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Pages tagged "democracy"
Hansard of marriage debate in South Australia now available online
· July 31, 2013 10:00 AM
The Hansard of last week's debate on a same-sex marriage bill in the South Australian parliament is now available to read online.
The private members' bill for state-based same-sex marriage, introduced by Member for Port Adelaide Dr Susan Close, was defeated in the House of Assembly on Thursday “on the voices”, no division having been called. Thirteen members spoke against the bill, whilst only five members spoke supporting it.
Member for Finniss, Mr Michael Pengilly, commented on the nature of the marriage debate, saying "I do not believe that there is a fair and equitable debate going on regarding this matter. We seem to be inundated with those who wish for same-sex marriage to be put into legislation and there seems to be an overwhelming campaign by the media to try to orchestrate that. At the end of the day, the media do not get a vote in this chamber, nor do they get a vote in the federal chamber, or any other state for that matter".
Mr Pengilly went on to say "I personally would never support two people of the same sex having a union that is called a marriage. I have no problem with the union, but I would not support it being called a marriage. I have very strong views on this. Of the three issues before this parliament today—that is, euthanasia, prostitution and this—this is the one I am most opposed to, absolutely, because I think the family is the base of our community. It has been the base of our lives, and I think this is a real challenge to that".
Mr Martin Hamilton Smith, Member for Waite, urged Christians to be more vocal on the issue: "I would appeal to churches of any faith or denomination to be more vocal on this issue. Silence is the enemy. Get out there and express your view as the advocates for the case are expressing their view. There are many people who may not have a religious conviction who would oppose this measure anyway, based on their fundamental core values and their sense of what is right and what is wrong, and what is good for the community going forward".
The importance of the church's participation in the democratic process was highlighted also in Liberal Member for Schubert Ivan Venning's speech. He told the parliament "the Lutheran Church has been my rock, my wisdom and my strength, and I am not going to budge. I have had much good advice and many good arguments put to me by the Lutheran pastors in my electorate and I would not go past that. I thank them all very much for their support and confidence in me to stand here and say, no, we would not support this".
The importance for children to be raised by both a mother and a father was an argument also put forth by opponents of the bill. The Hon Tom Kenyan, Member for Newland, said "We recognise that having children, raising children within this traditional relationship of men and women, has been good for society. It has helped build society. So often, the only thing people have to fall back on is their family. It is what has provided a nourishing environment for so many people to be raised in, so that they go out and do good for those around them".
This is the third time in recent months where legislation to change the definition of marriage has been rejected; a bill in the Senate failed to pass in June, and the Tasmanian parliament rejected a bill in September last year.
to read the full Hansard of the South Australian debate.
ACL welcomes calls for marriage referendum
· June 19, 2013 10:00 AM
Wednesday, 19th June 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has
for a referendum on marriage being defined as between a man and a woman in the constitution.
Acting Managing Director Nick Overton said a circuit breaker was needed to deal with the issue and believed Senator John Madigan’s decision to introduce the bill would help resolve the issue.
“Despite the Australian Parliament’s resounding rejection of redefining marriage last September, proponents continue to use parliamentary time to debate the issue,” he said.
“While this is their right in a democracy, it seems clear that the best way forward is to let the people decide and end the fatigue the electorate feels about this issue,” he said.
Mr Overton said any referendum campaign will allow a fair and balanced debate, with arguments for the unique benefits of marriage to children and society to be brought into the discourse.
Michael Knight on young people's views of government on the Political Spot
· April 02, 2013 11:00 AM
Michael Knight is a director at Peer Power, an organisation which delivers seminars in schools. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he talks about the results of a survey of 5,000 young people which showed that over half of all students surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that democracy really does give the common person power to make significant decisions in how our country is run.
Teenagers care about democracy and government
· March 26, 2013 11:00 AM
Image Source: The Courier-Mail
In light of the upcoming federal election, Michael Knight - "adolescentologist" and founder of Peer Power - raises some interesting points in an article examining the interest of teenagers in the process of democracy and who governs the nation.
His article, entitled 'Teens may seem self-centred but democracy is at their core' was published in the Courier-Mail this month.
Below is a copy of Mr Knight's article.
With the recent announcement of a Federal election, comes the question of whether the incumbent will stay in power or whether the opposition will win a majority and take power.
As someone who spends his days working with teenagers, I wondered whether the average teenager cared about government, its various forms and what role they can play in the whole decision-making process?
After briefly thinking about these two ideas, it would be plausible to conclude that they have little in common - which would be true if one buys into stereotypes and sound bites.
Like a frog in a pot, we can easily lose perspective.
True, Government and politicians can be easy targets for complaints especially given the sound bite news cycle. However before we take another pot shot at our chosen form of government, let us not forget the very form of government we can be so displeased with allows for her citizens to freely express such opinions.
It was the former Prime Minister of England, Churchill who said of democracy, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
Now consider the average teenager in Australia and their attitude to government? Would these two ideas be held in the same sentence?
Given a stereotype of the larrikin Aussie teenager as, laconic, pleasure seeking, narcissists or anarchists I would find myself leaning towards the notion that they could not care less about government – but I would be wrong.
In Peer Power’s 2011 survey of 5,000 teenagers, ‘Adolesecentology’ we asked if they take an interest in how our country is governed? I was surprised to learn that 43% agreed with this statement, and 39% were neutral about this, only 18% disagreed.
Of more interest was that over half of all students surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that democracy really does give the common person power to make significant decisions in how our country is run.
Herein lies the danger of stereotypes and sound bites. They may come over as satisfying evidence to support my disposition or I can use this apparent evidence to ‘join me on the bandwagon of my own uncertainty’ (apologies to Taylor Mali Declarative Sentence).
However, beyond the stereotype and sound bite I discovered one of the colorations within the survey showed that those students who do take an interest in government reported having strong core values and could articulate those values. Hardly laconic, pleasure seeking narcissists or anarchists, but capable, thinking, intelligent and articulate young people forming their worldviews and expressing them.
To my surprise and delight I for one came away from these findings encouraged to know that some teenagers not only care about the governing of our country but are and have formed core values which they are willing to express - a wonderful rite within democracy.
It is true that government at times does make decisions that leave their citizens scratching their head, nor wishing they had ticked the other box on the ballot paper.
It is true that a commonly held stereotype of teenagers is that they may be laconic, pleasure seeking narcissists or anarchists.
But to continue to hold these views would be to lose one’s perspective on what we discovered.
Democracy invites and welcomes the expression of opinions free from the threat of being silenced or imprisoned and many teenagers do care about government within Australia.
Whatever happens in the Federal election, we have a nation where many teenagers care, think and take an interest in how the country is governed.
Dennis Shanahan's speech at the ACL National Conference 2012
· October 23, 2012 11:00 AM
Dennis Shanahan is a journalist and the political editor at The Australian. He spoke at the ACL National Conference 2012 about religious freedom in a secular democracy from a media perspective. Click
Professor Greg Craven’s speech at the ACL National Conference 2012
· October 17, 2012 11:00 AM
Professor Greg Craven is a constitutional law expert and the vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University. He addressed the ACL National Conference 2012, speaking about religious freedom in a secular democracy. Click
Professor Greg Craven on The Political Spot
· October 16, 2012 11:00 AM
Professor Greg Craven is a constitutional law expert and the vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University. He was one of the speakers at the Australian Christian Lobby's National Conference in Canberra, addressing the topic of religious freedom in a secular democracy. Here are some highlights from his speech. Click
to listen to the whole speech.
ACL's Jim Wallace writes in Eternity Newspaper
· September 27, 2012 10:00 AM
ACL's Managing Director Jim Wallace has had an opinion piece published in Eternity Newspaper entitled
Church must decide on whether it can remain silent.
See below for a copy of Mr Wallace's opinion piece.
The successful defence of marriage in the Federal Parliament has been blamed by same-sex activists on a host of reasons with no more substance than their arguments for marriage.
Of course the fact that the Coalition didn’t allow a conscience vote is prime among these, when even in a free vote it would have failed in the Lower House. But the hypocrisy of this claim runs much deeper.
Less than a year ago both major parties were committed to the biological reality that marriage is between a man and a woman. And it was only the very lack of a conscience vote for left union delegates at the Labor National Conference that put this truth under threat.
It is to Labor’s shame that it would be as hypocritical as to hound Abbott for the lack of a conscience vote in the Coalition, when the majority of the Australian Labor National Conference were not given free votes on it themselves.
It was here too that the tactics of demonisation so evident in this campaign, first surfaced. Highly respected Labor figures like Joe de Bryun were heckled and mocked with the skilful orchestration of Rainbow Labor. A tactic same sex activists have repeated to empty the public space of alternate voices here, just as they have overseas.
With a deftness that can only come from well resourced intent, it successfully labelled any opponents with the hate language of “homophobe”, “bigot”, “gay haters” and “propagators of hate”, when all the time they were the only ones in the debate using such language.
It simply defies reason and any sense of impartiality in the media at large, that the church, which comes to its position on marriage from a love of children and the desire to see them grow and flourish in the biological identity which by God’s grace they are created, should be accused of any motivation but love. Certainly at ACL that is our sole motivation, we would not by our very motivation in Christ, use the language of which we have been accused.
But this tactic has worked well for these activists overseas of course. Amsterdam’s Chief Rabbi was sacked and a Spanish Catholic Bishop threatened to be charged with hate speech for simply exercising both their freedom of religion and conscience by voicing their faiths’ positions that marriage is between a man and woman – something that should not surprise a church which knows that the world rejects truth.
However it is the effect on individuals of this tactic which is most shameful, with gay activism increasingly prepared to pursue dissenting voices to their professional and personal ruin.
A Canadian sports commentator was recently fired for tweeting “I believe in the TRUE meaning of marriage”. And in one of the saddest cases, America’s most successful Olympic gymnast Peter Vidmar was stripped of the honour of being chef de mission for the 2012 Olympics team by gay activists vitriol at his prominent support of marriage.
The next round of this debate must be conducted in a way that the merits of opposing views can be put forward without fear of public demonisation.
We must also ask ourselves whether the automatic default to conscience votes on difficult issues is really appropriate. The conscience vote has traditionally been for life issues, but should its use be so generally applied that in the end parties won’t have to tell us where they stand on any moral issues at elections, as if morality is a private matter with no public consequences.
It is the immorality of our legalised prostitution which drives the demand that causes some 800,000 women and girls to be trafficked across borders every year in a tragic trade netting criminals thirty two billion dollars annually. And the greed Christ taught as immoral, that drives an unfunded future debt in the West that has it caught in a spiral of immediate excessive gratification that will not only effect its own future generations, but will increase its blindness to the inexcusable inequality in a world in which those God loves die daily of starvation and preventable illness.
A conscience vote also exposes individual parliamentarians to the direct lobbying of individuals. This would be attractive if the process hadn’t been poisoned by gay activism to mean isolation by fear of public demonisation. This is a combination not helpful to democracy, but toxic for it.
But perhaps the biggest question to come out of this whole debate on marriage is for the church itself.
It must decide whether in a world replete with examples of this unreasonable gay activism using same sex marriage to relentlessly pursue the church and its very freedom to preach the Gospel it can remain silent and cowered. But more importantly, do we have the freedom to deny God’s very purpose for marriage, and if we do, what of Christ do we deny next?
Same-sex marriage defeated 98-42, see how your MP voted
· September 20, 2012 10:00 AM
A bill to change the definition of marriage was defeated by 98-42 in Parliament’s House of Representatives yesterday.
A second bill in the Senate is expected to be voted on tonight and by all accounts will also fail.
The events this week in Canberra should draw a line under what has been a long campaign by activists to overturn the definition of marriage.
There is no doubt the response from so many of you in signing petitions, emailing your MPs and Senators and visiting them has had a tremendous impact in this result.
Participating in democracy is effective. Thank you for your great work over the past couple of years in responding to many calls to act at strategic times during the campaign.
The Coalition under Tony Abbott has shown great integrity in keeping its election promise to vote together against changing the Marriage Act.
Despite making the same election promise, 38 Labor MPs voted for Labor member Stephen Jones’ private members bill to change the definition of marriage.
We have listed how MPs voted below, along with the email addresses of those who voted to uphold marriage. Please thank them.
Now that the vote has been held, it is time to move on and ACL is looking forward to focussing fully on our core business of encouraging the Christian constituency to bring Christian influence into government across a wide range of issues of justice and righteousness.
Marriage has been in trouble for generations, quite independently of gay activists’ attempts to redefine it. We all have a responsibility to promote its good, especially for children, and to help our society again fall in love with this most important of human relationships.
We have also posted a list outlining how the Senate voted to keep the current definition of marriage. The Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 in the Senate was also defeated 41-26 votes. Click
to see the list.
FOR same-sex marriage:
Anthony ALBANESE - Labor
Adam BANDT - Greens
Sharon BIRD - Labor
Gai BRODTMANN - Labor
Mark BUTLER - Labor
Nick CHAMPION - Labor
Darren CHEESEMAN - Labor
Jason CLARE - Labor
Julie COLLINS - Labor
Greg COMBET - Labor
Simon CREAN - Labor
Mark DREYFUS - Labor
Justine ELLIOT - Labor
Kate ELLIS - Labor
Peter GARRETT - Labor
Steve GEORGANAS - Labor
Steve GIBBONS - Labor
Gary GRAY - Labor
Sharon GRIERSON - Labor
Alan GRIFFIN - Labor
Jill HALL - Labor
Harry JENKINS - Labor
Stephen JONES - Labor
Mike KELLY - Labor
Catherine KING - Labor
Kirstin LIVERMORE - Labor
Jenny MACKLIN - Labor
Richard MARLES - Labor
Rob OAKESHOTT - Independent
Melissa PARKE - Labor
Graham PERRETT - Labor
Tanya PLIBERSEK - Labor
Amanda RISHWORTH - Labor
Nicola ROXON - Labor
Janelle SAFFIN - Labor
Bill SHORTEN - Labor
Sid SIDEBOTTOM - Labor
Stephen SMITH - Labor
Laura SMYTH - Labor
Warren SNOWDON - Labor
Craig THOMSON - Independent
Andrew WILKIE - Independent
AGAINST same-sex marriage:
Tony ABBOTT - Liberal
Dick ADAMS - Labor
John ALEXANDER - Liberal
Karen ANDREWS – Liberal
Kevin ANDREWS - Liberal
Robert BALDWIN - Liberal
Bruce BILLSON - Liberal
Bronwyn BISHOP - Liberal
Julie BISHOP - Liberal
Chris BOWEN - Labor
David BRADBURY - Labor
Jamie BRIGGS - Liberal
Russell BROADBENT - Liberal
Scott BUCHHOLZ - Liberal
Anthony BURKE - Labor
Anthony BYRNE - Labor
Darren CHESTER - Nationals
George CHRISTENSEN - Nationals
Steven CIOBO - Liberals
John COBB - Nationals
Mark COULTON - Nationals
Anthony CROOK – Nationals Western Australia
Yvette D’ATH - Labor
Peter DUTTON - Liberal
Craig EMERSON - Labor
Warren ENTSCH - Liberal
Joel FITZGIBBON - Labor
Paul FLETCHER - Liberal
John FORREST – Nationals
Joshua FRYDENBERG - Liberal
Teresa GAMBARO - Liberal
Joanna GASH - Liberal
Julia GILLARD - Labor
Natasha GRIGGS – Country Liberal Party
Luke Hartsuyker - Nationals
Alexander HAWKE - Liberal
Christopher HAYES - Labor
Joseph HOCKEY - Liberal
Gregory HUNT - Liberal
Ed HUSIC - Labor
Stephen IRONS - Liberal
Dennis JENSEN - Liberal
Ewen JONES - Liberal
Robert KATTER - Independent
Michael KEENAN - Liberal
Craig KELLY - Liberal
Andrew LAMING - Liberal
Sussan LEY - Liberal
Geoffrey LYONS - Labor
Ian MACFARLANE - Liberal
Nola MARINO - Liberal
Louise MARKUS - Liberal
Russell MATHESON - Liberal
Robert MCCLELLAND - Labor
Michael MCCORMACK – Nationals
Daryl MELHAM - Labor
Sophie MIRABELLA - Liberal
Scott MORRISON - Liberal
Judith MOYLAN - Liberal
John MURPHY - Labor
Shayne NEUMANN - Labor
Paul NEVILLE - Nationals
Kenneth O’DOWD - Nationals
Kelly O’DWYER - Liberal
Deborah O’NEILL - Labor
Julie OWENS - Labor
Jane PRENTICE - Liberal
Christopher PYNE - Liberal
Rowan RAMSEY - Liberal
Don RANDALL - Liberal
Bernie RIPOLL - Labor
Andrew ROBB - Liberal
Stuart ROBERT - Liberal
Michelle ROWLAND - Labor
Wyatt ROY - Liberal
Kevin RUDD - Labor
Philip RUDDOCK - Liberal
Albert SCHULTZ - Liberal
Bruce SCOTT - Nationals
Patrick SECKER - Liberal
Tony SMITH - Liberal
Alexander SOMLYAY - Liberal
Andrew SOUTHCOTT - Liberal
Sharman STONE - Liberal
Wayne SWAN - Labor
Mike SYMON - Labor
Daniel TEHAN - Liberal
Kelvin THOMSON - Labor
Warren TRUSS - Nationals
Alan TUDGE - Liberal
Malcolm TURNBULL - Liberal
Maria VAMVAKINOU - Labor
Albertus VAN MANEN - Liberal
Ross VASTA – Liberal
Malcolm WASHER - Liberal
Antony WINDSOR - Independent
Kenneth WYATT - Liberal
Antonio ZAPPIA - Labor
Did not vote
Anna BURKE – Labor (Deputy Speaker - could not vote)
Michael DANBY – Labor
Laurie FERGUSON – Labor (on business overseas)
Martin FERGUSON – Labor
Barry HAASE – Liberal (on business overseas)
Andrew LEIGH – Labor (on paternity leave)
Rob MITCHELL – Labor
Brendon O’CONNOR – Labor (compassionate leave)
Luke SIMPKINS – Liberal
Peter SLIPPER – Independent
MR: ACT religious vilification laws to stifle religious freedom
· August 14, 2012 10:00 AM
Tuesday, 14th August, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed concern at the ACT Government’s intent in introducing religious vilification legislation in the Assembly.
ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said religious vilification legislation was an overreaction to an isolated incident that would stifle religious freedom rather than enhance it.
“The experience of the ‘two Dannies’ case under Victorian religious vilification legislation shows that rather than protecting religious freedom, such laws have a detrimental effect on the ability of people to act in accordance with their conscience,” Mr Wallace said.
“The Victorian experience showed that religious vilification laws diminish social cohesion and lead to expensive and acrimonious legal processes.
“Religious vilification legislation also had a suppressing effect on free speech, with the threat of legal action and tribunal hearings causing people to step back from important public discussion,” he said.
“We hold very strong reservations for religious freedom and free speech under the proposed ACT legislation.”
Mr Wallace said that ACL supported the freedom of people of all faiths and none to express their views in the public square without the threat of legal action, which is necessary for the proper functioning of a democracy.
Mr Wallace said the government should at least wait until the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council had reviewed the Discrimination Act, including a thorough public consultation process, before moving on such a contentious policy issue.
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