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Canberra Declaration launched
· July 29, 2010 10:00 AM
In the lead up to the federal election a group of over 20 Christian leaders have drafted The Canberra Declaration – a document which was officially launched on the lawns of Parliament House on Friday July 23.
The Canberra Declaration follows on from the
2009 Manhattan Declaration
2010 Westminster Declaration
. It declares that when Christian values are respected and allowed freedom of expression, not just confined to so-called sacred spaces but in the public arena as well, society is richer and healthier.
The Declaration emphasises three areas that demand particular attention in our contemporary Australian society, namely religious freedom, marriage and the family, and the sanctity of human life. Were we to undermine any one of these values, the social fabric of our nation would be seriously weakened, to our personal and collective detriment.
The full Declaration can be read at:
Already thousands of Christians and Christian organisations – including the ACL – have signed the Canberra Declaration and we encourage you to consider signing it too.
‘2010 Make it Count’ – Prime Minister and Opposition Leader respond to Christian concerns
· June 22, 2010 10:00 AM
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.”
Greens’ policies under Christian spotlight in lead up to Tasmanian election
· March 16, 2010 11:00 AM
For release: March 17, 2010
With polls predicting the Tasmanian Greens will hold the balance of power following this weekend’s election it is important that Christian voters are aware of the party’s policies on issues ranging from euthanasia and same-sex marriage through to gambling, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.
ACL Tasmanian Director Nick Overton said some of the policies being put forward by the Greens would be of great concern to many Christians, while others – such as their anti-gambling policy – would be appreciated.
“Although they are still the only Tasmanian political party not to respond to our questionnaire, the Greens have been clear in the past about their plan to continue to push for euthanasia to be legalised in the next parliament, putting the lives of vulnerable sick and elderly people at risk if they are successful,” Mr Overton said.
“Even though marriage is a Federal Government issue, the Greens have also indicated that they will continue to push the gay marriage barrow – another factor of concern for those who understand the importance of upholding marriage as being between a man and a woman.
“On the more favourable side, the Greens’ plan to rid Tasmania of poker
machines over the next five years would have merit with Christians concerned about the disastrous effects of problem gambling on families.”
Mr Overton said it was important that Christian voters were aware of these policies and very disappointing that the Greens had not replied to the ACL questionnaire, giving Christians the opportunity to scrutinise their written policies on other concerns.
“We have appreciated the fact that a number of Greens’ candidates, including Greens’ Leader Nick McKim have taken the time to attend our Meet Your Candidate Forums and answer questions individually from Christians attending. However these forums obviously have a limited reach and we still don’t have the benefit of receiving Greens’ policies in writing, which thousands of Christians could then read about in detail on our
“I understand that Mr McKim has said he would have liked to have participated in our Make it Count event with the Labor and Liberal leaders last month, but the format for this event has always been restricted to the two main party leaders – in other States and Federally, as well as for last month’s event.”
Mr Overton said that questions put to the political parties – with responses posted on
– ranged from queries about polices on indigenous issues, homelessness, mental health and climate change to abortion, palliative care, religious freedom and prostitution laws.
“Answers to the questionnaire provided by the Labor and Liberal Parties have provided some valuable insights for Christians on their positions on issues of concern. For example both Labor’s and Liberal’s answers on whether they plan to legalise surrogacy for same-sex couples would give no reassurance to Christians concerned about the best interests of children.
“Some good ideas and initiatives have been put forward by both parties on tackling homelessness and their answers regarding the need for comprehensive abortion data collection are also favourable. We also appreciate the clear policy position of the Liberals in saying they are against the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games.”
Mr Overton said that the aim of the Tasmania Votes website is to assist Christians to make a wise and informed vote at the upcoming election after accurately weighing up the different party polices and views on issues of concern to them.
Media Contact: Nick Overton on 0408 850 629; Glynis Quinlan 0408 875 979.
‘Make it Count NT’: Henderson and Mills to address Christian voters
· February 11, 2010 11:00 AM
For Release: July 31, 2008
In what is believed to be a Northern Territory first, the leaders of NT’s two major political parties are to address the Christian community live at a special event in Darwin.
To be held just four days before the election, ‘Make it Count NT’ is expected to draw a large number of Christians from a range of denominations to hear from NT Chief Minister Paul Henderson and NT Opposition Leader Terry Mills.
‘2008 Make it Count NT’ will be hosted by the Northern Territory office of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) at the Mal Nairn Auditorium, Charles Darwin University (Casuarina Campus) from 7.30 pm on Tuesday August 5, with a live webcast to Alice Springs.
Nominated Christian leaders attending the event will also have the opportunity to ask questions of both Mr Henderson and Mr Mills, after their separate addresses. Christians attending a ‘Meet Your Candidate Forum’ to be held on the same night at Alice Springs Baptist Church (corner of Crispe and Brown Streets) will also be able to view a live webcast of the event.
ACL NT Director Lois Fong said the staging of the event follows on from the successful Federal ‘Make it Count’ event held last August, which saw 80,000-100,000 Christians across Australia watch John Howard and Kevin Rudd address Christians through a live webcast.
“This is a unique chance for the Christian community to hear first-hand from the Chief Minister and the Opposition Leader about why they think they should be endorsed to lead our Territory, and to hear their responses to questions from church leaders,” she said.
“We appreciate both the Chief Minister and the Opposition Leader devoting their time to this event in the lead-up to the election. The importance of the Christian vote has come to the fore in recent Federal elections and is likely to also impact the Northern Territory election.
“The Christian community tends to have a broad spectrum of concerns ranging from moral to social justice and family issues. We have an important role in influencing all political parties to develop well-considered policy initiatives which engender an increasingly moral and caring society,” Mrs Fong said. “Many Christians are looking to make an informed vote from a faith perspective, and next Tuesday night’s event should make a vital contribution to this process.”
ALL MEDIA ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND
Media Contact: Lois Fong 0417 200 464 or Glynis Quinlan 0408 875 979
Parties respond to Christian concerns
· August 05, 2008 10:00 AM
For Release: August 6, 2008
The Northern Territory ALP is concerned about legalising R18+ computer games, wants parliament to retain primacy as the voice of the people, and is committed to assessing and expanding the Health and Welfare grant program, according to its answers to a questionnaire released today.
The Country Liberal Party will support moves to tighten ‘artistic merit’ loopholes in Australia’s classification system to protect children, is not philosophically attracted to a bill of rights, and plans to increase funding over time to NT welfare organisations on a case for case basis, according to its responses.
The Australian Christian Lobby’s NT office has put six questions on key issues of concern to Christians to each of the three NT political parties contesting the upcoming election on August 9, as well as to as many Independents who could be contacted in the time available. The questions cover euthanasia, social services, a bill of rights, classification issues, indigenous wellbeing, and the Kaden bill.
Responses from the ALP, the CLP and several Independents have been posted on a section of the ACL website entitled ‘Northern Territory Votes: Want to know what the parties think?’ available by clicking here or going to
. The Australian Greens have not yet responded to the questionnaire but their responses will be added if they choose to do so.
ACL NT Director Lois Fong said that the aim of the questionnaire is to assist Christians to make a wise and informed vote at the upcoming election after accurately weighing up the different party policies on issues of concern to them.
“We welcome the ALP’s commitment to reducing the number of X-rated vendors in the Territory – with pornographic material linked in the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report to the horrifying abuse of children. We also welcome the CLP’s commitment to tightening the classification system’s ‘artistic merit’ loopholes, which have contributed to the exploitation of children,” Mrs Fong said.
“In responding to the questionnaire, the ALP, CLP and several independents have been able to clearly state their policies on issues which sometimes fall below the radar of the mainstream election coverage. We have notified most NT churches and local ACL supporters about the questionnaire responses and hope it will provide them with useful information in considering their vote on election day.”
Last night the ACL hosted a ‘Make it Count NT’ event at Charles Darwin University which saw around 200 Christians from 15 denominations gather to hear from and question Chief Minister Paul Henderson and Opposition Leader Terry Mills. The event was also webcast to a cross-section of Christians meeting at Alice Springs. Mrs Fong said the event provided a wonderful opportunity for the local Christian community to gather together and make known their concerns, just a short time out from the election. It highlighted the strength of the Christian community and
encouraged the two main political leaders to go “on the record” with their stances on issues ranging from euthanasia, education and health to indigenous issues, crime and homelessness.
Media Contact: Lois Fong 0417 200 464 or Glynis Quinlan 0408 875 979
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