Interesting Developments In Australia

Discussion in 'In The News' started by wallflower, Feb 4, 2013.

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    wallflower

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    wallflower

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    wallflower

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    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/child-in-jehovahs-witness-court-bid-20130217-2elcg.html


    "Vincent Toole, solicitor for the Jehovah's Witnesses, said the fact that the church got working with children checks had nothing to do with Steven Unthank, whom he suggested was behind the court case. ''We find it disappointing that he continues to misrepresent our organisation.''

    The above paragraph mentioned in the article is false. If the Watchtower Society's complying with registering for working with children background checks was not a matter related to Steven Unthank, why was it that the magistrate felt it was necessary to ask the Society's lawyer if the Watchtower Society had registered? And why did the magistrate ask that question during the Steven Unthank trial?

    Vincent Toole is also quoted as above as saying "We find it disappointing that he continues to misrepresent our organisation."

    Vincent Toole misrepresented the identity of the faithful and discreet slave, saying that "it did not exist, it was not a real body of men and was a theological concept only" and stated this in the court room. I do not believe he is in the position to make such an accusation of Steven Unthank when he has displayed similar behaviour himself.

    Wallflower
     
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    wallflower

    wallflower Moderator

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    Correction - technically speaking, the phrase should be "court case" not "trial."
     
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    Jahsdisciple

    Jahsdisciple Guest

    Hi Wallflower,
    I looked at the link and to be blunt,its obvious this "Mr Unthank" is behind the whole misrepresenting of the organisation.

    The HQ IS doing the checks as required by law. Couldnt copy and paste it,but Vince said they WERE doing as the law required.

    The law suit:" The submission suggests the 2000 Jehovah's Witnesses who worked with children were committing criminal offences each week. These included ministers, elders, chaplains, teachers, volunteers, publishers (a term for people who doorknock) and even people who repair the church premises, called Kingdom Halls, ''as they use child labour to save money''."

    This is gross misrepresentation and a lie ! If this were the case,then the courts would have dealt with this matter.''as they use child labour to save money''." Rubbish ! The children are there with their parents helping mantain the KH.

    When you fabricate lies to make a point,use children whose heads are filled with poison of this guy,it only serves to prove this guy has NO grounds for his complaints. Yes there are problems there. But if you fabricate lies to make a point,then how will people know thw truth about whats going on.

    Then for this guy to use children to take JWs to court is child abuse because of the agenda of "Mr Unthank". Filling their heads with his poison.

    "Vincent Toole misrepresented the identity of the faithful and discreet slave, saying that "it did not exist, it was not a real body of men and was a theological concept only" and stated this in the court room."

    The above quote WAS NOT mentioned in the newspaper..where did this quote come from ?
    Thanks sis.
     
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    Diagonal

    Diagonal Guest

    Hi Jahsdisciple,

    If I remember correctly, that quote about the ‘slave class’being a 'theological fiction'
    is right from the court transcript.


    I just note the irony of how the WT uses the worldly system to get its way,
    but if anybody else does the same thing, the society institutes legal and
    extra-legal proceedings against them, or else appeals for public
    sympathy at being misrepresented.


    That is what happens when what is supposed to be a spiritual entity
    seeks leverage in the secular environment by wanting to be recognized
    as a corporation of public law, for example.

    Can you imagine the first century Christian congregation seeking to be
    incorporated under the Roman Empire to qualify for special status?


    Where can people of their faith turn to if they are under global shunning
    because of being misrepresented by the officers of their congregation?


    This is just a case of the WT getting its own treatment back– no need to
    complain or feel sorry.


    They should be much more afraid of when they finally meet their real
    Judge whom they have so badly misrepresented.
     
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    wallflower

    wallflower Moderator

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    Currently working on a reply. It's rather lengthy. Will post when I have finished it.
     
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    wallflower

    wallflower Moderator

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    What I have written in this post is information which I have already posted in the past on the other forum, but I'll re-post again.

    I have followed this court case closely – it is easy for me to verify whatever I hear or see in the media on matters such as this – I'm able to do this through work contacts.


    I agree that the phrase “they use child labour to save money†is a misrepresentation. It does not add to Steven Unthank's credibility.

    There are however, two other grounds in which he does have cause for valid complaint.

    The first one is that there are 20 cases of paedophilia in the Traralgon Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. He is speaking on behalf of these children as their pleas for help are being ignored by the body of elders.

    The second cause for complaint is that the Watchtower Society ignored a government direction (“Caesar's†law) to register for working with children background checks, in the State of Victoria. This was issued in July 2008. All organisations, both religious and non-religious that work with children, were required to register by July 2011. (That is a period of 3 years). The Watchtower Society registered in October 2011. As the deadline for registration drew close, the Watchtower Society was reminded, warned, cautioned, advised that it needed to register. It was also offered additional help to cope with the workload that is associated with processing the many applications for background checks. Still the Society refused to comply.

    According to the Working With Children Act 2005, this is known as willful non-compliance. Some folks might not think that's a big issue. The legislation describes that situation as “engaging individuals in child-related work who do not have an assessment notice.†Under this legislation, this is considered to be a breach of the law. Such breaches of the law usually result in the organisation having to pay a fine, imprisonment or can be both. The procedure for applying for a background check is NOT complicated – you have to supply two pieces of identification and complete the form, then submit it. It is NOT “rocket science†(i.e. not difficult).

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/wwca2005232/s9.html
    (What is child-related work?)

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/wwca2005232/s35.html
    (Offence to engage in child-related work a person who does not have an assessment notice.)

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/wwca2005232/s33.html
    (Engaging in child-related work without an assessment notice)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penalty_units
    (Explanation of a penalty unit)

    Now I understand that the Watchtower Society is in a difficult position – but it would not be there if it had obeyed “Caesar's†law. (Whatever happened to “we obey all of the laws of the land, the only exception being when a law is in conflict with one of Jehovah's commands?â€).

    Mark 12:17 “Jesus then said: “Pay back Caesar's things to Caesar, but God's things to God.â€

    Romans 13: 1,2 “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. Therefore he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will receive judgment to themselves.â€

    The government takes this legislation very seriously. In the organisation that I work for, the law says that I must hold a working with children card (or “blue card for children†as it is known here) in order to be employed by the organisation. The card expires every 3 years and MUST be renewed. Several weeks before the card expires, I am notified by mail that I need to renew the card. If I neglect to do this, then I am in breach of the law. If the organisation continues to employ me while I have an expired card, then the organisation is in breach of the law also. The result will be that I will be fined and also the organisation will be fined also (a much larger fine) than I would receive as an individual. As I hold a “blue cardâ€, I'm very familiar with the legislation regarding its use.

    The children presenting evidence at the inquiry, have a valid cause for complaint as they have been molested. Perhaps the children got tired of having the body of elders ignore their calls for help – maybe they feel they have no other option.

    While it was good to see the Watchtower Society comply with the law and register for the background checks, in October, 2011, the matter is not quite that simple. There is a little more detail to it. That would be considered an example of present compliance with the law.

    There is also the matter of future compliance with the law. For example, as already pointed out, the card expires every 3 years and must be renewed. During the court case, what arrangement did the Society make with the authorities to ensure that this process would take place in the future? And what about any brothers who have been appointed since the court case ended? What arrangement did the Society make with the authorities to ensure that these ones apply for the background check?

    It is not a case of “well we are registered now, so we are done and we don't have to think about it anymore.†In 3 years time, the congregations in the State of Victoria will have to go through the renewal process again as their cards will have expired. The appointment of brothers is a process that is ongoing. So registering these brothers for background checks will be a continual process also. This is why the future compliance aspect is a big deal.

    I did not see any information from the court case to show that the willful non-compliance period had been accounted for. Nor did I see any information explaining how future compliance with the law, would be enforced.

    I was a little puzzled to see the court case discontinued abruptly – until I heard that the Victorian child abuse inquiry was in the pipeline.

    The quote from Vincent Toole regarding the “faithful and discreet slave class being a theological concept only†can be found in the court transcript dated October 11, 2011.





    The following material was posted on the other forum and has been posted again as a blog entry on this one.

    "I'm writing this post so as to provide some clarification and to explain how the Working With Children legislation is applied.

    Regarding the case involving Steven Unthank, there were 20 cases of child rape (going from memory.) So the class action is not free of paedophilia charges. And that's just in one congregation. His submission to the child abuse inquiry focuses on the whole state of Victoria. So it is possible for that number to rise. This can come about through the application of the laws of the Working With Children Act 2005, carrying out background checks on individuals. I personally call it "the snowball effect". An organisation will give orders that it's members submit to the background check procedure. As a result of that process, incriminating information about an individual can come to light. Or it can be incriminating information about a second individual that they had association with. This results in more names and cases being investigated and added to the class action.

    The other scenario is that a member may refuse to undergo the background check and leave the company – this raises a "red flag" and that person's background would be investigated by authorities – it indicates that he may have something to hide.

    It's hard to say what the final figure of paedophilia cases would be. There should not be any.

    When the Steven Unthank case was abruptly discontinued, I felt that some points had not been covered in the court case. For example, the Watchtower Society had shown willful non-compliance for a period of 3 years – this is considered to be a breach of the law. It had received several reminders and warnings to register under the Working With Children Act 2005, but each time refused, stating that it was not necessary to do so. Children were never alone with adults and Jehovah's Witnesses were different from other churches and did not have a Sunday school for religious instruction (which is where the school issue comes in). It was pointed out to the Society that it had a Theocratic Ministry School and young people were enrolled on that.

    The Society was also offered additional help to cope with the work associated with processing the many applications for background checks for individuals. They still refused to comply. The application procedure is NOT complicated – a person merely needs to provide 2 pieces of identification and complete the application form.

    The other point I felt that was not covered in court was how the authorities were going to go about enforcing the law on future occasions. For example, the card expires every 3 years and must be renewed each time. Any brothers who become elders or ministerial servants in the time since the court case had ended would also need to apply. However, it does look as if such things will be covered by the inquiry since its purpose is to examine the policies of organisations on the way they protect children's rights.

    I hold a Working With Children Card (or a "blue card for children" as it is called here) so I'm familiar with the laws and conditions associated with having one.

    It's true that the Watchtower Society is in a difficult position but it would not be there if it had changed its policies on child protection and if it had put the welfare of children ahead of maintaining its outward image."


    Wallflower
     
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    wallflower

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    "Ms van Witsen said elders would make an exception if they felt the child was threatened."

    The above quote is taken from the article mentioned in the link from the previous post. The context of the quote is dealing with reporting cases of child abuse.

    We have a zone visit here in Australia on this Sunday (April 14). Maybe the speaker could take a few minutes during the discourse and elaborate on how child abuse is not a threatening action against a child. Because I don't quite understand that. I'll be listening closely to the program.

    Wallflower
     
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    panda

    panda Guest

    don't hold your breath, most of what is said in that article is not the whole truth, the WT has been getting away with this for a long time now, sometimes I just get sick with the injustice, and waiting and praying the real truth will be told and proven.:mad:
     
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    wallflower

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    Utuna

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    Thanks for the link ! That's very interesting !

    So, in a nutshell, the brother says that they'll report accusations to the police only if they think that the child is in danger but won't do it if the victim (or parents) doesn't want them to, provided there's no danger.

    Am I right ?

    The problem with that policy is that the elders, as we all know, aren't all particularly savvy and observant, and even less trained, regarding spotting signs of danger and a complete investigation may disclose things that would have never been disclosed otherwise. Such crimes are a serious thing and a thorough investigation in that regards requires much more than what the elders are able or authorised to do. To say the least, that's a very naive policy... What's at stake is way beyond what any involved group of elders will ever be able to handle...

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm reading page 16 right now and that's disgusting how the brother is lying and fudging the issue :

    Mr T. O’BRIEN

    — People can come and question teachings or procedures. They are quite at liberty to approach the elders to talk about that.

    Mr D O’BRIEN

    — Sorry to interrupt, but I am conscious of getting to the point. Are they able to make public statements criticising the practices and, in a sense, the democratisation of the rules and practices of your religion?


    Mr T. O’BRIEN

    — People do; they are entitled to do that. That does not mean that we will become a democracy because some individuals do not like it. They are free to come and go, as we all are.


    Mr D. O’BRIEN

    — Can that be grounds for disfellowship if they are seen to criticise the practice for some reason? It is a whistleblowing activity I am particularly directing my attention to.


    Mr T.O’BRIEN

    — If it was teaching against scripture, then that would be a basis for disfellowshipping, but it would not necessarily be disfellowshipping — that would be their decision. They would be disassociating

    themselves from the organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses because they no longer agreed with the teachings.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    => Thus, it'd mean : We dont' disfellowship them but their dissident attitude shows that they don't want to be JWs anymore... and we'll consider them as such ! And even if they aren't disfellowshipped, provided they supposedly repent, "life" in the congregation is going to be freezed for them.
     
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    wallflower

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    That's how I read the brother's message.


    I think that the sister's message can be summarised like this - "We understand why the victims would come to the government. The victims feel they have no options because the laws aren't tight enough. Perhaps the government could put stricter legislation in place."


    I think my favourite part is on page 6, lines 8 and 9 (where the secrecy of the "Shepherd The Flock" publication is mentioned):

    "Mr T. O'BRIEN: It is exactly what is in the Bible. Yes.

    MRS COOTE: Therefore why is it confidential?"



    Wallflower
     
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    Utuna

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    In my opinion, the most "interesting" part of the elder's book isn't that which is written therein but rather the comments and the critical analysis of it added during the elder's school sessions. I've read it already and, frankly, it's nothing to write home about. However, a book with all the comments and instructions in it would be worth the once-over...

    If the brother gives a copy of the book to the judge, it'll be useless if the book is "blank".
     
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    pudding

    pudding Guest

    Well the Shepherd book certainly has some eyebrow raising statements in it:

    "If the accuser or the accused is unwilling to meet with the elders or if the accused continues to deny the accusation of a single witness and the wrongdoing is not established, the elders will leave matters in Jehovah's hands." (p.72)

    "For example, the sin may involve past child abuse, and this would likely disqualify him for many years." (p.38)

    Pud.
     
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    Utuna

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    Yes, you're right. Those quotations can be used by dishonest individuals, to say the least.

    It reminds me of the case of a sister of my acquaintance who accused her husband of adultery. Her proofs were not solid enough (what he had done was fishy enough to raise genuine suspicion though), he would say that she was delusional and as he knew that not meeting with the elders would give him the benefit of the doubt, he moved out and disappeared for a handful of years. The sister went through with a divorce for fear of debts from his part and went away at the other side of the country. Although divorced, she couldn't marry again because there was no incontestable proof of anything and eventually she had to wait for about 10 years before she could marry again. I never knew what had made the elders of her former congregation change their minds but they told her one day that it was ok for her to remarry.

    Although it's true that elders aren't cops and thus don't have to coerce anyone and/or to chase after each suspected individual, there are situations where unwillingness to meet and shed light on them should really be a red flag, and all the more so for the parents and when kids are at stake.
     
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