Archives for February 2018

NSW Govt gets serious about Religious education

NSW state government had ordered a review of Special Religious Education(SRE) in 2015 and the report was received in 2017. Hindu scriptures are taught to students in schools by VHP and Chinmaya Mission under this special scheme. As a part of implementing many of these recommendations, an All Faith SRE (AFSRE) committee was formed. This committee represents different faiths including Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Bahai and Buddhist among others.

Another recommendation to have a formal syllabus, vetting of teachers identity, working with children check, training of teachers, a formal complain making and handling mechanism are being put in place and being made mandatory from this year. Two Hindu organizations Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Chinmaya Mission are both well on their way in complying with these new rules. AFSRE is providing guidance and hand holding to both of them. Both of them have taken the assistance of BBF process to comply with these guidelines.

Saiva Manaram is also registered as an SRE for providing education on Saiva Manram faith to school children and is also on its way to comply with the new rules.  As of this year, SRE’s who do not comply with the new process will not be allowed to teach in schools. Hindu teachers have prepared themselves well and are not affected. Hindu teachers will continue to teach in schools. AFSRE chair, thanked Hindu Council of Australia for having brought together the Hindu SRE providers to understand and fit in with the changes taking place.

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Religions for Peace 1st NSW meeting 2018

Mr Vijai Singhal of Hindu Council of Australia attended the quarterly meeting of the Religions for Peace(RfP), NSW Chapter of which he is also an Honorary Secretary. RfP is an international organisation and is the largest and most representative multi-religious organisation. It promotes harmony among people of different religions. The meeting was held in the Parliamentary office of Hon. Walt Secord, Shadow Minister for Health and Deputy Opposition leader in the NSW Legislative Council.

The topic for discussion was “Ritual abstinence”. Pravarajika Gayatripana, President of the Ramakrishna Sarada Vedanta Society of NSW spoke about the Hindu view on Fasting, which has a prominent role in cleaning up body and the mind. People keep fast on ‘Ekadasi – 11th day of the lunar calendar’; on Shivaratri day; on Shri Krishna Janamasthami day and 9-days fast during Navaratri in the month of Oct.
Father Patrick McInerney of Columban Mission spoke about Christian fasting during “Lent” – a period of 40 days fasting undertaken for purification of heart.

Ian Lacey spoke about the religious fasting in the Jewish faith on the day of atonement and the day to commemorate the destruction of the temple and celebration of Passover, a festival of freedom from slavery.
Mohini Gunasekara spoke about fasting in the Buddhist faith. Fasting is for self discipline to overcome cravings. Some Buddhist do not eat any solids after mid day. Buddha preached the middle path. Extremes are not allowed.

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Brisbane Buddhist temple appreciates Hindu Council

A Buddhist temple in Brisbane appreciates Hindu Council of Australia (HCA)’s presence at their annual Multi-Faith prayer for peace and harmony. Mr Surendra Prasad has been attending this event every year for the last 6 years on behalf of HCA.

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Hindu Council organised a multi-faith Eco-Forum in 2011

Hindu Council organised a multi-faith Eco-Forum in 2011

Hindu Council helped prepare and launch the Hindu Climate Action Kit

Hindu Council has also been involved in ARRCC’s Advocacy work with the federal politicians in Canberra                                      

Association with Faith Ecology Network (FEN) FEN is an interfaith network of people connecting faith with ecological awareness and care. HCA has participated with FEN since 2008 as an active member of its Working Group, participating in its annual seminars, prayer vigils and other promotional activities.

Association with FoodFaith FoodFaith aims to build bridges across different faith, cultural and community groups through our shared learnings and practices of food and sustainability. Hindu Council has been associated right from the launch of the FoodFaith initiative in March, 2015.

HCA’s Shri Sai Paravastu and family has been involved in setting up the Community Garden in Lane Cove.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hindus missing out Big time on School Chaplaincy

The National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP), is an Australian federal government programme which funds chaplains in Australian primary and secondary schools. The chaplains are to provide “support and guidance about ethics, values, relationships and spirituality”.[1] The grants are $20,000 a year for schools and $24,000 for schools in remote areas.[2]

Hindus are missing out big time on School Chaplaincy. Hindu students form 2.5% of school students in NSW but there is not a single known Hindu Chaplain in any of the schools.

While the NSCP is formally not religion-specific, the chaplains employed under the programme are disproportionately Christian. In 2011, one study stated that 96.5% of the chaplains employed under the programme were Christian, while only 64% of Australians identified as Christian (based on the 2006 census). By contrast, 0.01% of the chaplains were secular, whereas 19% of Australians identified as having no religion. Buddhism, the second largest religion, is followed by 2% of Australians, but only 0.03% of the school chaplains. Islam was followed by 1.7% of Australians, but only 0.9% of school chaplains. Judaism is the only religion which had a roughly proportionate representation, with 0.45% of the Australian population following the religion, and 0.5% of school chaplains.

(Source Wikipedia and Census)

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Hindu Council releases a Multi-faith Music CD

Hindu Council of Australia – Release of Multi-faith Music CD

The Hindu Council of Australia organised a Multi-faith Music CD Release function from 4pm till 6.00pm on Saturday 1 July 2017 at Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre in Canberra. The theme of the program was “Theology and Music”.

The music CD was produced by Mr Divyanshu Pota who recorded music from five separate traditions: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Hindu.

Master of Ceremonies Mr Thamo Sri Tharan introduced the program and asked Mr Prakash Mehta to welcome all guests on behalf of the Hindu Council of Australia ACT Branch and Dr Himanshu Pota to speak on the theme.

The program commenced with a prayer by Mr Lakshman Prasad and the lighting of lamp by the leaders of the various faiths present:The Most Rev Christopher Prowse Archbishop of Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn; Mr Hasib Khan of Canberra Islamic Centre; Mr Greg O’Rourke of Tibetan Buddhist Centre;and Sri Prachar of Sri Chinmoy Centre. Leaders of other faith leaders present were: Mr Bill Arnold of the Jewish Community (being Sabbath he remained silent); Ms Shahnaz Kouhbor (Baha’i); Mr Amardeep Singh (Sikh); Ashok Jain (Jain); Dr Pal Dhall (Satya Sai); and Mr Lhakpa Tshoko (representative of His Holiness the Delai Lama for Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia).

Speakers amplified the role of music and presented music from their faiths providing further evidence of commonality and its transcendent nature.

Canberra Hindi School children Setu, Sanjana, Holi-jai, Isha, Priyanshi and Shivam sang a song in Hindi and Mr Yash Agasti played a favourite hymn of Mahatma Gandhi “Vaishnava Jan To Tene Kahiye” on key board.

Mrs Ira Patkar of the Mudrakar Kathak Dance School presented a classical Kathak Dance.

After Mr Santosh Gupta presented the vote of thanks the program concluded with a universal prayer sung by Mr Manish Chopra and his daughter Gauriof the Divine Life Society.

Attendees applauded the initiative by the Hindu Council on selecting a topic that provided a fresh insight on Religion and Faith. The gathering ended notingthat music can and does create good bonding and togetherness among the faiths of the world.

The meeting concluded with vegetarian refreshments and a meet and greet session.

 

 

 

 

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Indian Link Newspaper, HARSHAD PANDHARIPANDE reports on Hindu Council

Indian Link Newspaper, HARSHAD PANDHARIPANDE reports
Hindu Council to felicitate women achievers – HCA launches the Gargi Awards for role models in various fields. [Read More…]

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Vic Govt funds $160,000 for Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple

 
 
Australia’s Victorian State Government announced that it will provide more than $160,000 to the Hindu Society of Victoria to upgrade its Cultural and Heritage Centre, also known as the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple. Consecrated in 1994, the Society’s spiritual and cultural precinct, the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple, is now largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere. [Read More…]
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A review of Australia’s religious freedoms

Philip Ruddock appointed to conduct review of Australia’s religious freedoms

Fergus Hunter

Published: November 22 2017 – 8:10AM

The government has appointed Howard-era cabinet minister Philip Ruddock to lead a review into the legal protections for religious freedom in Australia, which has emerged as a contentious issue inside the Coalition ahead of the legalisation of same-sex marriage. 

Announcing the review, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said recent proposals for religious protections went beyond the immediate issue of marriage and warned any change should be undertaken carefully. 

“There is a high risk of unintended consequences when Parliament attempts to legislate protections for basic rights and freedoms, such as freedom of religion. The government is particularly concerned to prevent uncertainties caused by generally worded Bill of Rights-style declarations,” Mr Turnbull said.

Since the Australian people backed same-sex marriage in the postal survey, Coalition MPs have been pushing various proposals for religious exemptions, including allowing service providers to boycott weddings that conflict with their faith. One proposal would see a section of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights incorporated into the same-sex marriage bill.

Debate over the raft of proposed amendments has risked derailing the government’s plans to legislate the change by the end of 2017. 

Mr Ruddock, who retired from Parliament in 2016 and was recently elected as mayor of Hornsby, will conduct the review with an expert panel consisting of the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission Rosalind Croucher, retired federal court judge Annabelle Bennett and Jesuit priest Frank Brennan.

The Prime Minister said the review, which will report back by March 2018, would be a “timely expert stocktake” to inform any future legislation. 

Treasurer Scott Morrison, a vocal advocate for religious exemptions, said he was pleased with the review and emphasised it was “not a substitute” for relevant amendments to the same-sex marriage bill.

“Those amendments … will still be pursued and, as you know, I have a view that they should be supported,” Mr Morrison told ABC radio.

As the last attorney-general of the Howard government, Mr Ruddock introduced the 2004 amendment to the Marriage Act that explicitly defined it as a union between a man and a woman. 

He was recently the government’s special envoy for human rights and has strong connections to Australia’s multicultural and religious communities.

This story was found at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/philip-ruddock-appointed-to-conduct-review-of-australias-religious-freedoms-20171121-gzq9cl.html

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Karma Kitchen gets invited to Food Faith Harmony Day

In recognition of Karma Kitchen project of Hindu Council, FoodFaith has invited Karma Kitchen to join Blacktown Harmony Day celebration on Wednesday, March 21st, at Bowman Hall. The event will be from 11am to 1pm (possibly starting earlier.)

The event is being organized by a number of organisations including Blacktown Council, SydWest, FoodFaith, FEN, TAFE, Relationships Australia and Settlement Services. 

The ‘Breaking Bread’ initiative that FoodFaith is co-ordinating as part of Harmony Day involves different cultures and faiths presenting samples of their breads with accompanying information on its history, uses, customs, associated festivals, sustainability elements and recipes. Hindu Council Karma Kitchen would bring along enough ‘pieces’ to feed a few hundred people. Karma Kitchen may also provide herbs or spices for a communal dip or spice for a collaborative symbol.

Hindu Council has been involved right from the launch of the FoodFaith initiative in March, 2015 by Judith Friedlander, Senior Researcher at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Future. I have been in contact with her for many years in connection with our campaign to reduce meat consumption. I was one of the Faith Leaders who spoke at the launch ceremony.

Mr Sai Paravastu of Karma Kitchen has been involved in setting up the Community Garden in Lane Cove, setup and being run by the FoodFaith group.

Mr Sai Parvastu and Vijai Singhal, Director Hindu Council would be representing Hindu Council in this event.

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