EQPR | ENGAGING | Better Together 2019 - 2nd National LGBTIQ+ Conference | Sydney | 11-12 January 2019

[Edited extract from public address]

In 2019, society's exploration continues into current issues facing LGBTIQ+ community. Bringing together voices from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with a disability, the Deaf community as well as multi-faith communities.

The program is now available to view on our website.

Conference highlights include:

  • The Experience of Trans & Gender Diverse Parents
  • Gay Conversion Therapy - What it looks like in Australia and how we can stop it
  • Youth Empowerment and Inclusion
  • Gay Men as Parents
  • The launch of a new Bi+ Network in NSW
  • XXY/KS Undressed - Our Intersex - Our Stories
  • Made, Known, Loved : The need for an inclusive Christian Youth Space
  • Queer & Disabled : Intersections, inclusion, solidarity, community
  • Deaf Rainbow - What does it mean to be Deaf and LGBTIQ? 
  • Enhancing the response to Domestic Violence in LGBTI Communities
  • In our words : Being LGBTIQ+ and seeking asylum in Australia
  • Promoting Inclusion within LGBTIQ+ Spaces: Queer Sporting Clubs 
  • Advancing LGBTIQ Health & Equality through Collaboration and Partnership
  • And many more!

Some of our notable speakers include Alison Delpercio from the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ civil rights organisation in the US and writer and author Benjamin Law will be delivering the keynote speech in the opening plenary.

We will have performances by the fabulously flamboyant Frock Hudson and transcendent diva and cabaret artist Mama Alto. And the Caucus meetings over the two days are not to be missed!

In addition, a community consultation will be run regarding the LGBTIQ Policy Guide 2018. Help identify the outstanding policy issues within the LGBTIQ community especially around trans and gender diverse and intersex issues.

In order to facilitate a conversation about LGBTIQA+ rights in Australia we want to have a platform to share our ideas and experiences and ask the hard questions about how we can move forward and tackle what's important.

Better Together is a space for LGBTIQA+ voices to be heard.

Creating a truly intersectional discussion about achieving meaningful social change to create a fairer, more equal and more just Australia. Join us!

The Equality Project

PPLS | MASTER CLASS | How To Wrestle a Pig - A Conflict Resolution | Saturday 15 December 2018 | 10.30am-12.30pm

[Edited extract from public address]

‘Never wrestle with a pig, you’ll just get dirty and they’ll enjoy it’

Or so the saying goes. But life is full of people who are unreasonable, uncooperative and sometimes plain wrong. If you can’t deal with them, then they win.

This class will help to equip you with the skills to not only wrestle those times in your life without getting dirty, it will also help prevent you from accidentally being the pig yourself.

This class is a fun introduction to conflict resolution theory, a masterclass on a new ethics-driven approach to understanding and persuading your opponents, whether they be friends or family, and the opportunity to practice these new skills.

Where: Emerald Hill Library and Heritage Centre, 195 Bank Street, South Melbourne Vic 3205

Cost: $6

Port Phillip Library Service
City of Port Phillip
Tel: 03 9209 6655

PWR | CALLING | For Immediate Ceasefire And Administration Of Aid In Yemen | 22 November 2018

[Edited extract from public address]

Yemen is a nation in crisis. The impoverished country is facing a humanitarian crisis of mammoth proportions, including a devastating famine, in an ongoing civil war that is exacerbated by a scourge of religious violence. There is no time to spare in working to assist more than 3 million Yemenis who are displaced within the country, and over 280,000 who have sought refuge in other countries.

We, the United Religions Initiative, the Charter for Compassion, and the Parliament of the World’s Religions, a coalition of three global interfaith organizations, call for immediate action that must include the cooperation of the entire international community - including the United States, the United Nations, and the wider global community.

This initiative must use every diplomatic and non-violent means possible to enact an immediate cease-fire in the civil war between the Yemen government and the Houthis rebels and to call on the allies of the conflicting parties to stop all arms shipments to their Yemeni partners.

The international community must also find the means to prevent the harassment, detention, and execution of members of religious minorities, with a special protection provided immediately to members of the Baha’i faith who are now being persecuted by the Houthis in Yemen.

Steps toward the goals of peace in Yemen will include:
• Stopping all arms deliveries
• Halting attacks on aid workers and civilians
• Ending attacks on hospitals and clinics
• Allowing humanitarian goods, especially food, water, medical supplies, and basic needs, to enter the country without restrictions
• Allowing schools to reopen so children can continue their studies
• Pursuing a political solution to the conflict.

Interfaith and humanitarian organizations stand ready to assist fourteen million people - half of Yemen’s population - who are enduring a deadly famine, as this crisis worsens daily. Aid workers from religious and humanitarian organizations, including the United Religions Initiative (URI) and the Charter of Compassion, are unable to administer food, water, shelter, and health care. Due to these restrictions, an estimated 50,000 children died in 2017, an average of 130 every day.

This unconscionable devastation must end for the Yemeni people. Let each person of faith and conscience relay this message to all authorities in his or her region, through organized campaigns, faith communities, and political action:
• We call upon the United Nations Security Council to seek an immediate cease-fire so access to aid can be established.
• We call on the parties to the conflict to reduce their involvement in the conflict and begin negotiations for a permanent resolution of violence, religious persecution, and the civil war.
• We call on faith communities and interfaith movements to join in advocacy for the restoration of peace and the building of a unified, conflict-free, and productive nation.

Faith communities and interfaith movements across the globe hold a special responsibility to uphold the teachings of each and all traditions, and should seek the support of governments to demand that immediate actions be taken. Starvation, sectarian violence, and religious persecution will no longer flourish in a world that ensures compassion - the universal teaching of each cultural and faith-based moral tradition—forms the basis of all global policy.

A Statement by the United Religions Initiative, The Charter of Compassion, and The Parliament of the World’s Religions

Read and Share from

Parliament of the World's Religions
70 East Lake Street, Suite 320, Chicago, IL 60601 USA

POLICE | RESPOND | To Victorian Community Concerns About Public Safety

[Edited extract from public address]

As media first reported 20 November 2018, Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) , and other agencies which form part of the Joint Counter Terrorism Team conducted an operation in Melbourne.

During this operation teams executed multiple search warrants across North West Metro Region resulting in the arrest of 3 individuals. These arrests have been as a result of intelligence which led to the disruption of what is believed to have been the planning and preparations for a terrorist act in Melbourne.

Victoria Police understands this may cause members of the community to have increased levels of anxiety, fear and concern for their security and safety.

The safety of the whole community is our absolute priority and Victoria Police encourages the community to continue going about their daily lives as they would. Now is the time for calm and to be supportive of one another.

It’s important at this time of year that all Victorians come together with an inclusive and harmonious spirit to celebrate the festive season with confidence.

It’s also important to be mindful of those in our communities who may be feeling excluded or isolated from others.

We all want a cohesive and harmonious society. Victoria Police remains committed to this ideal and we stand side-by-side with multi-faith and multicultural communities in achieving this.

Victoria Police recognises that the domestic threat of terrorism comes from an extremely small number of individuals with extremist or radical views. They are not representative of, speak for, or act on behalf of, any religious, cultural or national group.

We urge members of the public to stay vigilant and to come forward with information they have – your information may be vital to ensuring that police can keep our community safe. You can do this by contacting the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400 or in an emergency, call 000.

We also ask anyone who witnesses, or is subject to, racism, discrimination or victimisation on the basis of religion, culture or nationality, to inform Victoria Police. If it is an emergency dial 000 immediately. If you are a victim please contact your local police station.

A crime motivated by prejudice is any offence that was motivated by hatred for or prejudice against a group of people with common characteristics. It includes any offence that has been driven by racism, discrimination or hatred on the basis of a characteristic, such as religion, culture or nationality (heritage), sexual orientation, impairment, gender, gender identity, age, homelessness or disability.

Victoria Police
Multicultural Liaison Unit Southern Metro Region, Dandenong Police Complex
Darren Cousins, Sergeant
Tel: 9767 7510

RPBP | PETITIONING | No Smoking in and around the unique Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary

[Edited extract from public address]

Join Ricketts Point Beach Patrol in calling to have smoking banned in all the surrounding areas of Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary (including beach, car parks, park lands).

Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary was established in 2003. Over the 15 years of its existence, the variety of marine, bird and indigenous plant life has increased dramatically at the Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary.
It is increasingly becoming a breeding ground for numerous fish and marine life not seen in Port Phillip Bay for years. As a marine sanctuary, all marine animals and plant life are protected and may not be caught or removed from the Sanctuary.

Ricketts Point Beach Patrol conducts cigarette butt litter surveys to ascertain the quantity of butts discarded. Throughout 2018 we collected over 10,000 cigarette butts in the Ricketts Point beach area…..and that was only the ones got to and only once per month collections covering a small area of beach each time. If figures are extrapolated to cover the whole of the sanctuary it would be more likely double or triple that number, or even more.

Used cigarette butts are not just pieces of non-biodegradable plastic. They also contain the carcinogens, nicotine and toxins found in all tobacco products. One cigarette butt soaked in a litre of water for 96 hours leaches out enough toxins to kill half of the fresh or salt water fish exposed to them. Cellulose acetate fibres in a cigarette filter are thinner than sewing thread and a single filter contains more than 12,000 of these fibres.

The butts break down into individual fibres when soaked in water. We know that children and animals consume these pieces of toxicity, and that there are costs to the communities that must deal with them. So many cigarette butts tossed into the environment each year leach out chemicals that impact human health, and we have seen animals mistakenly eat them and feed them to their babies, who in turn die a slow and very agonising deaths.

Ricketts Point Beach Patrol operates under the auspices of both Marine Care Ricketts Point (, a not-for-profit group which works with Parks Victoria to protect the Sanctuary, and BeachPatrol Australia. People who join 3193BeachPatrol Ricketts Point are also encourage to join Marine Care Ricketts Point.

Sign online petition.

Ricketts Point Beach Patrol

LSV | ENGAGING | Multicultural Meet a Lifeguard

[Edited extract from public address]

An interactive session designed to educate multicultural students and community groups about how to be safe around water.

The incursion is conducted by a qualified lifeguard trained in multicultural education. Tailored to suit the cultural and language requirements of each group.

Sessions typically run for 30-60 Minutes, to accommodate timetables.

Topics covered include:
• Aquatic environments
• Role of Lifesavers
• Swimming between the flags
• Dangers
• Rip currents
• How to get help

Eligible groups:
• Schools
• Community Groups
• English Language Centres
• Universities
• With at least 85% CALD make-up

Bookings: Request to book a program online or contact Life Saving Victoria Multicultural Department.

Multicultural Department
Life Saving Victoria (LSV)
Ramzi Hussaini Tel: 9676 6921
David Holland Tel: 9676 6973

WIKIPEDIA | APPEALS | For Donations to help free knowledge thrive | 28 November 2018

[Edited extract from public address]

Wikipedia is yours: yours to read, yours to edit, yours in which to get lost. We’re not the destination, we’re the beginning.

The essential story of Wikipedia is the story of an individual, like you, giving a little bit of themselves to keep the doors of discovery open. Your contribution shows a spirit of our vision is alive and well.

You might donate because Wikipedia is useful to you. That’s one of the main reasons people tell me when asked why they support Wikipedia. But what may surprise you is that one of the top reasons people don’t give is because they can’t afford to.

At the Wikimedia Foundation, we believe that no one should have to pay to learn. We believe knowledge should always be free. We will never charge anyone to use Wikipedia. So how do we afford the infrastructure of one of the world’s most popular websites?

Because of the generosity of people like you.

Common ways to give

PS. Many employers will generously match employee contributions: please check with your employer to see if they have a corporate matching gift program.

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 98204, Washington, DC 20090-8204, USA.
U.S. tax-exempt number: 20-0049703
Katherine Maher, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Donations Email:

LSV | EDUCATING | Multicultural Beach Program

[Edited extract from public address]

Educating participants from multicultural and diverse backgrounds on life saving techniques and water safety messages.

Qualified instructors, trained in multicultural education, conduct a variety of activities designed and tailored for multicultural groups.

Sessions typically run for 3 hours, or can be customised for your request.

Activities include:
• Water Safety Presentation
• Board paddling skills
• Rescue techniques
• Lifejacket use
• Snorkelling
• Soccer
• Cricket
• Beach Flags

Eligible groups:
• Schools
• Community Groups
• English Language Centres
• Universities
• With at least 85% CALD make-up
• High swimming ability not required

Bookings: To request to book a program online or contact Life Saving Victoria.

Multicultural Department
Life Saving Victoria (LSV)
Ramzi Hussaini Tel: 9676 6921
David Holland Tel: 9676 6973

HMM | ANNOUNCING | Proposal for School of Cultural Diversity and the Material World

[Edited extract from public address]

A joint initiative of the Hellenic Museum and Victoria University: Two of Melbourne’s cultural institutions join forces to provide a suite of educational programs that explores, celebrates and utilises the wide range of Indigenous, immigrant and ethnic populations in Australia

Cultural diversity is a feature of the modern world that has long historical roots. Indigenous traditions have very ancient foundations, tens of thousands of years old. The idea of ‘the West’, with its origins in ancient Athens, is another important cultural tradition. Like all traditions it has elements of both change and continuity within it. It has evolved in combination with the equally powerful stories that derive from East Asia and the Middle East.

Cultural diversity grows from those moments in world history, such as the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean, the spread of Islam across Africa and parts of Europe, or the British settlement of Australia, that bring peoples into contact and reshape how they think of themselves and the world around them. When the Spanish conquered Mexico in the 1500s they made astonishing discoveries that challenged their view of themselves and their God: they encountered animals that had not sailed with Noah on his Ark, and yet here they were!

Museums are repositories of the objects that inform our understanding of our own culture and those of others. Looking at these objects through a cultural lens we gain insights into the very diversity that connects us as humans – how we live, as women and men, as warriors or peacemakers, as newcomers and original inhabitants, as farmers or factory workers.

The Hellenic Museum is one of Australia’s pre-eminent research institutions in the field of multicultural museums, opening in 2007. It owes its origins to the generosity and vision of the late Spiro Stamoulis, who emigrated from Greece as a 13-year-old in the 1950s, and wanted ‘to inspire a passion for Greek history, art and culture’. A decade later, the Museum uses exhibitions and events to reveal new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures. 

Victoria University is an Australian university with the highest proportion of students whose home language is not English, and arguably one of the most culturally diverse education providers in the sector, is ideally placed to promote cultural diversity across the full range of its educational, research and community endeavours. A key research focus for Victoria University is Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities, with a focus on social and cultural diversity as part of its remit.

The Museum and the University’s adjacent facilities in Queen Street will provide one of the sites for the School’s work. The core focus of the School is a range of educational programs across the Hellenic Museum and all levels of the University’s teaching, including vocational education, undergraduate education, higher degree research training, and professional executive programs. It will draw on the expertise of teachers, administrators and researchers across both institutions, invited to participate in its programs as required by the School.

Although these programs will be undertaken at different levels, and by quite different groups of participants, they will share key characteristics that are part of the University’s trademark style:
  • The new four-week ‘block mode’ will be standard, enabling participants to undertake courses of study in a timely and efficient manner
  • Community-based programs will be a feature of the School’s work, based on the University’s experience in Work Integrated Learning and other community or industry outreach programs
  • Resources will be drawn from museums across Melbourne and abroad, together with resources from local historical societies, professional associations and community cultural groups 
  • Place-based curricula will include walking tours, site visits, internships, and study tours
  • Augmented, virtual and mixed reality and other technology-enabled experiences will connect learners in the School’s programs with resources from other places, nationally and internationally
  • Exhibitions and museum displays, on-premises and potentially virtual also
  • Auspicing and accreditation, including micro-credentialling, will be provided by the Victoria University Academic Board, potentially in conjunction with other stakeholders/industries
  • Multi-campus offerings as appropriate, including Queen Street, St Albans, Footscray Nicholson and other campuses
Hellenic Museum Melbourne (HMM)

PWR | APPEALS | for Showing Your Support with a Gift of PoWR! | Tuesday 27 November 2018

[Edited extract from public address]

Millions of memories, hundreds of headlines and countless firsts from the most recent Parliament in Toronto are bringing new hope to the global interfaith movement since the first 7 days of November.

Maybe it was our Zoroastrian fire ceremony performed at the Sacred Fire site tended by our hosting Indigenous Peoples.

A celebration of Diwali, symbolizing light overcoming darkness, bringing together a family of the world’s faiths in celebration with their Hindu family.

Religion and science coming together to combat the devastating effects of climate change. For some, it was a stirring tribute to his late daughters from Dr. Izzeldin Abulaish, author of I Shall Not Hate, upon accepting the Parliament's first-ever Global Ethic Award.

Hearing that the Parliament of the World's Religions will become in 2019, for the first time in its history, a woman-led organization (welcome Parliament Chair-Elect Audrey Kitagawa!).

Developed around the vision, "the Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love," the 7th Parliament drew more than 8,300 people to Toronto from 81 countries and nearly 200 unique religious, spiritual and ethical traditions. It devoted attention to the most uplifting ways people of faith and conscience are now working together to understand, reconcile and change some of the world’s most difficult realities.

The beauty of the work led by our next generation, women & girls, and Indigenous Peoples from across the world will lead these stories alongside those of newly ignited friendships, collective wisdom, and new plans of action.

It was amazing. Our 125th anniversary coinciding with a soaring response to this 7th Parliament has us energized to augment current programs, implement new programming, and advance new models of connection that harness the immense capacity of interfaith advocacy to continue shaping the world for the better.

Help us to tell this story. Please include us in your loving gifts so we can continue to provide communities around the world the tools and platforms to understand, reconcile, and change the ways people of faiths and conscience cooperate.

If in surplus, please share what you are able. If donating through Facebook, you can participate in our official #GivingTuesday fundraiser, or you can create one of your own and support us!

Now more than ever, the world needs the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and the Parliament of the World’s Religions needs you. Our partnership with you makes this all possible. 
Make your GIFT on
Donate to Our #GivingTuesday Facebook Fundraising Campaign
Start a Facebook Fundraiser for the Parliament of the World's Religions

Parliament of the World's Religions
70 East Lake Street, Suite 320, Chicago, IL 60601 USA

GEIFN | REPORTS | FCCV | CONFERENCE | 2018 Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference | Sunday 18 November 2018 | 12noon-4.30pm

[Report is compiled from multiple public addresses, multiple sources made over multiple publication dates and post-event reflection]

An annual conference helping build capacity and sustainability of existing multifaith and interfaith networks. Bringing people up-to-date with current matters, provide networking opportunities, and assist the hosting council and network to promote its work to the local community.

Conference began at 12pm with a free lunch and an opportunity to network with people who are part of the interfaith/multifaith movement across Victoria. A number of fun, educational and inspiring activities were also available during this time. Upon arrival, participants selected their preferred workshop.

Welcome and Introductions
Welcome to Country - Aunty Julieanne Axford (Wurundjeri Tribe Council)
City of Brimbank - Councillor Virginia Tachos
Chair of Victorian Multicultural Commission - Ms Helen Kapalos
Victorian Police-Commander Stuart Bateson
Secretary of Faith Communities Council of Victoria - Rev Ian Smith

Keynote Speech
This year’s conference keynote speech was on The Social Cost of Gambling Harm: A Faith Response given by Tim Costello. Gambling is normalised in our society, marketed as entertainment but it can result in significant harm for the gambler and those close to them. Based on per capita spending, Australians are the world’s most prolific gamblers.

Workshop 1: The Social Costs of Gambling Harm: A Faith Response
Gambling is normalised in Australia and we spend more money gambling than on any other dangerous activity including alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.
Gambling harm is a negative consequence, caused or made worse by gambling, that affects the health or wellbeing of an individual, their family or community. The social costs of gambling harm are enormous: bankruptcy, homelessness, family and personal dysfunction, domestic violence and countless other stories. And these negative effects seem to fall disproportionately on the poor and disadvantaged, including culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse communities.

What do the world’s great religions have to say about gambling? What issues and concerns do faith communities face regarding gambling harm, and what primary, secondary and tertiary approaches have they taken to address these issues within their communities? And what practical responses can faith communities collectively take to tackle the ravaging impact of gambling on our society?

Facilitator: Dr Mark Zirnsak, Uniting Church in Australia (Synod of Victoria and Tasmania), Chair of the Victorian Inter-Church Gambling Taskforce, and member of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Ministerial Advisory Council.
• Rev Tim Costello, Baptist minister, Spokesman & Director Alliance for Gambling Reform, Chief Advocate of World Vision Australia
Gulhan Eryegit Yoldas, Community Engagement Facilitator, Al Siraat College
• Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, Senior Rabbi of St Kilda Hebrew Congregation & Immediate Past President of the Rabbinical Council of Australia & New Zealand
• Venerable Phuoc Tan Thich, Abbot of Quang Minh Temple in Braybrook & President of the Buddhist Council of Victoria
Lyn Dundon, Gambling Harm Project Coordinator, Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria

Workshop 2: Freedom of Religion Vs Freedom of Artistic Expression
Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Artistic Expression have been at loggerheads for ages in different parts of the world.
Religious communities can feel outraged when their religious beliefs and sacred symbols are mocked, insulted, attacked or vilified. Aggrieved believers argue that respect for beliefs and symbols is fundamental to and part and parcel of the right of Freedom of Religion. On the other hand, the artists and creators of these controversial works argue that any law seeking to restrict their works amounts to a violation of the sacrosanct right of Freedom of Artistic Expression.

So what happens when the liberty to freely express oneself is at odds with another’s right to freedom of religion? An expert panel explored the rationales underpinning the freedoms of expression and religion to determine the boundaries and limits of each of these rights in a pluralistic, secular, multi-faith society.

Facilitator: Nur Shkembi, Melbourne based curator, writer and scholar undertaking interdisciplinary research at the University of Melbourne
Daniel Nellor, Advisor to the Australian Humans Rights (Freedom of Religion) Commissioner, Mr Edward Santow
• Dr Anna Halafoff, Senior Lecturer in Sociology @ Deakin Uni. & Research Associate of UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations @ Monash University
Ciran Jiva Dasa Adhikari, Brahman Priest in the Hindu Vaisnava Tradition
Robyn Ayres, Chief Executive Officer, Arts Law Centre of Australia

Workshop 3: Living the Change: faithful choices for a flourishing world
Our generation is the first to start feeling the impacts of climate disruption and the last to be able to do something meaningful about it. 
One response is Living the Change, a multi-faith global campaign which draws on our spiritual beliefs and values to inspire lifestyle choices which, when aggregated with the actions of others, will help limit global warming.

Today, we know that climate disruption is hurting most those who are already vulnerable, and that greed is a large part of the problem. Consumerism tells us we never have “enough”. Living the Change calls on people of faith to lead in a global effort to re-set what is regarded as enough. We want to promote lifestyles of gratitude for life’s blessings, lifestyles of care for the earth and all who depend on it.

Given that close to six billion people globally identify with a religion (Pew Research Center, 2017), the opportunity for these groups to create meaningful change through collective action cannot be ignored.

What are religious people being asked to do? Ordinary people and communities have the power to help keep emissions down and thereby help to protect our common home. Through commitments in diet, transportation, and energy use, Living the Change invites individuals to fortify healthy, balanced relationships that help sustain the earth.

Participants of the workshop were invited to join a globally-connected community of religious and spiritual institutions working together to champion sustainable living.

Facilitator: Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), Rabbi at Leo Baeck Centre and member of the Jewish Ecological Coalition (JECO)
ARRCC is a multi-faith, member-based organisation of people from around Australia who are committed to taking action on climate change. We believe that as people dedicated to the common good, inspired by our beliefs and energized by our spirituality, people of all faiths can and should be at the forefront of creating a safe climate. While celebrating the uniqueness of our different traditions, we stand together in working for an ecologically and socially sustainable future. For more information on ‘Living the Change: faithful choices for a flourishing world’ see

Workshop 4: Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme
From 1 January 2017, religious and faith-based organisations that provide services for children are required to comply with Child Safe Standards. 
These standards aim to drive cultural change in organisations so that protecting children from abuse is embedded in everyday thinking and practice. The standards are compulsory but not prescriptive. This allows religious organisations flexibility in how they implement the standards to meet the requirements.

From 1 January 2018, religious and faith-based organisations are required to comply with the Reportable Conduct Scheme and respond to allegations of reportable conduct, and misconduct that may include reportable conduct, made against their workers and volunteers, by investigating those allegations and reporting to the Commission for Children and Young People.
If you are part of a religious and faith-based organisation that is required by law to be compliant with Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme, this is an information session to support your knowledge and implementation. We all have an obligation to do the best we can to keep children safe from harm and abuse.

Facilitator: Emily Sanders, Director Regulation (Commission for Children and Young People) with introduction by Reverend Ian Smith (Executive Officer of the Victorian Council of Churches) on the Reportable Conduct Scheme Faith Booklet

The Commission for Children and Young People is an independent statutory body that promotes improvement in policies and practices affecting the safety and wellbeing of Victorian children and young people. We have a particular focus on vulnerable children and young people. For more information see:

Special Appearances Included
Walking the Labyrinth: A Spiritual Experience
The Labyrinth is an ancient symbol known by numerous faiths and cultures. It has been described as a path of prayer, a walking meditation, a crucible of change, a watering hole for the spirit, and even a mirror of the soul.
Labyrinths can be used in various ways. Sometimes in just a general way - time out to refresh, renew, slow down, refocus. Sometimes people have an issue or a decision to make, wisdom they require, a heavy concern they are carrying, and they use the Labyrinth as a spiritual discipline seeking guidance or enlightenment.
The Labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is a puzzle to be solved, it tries to trick and tease you. A Labyrinth has no tricks and no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds its way from the entrance to the centre and returns you back safely. Once you put your foot in, the Labyrinth becomes your friend – it will guide you in and out. Visitors to the Labyrinth were invited to take a walk in silent contemplation and enter into a spiritual experience.

Vietnamese Lion Dance
The Lion Dance is performed primarily at traditional festivals such as Vietnamese lunar new year. The dance symbolizes the removal of negative energies, as the lion is a creature believed to bring good luck, health, and prosperity. The Lion Dance is also known as the Unicorn Dance in Vietnam.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
Coffee holds a sacred place in Ethiopia. An invitation to attend a Coffee Ceremony is considered a mark of friendship or respect and is an excellent example of Ethiopian hospitality. The ceremony is usually conducted by women dressed in traditional Ethiopian costume. In a world where time has become a commodity, the Ethiopian Coffee ceremony takes us back to a time when value was given to conversation and human relations. Visitors to the stand were invited to sit back, relax and enjoy Ethiopian hospitality served with the finest coffee in the world.

Buddhism - Tea Ceremony
While tea is popular with everyone today, Buddhist monasteries were the first to develop and promote the virtues of tea drinking and the Tea Ceremony. Tea drinking brings with it a special tranquillity, purifying one’s heart and bringing it closer to mindfulness. The Tea Ceremony allows participants to learn attention to detail in preparing, brewing, pouring, serving and drinking tea. Visitors to the Buddhist stand experienced tea served with peace and harmony.

Hinduism - Henna Painting (Mehendi) & Bindi
Henna Painting (Mehendi) & Bindi: Henna is a small flowering shrub that has many uses. The art of applying henna to the hands and feet is known as Mehendi, and is traditionally used for Hindu festivals and celebrations as well as rites of passage. A bindi is a small red dot that symbolises the mystic third eye, the central point of the base of creation. When visiting a temple, it is common for the priest to mark men, women and children with a bindi on the forehead. A bindi can also be a social symbol, worn by married women very similar to western wedding bands. Visit our stand and try on some henna painting and/or a bindi.

Islam - Arabic Calligraphy
Arabic calligraphy is considered the quintessential art form of the Islamic world. While some of the best examples of calligraphic writing make this art form appear effortless, each letter and diacritical mark is the result of painstaking measurements and multiple strokes. Today Arabic calligraphy can be found on both religious and secular objects in virtually every medium – paper, architecture, ceramics, carpets, glass, jewellery, woodcarving, and metalwork. Visit our stand to view some of our artwork and to have your name written in Arabic calligraphy.

Sikhism - Try on a Turban
Sikhism is the only religion in the world which requires its followers to tie a turban. Hence a turban is an article of faith. Turbans can be different colours, styles and types but they are not hats. Sikhs tie their turbans a new each day. Sikh turbans become a part of a Sikh’s body and are usually removed only in the privacy of the house. A turban is a sign of royalty, a figure of stoic courage, an emblem of dignity and self- respect, a mark of charity and a figure of purity. Visit our stand and try on a Turban.

Brimbank Multicultural Community Choir
Directed by Veronica Gauci and singing in over 20 languages, the Brimbank Multicultural Community Choir celebrates cultural diversity through song, regularly performing at venues and events throughout Melbourne. On this occasion, they performed pieces from Indigenous Australian, New Zealand Maori and Persian Arabic.

Concluding Remarks
This annual occasion mixing diverse religious views with modern topics proves a useful personal development vehicle for young and old, inexperienced or experienced citizens of a modern world. The format is easy to access, sincerity of invited speakers measurable and opportunity to learn, discover and engage in a meaningful way on topics that universally affect us is highly recommended.

Here is a short official video that captured the event.

For more, check official website.

On behalf of BCV’s Buddhist Religious Instruction (bENGAGED) and Glen Eira Interfaith Network (GEIFN), thankyou to Hosts, Organisers, Stakeholders, Supporters, Volunteers and Participants working to share, build collaborations, celebrate diversity and foster team approach to addressing today's society. Received with gratitude.

Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV)
Sandy Kouroupidis, Multifaith Officer
Tel: 0412 670 369

GEIFN | MEDIA | Mix | December 2018

Approx 5 min reads

Jamie Lafferty explores empire, early Government tourism boards and building sustainable populations in remote locations “French Guiana, Guyana; The 'other' fascinating and beautiful islands settled by convicts” via

Alice Pung shares a refugee, migrant and theme park experience while “Turning the house no one wanted into a holiday home” via The Sydney Morning Herald

Associated Press explores an example of siege and importance of renewing song and symbolism, hear how “Gaza's only grand piano makes public comeback” via The Age

Ben Groundwater explores ruling, societal divides, mortality, revising history and looking around “Tamerlane's makeover: Uzbekistan's legends are not quite what they seem” via

Sabine Glaubitz explores the winds of change returning to rightful owners souvenirs of past conquest, reporting that “France to return looted artefacts to Benin” via The Canberra Times

Bernadette Clohesy explores respectful relationships across genders, origins and cultures, discover author “Anita Hess on advocating Indigenous literacy and men who have influenced her” via The Canberra Times

Kerry van der Jagt turns back history’s page, visiting a living memorial to horrors of genocide, respecting “Khatyn Memorial, Belarus: One of the most haunting World War II memorials in Europe” via

Tony Wright explores costs of conflicts, repatriation and rehabilitation,  “Remembering World War I: How Australia is still being shaped from four devastating years” via The Sydney Morning Herald

John Silvester explores the science, team work and specialisation behind establishing “The deadly truth: how scientists can end a murder's mystery” via The Canberra Times

Anson Cameron explores two contrasted approaches to accommodation, presentation and just because “Long before the TV renovators, a visit to The Gatwick transformed a ghoul” via The Age

Jane Albert explores acknowledging unsung heros on a modern peace-time frontline of tragedy, revealing a view from a “Hostage survivor: 'We had to get something good out of this situation'” via The Canberra Times

John Silvester explores an example of causality, opportunity and disenfranchised, when overcoming obstacles as “Cops in Melbourne's west who are both bloodhounds and sheepdogs” via The Age

Brendan James Murray explores how birth place and environment influences scholastic choice, describing “The invisible dictionary that every child carries with them” via The Sydney Morning Herald

Lydia Khalil explores reasons for overcoming disenfranchised youth, family and society, reducing “Terror: time to stop politicising and start getting practical” via WA Today

Miki Perkins explores transformative results of skilful interventions enabling self-education as “Program gets more 'whip-smart' care leavers into higher ed” via The Age

New York Times explores international efforts to standardize understanding, revealing reasons why “The Kilogram is Dead. Long Live the Kilogram!” via The Sydney Morning Herald

Cara Buckley explores positive role modeling, visibility of unvarnished truth and engaging wit, revealing how “Maysoon, the sit-down standup comedian, aims to hit the small screen” via The Canberra Times

Henrietta Cook explains how understanding ancient culture transforms present into brighter future, revealing why “Traditional fire skills help kids who grew up in Black Saturday's wake” via The Sydney Morning Herald

Nina Rousseau explores a sustainable development in social enterprise, explaining causes, determination and affecting “Two Good launches in Melbourne with a quest to change lives through food” via

Andrew Stephens explores commitment to a changing landscape, unadorned truth and illuminating what is needed to heal old wounds, revealing how this “Regional arts project takes a wrecking ball to colonisation” via The Sydney Morning Herald

Sharon Bradley explores education, disengagement and prospecting brighter futures, shining a spotlight on “A new way of teaching is bringing bored Australian children back to learning - and stopping the educational waste” via The Age

10-20min presentations

Charlie Hobman: Gender is not a straight line (10 mins)

Dolly Chugh: How to let go of being a "good" person — and become a better person (12 mins)

Michael Green: The global goals we've made progress on — and the ones we haven't (14 mins)

Diane Wolk-Rogers: A Parkland teacher's homework for us all (16 mins)

Özlem Cekicat: Why I have coffee with people who send me hate mail (15 mins)

Approx 5 min presentation

Dewayne Everettsmith, Jasmine Beams and Australia - It's like love

Approx 2 min presentation

Sesame Street, Lena Headey and Murray: Relax

Approx 30 min presentation

Seekers - I am, you are, we are Australian (5 mins)

Yaama Ghubhii: Connect Song (4 mins)

The Herd - 2020 (3 mins)

Broome Primary School - I Am Australian (2 mins)