Australian Christian Lobby barred from Perth Theatre Trust venues

The Perth Theatre Trust has rejected bookings from the Australian Christian Lobby to present their ‘The Truth Of It – Live’ touring presentation.

The presentation which has been touring the country sees the organisation’s Director Martyn Iles (pictured above) being interviewed live on stage about a wide range of issues including abortion, gay rights, same-sex marriage, religious freedom and transgender issues.

The ACL’s booking for the Albany Entertainment Centre on the 18th of August however has been rejected. State Director Peter Abetz says the decision is a clear violation of freedom of speech.

Speaking on radio station 6PR this morning Abetz said the venue was breaking the law by refusing the booking.

“They’re saying we can’t have him there because of his political religious beliefs – hang on – this is a venue which is refusing to provide a service for because of his views, that’s in breach of section 62 of the Equal Opportunity Act.”

Abetz said publicly owned facilities such as those controlled by Perth Theatre Trust should be available to all members of the community.

“It’s basically cancel culture, if we don’t think we’ll like what you may say, we won’t let you air your views. In a democratic society I think this is really just totally inappropriate for government to put in policy, basically trying to prevent people from accessing venues, that don’t share every aspect of their views.” Abetz said.

“Any group should be able to book a venue as long as they pay the normal fee.” Abetz said.

Abetz said, as far as he could see, the only reason for Perth Theatre Trust changing their policy would be to silence the voices of people they did not agree with.

Later in the program host Gareth Parker shared that the Perth Theatre Trust had changed their policy on 15th March 2021 and it now said “The Perth Theare Trust will not enter into an agreement to hire a venue where the content of the event does not represent the views of the Western Australian government or the vast majority of Western Australians.”

Later in the day Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman, who is responsible for the Perth Theatre Trust, said the decision was made by the Trust without his involvement.

“The Perth Theatre Trust has made the decision to deny a booking request in line with its venue hire policy,” he told The West Australian. “This decision was made independent of the Minister, as is appropriate.”

The Perth Theatre Trust said it was “currently considering the specific matters raised by the Australian Christian Lobby”.

Abetz said it appeared that the PTT had adjusted their policy after his group queried why their booking had been knocked back.  Alongside the Albany Entertainment Centre, they had also been refused a booking by the Perth Concert Hall and Kalgoorlie venue.

In an email sent to supporters Martyn Iles accused the McGowan government of acting like the Chinese communist regime.

“Apparently the WA government won’t allow venues to host people who disagree with them. Welcome to China!” Iles said.

OUT South West co-chair Cassandra Hymers has welcomed the decision to reject the Australian Christian Lobby.

“While there is no description of the issues of the day and what the bible has to say about them, from the history of the ACL it will probably be anti-LGBTQI focused on the transgender community with a mention of the benefits of conversion therapy, the last thing we need in the South West is more hate being spread around the south west aimed at some of the most vulnerable people in our community, LGBTQI youth.” Hymers said.

Graeme Watson

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