A state-managed venue in Western Australia has cancelled an event hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby because the government does not share views held by the Christian organisation.
ACL director Martyn Iles was set to take to the stage at the Albany Entertainment Centre in August as part of ‘The Truth of It’ national tour until the venue “illegally” cancelled the event in what the ACL have described as religious discrimination.
In a post on Facebook on Monday evening, Iles said, when asked the reason for the cancellation, the organisation was told it was because the ACL’s views are not shared by the WA state government.
“So, apparently the WA government won’t allow venues to host people who disagree with them,” Iles said. “Welcome to China.”
Iles said when pressed for a copy of the policy on which they relied to make the decision, the Minister’s office sent them a copy of a short “policy” which “consisted mostly of anti-ACL talking points.”
“Tracking information showed it was last edited on the very day it was sent to us,” Iles added. “I wonder why.”
Iles went on to say: “If the center was run for a religious or political purpose that was incompatible with ACL, then I’d totally understand (I’m not expecting the Pride Centre or an Islamic School to rent us their lecture room). But this is a public venue, supported by taxpayer funds.
“Albany ratepayers top up their coffers by about $400,000 every year… Yet they decline legitimate, paying customers.”
Iles went on to suggest that supporters in the area contact their local councillor, the office of Minister for Arts, David Templeman, or the Perth Theatre Trust (who operate the venue, and also refused to allow ACL to use the Perth Concert Hall, and politely express disappointment in the decision.
“The truth is, what they have done is illegal,” Iles said. “Such a venue is not permitted under WA law to discriminate on the basis of political or religious conviction in the provision of goods, services or facilities (Equal Opportunity Act 1984, s 62).
“That is, unless they exist for a political or religious purpose. And they do not,” he added.