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Victorian YWCA behind ‘Rosaries/Ovaries’ T-Shirt - Neville.

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Paul NEVILLE MP Victorian YWCA Behind ‘Rosaries/Ovaries’ T-Shirt - Neville Thursday, 9 February 2006 Member for Hinkler Paul Neville criticised the Victorian YWCA organisation in his third speech to Parliament today, linking the group to the controversial ‘Mr Abbott, get your rosaries off my ovaries’ t-shirt recently worn by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle. Mr Neville was shocked when he discovered the Victorian arm of the supposedly Christian organisation was selling the t-shirt. A full Hansard of Mr Neville’s speech follows: Mr NEVILLE (Hinkler) (4.35 pm)—This morning in the other chamber I had something to say about the T-shirt worn by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle which said: ‘Mr Abbott get your rosaries off my ovaries’. I find that unnecessary, offensive and bordering on bigoted sectarianism; it is using a man’s faith to denigrate him as part of this debate. I noticed also at the bottom of the T-shirt that it had the endorsement of YWCA. I thought to myself, ‘That can’t possibly be the Young Women’s Christian Association.’ To my utter surprise I found out later in the day that it was. The Victorian body of the YWCA claims it is a non-religious organisation—a funny thing when you have the word ‘Christian’ in your title. Nevertheless, that is the case. The offensive T-shirt worn by Senator Kerry Nettle is being sold by the Victorian division of the YWCA and is available on the internet for $25. That makes it even more offensive to me. I contacted the national body of YWCA to find that it does stand for Young Women’s Christian Association and that the national body has as part of its charter: ... a women’s membership organisation nourished by its roots in the Christian faith and sustained by the richness of many beliefs and values ... Having said that, I ask: how could Senator Nettle, or the organisation sponsoring that T-shirt, make such an offensive attack on two of the Christian religions to whom the rosary is important? I found something else unusual. This organisation that feels so strongly about RU486—according to the secretariat of the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, inquiry—did not botherto make a submission to the recent inquiry into the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial Responsibility for Approval of RU486) Bill 2005. One would think, had they done so, that that would have been a sensible contribution to the public debate. They chose to do it the other way. They chose to use the opportunity to denigrate a member of this House and, by extension, any other Catholics or high Anglicans who might think the rosary, as a prayer to the mother of God, is fairly important. Recently, the Arab world—the Muslim world—has been in

uproar over a tasteless attack in the form of a cartoon of someone representing Mohammed, as well those people might be offended. I think Christians in general, and Catholics in particular, would be offended to no end by that T-shirt. The fact that a member of parliament would wear it and go on television last night literally giggling about it— and we read and saw it in the paper again this morning—just appals me. This is an important debate and it deserves better. The Greens claim to be the protectors of the environment, ecology and human life. They will throw themselves in front of front-loaders and chain themselves to trees but, for the most fundamental part of life—the early form of a human embryo—they have no regard. They trivialise it and they would have it treated with such low disdain. I am appalled, and I call on Senator Nettle to apologise to this parliament and to the women of Australia.