Perth based, Pentecostal church run by former tennis player Margate Court, who is known for her anti-gay rhetoric, has joined the growing list of companies and organisations that have profited from last year’s JobKeeper payments.
The Guardian reported that Victory Life Centre pocketed more than $500k in JobKeeper payments over the course of 2020, despite the religious organisation’s profits having only fallen by $19,669, or about 0.72%, to $2.7m over the same period.
$500,000 In JobKeeper Payments
According to Australian Taxation Office, around 3,500 religious institutions have shared in about $627m in JobKeeper payments. This week also saw more than 11,000 individuals sent Centrelink debt letter by the Federal Government, after alleged over payments totalling around $32 million.
“Morrison has shown whose side he’s on and it’s not struggling Australians – it’s his billionaire mates, big corporations, and religious institutions that preach hate for LGBTQI+ communities,” Australian Greens Senator and LGBTQI+ spokesperson Janet Rice told Star Observer.
Rice pointed out that companies such as Harvey Norman – that have made huge profits during the pandemic – are allowed to keep their millions in JobKeeper payment.
“The Morrison Government has Centrelink hounding thousands of people for so-called JobKeeper debt. The Liberals wouldn’t help universities or casual workers, they delayed support for Victorians struggling during the May lockdown, and they’re still refusing to raise JobSeeker to a liveable wage, so people don’t have to live in poverty.”
“It’s despicable and offensive that a Pentecostal church headed by one of Australia’s most infamous bigots got a $500K handout while thousands of people still struggling in this pandemic have been left in the lurch by this heartless Coalition government.”
Hateful & Bigoted
Founded in in 1995 Victory Life Centre’s vision is “to train an army who know who they are in Christ and who Christ is in them, to take this city and nation for Jesus”.
Of course, Court’s own bigoted religious views have time again landed her in hot water, most notably for her staunch opposition to same sex marriage, which was enough to see Court labelled as ‘hateful’ and ‘bigoted’ by Victorian Premiere Daniel Andrews earlier this year.
In 2017, Court publicly targeted openly lesbian Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua and her partner, saying that a baby with two mothers shouldn’t been ‘deprived of her father’.
The same year, Court bizarrely claimed that a vote for marriage equality ‘would end Christmas’, and that a boycott of Qantas was in order following the company’s public support for marriage equality.
In March last year, at the start of the COVID19 pandemic, Victory Life Church said to it followers that the “Blood of Jesus” would protect them from the virus.
“Your health and safety is a top priority for us and we have taken a proactive approach to keep our church family health and safety. We are in agreement that this Convid-19 (sic) will not come near our dwelling or our church family. We are praying daily for you, knowing that we are all protected by the Blood of Jesus,” a written statement from the church read.
Adding further insult to injury, Victory Life Centre were also offered a further a $50, 000 through a Federal Government grant.
Court told The Guardian her church had not previously received any government support and she personally did not collect any JobKeeper.
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