Words by Kira Henderson
Offering their 400 guests sessions on topics such as, “the Impact on children of legalising ‘Same Sex Marriage’”, “Economic and Social Costs of Abortion”, “work of the home: A true profession”, the World Congress of Families conference has divided the nation.
Meeting on the 30th of August in Hallam, near Melbourne, the event described itself as a “time of intense teaching, learning, networking and exchange,” for those “who seek to strengthen and promote the natural family.”
Among the many controversial speakers listed for the event was Dr Angela Lanfranchi, presenting on the controversial link between abortion and breast cancer. The Australian Medical Association has outright rejected this link but Lanfranchi was undeterred, “I don’t know why it’s stirred up discontent,” she said. “It’s a risk factor like any other.”
However not all listed speakers made it to the event. Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews and Victorian Attorney General, Robert Clark were meant to deliver speeches at the event but cancelled at the last minute. This was due to the evangelical Christian group, Catch the Fire Ministries, hosting the event, after previous locations pulled out.
The political arm of Catch the Fire Ministries is the Rise Up Australia party, a political party publically against multiculturalism.
Outside, the Congress was surrounded by many protesters, heckling attendees as they tried to enter the centre with calls of ‘shame’.
Protestors argue that the conference should not have been allowed in Australia, labelling it as ‘hate speech’. The Congress however congratulated the attendees, calling their actions brave and heroic.