back to article Sex Party's down-under struggles with dominant Catholic priests

The Australian Sex Party has called for state and federal electoral commissions to stop using church properties for electoral purposes, after apparently running into problems with the putting up of posters. Others are likely to join them, with the Greens also reportedly affected by what is seen as church bias in respect of …

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  1. Plonkybear
    Joke

    Perhaps.....

    ....they should put it in the hands of their solicitors....but still it may not stand up in court!

  2. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    You are free to vote for...

    ... any party we approve of.

    If you vote for anyone else you're DAMNED TO HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY, SINNER!!!

  3. Monkey Bob

    My internal spell checking...

    ...kept reading that as "The NSFW Electoral Commission".

    Is it Friday alrea... shit.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FTW

    Plonkybear FTW. That joke sums it all up.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Curb the Church

    So despite their tax-free status and supposed position of neutrality, the Church now feel able to decide who gets to be seen in the polling stations and who doesnt?

    How is that fair?

    1. Flugal

      Fair?

      The Catholic church doesn't do fair - unless covering up of systematic child abuse is considered fair, of course.

    2. The Cube
      Stop

      Proves the requirement for permanent and absolute separation of church and state

      Irrespective of the right of individuals to gather and mumble any brand of hocus pocus mumbo jumbo to each other they do not have any right to export or force upon anyone else their particular version of "morals", "decency" or any other perversion of the course of general society and specifically democratic process.

      We must permanently and absolutely separate church from state, no involvement in politics and no "faith schools", if you want to indoctrinate your children then we can't stop you, but we won't pay to help you either. This isn't about religious freedom or any other bullshit you want to hide behind, the very definition of a lack of religious freedom is an innocent child locked up in a school where the only acceptable belief system is the single brand of mumbo jumbo that infects that school.

    3. Andrew Martin 1
      Thumb Down

      Australian churches

      don't get the same tax breaks that UK ones do. But don't let that stand in the way of a good rant.

      Not that that should give them a licence to interfere. Surely no one should get to put up posters in a polling station, except the election officials.

      1. No, I will not fix your computer
        Stop

        Re: Australian churches

        >>don't get the same tax breaks that UK ones do. But don't let that stand in the way of a good rant.

        Different countries, different tax laws, but they certainly get as good tax breaks as most other countries;

        http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/churches-reap-the-benefits-of-belief-500-million-in-taxexemptions/2006/04/28/1146198351877.html

  6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Curb the Church

    Exactly - who died and made them God?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Meat balls

      According to them, Jesus. But then, the Flying spagetty monster made me the apostol of meatballs and I don't go bugging people about it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        Spagetty?

        Erm, I always prefer spaghetti.

        Ramen!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        RE: Meatballs

        I misread your post and thought you said

        "But then, the Flying spagetty monster made me the apostol of meatballs and I don't go buggering people about it."

        Easy mistake to make, eh?

        1. El
          Jobs Halo

          Touche

          In the context of criticizing the Catholic church, the term "buggering" does seem much more appropriate, doesn't it?

        2. LaeMing Bronze badge
          Go

          Re: Erm, I always prefer spaghetti.

          Oh noes! I see a split in the FSM church comming!

      3. Blake St. Claire
        Headmaster

        apostol?

        (Don't go apostal on me.)

        Always hoped that I'd be an Apostle. Knew that I could make it if I tried.

        1. breakfast
          Thumb Up

          @Blake St. Claire

          Ten points for a totally sweet reference that most people will probably miss...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Catholic Church

    I hate it when jokes are taken seriously.

  8. Sean O'Connor 1
    FAIL

    hmmm

    But according to a post by Viktoria Csoma on the end of that article you linked to:

    As the polling place manager, two major parties were also asked to take their a-frames and corflutes from the stairs of the church - by the priest Fr Milsted and by me. The church was NOT part of the polling place - only the parish hall. Stop trying to blame the Catholic Church for all your woes. A formal complaint was not lodged with the AEC

    I thought The Reg took pride in getting the real story, not an untruth that made for a good headline. Bit disappointed that you couldn't have just scrolled down the page and read that yourselves.

    1. Jane Fae

      Story?

      In cases such as these, the "story" tends to consist of official statements and what is given to us from attributable sources.

      Where we don't have direct statement, we stick in signpost words like "alleged" and "reported" as we have here. A comment from someone claiming to be an election official is interesting, and worth following up if the story turns out to be more than a storm in a teacup: but since anyone can post on a site claiming to be pretty much anyone they like, comments don't generally get regarded as evidence of anything.

      Unless they are from a moderator or similar.

      jane

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge
      FAIL

      Whups

      I'm sorry, which part of the church, including the stairs, is not tax-free, again?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      slow down, hoss

      Sean:

      1) we have no idea in whose employ Ms Csoma was but I suspect the suggestion "Stop trying to blame the Catholic Church for all your woes" gives us a steer.

      2) we have no reason to believe that Ms Csoma's version of events is any more or less reliable than that of Fiona Patten or the other person who posted on the newspaper's website, May Stix, who contradicted Ms Csoma about the location of the posters.

      3) Ms Csoma's statement "A formal complaint was not lodged with the AEC" was made at midnight on Sat 26 March, the day of the election, and before the "Monday morning" referred to by the Sex Party as the day on which they would be contacting the AEC.

      4) it's unlikely that any story involving the Sex Party is going to go beyond making a good headline...

      Now having said all that, " volunteers feared an altercation and agreed to take down the campaign posters". If they believed they were right, they should have toughened up and refused to take the posters down. You would have thought that if you were standing for the Sex Party, you wouldn't be so compliant when it came to taking orders from a priest...

      1. Sean O'Connor 1
        Thumb Down

        kinda my point

        > we have no idea in whose employ Ms Csoma was

        Yes, exactly. My point is that as The Reg is written by journalists I'd have thought they'd have gone to some effort to find out if she was who she said she was and what the truth was behind the story. Seems like the Sex Party is saying one thing and this poster who says she is a polling place manager says another. Surely it's a journalist's job to find the real story? I understand that a tabloid might just go for a catchy headline but I like The Reg and I thought it was above that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          eh

          Are you saying El Reg has to spend time and effort investigating every possible claim.

          I am the Polling Station manager and I say the story is 100% true - I have never heard of Ms Csoma.

          Feel free to investigate away - dont post back here until you can conclusively prove me right or wrong.

          1. Sean O'Connor 1

            yes

            Well, as they are journalists I'd say investigating a story is part of the job description. My bet is that the Sex Party PR department is leading you by the nose on this one.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Paris Hilton

              Bets are on

              I suspect someone is being led by the nose by a PR department but not sure I agree who... I mean its not like the Catholic church doesnt have a good PR machine of its own....

              You might want to see what the AEC has to say about it.

              Paris - for obvious reasons...

  9. Schultz

    Penalty points...

    so what can you buy with them?

    1. LaeMing Bronze badge

      Re: Penalty points... so what can you buy with them?

      I believe they are good for Papal Indulgences.

  10. Steve Evans

    So...

    The don't like posters from the sex party, but it's okay to have a 16 foot sculpture of a man nailed to a cross?

    Niiiiiiice.

    1. fishman

      Typical

      It's the typical Violence is good; Sex is bad.

    2. John Murgatroyd

      Just because

      sex is a no, does not mean that BDSM is not on the manifesto.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @ Sean O'Connor 1 - petard/hoisted?

    "I thought The Reg took pride in getting the real story, not an untruth that made for a good headline. Bit disappointed that you couldn't have just scrolled down the page and read that yourselves."

    And 5 mins after 'Viktoria Ksoma' posted her opinion and second member of the public wrote:

    The Sex Party signage was on the fence, not the church stairs. And even if it was in the wrong place (which I'm not sure it was,) there was no reason for the priest to be rude, aggressive and intimidating toward the young people who were volunteering for the Sex Party.

    I don't know which is accurate, but I don't automatically write off and deride any commentator that dares to differ with my opinion or beliefs.

    1. Sean O'Connor 1
      Happy

      my beliefs?

      > don't know which is accurate, but I don't automatically write off and deride

      > any commentator that dares to differ with my opinion or beliefs.

      Look, I think you're misunderstanding me - I'm slightly less religious than Richard Dawkins so I'm certainly not trying to stick up for the Catholic Church here!

      If someone is claiming to be a polling manager (ie not just a member of the public) who was present when this happened and is saying that the Sex Party's take on this is wrong then perhaps a journalist should investigate this and not just parrot the story.

      I've always admired The Reg's sceptical take on any news story and I don't think they've done that here. That's all I'm saying.

      1. Jimmy 1

        Re: my beliefs?

        No need to apologise or explain, Sean. Your original point was perfectly valid and well presented. What you need to understand is that here on EL Reg we sometimes descend to the level of the medieval church scholars who enthusiastically debated topics such as "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin." Completely and utterly pointless but what the hell, it makes life briefly more interesting.

        Have a nice day!

  12. 4HiMarks
    Stop

    Polling in Churches?!

    Wassamatter, don't they have schools in Oz? Why are they using churches (or even parish halls) as polling places in the first place?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err...

      Maybe because the schools are being used for teaching during the week and full of children, whereas church halls tend to be free for community use exery day except Sunday.

      That's how it works in the UK, at least - my local church hall has loads of community stuff going on during the week, farmers markets, women's groups, etc. it's also the local polling booth.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Sky Fairy influence in Aus politics...

    ...it's truly scary:

    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/04/06/3184075.htm

    Our Prime Ranga claims to be an atheist but has yet to realise that, in the words of Frank Zappa, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over.

    1. David 141

      Another appropriate Frank Zappa quote:

      "Take the Kama Sutra. How many people died from the Kama Sutra as opposed to the Bible? Who wins?"

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Improper attempt to influence

    Sounds to me like this Church org is trying to influence the election through bias at the polling stations.

    I would look at trying to get some sort of injunction to prevent the use of buildings that are subject to religious constraints that are different from a standard commercial relationship.

    A civil election should not be a source of financial gain for religious groups.

  15. ZimboKraut
    Thumb Up

    I agree with the catholic church in this instance!!!

    I am by no means a friend of catholisizm, but I do agree with the priests!!!

    I actually come from a pentecostal background, and yes I know the lot of you would love to shred me now!!!

    But that is not what it's about!!! It is a place of worship, so whether it is a mosque, a church, a synagogue or a hindu temple. These are places that are holy to many people and that should be respected!!!

    If these sex party people feel like presenting themselves and telling the world, that they think everyone can screw around and get all sorts of STIs then that is their business and their oppinion, which I don't like, I totally disagree with, but I will respect it.

    At the same time, I expect from them, that they will respect places of worship.

    If they can't do even that and just have to be offensive (and don't tell me that this wasn't a calculated act!!!), then they should also expect a defensive reaction!!!!

    I for one am full on the side of the priests or any place that feels offended by the pictures of these people or even themselves.

    But also please bear in mind: if you expect tolerance, then be be prepared to tolerate others.

    It always goes both ways.

    And it is absolutely no secret, that most faiths are offended by sexual depictions or their representations (or should I say representatives?)

    And now feel free to rip me apart:

    best regards from (currently) Finland.

    1. GatesFanbois
      Pint

      ˙sʇıƃıp ɹo/puɐ sɹǝʇʇǝl uıɐʇuoɔ ʇsnɯ puɐ 'pǝɹınbǝɹ sı ǝlʇıʇ ǝɥʇ

      I actually agree with that sex party posters are not appropriate for a religous property. This seems quite obvious really so you have to wonder why the priests would allow their properties to be used as polling stations knowing that the parties standing for election were likely to do exactly what they did. We don't have to wonder much though because they were just after the bag of cash they get for it. Lets stop subsidising these religions and let them fail.

      Is it time to go down the pub yet?

    2. c0rruptd

      Tolerance...?

      You are right, tolerance does have to go both ways, but why the demands for everyone else to be tolerant when the priest was being completely intolerant? The 'Get those posters out of this church!' reaction mentioned is anything but tolerant.

      Tolerance would have been if he had allowed the posters, you know, as in 'tolerated their presence'. Doesn't mean he had to agree with, or even enjoy their presence, but by asking for their removal he showed just how intolerant he is of anyone not of his narrow views of the world.

      The right thing to do would for him to have taken a deep breath, realise it was only for a day or two, and left them to stick their posters up. He might have come out looking good, and even helped to convince those of us outside the church that they aren't all preaching do-gooders with a chip on their shoulder.

    3. LaeMing Bronze badge
      Thumb Down

      All very well,

      but the place of worship in question was happy to take the money for hosting the polling stations, they can't then turn around and say "But..."

      Also, I believe the signs were on the fence outside with all the others - it is illegal to post election signage within a certain distance of a polling station down here. That would place the signs abutting and facing on to public thoroughfare, though the fence itself is likely church property.

    4. ZimboKraut
      Happy

      What a sad bunch this is

      And I always thought the Germans where deemend intollerant and the UK is one of the most tollerant countries in the world...

      well looking at the number of thumbs down I got (and I will just assume, that most of them come from Britts), asking for tolerance doesn't seem to be tolerated.

      Not even any decent followup comments...

      Oh well...

      You guys have actually just proven my point....

      Thnx for that... at least I don't seem to be completely wrong....

      1. asiaseen

        Except

        you were not asking for tolerance but for special treatment for god botherers. Furthermore, you seem to assume that the ASP and its promotional material is all about NSFW activities. It's not.

    5. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      FAIL

      Respect democracy

      Yes, it goes both ways. At the time in question, the location was being used as a polling station, it was not being used as a place of worship. Therefore the rules for polling stations should be observed, overriding the rules for places of worship. If the church didn't like this, they should never have agreed to hire out the place as a polling station. If the priest was interfering with an election, then he should be charged.

      You also grossly misrepresent the policies of the sex party in an offensive manner, but I'll be tolerant and respect your right to voice your lies.

    6. Lee T
      Flame

      @ I agree

      the problem is, of course, that the church was not on that day just a church - it was being used as a polling place. people went there to vote, not to pray.

      Any other day, certainly, they can say who can & can't put posters up, but on election day, they either had to accept every party or none. If they felt there would be *any* party they didn't want having their posters up (within the electoral rules of course) then they shouldn't have volunteered to be a polling place.

    7. Robert Simpson
      Thumb Down

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      I really hope you're a troll...

    8. Mike007

      biased elections

      perhaps you think that when a netural government polling station is chosen, the owner of the building should pick and chose who voters in their area are allowed to vote for, and remove anyone they don't approve of from the ballot paper? after all if their building is rented out for use by the government in holding an election then they have every right to interfere with people trying to vote for someone they don't approve of!

      I don't think political parties should be able to put up propaganda pieces at polling stations and they should be completely neutral, but if australian law allows political parties to do that then all political parties should be treated equally, it should not be restricted to only allowing parties you agree with to put up propaganda and anyone you don't agree with should be silenced, that's not how democracy works!

      If they were complying with the law then they really should have refused to take them down, and if the priest attempted to vandalise their posters they should have called the police to arrest the criminal for interfering in an election, it's what I would have done.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      When is a place of worship not a place of worship?

      When it is a polling station. Just temporarily for a day, it has a different purpose to fulfill.

      If the owners of the church property can't in conscience abide by the secular rules of democracy, then they should not have volunteered their property for use as a polling station. They can be a polling station or not be a polling station, but they can't get to be a polling station for some parties and not permit others.

      I'm not going to rip you apart and I'm not going to deny their right to run their church how they want to, but then they shouldn't intervene in the elections if they can't provide a neutral space to vote in.

    10. Tom 38 Silver badge
      WTF?

      Not holy enough that they don't prostitute themselves for election cash

      If they want to take cash for hosting election booths, they can damn well tolerate whatever is legal.

      At that point, it is not a place of worship, it is a place of election. If they don't like the parties the electorate form, they can choose to not take the money. Simples.

      Tolerance doesn't go both ways - strongly religious people are often the least tolerant people, from my experience*.

      This comes from the very basis of religion; "My way is correct, and, even though there is no proof to confirm this either way, you will be damned for eternity because you don't think like me". Doesn't sound very tolerant.

      * I've also met very intolerant atheists, and very tolerant religious people, so it's not fair to tar all with the same brush. This priest didn't seem particularly tolerant though.

    11. P Zero
      FAIL

      Post your own message

      If the church agrees to be a place of polling, then they accept all that comes with it. Whether that means nationalist posters to the sex party.

      You should probably look at the Sex Party website too, as you seem to have them down as a party of sexual deviants...

    12. David Hicks
      FAIL

      Bad troll

      None of that would be an issue if this was just a case of sex party volunteers lobbying to be able to put posters up in a place of worship.

      When that place of worship is also the polling place for an election, and the church is paid for that service, it becomes an entirely different matter. It becomes the church interfering in the democratic process.

      And the sex party isn't about being promiscuous, it's about protecting people's rights to keep the government and religions out of their bedrooms and marriages.

    13. Rattus Rattus

      @ZimboKraut

      "If these sex party people feel like presenting themselves and telling the world, that they think everyone can screw around and get all sorts of STIs then that is their business and their oppinion, which I don't like, I totally disagree with, but I will respect it."

      If you're going to comment on the Sex Party's policies, please ensure you have actually read and understood those policies before making your comment. This would show you just how much was wrong with that statement.

      1. rciafardone
        FAIL

        In any case...

        Calling your politic group SEX PARTY is the most stupid thing ever. Its completely juvenile, if your party is about FREEDOM the name it accordingly. how you want to be taken seriusly if your party name is a in joke...

    14. Def Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: The church

      While I will absolutely respect and fight for anyone's right to believe in the God or Gods of their choice, I will equally fight against the right for any organised religion to invade or control any aspect of my life.

    15. The First Dave
      Headmaster

      @ZimboKraut

      Personally, I think you were just trolling, but if not, then you really need to be aware that the repeated use of multiple exclamation marks is normally taken as a sign of, shall we say, a "less well-though-out post"?

      I live in the UK, but I am still well aware that the Sex Party is quite active in Oz just now, so I would assume that any resident (such as the clergy in question) would also be well aware, so, as others have pointed out they really cannot claim surprise that the polling place was being used in this way. If the clergy had a shred of faith in their own religious views then they would simply have put up some posters of their own, pointing out how 'wicked' these people are, and stating the most suitable path to redemption, etc.

      Secondly, wtf was your reference to STI's all about?

      Finally, when it comes to tolerance, how about acknowledging how much tolerance there has already been of the tax status and political interference of recognised religions?

    16. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If you expect tolerance, then be be prepared to tolerate others."

      ... and demanding posters to be taken down because they're offensive is tolerant in which way, exactly?

    17. ZimboKraut
      Unhappy

      Glad I could get some response here....

      My oppinion may not be overly popular, but never the less, that's what I think/believe.

      in regards to the church being a polling station: you will find that this is often (I don't know the legal side in ozz, so this is an assumption) a historically grown issue, that the church has in many years had this funktion and because of the upkeep tidying etc. they are being paid some money.

      What is interesting though, if the Priest/Church where to say we will not provide this facility any more due to differences in behaviour, they are also being called intolerant....

      Of course many will now say oh no, this wouldn't be thase case....

      Which ever way you turn it, the church or whatever place is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

      So, when you go into a place, whether you pay for it or not, you have to stick to the rules.

      Call me paranoid, but I personally believe that specially in these circumstances I feel it is often just plain antagonism, to cause a stir.

      A small inferior party like the sex party feel they have to make themselves known.

      After all, there many people today believe there is no such thing as "bad marketing".

      Even Paris Hilton makes sure she always stays in the media, no matter for god or bad reasons.

      If you are a guest somewhere, nevermind paying or non-paying you behave respectful to the "Landlord" but that concept seems to have flown out of the window these days....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jesus...

    8-O

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    @ZimboKraut

    "If these sex party people feel like presenting themselves and telling the world, that they think everyone can screw around and get all sorts of STIs then that is their business and their oppinion, which I don't like, I totally disagree with, but I will respect it."

    Before you slag off the Sex Party as some organisation that encourage free sex do some reading up on it. The fact that it is called the Sex Party has little to do with sex itself and more to do with free speech and less interference by the state into what people do in private. The state should not tell people what kind of sex to perform, not should it tell people what kind of religion to believe in.

    http://www.sexparty.org.au/

  18. Graham Bartlett

    @ZimboKraut

    You're absolutely right. If your place of worship is holy, then it's not acceptable to let random people in to put up random signage, and anyone else to just traipse in. It's a place to be respected.

    But the fact that the priests had no problems taking the money to let the moneychangers into the temple is a clear indication that they have no such concerns. They were quite happy to let the public trample all round the altar whilst casting their votes. So your argument, whilst perfectly true, does not reflect the opinions of the priests as demonstrated by their actions. As the joke goes, "We've already established you're a whore - I'm just haggling over the price."

  19. Originone

    Not the poster in question

    I havn't been able to find an image of the offending poster but this very mildly NSFW link has an example of Sex Party political advertising material

    http://www.2dayfm.com.au/entertainment/the_dirt/blog/sex-party-poster/20100719-98by.html

    @ZimboKraut

    "But that is not what it's about!!! It is a place of worship, so whether it is a mosque, a church, a synagogue or a hindu temple. These are places that are holy to many people and that should be respected!!!"

    If the priest or whoever else was responsible for the decision wanted the premises in question respected as a place of religious worship then they should not have taken the money to whore it out as a polling place. Once they did that they were obliged to allow any material that was allowed under the electoral act of NSW inspite of any moral, political or religious views they may hold.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AU

    What I find most staggering is that political parties are allowed to have their posters up in a polling station. In the UK this would be totally illigal, I don't think you'd even get away with posting for your party in your own property if you lived next door to a polling station.

    There are obvious benefits to the UK system, you don't get undue last minuite influence on the electorate. There are also no conflicts between different party's activists, trying to sneekily take each other's posters down etc. and, crucially, there is no way for the owners of the building used to object.

    I wonder what would be being said had the priest in question refused the Australlian Nazi party the right to put up posters? I can't help thinking that I'd be fine with this, but I do feel a bit awkward about that.

    (I've still not managed to find an image of the poster in question, anyone got a link?)

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      On the other hand

      It's perfectly fine for party members to stand outside the polling station telling people "Remember to vote Labour", as they do in my constituency in east London.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: On the other hand

        I don't think most people will need reminding, next time...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a surprising reaction....

    ...given that sex is only approved of by the Catholic Church in two situations:

    1) Between two consenting adults of different sexes, joined in holy matrimony, with the blessing of the Pope, performing the act in the privacy of their own home, purely for the purpose of procreation.

    2) Between consenting priests and minors of different sexes, performing the act under duress, in the privacy of buildings owned by the aforementioned church, for the purpose of satisfying a twisted mind.

  22. bugalugs

    a few notes

    Australian Electoral Law prohibits candidate advertising material inside or in the immediate approaches to a polling place. Candidates usually set up their posters round the entrance to the grounds of a building being so used. IF the church itself was being used, then by law no advertising material should have been set up on its steps by any candidate. As unconflicting information on the location of the " offending " posters is not proffered rounding on the priest is not really fair. Sex Party polling booth posters are not repeat not lurid in any way, btw.

    p.s. voting here is pencil and paper, anonymous and compulsory.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sigh...

      If only you could have been the first poster, then I wouldn't have had to read the previous sixty posts.

      Assuming you're correct, why wasn't this mentioned in the article?

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