14th May 2022
My response to questions from the Australian Christian Lobby
A few days ago I completed this questionnaire (below | PNG ) for the ACL. You can find this also by going to https://vote.acl.org.au/, then to Victoria > Menzies then looking for me. I’m the only candidate to have completed the questions for Menzies. Clearly not many people in Menzies who stand for religious freedom.
Sanjeev Sabhlok’s survey answers…
- School Chaplaincy
- School Chaplaincy is a unique service that has proven to be of great value to school students, staff and parents. They offer care, help build students’ social skills, encourage responsible behaviour, and contribute to the wellbeing of school communities.
Do you support the continuance of the current chaplaincy program in schools? Yes
- Consent Education
- The Federal Government has mandated that consent education be included in the national curriculum for all schools without any consultation with parents or stakeholders. Whilst the details are not publicly available, parents have justifiable concerns that the mandated consent education will be ideologically loaded and inappropriately explicit.
Do you believe that parents and stakeholders should be consulted prior to the roll-out of any mandatory consent education program? Yes
- National Curriculum
- Concern regarding the diminishing, and in places factually inaccurate, representation of Australia’s Christian heritage and values in the April 2021 draft of the Australian Curriculum was a strong theme in the public consultation process. It has also been identified and raised directly with ACARA by the Government.
Do you support a process of further consultation and review of the Australian Curriculum in order to rectify the lack of representation of parts of our history? Yes
- Gender Ideology
- Controversial teaching that encourages children to believe their gender is on a spectrum and that they can choose to change their gender is included in the national curriculum. Parents expect the school curriculum to be non-ideological and for gender to be taught according to biological science.
Would you support moves to remove all gender ideology from the national curriculum, ensuring that children are not taught that their gender is on a spectrum? Yes
- Parental Rights
- Parents, not schools, are primarily responsible for the development and formation of their children in relation to core moral values. Parents should retain the right to withdraw their children from classroom lessons if what is being taught is contrary to their social and moral values.
Do you agree with the above statements? Yes
- Sex-selection Abortion
- As a result of son-preference cultures, the practice of abortion disproportionately impacts girls. An investigation by SBS found a higher number of boys than girls are being born in some Australian communities. A La Trobe University study also indicates that sex-selective practices take place in some ethnic communities. Indian-Australian entrepreneur Shivani Gopal warns, “Sex-selective abortions should never be allowed … we need to avoid creating loopholes [that] may enable these cultural practices to crop up here”. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has a longstanding ban on non-medical sex-selection in Australia in the context of assisted reproductive technologies. Despite this ban and general community repugnance towards aborting a child on the basis of their sex, sex-selective abortion is now legal in most of Australia. This loophole needs to be urgently addressed to ensure sex-selective abortion is unequivocally prohibited in this country.
Would you support a bill to ban Medicare (taxpayer) funding of this un-Australian practice? Yes
- Commonwealth funding reliant on abortion services
- Under the ALP’s 2019 health policy, public hospital systems would be required to offer abortion services in order to qualify for Commonwealth funding. Labor women’s lobby group, Emily’s List, is urging the ALP to recommit to this policy before the election.
Would you oppose a policy that required our public hospitals to offer abortion services in order to receive Commonwealth funding? Yes
- Born Alive Bill
- With a number of Australian States having legislated to allow abortion to birth, statistics reveal a significant number of babies are being born alive following an abortion process and left to die without medical intervention or even pain relief. These babies deserve the same rights and medical treatment as a wanted baby. Depending on the circumstances, appropriate medical care or treatment for a living baby following an abortion could involve life saving emergency treatment or palliative care.
Would you support legislation to provide medical care or treatment to babies born alive following an abortion, equivalent to that offered to a child born alive other than as a result of a termination? Yes
- Euthanasia by telehealth
- Euthanasia advocates are lobbying for the removal of legislation in the Commonwealth Criminal Code which makes it an offence to ‘counsel or incite’ suicide over a ‘carriage service’, that is by telephone or internet, or to provide instructions on a method of committing suicide. The removal of this legal safeguard would take Australia down a dangerous path where physicians would be authorised to prescribe death to patients without seeing them in person.
Do you support this safeguard being retained in the Commonwealth Criminal Code? Yes
- Mature Minor Policy
- With the documented rise in health and mental issues among our children, there is a greater need for parental care and support, not less. The Mature Minor Policy, allowing health related decisions to be made by children at schools without parental consent or acknowledgment, overrides parental rights and is a danger to the health and wellbeing of our children at schools.
Would you support the abolishment of this policy which denies parental rights? Yes
- My Health Record
- My Health Record policies restrict parental access to their child/ren’s health record at age 14. This overrides parents’ rights and is unhelpful for Australian children who should not be left to carry health decisions and burdens they are too young to handle without their parents advice and help.
Do you support parents having access to their children’s health record apart from exceptional circumstances? Yes
- The situation in Afghanistan continues to worsen under Taliban rule, making it unsafe for Afghanistan refugees currently residing in Australia to return to the country of their birth.
Do you support new pathways to permanent protection for Afghanistan refugees in Australia on temporary protection visas, some of whom have been in a state of limbo for nearly a decade? Yes
- Religious Freedom
- For believers and non-believers alike, religious freedom is an essential pillar of a strong and decent society and is critical to the health of a diverse society such as Australia. It allows different faiths and beliefs to flourish. Religious freedom protects the rights of all groups and individuals, including the most vulnerable, whether religious or not.
Do you support policies that ensure religious freedoms are maintained that are appropriate to our liberal democratic Australian society in regards to individual rights? Yes
- Codes of conduct in faith-based schools
- Having a code of conduct is not inherently a religious matter. It is an important document for political parties, charities and organisations to outline a clear indication of their rules, values, goals, ethics, and vision, providing all within the organisation with a clear outline of expected behaviour.
Do you support the right of faith-based schools to teach and set codes of conduct for students during school activities in accordance with the school’s values and beliefs? Yes
- Staff Hiring Policies
- In the same way that organisations which promote indigenous culture should not be required to employ persons from a differing culture, an environmental organisation should not be expected to employ a climate change denier, and a sitting member of a political party should not be required to offer employment to a member of an opposing party, religious schools and organisations should have the right to require their staff to adhere to their religious convictions. Any other outcome would severely restrict the freedom of Christian organisations and schools to operate in conformity with the convictions and expectations of its community.
Do you support the right of religious organisations, including faith-based schools, when employing staff, to preference those who adhere to the beliefs of the religious organisation and/or commit to abide by a code of conduct required by the organisation as a condition of their employment? Yes
- Better legislation to protect people of faith
- There are many ways in which freedom of speech for people of faith is under threat in our society. Examples of cases overseen by the Human Right Law Alliance can be found here.
Do you support legislative measures to increase confidence in all Australians that they may speak openly on matters of faith, without fear of being involved in costly litigation? Yes
Sexualisation of Society
- Advertising Standards
- Advertising standards are currently supervised under a system of self-regulation administered by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) which relies on the voluntary compliance of advertisers. In practice, this system of self-regulation fails to compel compliance from advertisers whose commercial interests can be thought to be better served through displaying sexual imagery that many Australians find offensive and exploitative. There are no penalties, no fines, no consequences for advertisers who consistently flout community standards.
Would you support any introduction of legislation to penalise advertisers who repeatedly breach the advertising code? Yes
- Children are exposed to pornography on the internet at an increasingly younger age. This is associated with a range of harms to their mental health, education, relationships, and overall wellbeing. It is also clearly linked to domestic violence and abuse later in life.
Do you support the adoption of online age verification legislation in accordance with the cross-party recommendations in the report entitled “Protecting the Age of Innocence” to help make Australia the safest place in the world to grow up? Yes
Safe Spaces for Women
- Definition of a Woman
- The Oxford Dictionary defines a woman as ‘an adult female human being’.
Do you agree with this definition? Yes
- Women’s Sport
- Women’s sport exists to provide separate competitions for females in acknowledgement that males have numerous biological physical advantages. Under Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act, sporting codes, clubs and volunteers can have legal action taken against them for offering single-sex women’s sport. To encourage women and girls of all ages to play sport, and to ensure that women can continue to reach the highest levels of sport, it is essential that single-sex sport be allowed to continue.
Do you agree that women and girls have the right to play single-sex sport? Yes
- Competing Rights
- Federally funded domestic violence shelters provide safety for women who are escaping domestic violence and intimate partner violence of all forms. Many women who have been abused, raped or victimised can be further traumatised by being housed with biological men who identify as women.
Do you support the right of vulnerable women to retain safe spaces where only biological women are allowed? Yes