Help transform Australia with God’s truth
Religious Discrimination Bill update
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Help transform Australia with God’s truth
Help transform Australia with God’s truth
Religious Discrimination Bill update
Pages tagged "community"
ABSENT film now screening in your state
· June 11, 2013 10:00 AM
is a documentary by award-winning journalist and director Justin Hunt, about the impact of fathers on children and society. It has won six international awards.
The documentary is now being released in Australia, and you are invited to attend a screening of it in your state this month.
The film explores the powerful effects of fathers on their children's lives and shows the importance of love, respect and acceptance desperately needed for young men and women to grow up emotionally healthy.
includes interviews with social experts like John Eldridge and Richard Rohr. There are also interviews with James Hetfield of the band Metallica, and boxing world champion Johnny Tapia.
Director Justin Hunt spoke recently to ACL's Katherine Spackman about the documentary. Listen to the interview
to access a list of screening dates and times in a city near you.
Be sure to watch the trailer above, and visit the
for more information.
Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen speech to ACL event
· May 29, 2013 10:00 AM
Earlier this year the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, gave a speech to an Australian Christian Lobby event. His speech was an encouragement to the public benefit churches provide and relevant to the challenges in Australia.
When I was a little boy I asked my Father which party he voted for. ‘I vote Liberal’, he told me, ‘because I own and run my own business.’ So he did. It was a two-man printing business in Bondi Junction. And he was President of his local branch of the Liberal Party at one time.
At the same time, his cousin Harry Jensen, belonged to the Labor Party and was a long term member of the Legislative Assembly, Lord Mayor and a Minister of the Crown. I never asked Harry why he was in the Labor party, but my guess is that it was his early days as a union member and official which was decisive. He was Roman Catholic; my father was Anglican.
Both men lost their fathers when they were very young and both belonged to large families which had to struggle, not least in the Depression. But I know how much they admired each other and I know how proud my father was that Harry was his cousin.
I may be romanticising, but perhaps you could say that Harry represented that central Labor instinct in which people bonded together in order to help each other. And you could say that my father was giving voice to that central Liberal instinct in which the sturdy individual took responsibility for himself and for others. Both were men of the community; both were men who served; both were men of integrity; both were churchmen.
And it was all a very long time ago, in a different world.
I do not say that these central moral tenets of either party are dead and buried. Not so. Sometimes they are twisted and corrupted and exploited. Sometimes it is possible to look back and find deep fault with the way they were acted on. But the principles of both parties can be found in some at least of those who serve and have a vision for the Australian community which is built on truth, justice and compassion.
But there is another impetus in public life which transcends party and calls itself progressive. This, too, at its best, is deeply moral, although whether it has the same commitment to community and the same values, is a different matter. The prevailing impetus of so-called progressive thought is individual autonomy, demanding equality as the touchstone of public policy and discrimination as the sin to be fought to the end. It is secularist in temper. It may be an entirely unintended consequence that when the progressive voice is given weight, denominational churches for whom the individualist philosophy is anathema, feel beleaguered and threatened, as though the intention is to purge the nation of many of the moral positions which have stemmed by tradition from the teaching of the Bible and the churches. It is as though such progressives are still fighting the French Revolution.
The evils to be addressed are prohibitions on sexual behaviour, euthanasia, abortion, pornography, Sunday trading and the like and the freedoms to be defended are those such as divorce, gambling and alcohol distribution. In the hands of the socialist progressives, the paradox is that voluntary societies are strangled with red tape. In the hands of the capitalist progressives, choice and freedom is paradoxically granted in ways which burden families and inhibit community.
The Marxist vision is the collective; the progressivist vision is of the autonomous self-directed individual; the Christian vision is of the individual in community. Human identity and purpose is found in relationships with others; pre-eminently in stable and loving family life. As a Christian, I have always instinctively been committed to the idea that our nation will best be served, not by government moving into the space left by the shrinking and disintegrating family, let alone by redefining the family, but by supporting families and providing whatever context they can best prosper. It is the mediating institutions such as the family, but also voluntary organisations, professional associations, clubs, schools, hospitals and the like which best safeguard our liberties and enrich our lives. True community is set of many interconnecting relationships of which one is government, not a simple entity ruled by an over-mighty state.
That, of course is not our current situation, although the decline in volunteerism, the assault on marriage and the revolution in communication technology may be opening us to that possibility. It is not our current situation very much because the denominational churches have been so active, and continue to be, in massive educational and charitable good works. The schools, universities, aged care facilities, hospitals, advocacy and other charitable works done by the churches are part of the very sinews of our society. Australia would be unimaginable and unmanageable without all that the denominations have done and are doing. Christianity is not a scratch on the surface soil of Australian history – it is ploughed into the very ground itself.
Please notice the following key points:
First, all this is inspired by Jesus Christ in foundation and in delivery. It is done in his name and in accord with his teaching, death and resurrection.
Second, the manner in which this work is done – and its cost - is not easily replicable by state organisations. These are works which stem from faith, hope and love and inspire faith, hope and love.
Third, all this yields much of the indispensable social capital which makes for community and creates the nation of which we are part.
Fourth, the suburban local churches themselves play a key role in providing this social capital. On the whole, Christians are outstandingly generous with time and money; they care for one another; they care for others outside their own ranks; they work together to do good works and to do them in a compassionate way.
Fifth, the teaching of the Bible as disseminated by the churches gives faith, hope and love and it goes towards sustaining the family life which every wise person knows is essential to the well being of humans, communities and nations. The Christian teaching on repentance and forgiveness, for example helps provide the healthy heart of family. The current spurious plea for so-called marriage equality is an assault on the family and needs to be resisted, as the Bible teaches us.
The State has always recognised and embraced the work of charities and religion. I believe that many members of parliament know that the local churches in their electorate are vital to social health and social capital. I believe that they also know that other agencies which deliver that capital – sporting clubs, interest groups, even branches of the political parties – are struggling to sustain community. I also believe that many of them value the faithful prayer support they receive from local churches and where appropriate the pastoral care shown to them by ministers and people. The job of a parliamentarian is lonely, difficult and demanding. Christians should believe in its importance, offer to do it themselves, honour those who fulfil the role, expect the highest standards from them and minister the gospel of God’s grace when they fail.
I define advocacy by using the Biblical phrase, ‘speaking the truth in love’.
I was taught by two cousins, Harry and Arthur Jensen, men who were on different sides of politics, that public service was an authentic act of love for neighbour, stemming from a desire to see community flourish. I do not think that the vision and impetus which inspired them has died, but I think it is threatened.
The noise created by those who so threaten is formidable. Many Christians feel intimidated by it, or simply feel that we have no right to take part in the debates which people label secular. It has been put to me that our current attempts to take part in debates about marriage for example are negative rather than positive and doing damage to the gospel for which we stand. It is suggested by some that it is only the gospel which we should be speaking about and that we have no place in speaking publicly or privately to the community as a whole and our elected representatives in particular. They also think that we are wrong to defend the traditional rights we have enjoyed, rights such as who we employ and what we say.
I understand this point of view. Certainly Christian advocates should delineate the connection between what we are saying and the Christian gospel. But I also believe that Biblical teaching makes sense of the reality of the world and will be found to work. Certainly, too, we should speak to the positive, although it is difficult to attack social evils such as gambling and abortion in the positive. I have never known the media to do it, for example. In the end, we have to see however that the Christian gospel is itself transformative because it is both positive and negative and that when we affirm it is only of value because we also deny. The Christian message is not for private and personal consumption only. It has radical social implications arising from its insistence on faith, hope and love and we fail our community and ourselves if we draw back into the ghetto of privatised religion. Silence is not love of neighbour.
Australia is a big country, the churches get on with their local business, people feel intimidated when they wish to advocate and impotent when they see cherished and fruitful Christian values under attack. The censorship exhibited by libertarians is frightful to behold. Yet, the Christian message matters. Let us defend it and promote it; let us defend our right to promote it, as for the good in public life.
I believe that the next decade will see the contest quicken. It will be between an enthusiastic secularism, activated by a wowseristic morality, narrowly based on individualism and over excited by a false idea of equality, and Christian community virtues and values. We will continue to see attacks on the teaching of the churches and some of the community rights which we enjoy now.
Silence, passivity and inactivity are not options.
ACL Tasmania Conference 2013
· March 28, 2013 11:00 AM
The theme of the
ACL Tasmania Conference 2013
What should we expect from our leaders?
There is a gaping hole in confidence and trust in leadership integrity today. Whether it be in politics, sport, business or media - and sadly even sometimes in the church -we appear to have an epidemic of poor leadership and role modelling. King Solomon wrote around 3000 years ago...
When just men rule, the people rejoice
If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.
Leaders are influencers and therefore have a huge impact on those they lead and therefore society as a whole. Shouldn’t we therefore have high expectations of our leaders? Our three speakers are proven leaders of integrity who together share a wealth of experience – in politics, business, military, church and community and aim to raise the bar on leadership in our country. We invite you to come along and learn how to be part of the solution to Australia’s leadership deficit.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Time: Registration from 6.30pm. Conference runs from
$30 per person
, includes supper
Tailrace Centre, 1 Waterfront Drive Riverside
The confirmed speaking lineup includes
, former Deputy Prime Minister
Jim Wallace AM
, ACL Managing Director
, Chairman Vos Family Office and Vos Construction & Joinery Pty Ltd
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
WA Director Letter to Supporters - February 2013
· February 11, 2013 11:00 AM
The Western Australia Director, Rhys Vallance, letter to supporters in the state is now available online.
The vision of the Australian Christian Lobby is to see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed, do business and relate to each other as a community.
The upcoming state election is an important opportunity to make sure Christians values can affect government. By now you should have received information about the ‘Make it Count’ leaders’ address from Premier Colin Barnett and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan on Tuesday, 26th February at Mount Pleasant Baptist Community College at 7.30pm. We hope you can make it.
to continue reading.
Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 - Liberals move for a general exception for faith-based schools
· December 12, 2012 11:00 AM
about proposed Federal Anti-Discrimination legislation have echoed some of the concerns surrounding a bill before the Tasmanian Parliament to amend its Anti-Discrimination Act.
The two major area’s ACL has concerns with relate to:
1. Extending the “offence to offend” component of the current Act to encompass pretty much any characteristic e.g. age, political affiliation, sexual orientation etc. Currently such terminology is limited to 7 gender specific attributes linked to sexual harassment prohibition.
2. Changes to exemptions for faith-based schools that would threaten the ability of religious schools to maintain their ethos through selective enrolment. The suggested changes would allow schools to apply for an exception if the school was at capacity on a case-by-case basis. Such requirements, we believe, are onerous and not applicable to the majority of faith-based schools who are not fully enrolled.
ACL has been lobbying for the “offence to offend” component of the current Act to be unchanged and the school exemption clause to be a general one i.e. just as single-sex schools can positively discriminate in selecting students of one sex, schools which are set up to serve a particular faith community must be allowed to uphold the purpose and intent of their schools by selecting students of a particular faith, should they choose to do so.
In November the school exemption portion of the amendment bill was voted down (by the Liberals and Greens - for very different reasons) in the lower house while the “offence to offend” changes were passed. The Upper House will debate the bill early in 2013.
The Liberal Party has been very supportive of both of our positions on these proposed changes – particularly on the school exemption question. They agreed that the proposed exemption was not the best option for any of the faith-based or independent schools in Tasmania and would have actually been worse than the current situation for many of those schools (removing the current ability for all schools to apply for an exemption for a defined period).
The Liberals support a general exception for all faith-based schools (removing the need to apply for an exemption) – as currently exists in every other state and will move for the general exception to be made a part of this Bill when debate begins in the Upper House next year.
MR: ACL welcomes increased spending on the needy in Tas
· December 11, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has today welcomed an announcement by the Tasmanian government that it will invest more money into child protection, corrections and the National Disability Scheme (NDS).
The news came on the back of the unveiling of a stimulus package designed to create more jobs and boost the economy.
It included plans to increase spending on child protective services by nearly $36 million and $10 million for corrective services over the next four years. It also promised $6 million towards the NDS.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown has commended the government for its commitment to support the vulnerable and needy.
“We applaud the state government in channeling money to some of the community’s most needy - especially children.
“We have been particularly concerned with the past cuts to child protection on top of significant increases in the number of children in out of home care,” he said.
Mr Brown said that although it is a tough financial environment we must continue to ensure the most vulnerable in our community are prioritised.
“There are many sectors working with the most vulnerable who could do with extra help but this is a step in the right direction,” he said.
MR: Removal of ATM’s from gaming venues a win for problem gamblers
· December 03, 2012 11:00 AM
Removal of ATM’s from gaming venues a win for problem gamblers
The recent drop in poker machine spending in Victoria is a win for problem gamblers and their families and should inspire further reform, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
The Victorian government in July this year banned ATMs from the State’s 511 poker machine venues. As a result there has been a significant drop in poker machine spending of 6.7 per cent or $62 million since the initiative.
ACL’s Victorian Director Dan Flynn said this is a win for victims of problem gambling and that further reforms such as $1 bets or mandatory pre-commitment should be pursued.
“Church and community groups – who all too often have to pick up the broken lives and families damaged by problem gambling – will welcome the news of successful gambling reform in Victoria, which includes a ban on poker machine headphones and rules out the possibility of a second casino,” Mr Flynn said.
“The reduction in gambling expenditure will make a dint in the cost to the state of $1.5 billion and $2.1 billion respectively in economic and social costs as estimated by the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission,” Mr Flynn said.
The ban on ATMs in gambling venues was announced in March 2008 by the then ALP Victorian government, effective from July 2012.
- ends -
MR: Pokie reform bill should be just the beginning
· November 29, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Thursday, November 29, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed tonight’s passing of legislation putting modest curbs on harmful poker machines.
Managing Director Jim Wallace said ACL hoped today’s reforms would be just the beginning of meaningful reform to stop the harm of poker machines to people suffering from addiction to them.
“While the reforms are modest, it is significant that the Parliament has recognised the damage poker machines do to our community.
“It is disappointing that the Government reneged on its promise to Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilke for more meaningful reform, as integrity in public life is paramount.
“It is also disappointing that the Opposition opposed this legislation.”
Mr Wallace said it was important that the major parties were able to stand up to the vested interests of the industry which profited from problem gamblers and State Governments which were addicted to taxation revenue from poker machines.
$12 billion goes into 200,000 poker machines each year, half of which are in New South Wales. $5 billion of this comes out of the pockets of problem gamblers.
The reforms force owners to make machines ready for mandatory pre-commitment in the future, limit withdrawals from ATMs in gaming venues (excluding casinos) to $250 and mandate warnings on machines to gamblers.
Dan Flynn writes in Online Opinion on abortion and Saturday's March for the Babies
· October 14, 2012 11:00 AM
ACL's Victorian Director Dan Flynn has had an opinion piece published in Online Opinion entitled
Not marching for baby fish.
The March for the Babies event held in Melbourne over the weekend was a visual demonstration that Victoria's abortion laws are out of step with community sentiment - there was a huge turnout of almost 4,000 people who marched for the right to life of every child.
You can read Mr Flynn's article via the link above, or see below for a copy.
Thousands of Victorians marched through Melbourne's CBD on Saturday. Why? Who needs their protection?
This month snapper commence their annual migration into Port Philip Bay. These fish are highly prized by recreational anglers and in accordance with sustainable fisheries priorities Fisheries Officers will enforce size limits to protect juvenile fish.
If you are caught taking or being in possession of an undersized snapper it will be returned to the water and you can expect an infringement notice. If your offending involves numerous undersized fish, they will be returned to the water and you can expect to be charged, face court and be fined or worse. Something in a previous life I was employed to ensure.
Tragically, unborn babies in Victoria are not afforded the same protection as our undersized fish.
In 2007, the then Premier John Brumby announced that Victoria's abortion laws were "out of step with community sentiment" and he commenced a process that lead to the liberalisation of abortion law.
The Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 now provides that abortion may be performed by a medical practitioner up to twenty four weeks without reference to any criteria. Abortion after twenty four weeks and up until the moment of birth, can be performed after confirmation by any two medical practitioners that the abortion is appropriate, having regard to all relevant medical circumstances and the women's current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances.
These provisions have created an environment of abortion on request. It is estimated, based on Medicare statistics that approximately 20,000 abortions occur in Victoria each year.
The 2009 Annual Report of the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM) released in June 2012 reveals that from a total of 410 post twenty week abortions, 210 were performed on babies without physical defects, including ten undertaken after twenty eight weeks. Children at this stage of gestation are certainly capable of surviving outside the womb.
The 2010 report of CCOPMM revealed 345 late-term babies were killed in 2007 and that fifty four of them were still alive after the abortion procedure.
This lead then MLC Peter Kavanagh to try to set up an investigation into the cases of the fifty four babies who survived their abortion and were subsequently left to die. The questions he wanted answered related to what efforts were made to ensure those children had the best possible healthcare and opportunity to live. The motion was defeated. Mr Kavanagh was described in Parliament as "disgusting" for even raising the issue.
However, when the federal Parliamentary Group on Population and Development told a Senate Inquiry in 2008 that public funding of abortion was needed because the birth of babies with disabilities would be a burden on the budget, it is hard to expect much sympathy for the situation of the unborn in certain sections of our parliaments.
Fortunately for those who do not understand the importance and relevance of this issue a documentary will be released next month entitled "The Voice of John". This film will discuss the reality of babies born alive after abortions. In The Voice of John the humanity of the unborn will be made real -"one small voice will speak for millions."
Public sentiment is moving away from abortion as the answer to unexpected and initially unwanted pregnancies or crisis pregnancies as they're called. Financial support, medical treatment, accommodation and care are now commonly being identified as better solutions.
Fuller analysis of why women have abortions may uncover options that make provision for mother and child to co-exist and prosper.
In submissions to a Victorian Parliamentary review of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights in July 2011, the Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart and the bishops of Ballarat and Sale, argued that the Charter gave "inadequate protection for the right to life, including the right to life of the child before birth".
This deep concern of the Church for the unborn was reflected again in a speech by Archbishop Dr Peter Jensen last week, when he said: "What sort of society is it that kills 100,000 children in the womb each year?"
The estimated 3,500 Victorians who marched through the Melbourne CBD on Saturday to marked the 4th anniversary of the introduction of the Abortion Law Reform Act called for a change of culture and legislation. They marched for numerous reasons, including compassion for the women whose children have been aborted; women who have been failed by society in the provision of practical and emotional assistance.
The March was a peaceful witness to life and a visual demonstration that Victoria's abortion laws are "out of step with community sentiment", that surely values the life of a child over a fish.
The Community Placement Network
· September 19, 2012 10:00 AM
The Community Placement Network (CPN) is an initiative of the Australian Homestay Network (AHN), offering transitional accommodation (six weeks only) to eligible asylum seekers exiting immigration detention on a Bridging visa. This is a temporary visa, granted by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, allowing a person to live in the Australian community while they await resolution of their immigration status. Asylum seekers who arrive unauthorised by air or sea may be granted a Bridging visa while their immigration case is resolved.
Since its establishment on 8 May 2012, CPN has accommodated over 220 eligible clients nationally.
Hosts have given very positive feedback on their experience. In particular, the opportunity to learn about respective cultures and the rewarding experience of assisting asylum seekers with community orientation and establishing themselves in the community.
Many hosts have been able to assist their guests with the search for medium term accommodation, access to free English classes, employment and voluntary work.
Building on its initial success, the CPN will expand its host pool on a national basis including greater regional CPN capacity.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a CPN host you may wish to visit the
to find out more information and how to apply.
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