Category Archives: Politics

UK Parliament Emotionally Charged Debate

I felt the anger in this debate and it reiterated for me what Greta has said about adults letting children down.  You can see and hear that they do not know how to resolve conflict, they are not mature enough to deeply listen to others and respect all voices. This is the nature of a true parliament.  Unfortunately the people attracted to politics are often into power, placed in there by those in power with agendas and are willing to compromise who they are in order to get what they think they want.  Yet in truth surrender is the highest power, listening is the deepest respect and change is how we all grow.  Those critics are our greatest teachers as they show us to ourselves.  When we react it reveals we are unhealed, as pain is there, vulnerability is there, fear is expressing as they are not coping.  It reveals poor governance and self interest this is how divisions and parties disintegrate.

An adversarial system in my view is counter productive. We need to develop inner truth and values where a person speaks up not to tow the party line but speaks in accordance with conscience and inner feeling.  If we want a higher level of governance and a future that thrives, we have to learn to listen deeply to ourselves and others.  The wisdom is not far from the surface but typically we seek to out smart the other, put them down, pretend we are powerful rather than put the ego to the side and really creatively work on solutions. 

Inherent within all problems is a solution, you have to learn to see differently.

Religious Exclusive Brethren Funding Politics

In the public interest. Courtesy of the ABC.

Former member reveals ‘Brethren Express’ money trail


A former member of the Exclusive Brethren has revealed the secretive religious sect has been transferring large sums of money across the world, possibly to fund political campaigns in Australia and the US.

In recent years Brethren leaders have met with numerous Liberal ministers, including Prime Minister John Howard.

Now ABC TV’s Four Corners program has revealed that tens of thousands of dollars in Brethren cash have been transferred around the world in envelopes.

Former Brethren member Don Monday says some of the money was used to fund the 2004 election campaign of US President George W Bush.

The program also suggests the Brethren are actively lobbying for the Howard Government, although sect leader Bruce Hales has barred his followers from voting themselves.

Mr Monday says he brought less than $10,000 in cash to Australia in 2005 for distribution to the Brethren.

And he says he knows of other people who have also brought large sums of money to Australia, possibly breaching Customs regulations.

“I would’ve known of people that said they’ve carried as many as 40 and 50 envelopes and some of those would’ve had probably as much as $1,000 to as little as $50 in them,” he said.

“The Brethren would normally, on a monthly basis, give gifts to Mr Hales as well as other people in responsible positions, and that money would be carried by what we jokingly would’ve called the ‘Brethren Express’.

“It would all be transferred in in envelopes by people who were travelling.”

But Exclusive Brethren elder and spokesman Phil McNaughton denies Mr Hales has used the money to fund political campaigns.

“He would use that to distribute to the needy amongst the Brethren and for other purposes at his discretion,” he said.

Mr McNaughton says he does not know just how much money has been handed out.

“In envelopes of cash are distributions of church giving, that was set on by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians,” he said.

“It is the the church plate that individual churches may wish to distribute to persons engaged in the work of the glad tidings.

“It is money given on trust. It is to be spent in furthering the work of the Lord.”

Watch the Four Corners report at 8:30pm on ABC TV.

Exclusive Brethren and the Liberal Party

In the public interest.

Revealed: how Exclusive Brethren members secretly donate to the Liberal Party

By Michael Bachelard

June 17, 2016 — 5.14pm

Tony McCorkell reveals secrets of the wealthy Christian sect Exclusive Brethren

Members of an extremist Christian sect which has covered up child sex abuse have given secret, coordinated donations to the Liberal Party.

Dozens of Exclusive Brethren members – who practice a radical doctrine of “separation” and are not permitted to vote – donated more than $67,000 to the Liberal Party on the same day in December 2010.

World leader of the Exclusive Brethren, Sydney-based Bruce Hales

The donations were revealed in documents tabled at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption during its inquiry into the source of funds flowing into Liberal Party coffers.

The Exclusive Brethren, recently rebranded the “Plymouth Brethren Christian Church”, was described by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as “an extremist cult” which breaks up families. But the Liberal party operatives who accepted the en masse donations described them as “friends”.

Former Exclusive Brethren spokesperson Tony McCorkell now speaking out about child sex abuse in the sectCredit:Paul Harris

The church first came to public attention in 2006 when it was revealed the group had raised and spent $370,461 to influence the 2004 election on behalf of John Howard, with whom they were close.

Brethren members cannot eat or socialise with “worldly” people, and members who are excommunicated are usually prevented from seeing their families, including their own children. Their wealthy leader, Sydney-based Bruce D. Hales, has told his members to maintain an “utter hatred” of the rest of the world. He recently addressed a sermon to a mentally tormented young member of his flock saying it would be better to “finish yourself off” with poison than communicate with members of his own family.

Good Weekend today reveals that Mr Hales ordered that some victims of child sexual abuse be paid off to keep quiet. One victim was told his abuse was a “family matter,” and nothing to do with the church, even though the church had placed the child with his abuser.

In 2003, the Brethren first excommunicated and then reinstated a man to the church despite overwhelming evidence that he had sexually abused two young girls who were living with him and attending the school where he was a trustee. The Brethren ignored the girls’ letters, direct to Mr Hales, in which they begged him not to bring their abuser back.

The man was later convicted and jailed for offences including sexual intercourse with a child under 10.

The Brethren have issued a number of legal threats in recent weeks to try to stop the Good Weekend story being published. In a statement it said it was “misinformed and plainly wrong” to suggest the church had a problem with sex abuse. The Church “considers any abuse of any member of society abhorrent,” the statement said.

Documents tabled at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption’s Operation Spicer show 62 separate donors, all known members of the Brethren church, sent donations to the Liberal Party’s alleged slush fund, the Free Enterprise Foundation.

Each donation was in individual amounts of $1500 or less, and appeared on a document labelled, “Friends”.

According to the NSW Electoral Commission, the Free Enterprise Foundation was used to “channel and disguise” donations “by major political donors, some of whom were prohibited donors” to the Liberal Party. While individually the Brethren were not “major” donors, together their contribution was well above the legal disclosure threshold. It suggests they may have deliberately tried to avoid any need to disclose their collective contribution.

The donors are a who’s who of senior Exclusive Brethren members in NSW, including relatives of Mr Hales, who is known to his followers as “the Elect” and is seen as next to God. Mr Hales’ brother Stephen and sister-in-law Estelle Hales, and cousin John Hales donated $1490 each. Other families donated multiple times from different members. Five donations came from the Pridham family, who are relatives of Mr Hales.

Pump salesman Mark Mackenzie donated $1490 through his family partnership, Aline Pumps Sales and Service. Mr Mackenzie was the front man for the massive advertising spend by the Brethren on behalf of John Howard in 2004.

Brethren members run highly successful businesses, a network of charities, and received $26.6 million in government funding for their private school system.

Though they do not vote, the Exclusive Brethren have in the past been vigorous lobbyists of conservative Federal and state governments. They supported Mr Howard in 2004 to defend his school funding policy against then Labor leader Mark Latham. The Australian Tax Office has never scrutinised their habit of paying the vast bulk of their schools fees in tax-free donations and distributions from family trusts.

They are also virulently anti-gay. Their election funding in 2004 was directed to anti-gay, anti-Green and pro-Howard advertising. Similar campaigns took place the same year in New Zealand, Canada and the United States, in support of then president George W. Bush. The Brethren man coordinating the United States campaign said the group “like to fly beneath the radar“.