Media Release: Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today welcomed the strong personal support for families expressed by Federal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull in his keynote address to the ACL National Conference in Canberra.

“The conference welcomed Mr Turnbull’s personal passion for families, marriage and children, and we look forward to seeing that passion reflected in Coalition policy developed over time under his leadership,” ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said.

In his address to the conference at the ANU’s University House, Mr Turnbull said that there was no doubt that Australia, or any nation, is stronger if people are legally married and if more children are brought up by a father and a mother.

He said that whether you look at it from a social, a spiritual, a cultural or a “hardheaded” economic point of view, we all need strong families. Mr Turnbull added that the Coalition has a passionate commitment to the family and the promotion of the family.

Mr Wallace said that Mr Turnbull’s comments were particularly welcome in the light of research presented by Dr Samantha Callan of the UK, who spoke at the conference about the devastating social costs of family breakdown.

Dr Callan, a co-author of the Breakthrough Britain report, spoke about support for marriage and the family as being the key to social stability and reversing poverty. Among other facts presented, she said that research showed that nearly half of cohabiting parents have split before a child is five. By contrast only one in 12 married couples have split before a child is five.

In going forward, Dr Callan said that we need to synthesise the best of the old with the best of the new aspects of relationships. This means retaining the idea of commitment and adding equity and greater intimacy in relationship.

Other speakers at the conference included former NSW Premier Bob Carr (speaking on what’s wrong with a charter of rights) and Rev Richard Cizik from the USA (speaking on climate change). The conference was sponsored by Christian Super and Compassion Australia.

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan