Sex, Drugs & Dutch Courage 

  • By Vickie Janson
  • 29 Nov, 2015

According to Senator Di Natale  individual drug use is a health, not a criminal problem. I’m quite sympathetic to the proposition that drug use is a health problem but it seems clear to me there must be another problem underlying the development of this one that drugs are fuelling. It’s also clear the use of some drugs quickly become bigger than a health problem to the individual user alone. Ambulance drivers, nurses, family members and random observers caught in the firing line of many violent drug-induced outbursts can attest to that. No man is an island: hurting people hurt other people.  

 And sadly it seems that individual drug use offers the ‘Dutch courage’ needed to break many other social boundaries that likewise may negatively impact others. For example, a recent study of more than 2100 school students shows how in-grained so-called ‘sexting’ has become among teens. It found that sexting was more common among teenagers who were already ‘sexually active or used alcohol, tobacco or marijuana.’  But don’t be concerned. Our experts maintain that teen sexting is ‘not an issue’ and that receiving and sending naked, sexually explicit pictures is seen as a 'normal part of dating’. Co-author of the study, Wendy Heywood said sexting was ‘just part of the broader repertoire of tools young people used to communicate in and negotiate sexual relationships’…'parents shouldn’t be unduly worried…particularly if these activities are being practised in a consensual and ethical way.’ 

Right.  I have to wonder if our experts are on drugs themselves. We already know young people are opting out of life altogether due to seemingly overwhelming relationship problems. And we shouldn’t be unduly worried about minors opting into these relationships early; really?

 Completely overlooked by these experts is other research on the impact of sexually explicit images upon young minds.

The  American College of Paediatricians notes that:  

Children suffer many negative effects due to modern society’s exposure to and acceptance of pornography. These negative effects include mental disturbance and unrest for the young school age child, including acting out and violent behavior. Because of its harmfulness to children, pornography must never be used as a tool to teach children human sexuality. For older adolescents and young adults, pornography teaches a false narrative regarding human sexuality and how men and women form healthy sexual relationships. This makes it more difficult for young men and women to form authentic, stable relationships. For parents, pornography is divisive resulting in a decreased quality of marriage and increasing the likelihood of divorce and separation which has been well documented to be harmful to children”.

 That’s quite a list of social ills  which includes difficulty in forming the long term authentic relationships needed for a healthy civil society. But lets just stick with the consequence of 'acting out and violent behavior.' Shouldn't we consider if the promotion of dehumanizing pornographic images, through sexting,  whether drug induced sexting or not, will help or hinder the battle against violent behavior and sexual abuse.  

While individual use of drugs is a health problem its never contained in the life of just one person. As Andrew Masterton points out in todays The Age, when the two great current wars merge, the war on drugs and the war on terror, we have a recipe for mass destruction. Masterton says there is 'ample research establishing a long and inglorious association between intoxicants and acts of war.' He says 'getting high and opening fire isn’t a hideous aberration. It’s the norm.'  That's worth a pause!

 An individual health problem can easily become a serious social and criminal one as well. I don't think  synthetic Dutch courage should be promoted to our teens, but real courage. That's courage to say No and not to fuel those things that hurt ourselves and others.  It may sound radical, but a little more self control might just avoid a whole lot more state control . Had our experts thought of that? 




Vickie Janson Blog

By Vickie Janson 20 Feb, 2017
That is why Dumbing Down author Dr Kevin Donnelly is concerned about the Australian “care, share and grow” approach to education – making all students feel good about themselves. Everyone is a winner, and criticising failing students is considered bad for their self-esteem

Some parents are concerned this feelings-based education is merely affirming a low level of achievement. It is telling kids they’re OK when they’re clearly not – and is actually dishonest. These parents are concerned their children are being set up for more painful failures later on, when they compete with others for employment.

Mature adults know that learning to deal with failure and criticism is a life survival skill that makes people more resilient and employable. Building self-esteem at the expense of real life skills is not only an academic failure, it is a moral one.

It is time to reassess the priorities of education in Australia. Two international tests – PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and TIMMS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) – indicate that Australian students are actually going backwards in basic maths and science skills. (see chart below)

A common Australian response is to argue for more education funding – but this argument is wearing a bit thin. When it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), Australia has been out-performed by Kazakhstan – a relatively poor nation of public schools, insufficient funding and a low level of teacher training.

It’s clear others are doing a lot more with less. OECD research confirms the strongest performers in PISA are not the wealthiest countries, nor those that allocate more money to education.

Jennifer Buckingham, Senior Research Fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies lists some of the topics at a recent Australian education conference – including such subjects as “thinking and doing research on female bodies differently – listening to moving bodies”, “Nietzsche on aesthetics, educators and education”, and “Meet the phallic lecturer: Early career research in a neoliberal imaginary”. Among the several hundred presentations, only 14 titles contained the word “maths” or “mathematics”, while 10 contained the word “neoliberal” and 18 contained the word “gender.”

The conference topics suggest that our educators lack any serious intention to address the STEM deficiency – they appear to have other priorities. Sydney University, for example, offers final year Bachelor of Education students a 9-week unit on “sexual and gender diversity”. Other leading universities, including Wollongong the Queensland University of Technology, offer similar courses to preschool, primary and secondary teacher trainees. Bachelor of Teaching students at Melbourne’s La Trobe University are required to take a compulsory unit on “Diversity: Relationships, Gender and Sexuality” in their fourth year .

Australia’s international test results should be the catalyst for change in curriculum priorities. Governments should reject the 2006 Australian Education Union resolution that led to a disproportionate focus on sexuality in Australian curricula.

Over the past ten years, this goal has become embedded in programs such as the so-called Safe Schools Coalition. By encouraging children – minors before the law – to follow their sexual feelings even if this entails high risk behaviour, these programs endanger students’ mental and physical health. They also undermine the values of many parents. Some who have fled dangerous war zones and persecution for their faith now suffer the double blow of being vilified as “bigots” and “homophobes”.

There is now a plethora of sex education materials available in our schools. Yet in the light of declining STEM results, many parents would prefer to see this focus redirected to the basic disciplines such as literacy, maths and science.

Like Dr Kevin Donnelly, many parents lament the growing number of students who are leaving school illiterate, innumerate and culturally impoverished. Too many young Australians can put on a condom, but are not equipped to navigate the world around them or significantly contribute to it. That’s very sad.

This article was republished from Family Voice Australia VoxPoint Magazine February 2017 

By Vickie Janson 23 Oct, 2016
While ‘ethical investors’ may be concerned about the Prime Minister’s shares in the tobacco industry many ordinary taxpayers are more concerned about their dwindling ethical shares in Victoria’s education.

It appears there is a huge ethical gap between what the Andrews Government define as ‘respectful relationships’ and the average Victorian parent. In light of our already over-sexualised society where teens are addicted to dehumanising and glamorised violent porn and girls are presenting to GP’s with internal injuries trying to fulfil the demand for anal sex - something our educators and porn industry alike present as ‘ultimate sex’- what parent would consider as a solution  a playful, dehumanising image of the sexual union as merely a ‘mixing of penises with bums, vaginas or mouth s’?

That’s the script from a video lesson for students in years 7 and 8 as part of the Respectful Relationships curriculum. I doubt most people find this approach to a deeply personal and important topic as respectful of their ordinary expectations.

What parent who desires their child to treat people humanely and respectfully wants to encourage them to view the opposite sex as giant genitals or an orifice to be filled? But what can we expect if educators and politicians alike approve of a giant animated penis as a teaching aid for young people? And this in the name of respect.

What parent doesn’t know that casual sex hurts people, breaks up families and robs children of parents. This playful non-committal approach costs families and costs taxpayers to pick up the broken lives. Our children are more than sexual beings and being groomed below their potential.

Perhaps one day students or their parents will sue our government and educators for not telling them the truth. Condoms don’t make it ‘safe sex’. As a matter of public health, condoms don’t protect anyone from the emotional trauma of rejection or the mental health issues so often triggered by failed romances and sexual encounters. In real life, people expect more than the ‘mixing of penises with bums, vaginas or mouths.’ Despite the approval of Education Minister, James Merlino, condoms are not as described  'a party hat'. 

The other important truth that educators and politicians shrink back from is that condoms are not designed or guaranteed for anal sex. Where is the warning in the curriculum about the consequences should condoms be used for this purpose?

In the face of giant penises, don’t our limp silent politicians have a duty of care to tell our children the whole story? The ethical gap between ordinary Australians, our educators and politicians continues to widen. The tolerance card can no longer be played by a government so intolerant of the ordinary expectations of Australians, especially the diverse ethnic and faith communities they claim to represent.
By Vickie Janson 13 Oct, 2016
I may have just caught the tail-end of the Member for Indi’s speech today but Cathy McGowan ensured the tail-end had plenty of sting in it. She would have us believe Australia’s LGBT community, for which Senator Wong and others stand incredibly strong, is far too fragile to cope with public debate about the public institution of marriage.

Despite the official question being framed as ‘Do you support a change in the law to allow same-sex couples to marry?’ McGowan continued to use her own terms of reference repeating the words ‘marriage equality’ incessantly throughout the speech. This was contrasted with a complete absence to any reference of equal opportunity for children to biological parents.

But McGowan’s main complaint about the proposed plebiscite was her belief the LGBT community have an unequal propensity to anxiety and shouldn’t have to ‘pay the price’ for this public discussion. This price is the assumed hurt feelings from unkind words that may accompany robust debate. It strikes me as ironic that McGowan is totally unconcerned that some children will pay the price of losing the legal possibility to a mum or a dad. She is not concerned about ignoring the wealth of research confirming this natural environment as being in the best interests of the child. McGowan is not concerned about faith communities paying the price with loss of religious freedom. That was made very clear as McGowan lamented any consideration for exemptions to accommodate freedom of conscience, religious or otherwise, for other Australians.

Fortunately McGowan was followed by Michael Sukkar MP who pointed out the obvious. He noted Australians have been engaged in this debate for five years already and the Labor Party has shown no concern for the vitriol levelled against those supporting traditional marriage by same-sex marriage advocates. Lets remember it was the threats made by them against the Mercure Hotel that pushed underground those who were peacefully gathered to oppose changes to the Marriage Act by democratic and civil means. The campaign for same-sex marriage seems to be intent on silencing any opposition to their gender agenda. Quite undemocratically, no other views or concerns about marginalised children, ethnic or faith communities count. Lets get real about who is really doing the bullying here. We don’t need our politicians giving more of the same.

By Vickie Janson 25 Sep, 2016
Will a change of law turn  ordinary citizens expressing their view into criminals? 
By Vickie Janson 06 Sep, 2016
Last week I had the privilege of joining La Trobe University’s Upstart Live program to discuss the proposed plebiscite and the ‘No Change’ position to the current Marriage Act.

At the commencement of the interview there was a bit of confusion over election results. So just to clarify it appears this was an honest misunderstanding of the voting system. Kurt opted to quote the ‘below the line’ vote for me (2,843) rather than the group total of primary votes which was 34,763 . It was understood by supporters that a vote above the line for Australian Christians (AC) was a vote for me and this is how we encouraged AC supporters to vote. I’m sure there was no desire on behalf of anyone to misrepresent the stats and a polite and profitable discussion ensued. I trust this will encourage more people to start this much needed conversation.

By Vickie Janson 08 Aug, 2016

It was a great privilege to offer the following short address to the Assyrian community in Melbourne in recognition of Assyrian Martyrs on their annual day of commemoration observed on the 7th August:

Thank you for the invitation to stand with you today to remember and honour the Assyrian Martyrs. Remembering is so very important because not just in Australia but in most western nations, the persecution, displacement and genocide of the indigenous people of Syria and Iraq, the Assyrian Christians, remains one of the best kept secrets. Indeed, the average Australian may never have heard of the Assyrian people or know that the indigenous people of Syria and Iraq are Christian. The average church goer in Australia may not even know that you are here today in Australia or consider that through our common faith, we share both a history and a tradition.

Australians desperately need to remember and be educated about our Christian heritage and the history of the war torn Middle East. There are few people better placed to deliver that education than the Assyrians who have lived through that history. Yet sadly, there seems to be little political will to remember the legacy left by our Assyrian Martyrs, or indeed, to learn from it.

 As I mentioned at the recent Protest Rally over the land grabs by Kurdish Peshmerga displacing even more Assyrians, Western politicians appear to be growing increasingly apathetic to their own faith tradition and incapable of understanding the consequences of the contempt others may have for it. We seem incapable of understanding that Christians are continually at risk of losing life, limb, liberty and their homelands in the Middle East because of an ancient hostility toward them. This is a hostility that connects them to the west and this same hostility is rising in the west.

Today we remember the many Assyrian individuals who have been martyred and we remember that Assyrian people, culture and religion have suffered persecution from ancient times to the present day. As the world’s conscience remains dull, and as Foreign Editor of the Australian Greg Sheridan points out  ' western media shuts its eyes to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East' - we are here today with deep regret that Assyrians continue to be abandoned by those they would naturally consider to be of their own household of faith.  It would be understandable if Assyrians felt like the Patriarch Joseph when he was rejected by his own household. On behalf of that household, I am truly sorry that the Assyrian people continue to be abandoned to corrupt regimes and trans-national jihadists.

 As we mourn together the neglected martyrs and decimation of the Assyrian nation, let us commit to educate our fellow Australians in order that they can also remember and that we as a nation can learn from the past and not repeat it.

 I want to encourage you to publish your history, to share stories in our local schools, to write and perform plays and use the arts in Australia to tell your story.

To this end I’d like to commend a resource to you that has been authored by religious liberty analyst, Elizabeth Kendal to assist others in understanding the Middle Eastern crisis and genocide of our fellow Christians. It’s called:

After Saturday Comes Sunday

Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East

Unfortunately, Elizabeth was not able to be here today but be assured she continues to keep your plight before the churches, our MPs and DFAT officials in Canberra.

Elizabeth’s latest book, After Saturday Comes Sunday is a timely resource for all teachers, academics, politicians, community leaders and parents; for all citizens of the free world. This is a resource that will enable us to better understand the past and present and prompt us to remember the fallen as we are today. I encourage you to add it to your library and share it with others. Lest we forget.

Thank you once again for this opportunity to stand with you in memory of those from your community who have been martyred for identifying with Christ.

May God Bless and protect you all. 

By Vickie Janson 04 Aug, 2016

After waiting 30 days for the primary vote to be determined, the 825 counts necessary to determine the final preference allocation occurred in just 30 minutes yesterday. Without group voting tickets the preference flow was poor and it was clear that many voters chose not to follow the party recommendations.

Australian Christians (AC) did very well to more than double our primary vote to 34,763 but were excluded on Count 741-750 accumulating only a small number of preferences. The final AC vote with preferences was 49,708. Family First candidate Peter Bain stayed in the game somewhat longer and was the last to be eliminated before the Green and Liberal candidates took up the final two senate seats.

It appears that much of the Christian constituency did not support Christian values parties. In the light of the upcoming plebiscite and other issues, this is worth reflecting on.

Thank you to all our faithful members and supporters and also to the many new supporters; many of which joined us with great enthusiasm in the last hour. We so appreciate the hours in prayer, on booths, letter boxing and promotions via social media. Please continue to prayer for our role in the future direction in Australian politics. We thank you all. 
By Vickie Janson 05 Jun, 2016

 Michael Short, The Sunday Age Opinion Editor and Board Member of the Research Centre responsible for the study ‘Growing Up Queer’ has apparently transfigured himself into the Religion Editor with commentary in todays paper about the values associated with Jesus.

The one thing Short does get right is a reference to the biblical Golden Rule which is a tenet of civil society; ‘treat other people as you would like to be treated’.  Short then uses his opinion piece as a means of deriding the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) for its hollow faith which he claims ‘tramples the very values commonly associated with Jesus’.  Apparently ACL do this by their support for the current Marriage Act. As self appointed moral priest, Short announces that laws and people opposing same-sex marriage are ‘morally wrong’. How pluralistic.

With many loaded adjectives ACL are accused of being needlessly hurtful and disrespectful because of the view they hold. Sadly, this life is full of hurts and I don’t think we can limit this discussion to just one type of hurt when addressing such a significant social change.

For example, in September 2015 I stood on a marriage platform at a public rally with Millie Fontana who was raised in a same-sex family and she was hurt too.

Millie talked about her right: the rights of the child to a mother and father. Incidentally, Article 7 & 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child support preserving the identity of a child and offering every child the right to know and be cared for by their parents. But Millie talked more about hurts than rights. She referred to the ‘oppression’ when people tell children like her what it’s ok to feel. Millie loves her gay mums and her dad, but is a voice supporting the current Marriage Act. I don’t think we can call her homophobic or hollow.

Although she is not a Christian, Millie applauded ACL on their own platform and thanked Christians present for giving her a voice because as she said ‘no one else will.’ Millie doesn’t find ACL hurtful, but what she does find hurtful is the suggestion that biological parents in the life of a child doesn’t really matter.

As a fellow citizen who was also raised without a dad I have to wholeheartedly agree. Both fathers and mothers are incredibly important to children and their identity security. The hollow and heavy heart many children carry is often due to an absent parent. With the popularity of and programs like ‘Who do you think you are?’ anecdotally it seems clear a connection with our biological roots is food for the soul. Just ask our indigenous Australians.

Short’s mocking of references to the Stolen Generation as an ‘appalling and ridiculous argument’ should be considered in light of sentiments expressed by past Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. In his apology Rudd said these children were ‘human beings who have been damaged deeply by the decisions of parliaments and governments’. 

Why were they ‘damaged deeply’  if someone loved them? I would suggest they were damaged because they were deprived of their ethnic, cultural and biological identity normally provided by their natural environment. Shouldn’t we consider why any other group should be less damaged?

President Obama has on many occasions publicly lamented the pain of not growing up with a father in his own house and pointed to the connection of fatherlessness and violent crime. And former PM Prime Minister Julia Gillard when apologising for the forced adoption of babies referred to the ‘most primal and sacred bond there is: the bond between a mother and her baby’. Why is it these findings are now ‘appalling and ridiculous arguments?’

Treating other people the way we want to be treated would be allowing children the legal possibility of that important biological connection with mum and dad. If Short actually read the Bible he would know that ‘true religion’ is to care for orphans, not create them by design.

As Short turns to address ACL criticism of the Safe Schools Program it would appear he has little understanding of what Jesus actually valued. We can agree that no one should be bullied for any reason but despite Short’s claims, this is not what the the Safe Schools program is about at all.

I attended the launch of the Safe Schools Coalition and I have resources that were available on the day to promote the program. A flippant and hollow attitude toward sexual activity is expressed throughout this program. Should a school resource instruct children to ‘do it when they feel ready’, encourage experimentation, quote no minimum age and present a very casual attitude to sexually transmitted infections? Ironically it is those who care about the whole person and not just ‘the wibbly-wobbly bits’, as playfully described by the Safe Schools program, that are referred to as ‘hollow’. Perhaps Short ought to read a little more about Jesus and what he values.

Yes, Jesus takes the protection of children seriously and we should treat others the way we want to be treated. As a child of the sexual revolution myself I know, promiscuity hurts people; especially children. All children naturally desire to know who they are and central to this is a mother and a father. Denying this innate desire may create many more hollow hearts. That is a genuine concern many share with ACL.

By Vickie Janson 22 May, 2016

Victorian State Director Jeff Reaney and I were very grateful to Pastor Alec and Glenda Witham for the warm welcome we received in Warrnambool. Following an hour long interview with Cameron Price on community radio 3WAYFM addressing the proposed marriage plebiscite, Safe Schools program and Australian Christians policy platform, a successful campaign meeting was hosted by the Warrnambool Presbyterian Church. The enthusiasm of the audience culminated in the establishment of an Australian Christians Warrnambool branch. Special thanks to Ps Ben Johnson for his support and also for including Jeff and I around the bountiful Johnson family table.

Australian Christians ‘in the market’

With small to medium size business making up over 90 per cent of all companies and small business responsible for thirty per cent of Australia’s wealth, being an active member of the ever expanding Business Marketplace Community (TBMC) has offered great insights into grassroots business growth. It has also given me hope for a better Australia for all. My co-Senate Candidate and drafter of our Small Business Policy , Eleni Arapoglou is also a strong small business advocate. We believe entrepreneurs and businesses should be rewarded for the financial risks and initiatives they take.

So it was a delight to emcee the Speakers Forum at the most recent TBMC Expo. The only downside to this was that I missed out on the bustle in the exhibition hall as one of the 100 or so stallholders.  But fortunately our State Director Jeff Reaney and a few faithful helpers had that covered and the Australian Christians flag flew all day. We are definitely a party that is ‘in the market’.

Our colours were also flying at this years Life Coalition dinner. After catching up with our good friend and former Member of the Legislative Council Jan Kronberg, we were inspired by the address from the courageous Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins and able to network with co-workers and supporters of life and family.

Speaking opportunities continue to flow in and I appreciate the opportunity Pastor Andrew Russell afforded me to make a short address to the enthusiastic Calvary Chapel congregation. Every community we visit has the same concerns about the consequences of any change to the Marriage Act and the continual push for expanding gender theory in Victorian schools. Clearly this mandated celebration of sexual diversity goes well beyond tolerance of any alternative view and is of real concern to many parents and all freedom lovers. This is a hot topic that has allowed me the opportunity to speak to a number of groups over the past several months and ‘Friends of Frith’ home groups should receive a particular mention. Last week it was ‘Friends of Frith in Frankston’. It appears our friend Frith is becoming quite famous!

But despite all the activity we can only get to so many meetings in the weeks before 2 July. So we are very grateful for the support of Damian Delahunty of Digital Catch Media  who is enabling us to reach so many more people during this campaign. We all have different gifts and talents to contribute and many people are using theirs to support Australian Christians in some way.

In my previous blog I shared Damian’s short video of Colin Sievers who is an artist submitting my portrait into the Doug Moran Art Awards which is his way of offering support to my campaign. 

Damian has also produced this campaign video  and he is seen below getting organised to shoot the next one. Watch this space for his latest contribution: a conversation with Vickie and Australian Christians Policy Researcher and co-Senate Candidate Eleni Arapoglou .

Its been an eventful month to date and there’s no easing up. If you would like to get involved or can help with this campaign in some way please register here:


By Vickie Janson 15 May, 2016
The arts are a great way to hear the culture and Frankston artist Colin Sievers is all about giving voice to what he refers to as the 'Greatest Story Ever Told'. Colin is incredibly  authentic and committed to paint those pictures that reflect the heart of the 'greatest story ever told'. These include the last supper, a gathering of close friends on the traditional Passover evening and reminder of a time when 'death passed over' those who trusted in the sacrifice provided. Colin paints images that many understand in contemporary Australia.   He is seen here painting Christ offering peace in turbulent waters and his paintings reflect many other biblical themes that speak through the ages to the multitudes. 

Colin's desire to enter my portrait in the prestigious Doug Moran Arts Awards is motivated by his heart to see 'the greatest story ever told' perpetuated. Colin knows that as the Senate candidate for Australian Christians I believe this story has eternal value.  And I recognise that as Colin diligently stands in all weather in the public domain painting his deepest convictions for the enjoyment of complete strangers, Colin himself is expressing something of eternal value. Colin is a living testament to the truth that strong families, communities and nations are not built upon people demanding rights but upon people making sacrifices. And we salute Colin for his sacrifice to stand and to share the 'Greatest Story Ever Told'.  

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