May 7th 2005

  Buy Issue 2706

Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: SECRET INTELLIGENCE: New evidence of Soviet espionage in Australia

EDITORIAL: Australia and China: supping with the devil

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Australia's impending economic slump

SCHOOLS: Give academic excellence a sporting chance

NATIONAL COMPETITION POLICY: Review whitewashes National Competition Policy

TRADE: EU and US try to force China to cut textile exports

DRUGS: Howard Government's drugs campaign falters

REGIONAL VICTORIA: Radical activists' campaign of sabotage

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Labor Agonistes / Blankety Blank / Gentlemen versus players / EU Light Opera

RUSSIA: Baltic States to boycott Moscow's World War II memorial

1955 LABOR PARTY SPLIT: Conference marks 50th anniversary of Split

1955 LABOR PARTY SPLIT: The Great Labor Split remembered

CONSTITUTION: Dangers in Howard's new centralism

RELIGIOUS VILIFICATION LAWS: "Witch" sues over Christian Bible study

How to tackle abortion and pornography (letter)

John Paul II's greatest achievements (letter)

East Timor and West Papua resistance (letter)


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"Witch" sues over Christian Bible study

by Salt Shakers Victoria

News Weekly, May 7, 2005
A self-confessed witch and convicted sex-offender in Western Victoria has launched a lawsuit against the popular Alpha Bible Study course.

Robin Fletcher is serving a 10-year sentence in a jail in Ararat, Victoria, for having sexually abused two teenage girls in 1998. He has alleged that references to witchcraft in Alpha program videos and manuals are both offensive and vilifying.

Fletcher has lodged complaints against the Salvation Army (which ran the course in the Ararat jail); Corrections Victoria (the Victorian Government's prison administration); and CMC Australasia Pty Ltd (distributors of the Alpha program materials).

He is seeking to ban the Alpha program throughout Victoria, unless Alpha deletes from its course material he deems offensive - presumably Alpha's critical references to witchcraft and the occult. Fletcher has now referred his complaint to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), which recently found two Christian pastors of Catch the Fires Ministries guilty of supposedly vilifying Islam under the terms of Victoria's Religious Tolerance Act.

In a letter to Corrections Victoria, Fletcher has declared: "I consider that [the Alpha] program is in violation of the Equal Opportunity Act of Victoria, and also of the Religious Tolerance Act of Victoria ...

"I am further asking for the discontinuation of the Alpha program because it constitutes a personal danger to my health and safety within the prison system."

He went on to threaten Corrections Victoria with further legal action should they not comply with his demands: "In this case, because the matter is a serious one involving potential of physical harm to myself and others, you may be vicariously in breach of the 'serious violations section' of the Religious Tolerance Act."

  • Salt Shakers (Victoria)

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