STATEMENT FROM VICKIE JANSON, VICTORIAN STATE DIRECTOR, AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIANS
The character of Australian Christians candidate Karen Dobby has been under the spotlight and Australian Christians is standing with her. Dobby has been portrayed as a bigot and has consequently lost a lot more than just her reputation. This characterisation is attributed to Dobby because of a blog she wrote as a political candidate in February 2013. Allow me to introduce the real Karen Dobby to you - the one that everyone who works with her will recognise.
Dobby is a caring and respected CRE instructor of 17 years, role model foster carer for 11 years, community worker, board member, and more recently endorsed political candidate for Australian Christians. Even those who claim to oppose her personal and political views concede that Dobby ‘conducts herself with the utmost integrity and professionalism, all the way’.
Dobby has constantly demonstrated her acceptance and respect for others by working and volunteering alongside homosexual people, and people of other faiths. There is no empirical evidence to suggest that Dobby has been anything other than inclusive in the classroom. Any fear that Dobby may have digressed from the approved SRI materials or voiced her political views in class or shown any discrimination or lack of acceptance towards people from diverse backgrounds has proven to be unfounded. Indeed, all the empirical evidence is to the contrary.
Yet performance is no longer the measure by which she is being judged and excluded; an exclusion that would appear to contravene both the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 protecting political and religious beliefs, and the spirit of inclusion itself. This appears to be a case of discrimination in the name of diversity.
Sadly, Antonio Park Primary School, Foster Care Association of Victoria (FCAV) and Anglicare all appear to be complicit in this discrimination against Dobby for her political and religious beliefs. The Antonio Park Primary School Principal considers that 'the relationship between Ms Dobby and the school has broken down and it is no longer appropriate for Ms Dobby to continue to work in the school' to provide the 8 CRE classes each week to 130+ children. Voluntarily stepping down from the board of FCAV, Dobby has now been called upon to resign from Anglicare. Most distressing, Dobby who has been providing a safe place for children in need of foster care for 11 years, now faces the prospect of losing the children currently in her care, who have been a part of her family for 12 months. Not surprisingly, Dobby is left wondering about the sincerity of any claims to diversity.
We are of the opinion that there are political opponents who are working to remove Christians from public positions. The personal attacks on Dobby indicate the steps that opponents are willing to take to achieve their objectives.
Australian Christians supports everyone’s right to have a belief system that informs opinion and this includes Dobby and her opponents.
Australian Christians therefore support Dobby’s decision to decline Anglicare’s request to resign as a foster carer. Australian Christians share the Dobby’s disappointment that Anglicare have not used this opportunity to uphold the ideal of diversity within the foster care system but have unwittingly discriminated against it.
Background to the Dobby story may be found here:
Australian Christians is a federal political party with the goal of representing the values and concerns of the 2.7 million Christian Australians who attend church once a month or more, and others who identify with these values and human rights concerns.
Vickie Janson, Victorian State Director
M: 0411 298 464