Friday, 4 September 2020

 From Janet Albrechtsen in The Weekend Australian:

Zoe Buhler: one mum’s desperate voice silenced by fascist behaviour

JANET ALBRECHTSEN Follow @jkalbrechtsen


The state of Victoria is unfathomable. The duly elected leader, a Labor Premier, has armed police with brute powers to enter and search the Ballarat home of a young pregnant woman, her partner and children, arrest and handcuff her and seize all phones and laptops, regardless of who owns them.

Why? Here’s the fascist part.

Twenty-eight-year-old Zoe Buhler posted about “Freedom Day Ballarat” on Facebook. She wrote this: “PEACEFUL PROTEST! All social distancing measures are to be followed so we don’t get arrested please. Please wear a mask unless you have a medical reason not to. As some of you have seen, the government has gone to extreme measures and are using scare tactics through the media to prevent the Melbourne protests.

“Here in Ballarat we can be a voice for those in stage 4 lockdowns. We can be seen and heard and hopefully make a difference. We live in a ‘free’ country.”

She was right to put quotation marks around the word ‘free’ because, right now, freedom is up in the air.

When police stormed Buhler’s home at suburban Miners Rest, in Ballarat, her four-year-old child ran and hid under a bed. Buhler told police she could take down the post, right there and then. The march had not taken place.

She pleaded with police to show some common sense.

“I didn’t realise I was doing anything wrong,” she said to them. “I’m happy to delete the post. This is ridiculous. My two kids are here. I have an ultrasound appointment in an hour.”

Assistant Police Commissioner Luke Cornelius reckons the officers “stuffed” the optics — but they were right to arrest and handcuff the pregnant mother. Stuff the optics, indeed.

This is about the state of democracy in Victoria. It’s not about turning the young Ballarat woman into a martyr or a hero.

For all we know, she might have plenty of views that chafe. Maybe she’s into crystals? Maybe she’s an anti-vaxxer? But police didn’t come for Buhler because she might have views in common with rich hippies in Byron Bay.

Buhler is on bail, facing hefty fines and possible imprisonment, for posting about “Freedom Day in Ballarat” to protest against lockdown policies. Her brother set up a GoFundMe page to help his sister, only to delete it after receiving death threats.

This is Australia in 2020?

The young mum lost her job during the economic shutdown. She is worried about suicides. Many frontline medical experts are also concerned that Daniel Andrews and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton are focused only on COVID-19, ignoring the devastation caused to lives by lockdown measures.

A group of thirteen senior medical specialists wrote to the Victorian Premier on Monday night. They want to do something, so they offered to meet with him.

“It is our professional opinion that the stage 4 lockdown policy has caused unprecedented negative economic and social outcomes in people,” wrote the doctors.

“In particular, it has caused or exacerbated depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, as well as contributed to domestic violence, through an extreme and unjustified disruption to family, social and work life.

“Job losses, home-schooling, the isolation of the elderly and single people, and the restriction on the number of people who may attend funerals are but a few examples of how the government’s current response is harming the health of the general population.”

Australians should be concerned that governments have turned health bureaucrats into health dictators. That’s what happens when governments choose a narrow bandwidth of advice.

The Victorian Premier is following the early lockdown model of the Morrison government, adding his own COVID-19 bells and whistles: a nightly curfew, one hour of exercise a day, no roaming beyond 5km of your home. None of this is based on science, only the advice of bureaucrats.

Australians should be troubled about early political calculations made by the Morrison government, copied by other state and territory leaders.

They reckoned that they would be held to account for every COVID-19 death but not for suicides or self-harm or depression or lives lost to cancer or another disease because treatment was cancelled, suspended or slowed down through fear of attending a hospital.

Why wouldn’t Australians be concerned that Andrews chose a softly, softly approach to Black Lives Matter protesters in the middle of a lockdown, but has emboldened police to cuff and arrest a young woman for wanting to exercise her right to protest, in a COVID-safe way, against lockdown laws that are not grounded in science?

We have that right in Australia, a right to political freedom under the Constitution. We might hear more about that from Buhler’s Melbourne lawyers, Stuart Wood QC and criminal lawyer Stephen Andrianakis, who stepped up to act for Buhler on Thursday. The high-profile and high-powered lawyers aren’t just defending one young woman; they are defending our freedoms.

Apart from the Constitution, Buhler’s lawyers might look at whether the whole damn scheme imposed by Andrews under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act is unlawful for empowering thousands of lowly bureaucrats and council workers with extreme and disproportionate powers.

A court might find that the Andrews government has applied the law unlawfully, or strike down the law for overreach.

If this was a migration matter, the Federal Court would look very dimly on a government using laws to impose tyranny by fiat.

And then there’s the Victorian Charter of Human Rights. The Andrews government will need to craft something better than “Seriously, one more comment about human rights ...”.

That’s how the Premier, at a press conference in July, dissed our hard-fought freedoms.

Australians from all walks of life contact me daily, desperate to know what they can do to defend our way of life in the face of lockdown laws that are devastating their lives. For starters, watch the video of Buhler being handcuffed, the noise of her little children in the background, her pleading with police to see reason. It should send shivers down your spine.

What about the Prime Minister? What will he do? Will he talk about the importance of freedom now? Even if it doesn’t create a single new job?

That has been Scott Morrison’s excuse in the past when asked about incursions into our culture and our freedoms.

Millions of mainstream Australians will cheer a leader who understands that our way of life must be defended, that freedoms are fragile, that each generation must protect them, and hand a robust set of freedoms on to the next generation, explaining to them why they must do the same.

NSW Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to defending basic freedoms for Australians — more than most Liberal MPs combined in the Morrison government. He contacted the family of the Ballarat woman, offering his support.

Does the Prime Minister want to be remembered for his managerialism, or as a national leader who fought to uphold basic freedoms?

Rather than be concerned about the protest against government policies that is scheduled for today, we should be far more troubled if all Australians simply sat in silence.

The second wave of COVID-19 was unleashed by an inept Andrews government who also withheld information from the public; heavy-handed restrictions remain “on the table” even after the current state of emergency is due to end on September 13, as Sutton said on Wednesday. And worst of all, the Premier has encouraged brute police tactics to enfeeble citizens.

Andrews has done more to incite Australians to breach public health orders than a young pregnant Ballarat woman dressed in pink flannelette pyjamas who posted on Facebook about Freedom Day in Ballarat. Her arrest is nothing short of modern fascism. It will be a healthy sign if more Australians draw a line in the sand.

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Erosion of Free Speech

Excellent article by The Australian's Paul Kelly on the erosion of free speech driven by the homosexual marriage debate.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Switchfoot - Fading West

Great new album from Switchfoot. "Fading West".

Here's the new anthemic single from it: "When We Come Alive."

Give the album a few listens. It's worth it.

Friday, 17 January 2014

2014 - The Truth

Well it's 2014. Only 5 more years and we're in Blade Runner territory. Can hardly wait for all those spinners to appear and start transporting us through the smog filled skylines of our dystopian present. (Even Philip K. Dick's novel had its original setting date modified from 1992 to 2021 in later editions). And just for contrast Back To The Future II's dud predictions are now due next year.

I've been on holidays for the past fortnight or so on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland (the Sunshine State - is Tasmania called the 'Rain State'!?) and this is the view I had from where I was staying.

As you can appreciate it's nigh impossible to sit indoors and write when a view like that is constantly beckoning and the weather is always like it is. 

It's no accident that nearly all of the good Australian comedy comes out of Melbourne. . .

As this is the year that I hit that grand milestone of a half century on planet Earth, I thought it was prudent to pause, take stock and put down in writing what it is I know to be true.

A sort of statement of faith, as it were. 

So . . . here goes:

  1. God (as revealed in the 66 books of the bible) is the creator and sustainer of the universe and everything in it.  Job 12:10, Isaiah 45:18, Acts 17:24-28.
  2. God is totally sovereign and in control over all of His creation. Everything that happens in this world is because God commands it, wills it or permits it.   Psalm 135:6, Isaiah 45:7, Isaiah 46:9-10, Daniel 4:35, Acts 17:26, James 4:13-15.
  3. The Bible is inspired, inerrant and infallible. Psalm 138:2, 2 Timothy 3:16.
  4. We live in a fallen, sin soaked world that has rejected its creator en masse, gone its own way and is therefore facing His wrath and judgement.  Isaiah 59:2, Romans 2:5-11, Romans 3:23, 
  5. God in His love became the man Jesus Christ who lived a sinless perfect life, died in my place under the full fury of the holy wrath of God so that He could forgive me, make me His adopted son, give me eternal life and fellowship forever with Him.  Romans 3:23-26, Romans 5:18-19, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 2:2, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:4-7.
  6. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, has been physically resurrected from the dead and is now reigning at the right hand of God the Father.  John 14:6, Romans 6:9-10, Acts 4:12, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Ephesians 1:19-22.
  7. God chose me I did not choose Him so He will keep me until the end.  John 6:39-40, John 6:44, John 10:27-30, Romans 8:28-32, Ephesians 1:4-6, Philippians 1:6.
  8. Jesus is coming back as Lord and King for His people and to judge the earth.  Matthew 13:47-50, Matthew 24:30-31, Matthew 25:31-46, John 14:2-3, Acts 10:42, Acts 17:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Revelation 22:12.
  9. There will be a new heavens and a new earth in an eternal state.  Isaiah 65:17-25, Revelation 21:1, Revelation 21:5.
  10. Some will spend eternity in hell and some will spend eternity in the new heavens and the new earth in the presence of God.  Revelation 20:11-15, Revelation 21:3-4, Revelation 21:6-8, Revelation 21:27, Revelation 22:1-5.
Have a wonderful year. I plan to.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Strange Fire?

Dr. John MacArthur's recent Strange Fire conference in Southern California (and recently released book) has raised not a very small hullabaloo across the interwebs.

The conference basically examined and highlighted the errors, damage and extremes of the charismatic movement. While I can sympathise with the motivating factors behind the Strange Fire conference and do, in actual fact, support a majority of the biblical arguments propagated, I do fear that Dr. MacArthur has done himself a major disservice with his broad brush approach in denunciating all charismatics as biblically errant and consistently hungering after health and wealth instead of Jesus.

For some reason Dr. MacArthur sees the charismatic "movement" as just that. A movement. As if "The Charismatics" had their headquarters in Salt Lake City or some such thing and was run from on high by none other than a pope like figure such as C. Peter Wagner - oh wait a sec. . . ahem!

Dr. MacArthur seems to see all charismatics as being cut from the same cloth, as it were, and therefore has no compunction in tarring them all with his extremely wide and somewhat capricious brush.  If he looked closer he would soon find that 'charismania' is not a denomination and is much less monolithic than he would care to believe.

The general premise of the Strange Fire conference seemed to be that if you are not a cessationist and therefore believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit continue and are in operation today then you are in grave error and in danger of committing the unforgivable sin (Luke 12:10).

The fact that the apostle Paul exhorts us to "earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy" (1 Corinthians 14:1) seems lost on Dr. MacArthur. I presume he feels that Paul was simply addressing the church at Corinth in his day and is not relevant to us in the here and now.

Well I beg to differ. Without going into all the biblical arguments here, I'll let Dr. John Piper speak for me in that firm, succinct but loving manner that seems to come so easily to him.

Nonetheless. . .

. . . there was a lot of truth spoken at the Strange Fire conference, especially the Justin Peters and Joni Eareckson Tada sessions. The conference was obviously born out of a perceived need to address and correct the excesses of the charismatic 'movement'. As Dr. MacArthur himself said:
"I believe that we are not dividing the body of Christ in this conference.  We are trying to identify the body of Christ and show that these people aren’t part of it.."                                        (Q and A Panel Session 1)
To be completely fair to Dr. MacArthur, "these people" to whom he was referring, were not charismatics en masse (at least I don't think that's what he meant) but rather, the stars of various YouTube clips and the somewhat wacky antics of the Morning Star Ministries Holy Ghost "hokey pokey" which were shown during the Q and A session. Whereas balanced charismatics would consider "these people" inhabiting the fringe of charismania, Dr. MacArthur sees them as occupying the mainstream.

Is he right?

I have benefitted greatly from Dr. John MacArthur's teaching ministry over the years. He is an excellent exegete and one of the best expositional teachers I've heard. I would thoroughly recommend him to anyone. But I fear that all that 'goodness' might now get lost or dismissed amid the furore created by some of his more outrageous claims about charismatics.

It seems his strict adherence to cessationism blinds him to any of the truth or good that has come out of the pentecostal and charismatic world. One wonders for instance, what his response would be to the success of "Teen Challenge",  founded by the late David Wilkerson (of "The Cross and the Switchblade" fame - just as an aside, I wonder if Dr. MacArthur has read that book and if so would he be able to truly still assert that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased) who was a powerful, Christ exalting, bible focussed charismatic leader.

As a bible believing, Christ loving, reformed charismatic myself, I do believe Dr. MacArthur has a major point, but as an outsider looking in he cannot see the forest for some of the trees. For far too long we as 'insiders' have sat idly by, saying and doing nothing, as one television evangelist after another falls into gross sin and disgrace. Dr. MacArthur having witnessed our inactivity for far too long has presumably decided that enough is enough and taken it upon himself to speak out. Hence the Strange Fire conference.

Surely therefore, rather than leaving it to the likes of Dr. MacArthur who sees only the bad, is it not incumbent upon us within the soft, malleable walls of the charismatic 'movement' itself to acknowledge the actual abuses that occur, to call out excess and outright heresy when we see it and to extricate it from within our midst. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)  We should not shrink back into some sort of pseudo holy fear (a weird cultish sort of fear that many pentecostals and charismatics seem to possess) that in doing so we might be 'messing with God's anointed'.

Let's never forget, God only has one Anointed One.

Thursday, 12 December 2013


Hi there,

My name is Alex and I live in Canberra.

Welcome to my blog - "The Canberean" - (Acts 17:10-11) (yes yes I know, but please humour me)

I am a Christian, a husband, a father, a son, a brother and, hopefully, a friend - (in that order).

I came across THIS from Desiring God this week. Beautifully put together. It moved me somewhat. Well worth 5 minutes of your time.