In April 2021, it was revealed that controversial developer and Mayor of the Gold Coast, Tom Tate, had opened a Prayer Room on Gold Coast Council premises. When questioned, Tate claimed:
Gold Coast journalists, Paul Weston and Brianna Morris-Grant, then revealed that the Gold Coast Mayor had also controversially hired his evangelical spiritual adviser, Pastor Sue Baynes, as a ratepayer funded employee in the Mayoral Office.
Baynes stood as a senate candidate for the Family First party in the 2016 Federal election, opposing gay marriage as well as the Safe Schools program designed to create an inclusive environment and protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students from being bullied in school.
Ms Baynes appears to be in charge of bookings for the new Prayer Room at Council chambers. It emerged Baynes is an advocate of a radical Christian movement called the Seven Mountain Mandate (7M).
On Easter Sunday,1 April 2018, Tom Tate was submerged in Evandale Lake and baptised by Pastor Baynes in front of family, friends and locals in an act which he said symbolised a "baptism for the city" ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Baynes' husband, Roger, assisted in Tate's baptism along with 'Pastor' Marshall Gray.
Gray migrated from New Zealand to the Gold Coast in 2012, "planting a church in Gold Coast" by launching The Gold Coast Chapel in Nerang.
As a guest speaker at the Heritage of Faith Christian Church (Burleigh Heads) in 2018, Marshall claimed he "has a passion to advance God's Kingdom through planting local churches everywhere." Heritage of Faith is a branch of the Jerry Savelle Ministries International, Texas USA.
Baynes claims Tate's baptism was the moment that she "instantly converted him to the 7M philosophy."
The 7M religious ideology seeks to take control of seven spheres of society. These include:
Baynes once told followers at a religious function that Mayor Tate supports her plan to transform the Gold Coast "to look like the Kingdom of God".
(Rogers, D. Q News. 6 April 2022)
In a 35-minute video posted on YouTube in July 2019, Baynes, who was hired as city pastoral advisor last month, said she was passionate about the Seven Mountain Mandate and "how we could bring that to our city and to our nation".
The Seven Mountain Mandate is a dominionist Christian movement that originated in the United States.
A 2013 publication outlining its belief system asserts that followers should seek to gain authority or influence in seven spheres of public life, including government.
(Rogers, D. Q News. Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate & the Seven Mountains Mandate. 2 April 2022)
After a "spiritual battle," Baynes recently claimed she had displaced "the powers of darkness" inhabiting the Gold Coast's art centre, Home of the Arts (HOTA).
On 20 April 2022, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate rejected an attempt by 'satanists' to book council's prayer room, citing security concerns, but inviting the group to enjoy a long weekend on the holiday strip.
Lawyer, Trevor Bell, from the Noosa Temple of Satan said he made a booking after learning council's newly appointed pastoral adviser Sue Baynes had claimed HOTA was a "demonic stronghold".
(Forbes, T.,Utting A. &Bernard K. ABC Gold Coast. 20 April 2022)
Bell and Brother Samael from the Noosa Temple of Satan said the group would serve tea and scones at the satanic blessing.
(Hirst, Jordan. Satanists outraged...blocked from prayer room. Q News. 21 April 2022.)
In 2021, the Noosa Temple of Satan launched action in the Supreme Court calling for a judicial review of the Queensland Education Department's assessment that it was "not a religious denomination or society" and therefore would not be granted approval to teach religious instruction in State-run schools.
The judicial review was a result of the group's application to provide religious instruction at two high schools and two primary schools in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
The Education Department argued that the Satanist group was established in response to the Australian Government's proposal for a Religious Discrimination Bill and questioned whether the Temple's true purpose was political rather than religious.
Concern was also expressed about the Temple's claims of wanting to teach students that "Satan was a supernatural being".
No such concerns were held by Mayor Tom Tate regarding the appointment to his Mayoral staff of an advocate for the "Seven Mountain Mandate", Sue Baynes, whose 'supernatural' claims included:
Tom Tate described Baynes' role to the ABC as being "on a casual basis, back filling a current vacancy."
However, Baynes told a church breakfast in March 2022 that Tom Tate created the job for her:
(Rogers, D. Q News. Tom Tate's Discerner. 7 April 2022)
(InQueensland. Kingdom come: Mayor's new spiritual advisor and the texts that come directly from God. 14 April 2022)
Meredith Doig is the President of the Rationalist Society of Australia, which provided the ABC with the 2019 video of Baynes' 7M sermon.
(Rope, S., Webber M. & Cansdale D. Tom Tate supported the Kingdom of God Gold Coast... ABC Gold Coast. 1 April 2022.)
In his article, Australia's Traditional Separation of Church and State is in Peril, Christian Brown insists:
(Brown, C. Daily Clout. 14 February 2021)
In August 2021, changes to a 103-year-old tradition in Victoria were put forward by The Reason Party's upper-house MP, Fiona Patten.
Patton pushed for a debate and a vote on a motion to scrap the prayer and instead have the President of the Legislative Council open the day by instructing MPs "to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of Victoria", not unlike the ACT model.
(The Age Editorial. Dropping the Lord's Prayer would help State Parliament better reflect our diversity. 2 August 2021)
"The Secular Party asserts the superiority of universal value systems independent of any religion and believes that Australia should lead the way in establishing a society free of sectarian strife. We need a global ethic based on universal moral principles."
The Secular Party is focussed on:
The Secular Party opposes:
( https://www.secular.org.au/the-separation-of-church-and-state/ accessed 21 April 2022)
The 2011 Australian 'Humanist of the Year', Leslie Cannold, clarifies some of the major forms that 'Secularism' can take:
(Cannold, L. 2011 Australian Humanist of the Year. 30 April 2011)
As the 21 May 2022 Federal Election fast approaches, all Australians should be concerned about the covert and overt influences of fundamentalist Christian organisations that appear to have successfully infiltrated the highest levels of the Australian Government and are attempting to do the same at State (South Australia and Queensland) and Local Government (City of Gold Coast) levels.*
These organisations have clearly stated their major objectives to influence, assist and install elected officials who will impose fundamentalist Christian, 'biblical' world views on major Public Policy decisions in Australia.
The 'Seven Mountain Mandate' and other right-wing Christian ideologies emanating from the fundamentalists within the world-wide and Australian Pentecostalist and Evangelical Christian movements have resulted in controversial and negative policies being proposed and driven by the 'Seven Mountains pin-up boy', Prime Minister Scott Morrison, especially in the areas of funding and policies on -:
Social Justice; Social Equity; Medicine; Science, Education; Environment; Religion; Public Media and The Arts; and the increasingly inequitable distribution of the 'Common Wealth' among the people of Australia under this current LNP Federal Government.
(Dr Steven Gration. 25 April 2022)
Under Morrison, intelligent and informed discussions, parliamentary debates and progressive views on contemporary matters such as institutional and political corruption, abortion, women's safety in the workplace, LGBTI issues, voluntary euthanasia, immigration, refugees, same sex marriage and the environment have been suppressed, blocked and undermined, resulting in a lack of government policies and/or relevant legislation being put forward by the LNP coalition government on these issues.
The Morrison Government's policies and rhetoric are heavily underpinned by the Prosperity Theology of Morrison's 'church' and an attitude of superiority accompanied by a warped sense of spiritual and material entitlement that accompanies this 'blessed' ideology.
As proclaimed by Christian Brown (et al),"Australia's Traditional Separation of Church and State is in Peril" under the reign of Morrison and his Pentecostal 'Brothers'.
More than a decade ago, Australian 'Humanist of the Year', Leslie Cannold, warned us of "Australia's fading separation between Church and State".
Cannold's observations remain just as potent and prescient today regarding the need to clarify and consolidate a legitimate Separation of Church and State in Australia as outlined in her declaration:
19 March 2022 - Labor win a landslide victory over the incumbent Liberal government in the South Australian state election. The new Labor Premier, Peter Malinauskas, pledged to use the win to deliver a "fairer, better society".
23 April 2022 - incumbent Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate, announces he will win a record-breaking fourth term as mayor when he runs again in 2024. Based on his "own street poll", Tate boasts he'd "win in a bigger landslide" than his previous wins in 2012, 2016 and 2020.
6 May 2022 - Queensland Supreme Court judge dismisses the Noosa Temple of Satan's application to teach religious classes in Queensland schools, describing the case as a "deplorable waste of state resources" and a political stunt.
13 May 2022: The week prior to the 21 May 2022 Federal election, Pastor Marshall Gray and his Gold Coast Chapel hosted a Faith and Politics Forum #2 on the Gold Coast. Tickets $5 online, $10 at the door. Advertised guest speakers included: Senator Malcolm Roberts and Pauline Hanson (One Nation); Senate candidates Clive Palmer (United Australia); Campbell Newman (Liberal Democrats); George Christensen (Independent); Debra Yuille (The Silent Majority); Heston Russell (Australian Values); and Jason Miles (Great Australian). This collective of independents and micro-political parties identified themselves as the "Freedom Parties". A colloquial term, "Cookers", has also been coined to describe them owing to their various fixations and allegiances ranging from government conspiracy theories to being members of far right political groups; opposing anti-government health mandates; members of fundamentalist Christian groups supporting the Seven Mountain Mandate ideology; or just generally anti-government under the banner of claiming to be "Libertarians".
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