NSW Driver’s License Refusal 9 March 2015

************************   MEDIA RELEASE 9 March 2015   ************************

Pastafarians, and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, are recognised by the general public in many countries of the world. In Austria, the Czech Republic, New Zealand and the US, Pastafarians are allowed to wear their religious headwear in driver’s license photos, as far as I am aware.

Presently, in ‘multi-cultural’ Australia, Pastafarians are still fighting for their religious rights to be recognised. As you should be aware, the Gordon Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are still being delayed in their application to provide NSW school children with a Pastafarian SRE option in public schools. Their case is currently being investigated by the Ombudsman.

Now we also have Preshalin Moodley, a member of the congregation of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Australia, who appears to be being discriminated against on the basis of his religious beliefs. Preshalin obtained his NSW driver’s license last year, and, at the time, was permitted to wear his religious headwear for his photograph. He has now been informed that he must surrender his present license and have a new photograph taken without his religious headwear, as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a ‘recognised religion’.

We respectfully ask ‘Recognised by who?’. Is ‘recognised religion’ defined in the NSW legislation or regulations? We certainly recognise ourselves as a religion and as Pastafarians. We worship a supernatural deity, and through our deity, we understand our place in the universe. We have canons of conduct that we follow in adherence to our faith. We are an identifiable group, both within our own group and we are recognised as such by other groups. We have an official congregation, we have ordained ministers. This would appear to place Pastafarians within the legal definition of a ‘religion’ as defined by the High Court in Church of the New Faith v Commissioner for Pay-Roll Tax (Vic) (1983) 154 CLR 120.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Australia, and individual Pastafarians, are not asking for any special privileges, we are simply asking for the exact same privileges as are afforded to any other religious group. We want our religion to have the same treatment and respect that any other religion has in this country.

We have created an online petition to illustrate how much recognition and support Pastafarians have in the community. https://www.change.org/p/minister-for-roads-and-freight-duncan-gay-roads-and-maritime-services-allow-preshalin-moodley-and-all-pastafarians-to-wear-their-religious-headwear-and-observe-their-religion-as-they-see-fit

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information.

Yours in Parmesan,

Tanya Watkins

Captain, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Australia.

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