An event by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) presenting the Bible’s teachings towards “thorny issues” has been blocked from performing at the Perth Concert Hall and Albany Entertainment Centre, venues managed by the Western Australia (WA) Government.
Emails obtained by The Epoch Times have revealed that the WA Government’s Perth Theatre Trust (PTT) told the ACL they would not be allowed to book the venues based on their “politically motivated objectives.”
The PTT did not provide the ACL concrete reasons behind which parts of their “Truth of It” event—which had previously toured around the nation—warranted the decision.
When pressed for its venue hiring requirements, the PTT sent a policy which unveiled that provisions were granted based on advice by WA Premier Mark McGowan for government-owned facilities to “not be used where the views of certain individuals do not represent the views of the West Australian Government or the vast majority of Western Australians.”
ACL Managing Director Martyn Iles expressed concern that the state government’s actions demonstrated blatant censorship and severely limited freedom of speech.
“So, apparently, the WA government won’t allow venues to host people who disagree with them,” Iles said in a Facebook post. “Welcome to China.”
Iles also suggested that the event’s obstruction was a violation of WA’s Equal Opportunity Act 1984, which states that it is unlawful for a person who provides facilities to “discriminate against another person on the ground of the other person’s religious or political conviction.”
A point the Law Society of Western Australia refused to provide comment on when asked by The Epoch Times whether or not the claims held legitimacy and if the PTT could face legal repercussions as a result.
Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington told The Epoch Times that he was affronted by the PTT’s decision and had yet to be provided with a reason for the event’s cancellation.
“My perspective is that they got it wrong,” Wellington said. “No one’s explained it to me yet, and I’ve asked for explanations, I’ve asked for a meeting with the Minister, and I’ve asked for an explanation from the Perth Theatre Trust.
“But no one’s explained to me the rationale behind it at the moment because I don’t think they even can.”
Wellington described the move as discriminatory and said that groups looking to book the venue should be allowed to do so provided they operated within the bounds of the law.
Wellington also said that the WA Government had previously held a farewell party for retired WA Labor MP Peter Watson, which he said turned into a fundraising event for then-WA-Labor-candidate Rebecca Stevens, garnering thousands of dollars.
This is in spite of the PTT’s policy which states that they will “not enter an agreement to hire a venue to political parties for the purposes of electioneering and fundraising.”
Wellington added, currently, the city of Albany contributed $400,000 each year to keep the centre open, and it was dismayed that the venue would cancel a valid opportunity to raise funds.
“That’s not an insignificant amount. If they want to turn around and up that just because it suits their things, well, they’ve got another thing coming. We’re not going to do that,” Wellington said.
A spokesperson for the PTT refused to provide comment to The Epoch Times on the issue, saying that it was “currently considering the specific matters raised by the Australian Christian Lobby.”