The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today congratulated Julia Gillard and her ALP team on their election victory and said they looked forward to working with the newly-elected Government on many issues of interest to Christians.

“Although Ms Gillard has declared her own lack of religious belief, we appreciate the fact that she went out of her way to engage with the Christian constituency during a frenetic election campaign and has also acknowledged the importance of Australia’s Christian heritage,” ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said today.

“Ms Gillard has also made strong commitments on a number of issues of concern to Christians, including her decision to continue and expand the popular school chaplaincy program, her commitment to retain the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, and her support for ISP-level filtering of Refused Classification material. These are commitments she made clear would not be traded away in negotiations with the Australian Greens,” Mr Wallace said.

“Also very welcome have been Labor’s commitments to continue to tackle homelessness as a national priority (with the goal of halving homelessness by 2020), to work to close the life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, and to continue to increase foreign aid funding,” he said.

“We look forward to liaising closely with the newly-elected Labor Government on a wide variety of matters ranging from lifting people out of poverty both in Australia and overseas, to addressing the sexualisation of children and promoting the health of families.”

Mr Wallace also conveyed the ACL’s commiserations to Tony Abbott and the Coalition on their election loss.

“They fought a solid campaign and it has been good to see the Coalition become reinvigorated under Tony Abbott’s leadership – particularly given the importance of having an effective Opposition in a democratic society.”

He added that it was encouraging to see the willingness with which both sides of politics engaged with the Christian constituency during the 2010 Federal election.

“We appreciated the attendance of both Mr Abbott and then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at our Make it Count event which was webcast live to churches throughout Australia on June 21, and also Julia Gillard’s willingness to made a video address to Christians and respond to the same questions on August 6. We also welcomed the responsiveness of both major parties and most minor parties to our election questionnaire on issues of concern to Christians.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979