Coober Pedy Opal Miners Coober Pedy Opal Miners come in all shapes and sizes and nationalities, from the very tall, heavily built Croatian farm worker, to the short, slim, Italian pizza bar worker. There are Greek Merchant Marine ship's galley hands, German printworks workers, Irish truckdrivers, farmers and electricians, Yugoslav farm workers. There are Russians, Yanks, Brits, Czechs, Canadians, New Zealanders, French, Swiss, Spaniards, Danes, South Americans from Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, and an occasional Australian. There are Orthodox Jews, Greeks and Croatians, and Anglicans, Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Lutherans, Brethren, Pentecostals, and those who own no faith or religion. Although there is one Greek born Coober Pedy Opal Miner who can recite the whole of "The Man from Snowy River" and other classic Australia poems faultlessly, with style and flourish, many opal miners have had little or no formal education. All opal miners, however, share the common attributes of physical strength, determination and persistence, the ability to do long and hard physical work, and a desire for a better life. Me, I am a fourth generation Australian, born again Christian, Adelaide University Undergraduate, former teacher and folksinger, who has lived in Coober Pedy since 1983, who came to Coober Pedy to start a new life. I came because I took up a job offer as a contractor's offsider, knowing nothing about opal mining. I had the opal miner's attributes of determination and persistence, and a desire for a better life. I learnt to do long and hard physical work, and served my "apprenticeship" to become a Coober Pedy Opal Miner. Australia and the Ten Commandments Reading the bible every day, I am well aware that none of us are good enough for God. "No-one comes to the Father, except through the Son." Jesus Christ paid the ransom for our sins, through His death on the Cross. And I know that we, once having, through the gift of faith, accepted that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead, all face the challenge of trying to live a life that is pleasing to God. The Ten Commandments are God's guide to lead us in the way we should live, to please God. They are tempered by Jesus' teaching in Matthew chapter 5. With God's help, we can do our best to follow those commandments, and thereby know that God will bless us. And there are countless examples in the bible of what to expect if we, as individuals, stray from God - curses instead of blessings, as written in Deuteronomy. This applies not only to individuals, but to nations as well. Six of the commandments allude mainly to things which are virtually impossible to police, because they are to do with attitudes of the mind. Who can possibly prove that a person is thinking in a particular way? But the other four commandments refer to physical human acts which can either be observed to have taken place, or, through evidence, can be deduced to have taken place. These following four physical acts have been punishable offences since forever: murder, adultery, stealing and lying. Australian courts have historically convicted and punished those who have committed these acts. Australia has been a blessed nation as a result of following the guide given by these four commandments. However, as I have discovered, Australia, in one of its laws, no longer follows the guide of the commandment, "You shall not commit adultery." So, my thinking is, because Australia has rejected this commandment, Australia can expect to be cursed. How I came to discover that Australia no longer follows the guide of the commandment, "You shall not commit adultery", and what my Mission is, as a result of that discovery. I grew up with the attitude, and I am guessing most Australians are the same, "she'll be right mate, no worries." I had no inclination to think about why this attitude prevails. Neither did I have any inclination to take any interest in how the country of Australia is governed, or what the processes of government are. Like most Australians, my attitude was that if you worked, you earned money, and if you had money, life was okay. But there came a time in my life when, through personal experiences, my attitudes changed. What happened was, I was trying to deal with some problems, and in doing so, I sought advice from some people who I thought would provide me answers. Their advice was confronting, because it challenged me to do something that I had never done before, and something that I did not know how to do. They told me that to tackle my problems, I needed to become familiar with the Australian law that deals with the issues that I was facing. They said that I should get a copy of that Australian law, and they told me how to get it. So, I followed their advice, and bought a copy of that Australian law, off an Australian Federal Government website. The name of that Australian law is Family Law Act 1975. This Act of Parliament has over 700 pages. It is divided into 15 Parts. Some Parts are further divided into Divisions and Subdivisions. Each subject in the Parts, Divisions and Subdivisions is called a Section. There are 125 Sections. After scanning quickly through of the Table of Contents, I was able to pick out the Sections that related to the problems that I was trying to solve. But I didn't go straight to them. Instead, I decided to start on page one of the Act, in case there was something there that referred to later Sections of the Act. Page one, Section 3 (1) of the Family Law Act, called "Repeal and Saving", had me stumped, because it said, "The Matrimonial Causes Act 1959, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965 and the Matrimonial Causes Act 1966 are repealed". I wondered whether or not the repeal of those Acts would affect the topics that I was interested in. However, I dismissed that thought and continued on to page 2, hoping that the repealed Acts did not affect my problem solving. Maybe at a later time I could buy copies of those Matrimonial Causes Acts. Page 2 and the following pages went into much detail about things that were not relevant to my problems, so I went back to my first plan of picking out the Sections that did, and it was very helpful to read them, and through reading them, I found solutions to my problems. I was still curious about the Matrimonial Causes Acts that had been repealed by the Family Law Act. Then I met up with a Federal Government MP whom I had met when we were teenagers together at a Methodist Youth Camp. I asked him how I could get a copy of a repealed Act of Parliament, the Matrimonial Causes Act. He promised to send me a copy. True to his word, he sent it. The Matrimonial Causes Act and the Family Law Act each have a Section titled "Dissolution of Marriage". But there is a world of difference between the two Sections. The Matrimonial Causes Act Section 28 listed fourteen Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage. The first Ground was, that, since the marriage, the other party to the marriage has committed adultery. The Family Law Act, however, makes no mention of 'adultery' as a Ground for Dissolution of Marriage. There is only one Ground for Dissolution of Marriage in the Family Law Act: that the parties separated and thereafter lived separately and apart for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. So, the Family Law Act, in repealing the Matrimonial Causes Act, removed any reference to 'adultery' in Australian law. It follows then, that any person who commits adultery in Australia can be confident that, under Australian law, they are completely free to do so. Furthermore, it is no longer possible, under Australian law, because of the Family Law Act, for any person whose spouse has been adulterous, to bring that adulterous spouse to account, in a court. In other words, the Family Law Act has rendered void, in Australian law, the commandment, "You shall not commit adultery". It was in 1992 that I discovered this. It was then that I resolved never to cease trying until the Family Law Act is repealed, and a new Act is passed which reflects the commandment, "You shall not commit adultery", and reflects Jesus' teaching on marriage and divorce. That is my Mission. What I have achieved since 1992 To put it bluntly, I have achieved nothing, though not through lack of trying. But I take heart from the stories of William Wilberforce and William Booth, who both had Missions, and who both tried and tried unsuccessfully for many years before they finally achieved their aims. Wilberforce was the MP who put the motion in British parliament to Abolish the British Slave Trade, which was passed. Booth established the Salvation Army. Growing up in a family in which things of a political nature had no importance, I started at a disadvantage, but my first boss in Coober Pedy was a member of the Liberal Party and he thought I should also be a member of the same party. I had no money to pay for that so he paid for me. This was about 1983. As time went by, I was able to pay my own membership fee. Nine years passed, with me as a member of the Liberal Party, but not interacting with any elected member of that party unless they visited Coober Pedy. Then in 1992, when my Mission was born, I started writing to Liberal Party MPs about my concerns. Some replied, but not one of them were interested in the repeal of the Family Law Act. I wrote letters to the local volunteer-run newspaper. They were published, but no interest was taken in them. I spoke to local people. They all said I was wasting my time. I wrote to a Liberal Party Senator and said I didn't see any point in continuing my membership of the Party, because nobody in the party cared about how the Family Law Act allows adultery. He wrote back and said that I was wrong, because a group of Liberal Party, and its Coalition partner National Party MPs, had formed a group called the Lyons Forum, which was concerned about family policy issues in their respective parties. So, I sent copies of my published letters to the Forum. I was encouraged to receive a letter inviting me to come to Adelaide to address the MPs on my concerns. The travel cost was a financial burden, but I did it. The Forum members were very interested in what I had to say. Now, at last, I thought I was getting somewhere. But as time went by, the Lyons Forum, which turned out to be a minority political faction, had no impact on either the Liberal Party or the National Party family policies. At a Liberal Party meeting in Coober Pedy, I met Senator Cory Bernardi and told him my concerns. He was interested, but he was not so interested that he would commit to do anything about the repeal of the Family Law Act. Meanwhile, in 2002, the Family First Party started up. I knew the founder, and I knew the party would be interested in my concerns, so I left the Liberal Party and joined Family First. I must admit that I was not very active in my Mission efforts then, for a few years. Senator Bernardi resigned from the Liberal Party and started the Australian Conservatives Party. In 2017, the Family First Party dissolved and handed all its assets to the Australian Conservatives Party. I became a member of the Australian Conservatives Party. In 2017 the Australian Federal Parliament voted in favour of changing the Marriage Act meaning of 'marriage' from 'a man and a woman' to 'two people'. This was, I think, an added obstacle to my Mission. In 2019 Cory Bernardi deregistered the Australian Conservatives Party. I did not bother to join a political party then, and joined the ranks of the rapidly growing number of Australian voters who are thoroughly dissatisfied with all political parties, and government in general, and whose 'party platform' is 'Don't vote, it only encourages them'. My Mission to advocate for the repeal of the Family Law Act almost collapsed. However, being interested at the same time in other issues in parliament, and being a subscriber to some Christian lobby groups, I followed their promptings to write to various MPs on various issues. One issue was that of abortion. In 2020, on that issue, one MP wrote back to me, Labor Party South Australian Upper House MP Clare Scriven. She enclosed copies of her speeches opposing the Termination of Pregnancy Bill. She said that members of both the Liberal and Labor parties were allowed a conscience vote on the Bill. She provided details of how each SA MP voted, pointing out that some Liberal Party MPs voted in favour, and some Labor Party MPs voted against the issue. She said that most MPs have already made up their mind on social issues such as this, before they are elected, and would not be swayed from that view just because a number of voters wrote to ask that they oppose the issues. She said that there are many members in both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party who have been active for years in promoting these sort of social issues, and that they have a strong influence on who the parties preselect to be their candidates in any upcoming election. She said that, to provide a balance of views, voters who feel strongly against these sort of social issues, should become involved in the political process. When I read that, I realised that it was no wonder all my blundering efforts over the previous 28 years were unsuccessful - my efforts had not been focused on the root cause of bad legislation, which is the preselection of party members to be candidates, in any upcoming election, who are in favour of these kinds of social issues. For my Mission to succeed... For my Mission to succeed, there needs to be a Federal Parliament Member who has the will and skill to bring about the Repeal of the Family Law Act. It doesn't matter which of the two major parties that person comes from, because there are Christian MPs in both parties, and both parties would allow a conscience vote on the issue. The practice of disenchanted Liberal or Labor voters defecting to minor parties, understandable as it may seem, will not solve the problem of the strong influence in the two major parties of party members who will favour the preselection of candidates who think that Christian points of view do not need to be upheld in legislation. The way to solve that problem: people who believe that Christian points of view need be upheld in legislation should become members of either one of the two major parties, and thus provide a balance of views in the parties. For a long time, the attitude of Christians has been that they should not be involved in the political process. For a long time the attitude of Christians has been that the Liberal Party represents the Christian points of view. Both these attitudes are now proving to be wide of the mark, as is evident in the growing number of Australian laws, promoted by members of both major political parties, which do not reflect the Christian point of view. So, I am seeking the support, most importantly, for prayer that my Mission will succeed. Then I need people in each of the 151 Federal Electoral Divisions in Australia to become members of one of the two major political parties, and for them to advocate that others of like mind do the same. The next Federal election is talked of being about three years away, ie 2025.Shortly before that, nominations for preselected candidates will be open. I hope that, by then, enough people will have joined one of either of the two main parties to be able to try t make sure that only candidates for preselection who would suport Christian values will be If you are concerned about the future in Australia for you, your children and your grandchildren on this issue, you will be patient and persistent. Also bear in mind that when the Australian Federal Parliament repeals the Family Law Act and replaces it with an Act in which adultery is regarded in law as a fault, it will be the first Western country to do so. It will be the beginning of a new era, and the end of the present one which began in 1917, when the Bolsheviks slaughtered the Russian monarchy, and as part of the Russian Revolution, legislated the first 'no-fault' divorce. May God bless our efforts.