mercoledì 4 ottobre 2017

‘Freedom of speech challenged’ as No campaign denied bookings
The Australian
(Joe Kelly) The Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, has warned of a “direct challenge to freedom of speech” after the No campaign was denied bookings by both the University of Tasmania and Wrest Point Casino for an event on Friday evening.
Archbishop Porteous had been due to speak at the function along with Australian Conservatives Senator Cory Bernardi; Victorian Liberal MP, Kevin Andrews; Australian Christian Lobby managing director, Lyle Shelton, as well as “mummy blogger” Marijke Rancie.
The Archbishop issued a statement this evening saying: “Despite signing contractual agreements and paying hire fees in full, Wrest Point Casino has advised the No Campaign that the venue is now unavailable.”
“Upon making enquiries to the University of Tasmania to secure a venue for the event, the university decided it (the event) did not meet its criteria.”
“The current campaign concerning the definition of marriage requires open debate. It is the essence of a democratic society that both sides of a debate have the right to present their case.
“To have the No campaign denied access to venues in order to express their views is a direct challenge to freedom of speech in our society.”
When asked why it could not host the No campaign event, a spokeswoman for Wrest Point said: “Wrest Point could not accommodate the booking in the required timeframe.”
The Australian has been informed the Coalition for Marriage was provided on Thursday with two room options to host the campaign event at Wrest Point.
These included the Derwent Room, with a capacity of about 280 people, and the Plenary Hall with a capacity of about 650 people.
The Coalition for Marriage chose the larger Plenary Hall for its event and was provided with a contract on Monday by Wrest Point. Wrest Point provided instructions to return a signed copy of the contract and to have made the payment by the following day.
The Coalition for Marriage says the contract was sent back on the same day at 5:22pm and the electronic payment was made on Tuesday at 11:32am.
Despite claiming to have followed the instructions correctly, the Coalition for Marriage says it was contacted by Wrest Point this morning and told the venue was unavailable.
The Coalition for Marriage then contacted the University of Tasmania but was told that the Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre was also unavailable.
The reason given by the University was that the request did “not meet the university’s criteria of being related to teaching and research activities.”
The Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart will provide an alternative venue to host the function with tickets being sold at $10 per head. The event is a state rally to help drive support for the No campaign during the government’s $122 million postal survey and bring supporters together.
In 2015, a complaint was lodged against Archbishop Porteous with the Tasmanian anti-discrimination commissioner by Greens political candidate, Martine Delaney, over the distribution of the Don’t Mess with Marriage booklet in Tasmanian Catholic Schools.
The booklet was a pastoral letter from the Australian Catholic Bishops outlining the Church’s teaching on marriage.
The Australian