Media Release

June 22, 2010

A gathering of many of Australia’s most senior denominational and church leaders – rarely paralleled in the nation’s history – last night heard both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader speak of the valuable contribution the Christian faith has made to the nation and also respond to Christian concerns on issues ranging from indigenous welfare, refugees and climate change to marriage, chaplaincy and the sexualisation of children.

The ‘2010 Make it Count’ event, hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), was web-cast live last night to tens of thousands of Christians meeting in hundreds of churches across Australia.

It saw both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott speak of their commitment to improving the lot of indigenous people and acknowledging Australia’s responsibility to provide protection for genuine refugees while defending their differing border protection policies.

Both leaders also reinforced their support for continuing the convention of Parliament being opened each day with the Lord’s Prayer, and to maintaining the status of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Mr Wallace welcomed the willingness of Australia’s two major political leaders to engage with the Christian constituency and the reassurances they had given on the issue of whether their commitments to Christians might be traded away in a new Parliament if neither major party holds the balance of power in the Senate.

“This is an important issue in helping Christians determine the degree of confidence they can put in party commitments as we look towards a new Parliament where many commentators are tipping that neither Labor nor the Liberals will hold the balance of power in the Senate,” Mr Wallace said. “While neither Mr Rudd nor Mr Abbott could be completely categorical on this issue, Mr Rudd said his party wouldn’t be compromising its fundamental values and Mr Abbott said that there was nothing which he spoke of last night which he believed could be traded away to do a deal in the Senate.”

Mr Wallace also welcomed as a breakthrough Mr Abbott’s acknowledgement that the current media classification system is “broken” in terms of its role in the premature sexualisation of children and the need for another review of the system “tasked with a way to ensure proper community standards apply to all media”. He also welcomed both Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott’s support for the role of school chaplains and Mr Abbott’s commitment to funding until 2013 at least.

Mr Wallace said the ACL appreciated the strong support shown for the Make it Count event by a wide range of denominations and churches located across the breadth of Australia. “This was a landmark event for the Christian constituency and its success is a testament to the commitment of Christians across Australia to work towards a more moral, compassionate and caring society.”