WA government backflips on ACL ban at state run venues

The Australian Christian Lobby will be permitted to hire state run venues for it’s The Truth Of It Tour.

The venues run by the Perth Theatre Trust (PTT) had refused to take bookings from the religion-focused political lobby group citing a new policy which barred political events and presentations with offensive content. The PTT has now rescinded their policy entirely in the face of legal threats from the lobby group.

 PTT chair Morgan Solomon announced the policy was now being reviewed, and in the meantime the Australian Christian Lobby tour would be welcomed at their venues.

“The PTT’s venue hire policy is under review but, as that review is unlikely to be completed in time for the proposed booking date of the ACL event, the decision to refuse the ACL’s hire request will be rescinded,” he said.

“The PTT will revise its venue hire policy to strengthen its position to make decisions for commercial hires in accordance with the PTT’s values.” Solomon said.

Arts Minister David Templeman (pictured) said the decision to allow the Australian Christian Lobby to hire the state owned venues was in no way an endorsement of their views.

“Theatres and arts venues have always been safe places for marginalised people and the broader participants of the arts sector to express themselves. This is something we are acutely aware of and respect deeply,” Minister Templeman said.

“Our values are clear – we respect diversity, equality, and inclusion.

“Today’s announcement by the PTT to change its decision about hiring its venues to the Australian Christian Lobby is one that we understand will cause concern in the arts community.

“This decision is in no way an endorsement of their views.” he said.

The head of the Australian Christian Lobby, Martyn Iles, has labeled the minister’s comments as “unkind”.

“A statement out today by Minister Templeman is very unkind to ACL, and keeps the door open for the new policy to have major problems, but I guess we can’t make everyone like us.” Iles wrote in a message to supporters.

The decision to allow the Australian Christian Lobby to access the venues has been condemned by a wide range of LGBTIQ+ rights groups.

Albany Pride described the government’s turnaround as “disappointing”, while Pride in Peel labeled the backflip “sad news”.

TransFolk of WA founder Nick Lawrence told The West Australian that the government had made a bad decision.

“This is not the right call,” he said.

“This group ostracise a large margin of society. If the Government have any interest in protecting queer citizens, they wouldn’t provide a platform to this type of hate-speech.

“They encourage conversion therapy, an incredibly dangerous practice.

“I’m very disappointed.”

OIP Staff

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