Liberal Candidate Renee Heath Hires Lawyers, Investigates Human Rights Complaint

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“As I have said many times, the reason I am a Liberal is because I believe in the right of every individual to live their life according to their convictions, beliefs and conscience without government interference. This applies regardless of your gender, sexuality, faith, and any other characteristics that make you who you are.

Heath said she had engaged law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler to assess whether she had grounds to lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission over the ‘discriminatory treatment of me’ as an MP potential liberal “based on my faith, or assumptions about my faith”.

Renee Heath, Liberal Party candidate in eastern Victoria.

Liberal Leader Matthew Guy said over the weekend that Heath would not sit in the Liberal Party hall if elected to parliament in Saturday’s election. The Liberal Party said the move was due to Heath hiding information about the extent of his relationship with the church network.

Victorian Liberal State Manager Sam McQuestin released a statement earlier on Sunday saying he had reviewed all correspondence and information he had about Heath’s shortlist, following media reports .

“None of this information shows Ms. Heath’s ongoing and recent involvement with Pastor Jonathan David and his organization,” McQuestin said.

“On November 11, I had a conversation with Ms Heath to discuss questions that Ms Heath had received from 60 minutes.

“[Saturday] morning, it was clear that the answers provided by Mrs. Heath during this conversation were inconsistent with the reports of age newspaper.”

age reported that as a teenager, Heath completed a year-long internship with David, a Malaysian preacher who leads the global network of Pentecostal churches ISAAC (International Strategic Alliance of Apostolic Churches) which includes City Builders. She continued to receive leadership and spiritual training from him in her adult life.

In June 2021, Heath was filmed following an online lecture led by David.

Guy condemned gay conversion therapy on Saturday, but admitted earlier in the week that he had not personally asked Heath about his views.

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At least nine senior Liberal members had warned Guy and other party leaders that Heath posed a political risk to the party in the election, in which moderate Liberal seats are under threat from Teal candidates.

Lawyers for Pastor Brian Heath and City Builders released a legal letter on Saturday evening denying that the church was “ultra-conservative”, “extreme” or “part of a global religious network”.

“City Builders takes a mundane, traditional and modern approach to Christianity,” the lawyers said.

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Lawyers denied the church or its leaders oppose gay, trans and reproductive rights ‘subject to two conditions’, including that marriage should be ‘restricted to traditional families’ and abortion should be ‘rare’ .

Brian Heath was quoted in a February 2021 podcast as saying he “could be in jail within a month” following the introduction of laws banning gay conversion practices. His lawyers said it was “hyperbole”.

The joint media investigation interviewed several former members of City Builders, who say they were traumatized after church leaders sought to suppress their sexuality. Former church member James Dalton has claimed he was subjected to an exorcism by church leaders and later sent to gay conversion therapy which left him with post stress disorder -traumatic.

Learn more about this story at 60 minutes at 8:40 p.m. on Sunday.

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