Perth Theatre Trust (PTT) announced today it would allow the Australian Christian Lobby to hire state-owned facilities despite an earlier refusal to hire either the Albany Entertainment Centre or the Perth Concert Hall to the organisation. ACL attempted to book the venues for The Truth of It LIVE show featuring managing director Martyn Iles. However, PTT originally stated that the content of the show conflicted with venue hire policies.
The Truth of It LIVE features Iles talking about so-called ‘thorny’ issues.
In spite of the earlier decision, chair Morgan Solomon said today PTT would now allow the booking. He justified the backflip as a result of a review of the venue hire policy currently underway. PTT did not expect the review’s completion until after the proposed Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) event.
Therefore the PTT would rescind the decision to refuse venue hire to the ACL.
“The PTT will revise its venue hire policy to strengthen its position to make decisions for commercial hires in accordance with the PTT’s values.
“The primary purpose of Perth Theatre Trust venues is for cultural and artistic expression. Commercial hires are a secondary consideration. However, Perth Theatre Trust decisions will always respect the values of diversity, equality, and inclusion.”
Freedom of Speech
Professor Katharine Gelber from the University of Queensland described the WA government’s approach to the ACL as wrong. Professor Gelber researches freedom of speech and the regulation of public discourse. She said WA needed anti-vilifications laws.
“Other avenues need to be explored if the goal is to stop discrimination.”
Brian Grieg of just.equal told Out in Perth that Professor Gelber was correct.
“De-platforming is not the issue here and only plays into the hands of right-wing Christians looking to build a persecution narrative.
“The religious conservatives are trying to make the case for special ‘religious freedom rights’ by claiming that their faith is being discriminated against.
“Blocking them from state venues just plays into that trap.”