-year-old man attempted to stab police. “I ran, threw the trolley straight at him, got him, but didn’t get him down,” Mr Rogers told 7 News. “I did that motion ... ► Read more

  • Gaza officials: 7 killed in Israeli raid

    Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in a clandestine raid targeting a Hamas commander and air strikes that provided cover for the commandos to escape back into Israel by car, according to Gaza officials. The Israeli incursion and air attacks drew rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled enclave late on Sunday. A senior official of Hamas, the group administering the Gaza Strip, said the Israeli special forces team infiltrated an area near the ... ► Read more

  • Pope Francis open to visiting North Korea

    Pope Francis has indicated that he is open to an official visit to North Korea, a country recognised as the worst in the world for persecuting Christians. South Korean President Moon Jae-in relayed an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the Pope during a private audience at the Vatican on Thursday. The South Korean presidential office said President Moon “conveyed [Kim’s] desire for a papal visit to North Korea”, and that a formal ... ► Read more

  • PM considering recognising Jerusalem as Israel capital

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reportedly said he is open to moving Australia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem following talks with Dave Sharma, Liberal candidate in this weekend’s Wentworth by-election and former ambassador to Israel. According to the ABC, nearly 13% of voters in Wentworth are Jewish and the Government needs to win the seat to retain its one-seat majority in the Lower House. Speaking at a forum in Bondi on Monday, ... ► Read more

  • Week In Brief: 7 – 13 October 2018

    Government promises to fast track company tax cuts ahead of federal election The Morrison Government has promised to fast track company tax cuts ahead of the next federal election, with legislation to be introduced to Parliament in the next fortnight. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. AFP raids Home Affairs Dept over au pair scandal leaks Federal Police are raiding the Department of Home Affairs over suspected leaks in relation to the au pair ... ► Read more

  • Religious schools shouldn’t expel gay students, Prime Minister says

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he would “not be comfortable” with gay students being expelled from religious schools, he said in response to leaked recommendations of the Ruddock review into religious freedoms. A list of 20 recommendations leaked to the media on Friday included the recommendation that amendments be made to the Sexual Discrimination Act to ensure religious schools can discriminate against both students and staff “on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or ... ► Read more

  • Nyiyaparli community wins 20-year native title battle

    The Nyiyparli community has won a 20-year legal battle to be recognised as the native title holders of approximately 40,000 square kilometres of land in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which includes the mining town of Newman. The Aboriginal community lodged its first claim on 29 September 1998, and Federal Court Justice Michael Barker handed down his decision — which has not yet been published — in an on-country at Coondiner Pool (Kuntinha) hearing ... ► Read more

  • Bali announces crack down on “insolent” tourists

    Authorities on the Indonesian resort island of Bali will issue new rules on visiting religious sites, a Hindu leader said on Wednesday, after disrespectful behaviour by foreign tourists sparked anger among adherents. The Balinese provincial government is preparing a decree to regulate temple visits in order to preserve the sanctity of the holy sites, according to I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, chairperson of the Bali-based Indonesian Hindu Society. A working group comprising of government representatives and ... ► Read more

  • Federal Government giving Catholic schools 10 times what they need, claims Grattan Institute

    The Federal Government’s controversial plan to give independent schools a funding boost of $4.5 billion would give Catholic schools more than 10 times what they need to remain an “affordable choice” for parents, the Grattan Institute claims. Under the proposal championed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, $1.2 billion of the funding injection will form a “choice and affordability” fund to help prevent an escalation of fees in the private ... ► Read more

  • Federal and NSW Governments clash over private school funding boost

    The New South Wales Government has rejected Canberra’s proposed education funding model, under which independent schools would receive a funding boost of $4.5 billion. In saying that the NSW Government would not accept “special deals” for independent schools, NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said the extra $4.5 billion over 10 years was “not fair”. “We welcome additional money into NSW schools — our simple message is, it’s got to be distributed fairly,” Mr Stokes said. ... ► Read more

  • Saipov defence cites Trump tweets in argument against death penalty

    The defence team of accused “bike path terrorist” Sayfullo Saipov has argued that tweets from US President Donald Trump and the President’s criticisms of the Department of Justice would make it impossible for Attorney-General Jeff Sessions to fairly and impartially seek the death penalty. Mr Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, is accused of driving a rented pickup truck into cyclists and runners in Lower Manhattan, New York City, killing eight people and injuring 11 others ... ► Read more

  • 48 dead in Kabul education centre suicide bombing

    A suicide bombing at an education centre in Kabul has killed 48 people and left 67 injured, according to Afghan officials. Police say a suicide bomber entered the centre while tuition was taking place and detonated his bomb belt at about 4:00 pm (local time) on Wednesday afternoon. “We can confirm the attack was caused by a suicide bomber on foot,” police spokesperson Hashmat Stanikzai said. “The bomber detonated himself inside the education centre.” Many ... ► Read more

  • Former Archbishop Philip Wilson to serve child sex abuse concealment sentence in home detention

    Former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson will serve his sentence for concealing child sex abuse in home detention. Mr Wilson was sentenced to 12 months detention with six months non-parole for covering up child sex abuse that occurred in the 1970s in the NSW Hunter region. He has spent the last few weeks on bail while he and his sister’s homes were being assessed for home detention. He will be eligible for parole on February 13, ... ► Read more

  • US sanctions Turkish officials over jailed pastor

    The United States Government has imposed sanctions on Turkey’s justice and interior ministers over the ongoing detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. Mr Brunson has been held in custody for almost two years over alleged links to political groups. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the US Government believes Mr Brunson is “a victim of unfair and unjust detention”, adding that the Government has “seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong.” ... ► Read more

  • Archbishop Philip Wilson resigns after conviction of concealing child sex abuse

    Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, the most senior Catholic official to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse, is now resigning from his position. Pope Francis accepted the resignation after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other political leaders increased the pressure on Mr Wilson to step down from his role. The soon to be former Archbishop was convicted in May for concealing child sex abuse that dated back to the 1970s, where he covered up for ... ► Read more

  • Seven killed in Kabul suicide bombing

    The Islamic State (IS) terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack that killed seven civilians in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Sunday. In addition to those killed, 15 staff of the nearby Rural Development Ministry were wounded when the bomb went off at evening rush-hour. The attack is one of many that have terrorised civilians in Afghanistan’s major cities this year, creating the highest number of conflict-related casualties in one year since records ... ► Read more

  • Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced to 12 months detention for child abuse cover up

    Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, 67, has been sentenced to 12 months detention by the Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday. Archbishop Wilson is the most senior Catholic official to have been convicted of concealing child sexual abuse. He will serve half of the maximum sentence of two years imprisonment. The Archbishop was previously found guilty for failing to report to the police the historical indecent assault of two altar boys by the hands of priest Jim ... ► Read more

  • Greens push to replace Lord’s prayer in Senate sittings

    The practice of opening Senate sessions with the Lord’s prayer may be replaced with the recitation of an “inclusive” statement. Outgoing NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon successfully moved on Wednesday afternoon to have the matter examined by a parliamentary committee. Senator Rhiannon has proposed that the prayer be substituted with: “Senators, let us, in silence, pray or reflect upon our responsibilities to all people of Australia, and to future generations.” The change is supported by ... ► Read more

  • Indonesian terrorist Aman Abdurrahman sentenced to death for 2016 attack

    Aman Abdurrahman, the radical Indonesian cleric behind a 2016 attack on a Starbucks café in Jakarta, was sentenced to death on Friday. Abdurrahman ordered militants affiliated with Islamic State to carry out attacks, including the Starbucks suicide bombing that left seven dead. Considered to be Indonesia’s most dangerous terrorist, he formed the group responsible for suicide bombings in Surabaya last month, which were carried out by families, including young children. Prosecutors have called Abdurrahman a ... ► Read more

  • Australian nun permitted to remain in Philippines after deportation scare

    The Philippine Justice Department has nullified an order to deport Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox. Sister Fox’s visa was revoked by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration on the basis of alleged political activity. However, the Justice Department granted her appeal just hours before the 71-year-old nun was due to leave the country. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte personally ordered the investigation of Sister Fox for “illegal political activities”. The Bureau of Immigration arrested her in April ... ► Read more

  • BREAKING: Malcolm Turnbull to give child sex abuse victims national apology

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will deliver a national apology to victims 0f child sex abuse on October 22, as part of the Government’s response to the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Mr Turnbull said he would accept 104 out of the 122 recommendations made by the Royal Commission to the Federal Government, and that a national Office for Child Safety would be established this year. Speaking to the press in ... ► Read more

  • Catholic Church signs up for national redress scheme for victims of child sex abuse

    Image credit: Liam Kidston The Catholic Church has signed up for a national redress scheme for victims of child sex abuse, bringing victims closer to receiving compensation. The church has now become the first non-government organisation to join the national scheme, making it a major step forward to bringing consolation and justice to the institutional abuse inflicted upon thousands of young children. The church’s governing bodies, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious ... ► Read more

  • Archbishop Phillip Wilson found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse

    Image credit: Sky News Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson is now the most senior Catholic official to be convicted of concealing child sexual abuse after he was found guilty by a New South Wales court on Tuesday. The 67-year-old was accused of covering up abuse by priest Jim Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region in the 1970s in an attempt to protect the church’s reputation, Magistrate Robert Stone said. The archbishop could spend two years ... ► Read more