Grant Refused on Religious Grounds Featured Image

"In June I visited an amazing not-for-profit in Perth which was delivering 70 tonnes of food a week to thousands of people. Many were already food recipients, but many more became needy because of COVID. I learned that this organisation had applied for a grant, specifically intended to support COVID-19 relief efforts under the WA government's Lotterywest program. Immediately, I offered to write a letter of support for that application because I knew they would be unsuccessful. That's not because of the scale of desperate community need which they were meeting but because of the religious views of the charity's founder

—and I was right.

Margaret Court's Victory Life Centre was unsuccessful in their grant application for a freezer truck. A whistleblower at Lotterywest, who has since left the organisation in protest, has pointed out that the application was rejected because of the religious views of its Christian founder. If true, this ethically disgraceful behaviour shreds community trust in our state government and, worse, it disadvantages those additional people to whom this successful charity should now be delivering food. Mrs. Court has said: 'We help people of all different faiths, races, beliefs and sexual orientations. We would never turn away anyone who needed our help.'

I call upon the WA Labor government to uphold its own equal opportunity legislation and to hold the Lotterywest board to account. I asked Premier McGowan to adopt Margaret's position of helping those in need, regardless of their religious views."