Letters to the editor | June 13, 2018

DISAPPOINTED: The Victorian Farmers Federation says Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford has misrepresented them in Parliament.
DISAPPOINTED: The Victorian Farmers Federation says Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford has misrepresented them in Parliament.

The role of the church

I FOUND it unfortunate that the article entitled, Jesus was a catalyst for a New World (Wimmera Mail-Times, June 8) really only provided evidence that Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and its minister are engaged in a course of study, studying topics taken directly out of any socialist textbook.

What was presented was a promotion of the modern ‘Social Gospel’, which attempts to define the church’s role as one of making this world a better place at the expense of preaching Christ’s Gospel to save lost mankind.

The usual left-wing topics were mentioned such as equality, human rights, original inhabitants and attitudes towards and the treatment of women and children.

Once this course of study is finished, how long will it be before those who undertook it will be seen manning the barricades, taking an activist role in social justice?

If individual Christians wish to pursue such a role in these issues, that is their prerogative. However, it is not the role of the church to be involved in these issues or to prepare the troops for battle.

God’s Law and Gospel is the way He cares for us both in this world and the next. He sent His Son to earth to save us sinners, not abolish slavery, not to demand rights instead of us fulfilling our obligations.

He gave us the Ten Commandments as a standard for us to live our lives by. If we succeeded we would then treat our fellow man as ourselves, in a fitting manner. That we do not at times is because of sin. But there is not a word about this in the article.

A cousin of mine who has returned to the Lutheran Church of Australia is trying to find the reason(s) why a church that had 120,000 adherents in 1966 is now down to 20,000 to 30,000 in 2018. He has been given a copy of the June 8 article and was told: “There is one of the reasons.” 

As Pastor Paul Albrecht said years ago, it is a case of “the blind leading the blind”.

Phil Lienert, Horsham

Statements are incorrect 

IN PARLIAMENT, Minister Jaala Pulford has misrepresented the Victorian Farmers Federation during debate on the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017.

On multiple occasions, both Minister Hutchins and Minister Pulford have quoted Victorian Farmers Federation statements from 2015.

They deliberately misrepresent the farmers federation’s policy position and current leadership.

In early 2017, the federation made it clear we wanted action on problem labour hire firms but we would not support the proposed licensing bureaucracy.

We wanted real action that would actually reduce worker exploitation.

Despite numerous other groups being consulted during the drafting of this Bill and despite representing the industry this Bill is directed at; the federation was not among those consulted.

Since December 13, 2017 when the Bill was introduced to the Lower House, both Ministers have refused to meet with the leadership of the VFF Horticulture Group.

Their departments only contacted the federation on February 6, while the Bill was being pushed through the Lower House. This is not consultation.

During the debate, Minister Pulford made many statements regarding the federation’s position.

At no point has she accurately represented the in-depth analysis and extensive concerns our organisation has expressed regarding the Bill.

The Victorian Farmers Federation wants implementation of our holistic horticultural labour policy.

The exploitation of vulnerable workers and the current labour crisis needs action, not bureaucratic lip service. 

David Jochinke, president, and Emma Germano, Horticulture Group president, Victorian Farmers Federation