Things have got to change

Christmas is on its way! 🙂
The numbers supporting Julian grow daily!
The numbers supporting Julian grow daily!
The numbers supporting Julian grow daily!
with Superhero, Jennifer Robinson - Julian's lawyer
Alex wins yet another Karate tournament!
Nestor fights for the title
Nestor fights for the title


Hi Fighter,

It will be a quick one today as I’m weary after another round with the Combat Sports Authority (CSA).

The CSA is the government body that oversees all combat sports, including boxing. Unfortunately, my stoush with them is a legal one. It’s over the prohibition they placed on my fight last March.

In case you don’t know the story, the CSA had approved my fight against Jason Mac Gura some weeks before it was scheduled but then reversed their decision at the last minute – issuing a probation order just an hour before I was due to go on!

They gave no reason. They communicated their decision to the promoter via an email. I tried calling them to get the decision reversed, or at least to find out what the problem was. I got nothing. Given that I had 50 supporters there, many paying upwards of $200 per ticket to watch me fight, the CSA’s action left everyone out of pocket and me without credibility. I haven’t been able to fight in my home state since!

I was hoping that today I’d have my day in court. I had taken the case to the Administrative Tribunal, rather than to the regular court, as it only costs $100 to go to the Tribunal and I simply can’t afford anything else. I had all my points prepared and I really thought I’d be able to convince the judge to order the CSA not to treat me like this again, and perhaps to even give us some compensation that I could put back into our work. Unfortunately, the CSA instead asked that the case be dismissed on a technicality. According to their legal team, if the CSA cancels my fight on LESS than 24 hours’ notice, they cannot be taken to the Tribunal. Go figure!

Anyway, the judge told them to put their dismissal case in writing and to send it to me so that I have a right of reply. Of course, I wouldn’t have a clue how to respond to this, though dismissing the case because I was NOT given any notice seems radically unjust! So … if there are any legal eagles out there who’d like to give me advice on this one, I’d love to hear from you.

Social Justice Theatre

On a brighter note, this coming Saturday – November 23rd – we’ll be holding the first of our Social Justice Theatre screenings in our church hall. Our focus this time will be on Palestine, which this week took another big hit when the US government decided that the illegal occupation of Palestinian land was no longer illegal. Again … go figure!

We’ll be screening Budrus – an award-winning feature documentary film about Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites Palestinian political factions and invites Israeli supporters to join an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier.

We’ll begin with coffee and snacks at 5.30 pm and start the actual film no later than 6 pm. That will make it easy to do dinner afterwards for any who are interested. More details are on the Facebook event page (here).

If you can’t make it this week, our second screening will be a fortnight later – December 7th. I haven’t got the title for the movie that night but it will be about our brother, Julian Assange, and we’ll have Julian’s dad, John, with us for the evening.

That evening may be a big one, as support for Julian is definitely growing! I attended a meeting at the University of Technology (UTS) last Friday where Julian’s lawyer – Jennifer Robinson – was interviewed. It was a full house!

I’m not sure why we’ve had such a surge of support.  Is it because the alleged rape allegations in Sweden have finally been shown to be a ruse? Are people concerned about the inhumanity of Julian’s treatment? Has the penny finally dropped with regards to the impact it will have on humanity if everyone who reports a crime committed by someone powerful is imprisoned and tortured? Maybe it’s a combination of the above, along with a healthy respect for the importance of free speech? I’m not sure, but I am sure that support is growing, and I’m praying that it will grow into an enormous wave that will sweep across this country and bring significant change.

Put it in your diary – same time, same place.

Sermon Time

I’ve given a few sermons since my last communication. I’ve decided today to share one entitled, “Love is forever. Marriage isn’t”. This is not a commentary on my personal struggles but a reflection on Jesus’ argument with a group of religious academics about marriage and the resurrection. In the end, the dialogue isn’t really about marriage at all but about the new and beautiful future that God has planned for our world. I hope you’ll find this encouraging, whatever you are struggling with. Click below for the video, or read the written version here.

In closing, thank you for your prayers for Bob – our caretaker at Binacrombi. Our dear brother is doing much better – in body, and certainly in spirits.

It was a horrible accident. The car blew a front tire on a remote dirt road and it rolled. Tragically, Bob had the window down and his arm resting on the outside of the door, and the car rolled on to his arm! Thanks to the wonders of modern surgery, we remain hopeful that Bob will regain full use of the arm. Keep praying.

That’s all for now. I hope to see you Saturday night if you’re in the vicinity. Either way, let me know what sorts of films/subjects you think we should be covering in our future Social Justice Theatre sessions. I’d love to hear from you.

Yours in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Ted Time

Free Julian Assange #bringhimhome
Free Julian Assange #bringhimhome
Privileged to give Sydney's first Ted Talk (TedX)
Privileged to give Sydney's first Ted Talk (TedX)
Privileged to give Sydney's first Ted Talk (TedX)
another birthday for our beloved Imogen ❤
another birthday for our beloved Imogen ❤
Founding the Australia Iran Friendship Association in Canberra
Soren completes his time at High School
Soren completes his time at High School
Soren completes his time at High School
my friend, Dr Tim Anderson, launches his new book
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
with Imogen on our annual Fright Night adventure on the Gold Coast
with Imogen on our annual Fright Night adventure on the Gold Coast
with Imogen on our annual Fright Night adventure on the Gold Coast


Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave. Forgive the long time between posts but I had two weeks’ holidays and things have been predictably hectic since I got back.

Much has happened since I last wrote. A lot of it involved me spending time relaxing with my wonderful children, but there have been other events worth sharing too:

  • I helped found the Australia Iran Friendship Association in Canberra.
  • I had a tribunal hearing in my battle with the Combat Sports Authority
  • We had an amazing meeting of Julian Assange supporters in our church hall
  • I was privileged to deliver Sydney’s first Ted Talk.

It was indeed a humbling experience to give Sydney’s first Ted Talk. I had always quietly hoped that one day I might join the ranks of TedX speakers – a group that includes Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking, Billy Graham, Richard Dawkins and Pope Francis. Of course, I’m more comfortable being associated with some of those characters than with others. Even so, it was a great privilege.

I’m adding the TED talk below, right after the sermon. It’s had a lot of good feedback so far. I hope you like it.

As to my Tribunal hearing, it was less inspiring.

My issue with the Combat Sports Authority (CSA) is that they prohibited me from fighting on March 22nd of this year. Indeed, they cancelled my fight about an hour before it was scheduled to take place, while I was getting ready to go on!

The immediate result of that was that we didn’t raise the money for Syria that night that I’d hoped to. More serious though is that it destroyed my credibility for future events. I haven’t been able to get a fight in Sydney since!

So … I finally had my matter heard before the tribunal. I was hoping that the judge would immediately see that I’d been grievously wronged and order the CSA to give me what I’d asked for:

  1. A guarantee that the they would not arbitrarily prohibit me from fighting again
  2. A payout that would allow me to compensate all my friends who spent money on tickets that night, with something left over for Syria.

It didn’t quite go that way, with the CSA’s lawyer catching us out on technicalities. Even so, they did promise to tell me why my fight was cancelled – just not there and then.

So … the CSA is now going to write to me some time in the next two weeks and tell me what the issue was. After that we return to the Tribunal. If I do get a payout, the first thing I’ll do is restage the match we had scheduled for March and pay for the tickets for everybody who missed out the first time. 🙂

Finally, let me say a word or two about the meeting of Assange supporters that we had in our church hall this week. It was truly inspirational.

I was contacted recently by a wonderful woman named Adriana who is a lawyer and a keen supporter of Julian Assange. She asked if she and some other supporters could come and meet with me at the church. I put aside an hour last Tuesday afternoon when I knew there’d be some space in our church hall. I was initially expecting half a dozen souls to show up. Well … word evidently got out and when I turned up at the hall there were more than 50 people waiting for me!

I learnt two important lessons from that wonderful session. Firstly, there is evidently growing support for Julian and for the issues his case raises – most obviously, the importance of free speech and the need for the rich and powerful to be held accountable for their crimes. Secondly, that we need to get organised. Everybody seemed to be asking ‘what are we going to do?’ I was left wishing I had a good answer. Well … watch this space.

We will get organised, and as a first step in that direction we are scheduling more meetings – not just for supporters of Julian, but for all people in my area of Sydney who are wanting to take a stand for justice and peace. Our church will host a series of film nights on different social justice themes between now and Christmas. The goal will be to bring together persons of conscience from across our region with a view to mobilizing for social action.

The proposed dates are November 9th, November 23rd and December 7th. We will focus on Julian Assange, Palestine, and Indigenous Australia (respectively). I’ll be trying to get the Muslim community involved in this project too. Indeed, hopefully we’ll be able to consolidate our Christian-Muslim Justice League through this process. As I say … watch this space.

Oh … and if you’d like to hear what I had to say at the gathering last Tuesday, someone recorded it and published it here and here.

Sermon Time

Two Sundays back I gave a sermon that was very personal, but which I think touches an issue close to all our hearts. The subject was prayer and, more specifically, why so often our prayers seem to go unanswered. Jesus addressed this subject very directly on more than one occasion. You can hear my reflection on one of those occasions below, or click here for the written version.


Stop Press – prayer request

While preparing this post I received some distressing news about Bob Williams – my friend, and our caretaker out at Binacrombi bush camp. He had a car accident and has done some serious damage to his hand. If you know Bob, you know that he’s a rough diamond and a soul who is prone to accidents as he tends to live life on the edge. I love him dearly and ask that you’d join me in praying for his full recovery.

Further, if you’ve been thinking of spending more time out in the bush and would like to support our work at Binacrombi, now would be a good time to put your hand up. Even if Bob recovers fully, it’s going to take time and he’ll need support.

Let me know if you’d like to help out there on a weekend, or even get away from the big smoke altogether and move in there for a while. I’m not sure what the future is for our bush-camp ministry but I suspect that the Lord has someone unexpected out there that He wants to involve in this process. If that’s you, please contact me ASAP.

That’s all for now. Keep me in your prayers, please, as I do you.

Yours in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four