Media Release: Tuesday, 16 September, 2008

Neither major party in the ACT is looking to further liberalise the territory’s surrogacy laws, according to commitments given to Christians at ‘Make it Count ACT’ last night.

Both parties committed to put more money into dental health, to engage in community consultation and to help the disadvantaged. They also hinted at announcements with regard to non-government schools later in the election campaign and said that they would not, as parties, move to introduce euthanasia laws if elected (even if this is made permissible federally) as this is a conscience issue requiring a private member’s bill.

Despite turbulent weather and black-outs in parts of Canberra, around 650 Christians turned out to Llewellyn Hall in Acton last night to hear from ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell and ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja at ‘Make it Count ACT’.

Christian leaders from a wide range of denominations also questioned the two leaders on issues ranging from family breakdown and job opportunities for unskilled young people to marriage and the rights of the child.

Under questioning about a review of ACT legislation to see if it is in “the best interests of the child”, Mr Seselja said he would have to discuss this with his colleagues but thought that something along these lines might be possible.

Questioned on what values and ethics their parties were based on, Mr Corbell said that, for Labor, the quest has always been one of tackling disadvantage and that they see disadvantage as having an economic basis. Mr Seselja said that the Liberal Party fundamentally starts with a belief in the inherent worth and freedom of every individual, while also believing that there are some in the community who need a helping hand.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said last night’s event was an important opportunity for the ACT’s Christian constituency to raise issues of concern to Christians and have greater input into the future direction of the territory.

“We appreciate the strong support shown for the event by a wide range of denominations and churches in Canberra. The large turnout despite the bad weather conditions shows once again that Christians are committed to seeing the good governance of the ACT. The event would also have assisted Christians in making an informed vote at the upcoming ACT election.”

Media contact: Glynis Quinlan