Media Release: Wednesday, 14 March, 2007

On the eve of a State election in NSW and with a Federal election looming later this year, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is increasing its organisational strength and strategically tapping into rising community desire for a more value-driven society.

Already one of the fastest growing lobby groups in Australia, with an average of 60-80 new supporters each month, the ACL is expanding its infrastructure in the states, modernising its look, and expanding its reach to appeal to the broad cross-section of the community who have a concern for values and particularly Christian values.

“Faith and politics is increasingly becoming of interest in Australia. Ever since the last election the importance of the Christian vote has been emphasised and there is no doubt that it is set to be a major factor in 2007,” ACL managing director Jim Wallace said today.

“Too many minority groups seem to be having a disproportionate influence on the shaping of our society, while Australia’s Christian values and heritage have too often been put to one side. However there appears to be a growing desire for this situation to change and a clear need for a voice into government that represents those 68%* of Australians who identify themselves as Christians,” he said.

ACL’s refreshed brand includes a new logo designed to have greater appeal for young people and a strong core promise, revealed in a new tagline, ‘voice for values’. As part of ACL’s expansion, new staff have been appointed to its national and Victorian offices, with recruitment also underway for a West Australian chief-of-staff.

The recruitment of a PR Manager, and increased staff time for the Senior Researcher at the National Office in Canberra, have allowed the span of issues addressed by ACL to be expanded, thus ensuring a more equal treatment of moral and social justice issues.

“In 2006 our lobbying ranged from the issues of climate change, poverty and refugees, to those of prostitution, same-sex unions and film classification standards. Our work will continue to show this balance of interests,” Mr Wallace said.

Mr Wallace said the brand refresh was partly based on qualitative independent research carried out for ACL last year.

The research included focus groups with young Christian adults (aged 18-30) in Melbourne and Canberra, and in-depth interviews with politicians, media representatives, church pastors, and Christian business people.

In part, the research pointed to the view that, although minorities sometimes have the loudest voices in society, in reality the majority of people feel a strong affinity with Australia’s Christian heritage and to a large extent share Christian values.

In terms of young Christian adults, the research showed that issues of Christian heritage were lower in their priorities than addressing some of the more pressing issues such as poverty, climate change and the spiritual void in public and personal life. They saw an organisation such as ACL as useful in helping them engage public policy in these areas.

ACL began in 1996 and is a non-denominational, non-partisan lobby group representing a broad constituency of Christian supporters. It has part or full-time staff in all Australian States and Territories except for South Australia and operates at Federal, State and Local Government levels. ACL’s vision is to see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed, do business, and relate as a community.

*2001 ABS Census

Contact: Glynis Quinlan