For Release: Friday, August 10, 2007

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today welcomed initiatives from Australia’s two major political parties to help safeguard families.

Speaking at last night’s ‘Federal election 2007: Make it Count’ event organised by the ACL, both Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd made announcements which will benefit families.

Mr Howard last night announced plans to upgrade protection for families from Internet pornography, violence and sexual predators. This includes free Internet filters, increased resources for Federal Police to expand checks on Internet chat rooms to detect criminal behaviour, and a partnering with companies to provide the option of a filtered Internet service for those who prefer this.

“We welcome the Government’s move to protect families in this way and their implicit acknowledgement of the harm which pornography causes,” ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said today. “Pornography exploits women, damages marriages and can contribute to sexual abuse. In due course we hope to see the Federal, State and Territory Governments take a combined national approach to protecting the Australian population from this serious problem.”

Mr Rudd told last night’s gathering that a Labor Government would have a family impact statement prepared for every submission to Cabinet. They would also assist Christian refugees fleeing Iraq by initiating a multilateral conference on how to deal with the needs of refugee communities in Syria, Jordan and beyond.

“We welcome this commitment to family impact statements and also to assisting Christians being persecuted in Iraq. There are many Christian minorities experiencing severe persecution in a range of countries and it would be good to see this approach also extended to other areas of the world,” Mr Wallace said.

Last night around 80-100,000 people from 880 churches gathered at 702 venues to watch a live web-cast of Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd addressing church leaders and answering questions. Mr Wallace said the ACL appreciated the strong support shown for the 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 right across Australia to being a positive influence on our government and community.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan