MEDIA RELEASE

For release: August 10, 2010

The Greens’ claims that their values are Christian have promoted the Australian Christian Lobby to release a list of publicly available Greens policies which the party sought to hide from the Christian constituency.

The Australian Greens refused to respond to 18 out of 24 questions put to all parties on issues of concern to most Christians.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said the ACL’s intent was to publish parties’ responses unfiltered in their own words on its election resource website australiavotes.org.au.

Mr Wallace said the Greens were trying avoid scrutiny on selected issues while all the other parties had responded to all questions – even when their positions may not have appealed to Christians.

“This shows great integrity on the part of the other parties but a lack of integrity on the part of the Greens who are vying for the balance of power in the Senate.

 “It is good for Christians to know that the Greens have some compassionate policies on refugees and foreign aid, but they also need to know that, for example, the Greens are in favour of gay marriage and establishing an ‘intersex’ gender; want to scrap the school chaplaincy program in its current form; support abortion on demand; and are opposed to important religious freedoms.

 “The central purpose of our www.australiavotes.org.au website is to assist Christians to make an informed vote – but how can they do this when the party hides policy positions which are of interest to most Christian voters?

“The Greens had a chance to prove their claim that their values aligned with Christian values by answering the questionnaire in full but this would have meant contradicting existing policies which do not have the support of most Christians.

“Sadly they chose to try and deceive the Christian constituency by leaving these questions blank,” Mr Wallace said.

Below is a list of some of the 18 ACL questions which the Greens declined to answer, with Greens positions taken from the public record.

Freedom of religion
Australia has a proud record for protecting freedom, but increasingly faith-based organisations and individuals are unduly prevented from giving expression to their religion, or being pressured to act against their conscientiously-held beliefs, particularly in the areas of employment, service delivery, and education. Would your Party ensure that, like political parties, churches and religious bodies have their right to employ staff who share their ethos protected?

Greens’ public position:
Greens education policy http://greens.org.au/policies/care-for-people/education
41. introduce the same accountability and transparency frameworks for government funding to non-government schools as applies to public schools and extend the anti-discrimination measures that apply in public schools to private schools.
63. ensure that non-government schools in receipt of government funding:
• do not discriminate in hiring of staff or selection of students;

Prayer in parliament
The preamble to Australia’s Constitution states that our nation is “humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God”. Does your Party commit to maintaining the convention of opening Parliament each day exclusively with the Lord’s Prayer?

Greens’ public position:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/parties-unite-on-lords-prayer/1343885.aspx?order=1&page=1
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said a period of reflection would be better than the old-fashioned rote recitation of the prayer. He wants a conscience vote in both houses on the issue.
''... I think it would be better if we had a period of reflection in which people could think about such things as 'will what we are doing today be welcomed by our grandchildren?' The matter should be debated and there should be a free vote on it,'' he said.

Euthanasia
Euthanasia is the intentional killing of a ‘suffering’ patient. Legalised euthanasia alters the social contract with the vulnerable and ‘unwanted’ in society, who will perceive the so-called ‘right to die’ more as a ‘duty to die’, and corrupts the doctor-patient relationship in profound ways. While the vote may be a conscience one, will your Party reject any moves to legalise euthanasia?

Greens’ public position:
http://bob-brown.greensmps.org.au/content/media-release/brown-introduces-bill-restore-act-and-nt-right-legislate-death-with-dignity
"The Greens bill will restore the rights of Territory parliaments to assist terminally ill people choose a death with dignity. I hope both Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd will commit to a conscience vote when Parliament sits in October," Senator Brown said.

Greens introduce territories Euthanasia bill
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/17/2366617.htm
Senator Brown says that would restore the territories' democracy.
"It's constitutionally sound, it's democratically right, and it may have very very profound positive social outcomes," he said.

Abortion
The 2007 annual report of the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (Victoria) showed that 52 out of 181 late term babies who were aborted for “abnormalities” survived late term abortions but died neo-natally. Would your Party support a conscience vote on Medicare funding for abortions carried out on babies old enough to be viable outside the womb?

Greens’ public position:
Greens women policy
http://greens.org.au/policies/care-for-people/women
20. ensure that all women have access to legal, free and safe pregnancy termination services including unbiased counselling.

Chaplaincy
The 2009 research paper, “The Effectiveness of Chaplaincy”, showed that the Federal Government’s National School Chaplaincy Program was supported by more than 97% of the 688 participating school principals, who said that chaplains had been highly effective in providing pastoral care services for students and school communities. Does your Party commit to funding faith-based chaplaincy in schools beyond 2011, and at what level?

Greens’ public position:
Greens push for counsellors, not chaplains
http://www.theage.com.au/national/greens-push-for-counsellors-not-chaplains-20100326-r37m.html
THE Greens want to scrap the national school chaplaincy program and replace it with a scheme to help schools employ counsellors and community liaison officers.

Marriage
Marriage is clearly defined in the Marriage Act as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. Would your Party commit to support this definition for the life of the Government and beyond?

Greens’ public position:
Sexuality and gender identity policy
http://greens.org.au/policies/care-for-people/sexuality-and-gender-identity
15. legislate to allow marriage regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
The Fight For Equal Marriage Will Continue
http://sarah-hanson-young.greensmps.org.au/content/media-release/fight-equal-marriage-will-continue
"Today's vote does not end the debate - I will bring this bill back in the first session of the new sitting of Parliament, and the Greens will continue to fight for this inevitable removal of outdated discrimination until the law is changed.''

Surrogacy and ART
The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) intends to achieve uniform national surrogacy law. Some States allow surrogacy for single people and same-gender couples to obtain a child, who then has no possibility of having both a mother and a father. In constructing nationally consistent surrogacy laws, will your Party oppose any provision for single and same-gender surrogacy?

Greens’ public position:
Sexuality and gender identity policy
http://greens.org.au/policies/care-for-people/sexuality-and-gender-identity
9. access, regardless of sexuality and gender identity, to adoption, fostering, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilisation procedures.

Classification
There are a number of Codes of Practice across a range of media platforms, with some types of media self-regulated, others falling under the scope of the ACMA or the Classification Board. This multiplicity of media regulation is ill-equipped to keep pace with rapid technological changes, lacks effective enforcement mechanisms, and leaves children vulnerable to harm from inappropriate media products. Will your Party commit to a comprehensive review of Australia’s media regulatory environment, with a view to establish an effective classification system across all media, including advertising and games?

Greens’ public position:
Greens media & communications policy
http://greens.org.au/policies/media-arts-science/media-and-communications
42. introduce a nationally consistent approach to the regulated sale of X-rated material.

Internet safety
Recent Government trials have shown that blocking Refused Classification (RC) material at the ISP level is technically feasible. Will your Party commit to the filtering of RC material at the ISP level to provide a safer internet environment for children? Some ISPs already provide commercial filtering products for parents to protect children from legal but otherwise harmful internet content. What would your Party do to encourage wider availability of such services?

Greens’ public position:
Internet Filtering – Scott Ludlam speech
http://greensmps.org.au/content/speech/internet-filtering
“The government's proposed mandatory internet censorship scheme has been almost universally condemned. It is an inappropriate and off-target attempt to engage with a series of problems that deserve a much more serious and nuanced response. The Greens support the rights of Australian children to a safe online experience and we support the effective resourcing of law enforcement agencies to intercept and prosecute traffickers of online child pornography and other illegal material on the internet. We do not, however, support the mandatory filtering of the internet in Australia.”

ends

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979.