March 5th 2011

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Articles from this issue:

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Labor pounces on divisions among Liberals

HEALTH CARE: Public hopes dashed by Gillard health 'reforms'

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE: Gillard's pseudo-PPL scheme a malign charade

PUBLIC WORKS: The urgent need to build new dams

COVER STORY: Planned Parenthood's activities finally exposed

EDITORIAL: Arab political turmoil: what's cooking?

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Obama reaps whirlwind in the Middle East

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Can we avoid a second global financial crisis?

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Business leaders call for national investment fund

REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY: Children's right to know their genetic parents

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Medical cover-up of fetal pain perception

TASMANIA: Euthanasia and assisted suicide back on the agenda

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: Bible banned at citizenship ceremonies

OPINION: The failure of multiculturalism

Brisbane dams fiasco 1 (letter)

Brisbane dams fiasco 2 (letter)

Legalising abortion (letter)

BOOK REVIEW: THE TROUBLE WITH CANADA... STILL! A Citizen Speaks Out, by William D. Gairdner

BOOK REVIEW: WHERE MEN WIN GLORY: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, by Jon Krakauer

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Bible banned at citizenship ceremonies

by special report

News Weekly, March 5, 2011
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has confirmed that Bibles should be banned from citizenship ceremonies. The view was stated in answers to questions on notice asked by Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett, and again in the Senate on February 21.

"I now call on the minister to overturn the decision of his department. He should allow Bibles to be offered as gifts at citizenship ceremonies," Senator Barnett said. "This is political correctness gone mad. We need freedom of religion not freedom from religion."

Senator Barnett had earlier written to Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen on October 28, and again on January 12, asking him to confirm that Bibles were not banned at Australian citizenship ceremonies.

"I wrote to Minister Chris Bowen more than 110 days ago. He has not responded. This is contemptuous," Senator Barnett said.

"The offering of Bibles as gifts at citizenship ceremonies has occurred in this country for many years. It is still done and is generally well received and should continue."

In one of its responses, the department said that citizenship ceremonies were secular in nature and that the distribution of holy books by organisations conducting citizenship ceremonies was not appropriate. The ceremonies are normally organised by local councils.

Senator Barnett said: "Many community groups, charities and NGOs, including the Bible Society, have offered a range of gifts to new Australian citizens at citizenship ceremonies, all of whom have the choice to decide which gifts they would like to take home with them.

"The department has also now confirmed that community groups, including the Bible Society, are not allowed to offer as gifts the Bible or other holy books. This is disgraceful....

"The department has confirmed the ban, which is inconsistent with longstanding practice.

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