Queensland Government: Allow the universal human right of religious freedom at funerals!!!

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On 23 June 2018 my late father Anastasios (Tom) Angelopoulos died unexpectedly at the Townsville hospital and his death is under Coronial investigation.

Due to financial hardship I applied to the Queensland government’s Funeral Assistance Scheme and was granted approval on the condition that I forego a private viewing and a church service. The government was made well aware that the Greek Orthodox community had kindly offered to provide the church service for free and that the burial plot was purchased a few years ago which would save further costs.

Despite providing evidence about the reduced costs and that it is a requirement under Canon Law in Eastern Orthodox religion to hold a church service prior to the burial service, the government refused to allow it.

As a result of the government’s decision, my late father was at the Townsville hospital mortuary for over 4 months and his funeral occurred just recently on 16 November thanks to the generosity of the Greek Orthodox communities of Cairns and Townsville.

The current Queensland Labor government’s platform found at https://www.queenslandlabor.org/media/20088/alp_state_platform_2017_02.pdf states:

8.24 Labor is committed to a strong and independent legal system that respects and promotes the following principles: the right to protection from unlawful discrimination and harassment including on the grounds of ... religion ...’

The current Queensland Labor government boasts that it upholds social justice and human rights values but it has demonstrably failed in this case. Furthermore, Australia is a signatory to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which prohibits religious discrimination in these circumstances. It is alleged that the Queensland government engaged in religious discrimination because it breached its own Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) as well as the ICCPR due to the disallowance of the church service and private viewing.

My late father migrated to Australia from Greece with his wife Lygeri in 1957 and worked hard to help build Australia as did others. He deserved a fair go from the government!

Together with your support let’s persuade the government to change its funeral assistance scheme policy so that people who want to conduct future religious ceremonies or rituals under their nominated faiths or beliefs do not suffer the hurt and humiliation I did.

Please sign this petition to remind the Queensland Government that it is unlawful to discriminate.

Thank you in advance

(Son of the late Anastasios (Tom) Angelopoulos)

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