Australia’s hopeless entwinement of religion and state puts the egalitarian value, we claim to hold, in grave jeopardy.
The corrosive effect of state funding of, and dependency on, religious enterprises to run schools, hospitals, relief centres and aged-care centres means that the key liberal-democratic principle of separation of church from state is mortally compromised.
Church clubs want to reject certain groups in society. I see that as a right of any club or association with a restricted membership. This right seems to be at the core of the religious freedom paranoia of people such as Scott Morrison.
The premise of restricted membership is entirely at odds with the egalitarian principle of equal access of all citizens to the goods and services being offered by commercial and state organisations in the public square of an open society.
This is a deep historically-based contradiction that is embedded in our society which needs to be eliminated not reinforced.
Our constitution article 116 states; “the state should not create or impose a
religion”, and I add, even if it happens to be the one followed by the Prime Minister of the moment.
The state also should not prevent the free exercise of any religion, which of course is entirely untenable in the context of the other legal frameworks of our society, and should be disregarded where a religion impedes an individual enjoying his or her rights and freedoms under the law.
Perhaps it is time to rewrite the Constitution, 118 years is a long time.
It isn’t serving us well - citizenship fiasco, republic debate, corruption of many principles and parliamentary disfunction come to mind.
But where would we find anyone intellectually honest enough to lead such a process given the parlous state of our political system?
M Fyfe, Riverside.
I read with great interest the headline in The Examiner November 21, 1996, Page 3): “70 Anglican churches may close down”.
Reading this article it is very obvious this was one of a number of proposals, for discussion, on how the church could prepare for the 21st century.
The then-Archdeacon Greg Clifton said “some of the 70 churches were already closed in the sense that they were not being used” or very infrequently.
The Archdeacon said if the 70 churches were closed there were several options for their use: “They may not all be sold-some may be rented, we would probably be looking at using them within the community in a way that would maintain the character of the buildings.”
I think this announcement to parishioners of the churches was much more conciliatory than the announcement made in April 2018.
Certainly there are churches on the 25 listed in the article that have closed and been sold, and I would expect some of the churches on the current list that may well have to be closed and sold. If parishes were given the opportunity before the list was drawn up using the “model”, to find alternate ways to fund the Redress scheme, then much of the grief suffered could be avoided.
I know everyone supports the redress and is long overdue to assist the poor survivors of sexual abuse, mostly at the hands of clergy, but there needs to be much more emphasis on counselling for these victims.
Bruce Williams, Newnham.
GIVEN the recent criticism of the Brisbane Street Mall by some correspondents I went and experienced it for myself.
I found the mall to be wonderfully open with ample seating provided. The trees, once more mature, will be a nice leafy and green addition.
The Tasmanian tiger sculptures are a nice addition and only the incredibly careless would find them a tripping hazard. The roofed shelters are a great improvement on the previous “cockroach” design.
The critics were also whinging about the lack of play equipment for children, but that is hardly necessary for a mall. There are many playgrounds around Launceston and people don’t have to pay to park at them.
The upgrades to the mall, Quadrant Mall and Civic Square have been wonderful, although the history tiles in the Civic Square are poor quality and need replacing. It seems to me that Tasmanians prefer a good old whinge anytime change is done.
Geoff McLean, Launceston.
WE HAVE observed, over the past two years in particular, the obvious decline in numbers of people coming to shop in Launceston. We have to say why?
Perhaps it is the fact that parking ones car costs so much money. The paucity of parking adjacent to the Launceston General Hospital and again the cost of parking and the anxiety it causes “meter watching”.
It is very disappointing for those of us who love our “Lonnie” to see this sad decline, closed businesses, even our previously lovely malls have been remodeled beyond recognition, especially our lovely old Civic Square, it is now a concrete jungle.
Why? It was the old and gorgeous streetscape, malls and parks that made Launceston such a beautiful city, leaving Hobart for dead.
Now, however, we appear to have some young blood, town planner/engineer/architect whoever, who has a view of a “modern” city that needed a shake to bring it into the 21st century, but like all young bloods, it was all about modernising, with little or no thought for the beauty already existing in our lovely city and the draw card for so many people.
It is hardly surprising that businesses are suffering, people can go out to surrounding areas with free parking and all the amenities required.
No problems with meter watching, a relaxing coffee and all the time needed to shop in good quality shops.
The council needs to seriously consider the vandalism to our lovely malls and also take a very serious look at the cost of parking, perhaps take back the responsibility for car parking and make it free.