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Pages tagged "federal"
Positive policy to engage older Australians in the community
· July 22, 2010 10:00 AM
Small policy announcements often go unheard in busy election campaigns, but it is sometimes the simple policies that are the most positive. Lead Family First candidate for Queensland Wendy Francis has announced an innovative policy to encourage older Australians to remain strongly engaged with the community.
In a media release, Mrs Francis says that “Australia has an ageing population whose wealth of information and skills is currently going to waste”. She proposes the introduction of a voluntary mentoring system, where a pensioner or self-funded retiree would be paid $100 for 4 hours work per week assisting in schools, community groups or the corporate world.
The proposed policy not only seeks to retain in workplaces the knowledge of retirees, but also aims to tackle the isolation that many older Australians routinely experience. This can only be a good thing, as extended families are often dispersed over long distances.
to find out more about the policy. Family First’s policy on ‘Older Australians, aged care and carers can be found
Keeping Christian concerns to the fore as Australia goes to the polls
· July 22, 2010 10:00 AM
Australians are off to the polls on August 21 and already the first shots have been fired in what will be a short – but no doubt hectic – election campaign.
Some of the issues to gain most attention on the secular media radar during the first days of the election campaign have been population size, Work Choices, asylum seekers and education.
In the countdown to the election ACL will be aiming to assist Christians to cast a vote for the candidate/party of their choice who best reflects Christian values and concerns. It is vital that, as a constituency, we engage in the election campaign and take a close interest in who will represent us in the next Federal Parliament.
There will no doubt be a wide range of issues of interest or concern for Christians ranging from moral and life issues through to social justice issues.
The ACL has put 24 questions on these issues to all the political parties contesting the election and hope to have responses back shortly. We will publish the responses on our
website within the next couple of weeks, along with a host of other election resources.
A number of issues are already shaping up as key ones for Christians to seek commitments on in this particular election, including:
The school chaplaincy program and whether Labor will commit to funding it beyond 2011. (Please click
for more details).
ISP filtering – and whether the Coalition will commit to support this important initiative to help safeguard children online. The Greens oppose it.
Gay marriage – the Prime Minister has stated that marriage is between a man and a woman but we want to ensure this commitment lasts beyond the next ALP National Conference in two years. The Coalition is firm on this but the Greens support gay marriage.
The classification system – it is in urgent need of an overhaul, with far better standards being enforced. While there is sympathy for this in the major parties we need more commitments.
Refugees – and the need to effectively balance border control initiatives with the humane treatment of asylum seekers.
We encourage you to be active in ensuring you make an informed vote at the upcoming election and in highlighting with local candidates the issues of most concern to you. We will inform you as the campaign progresses of the policies of parties and your opportunities to participate in the election.
ACL welcomes youth violence inquiry’s call for classification review
· July 16, 2010 10:00 AM
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today backed the call of a Federal Parliamentary inquiry into youth violence for a review of film and TV classification categories, saying the classification system is out-of-touch with community standards and needs a major overhaul.
ACL Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton welcomed the Standing Committee on Family, Community, Housing and Youth’s recognition of the contribution violence in the media is making to youth violence, although he said it was disappointing that greater inroads weren’t made by the inquiry into tackling the negative effects of drugs and alcohol on Australia’s young people.
“The committee’s recommendation on classification issues adds to the rising tide of concern over Australia’s classification system, which has effectively become a toothless tiger in safeguarding the community from an onslaught of sex and violence on our television screens, in our films, and in video games.
“There are very serious concerns over the effect the media environment is having in terms of sexualising young people and contributing to growing levels of youth violence,” Mr Shelton said.
“However we are well past the stage of tinkering around the edges. The classification system is broken and is in need of a complete overhaul.
“Stronger government regulation should be a priority – putting an end to a situation where the commercial interests of the media industry are being put ahead of the best interests of children.”
Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979.
‘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.”
No court appeal on 'Salo' means Government must act to fix classification system
· June 10, 2010 10:00 AM
ACL has renewed its calls for an urgent overhaul of film and literature classification laws following advice that the Rudd Government will not appeal the Classification Review Board’s decision to green light a film portraying the sexual abuse of minors.
ACL understands the Government has received legal advice that an appeal to the Federal Court against the Review Board’s decision to clear the film Salo for DVD release would be unlikely to succeed.
“We find it difficult to understand why this would be the case. The Government now needs to act urgently to restore the trust of Australians in our classification laws,” ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said in a media release issued today.
“The faceless men and women of the Classification Review Board have set a new low bar when it comes to the protection of children and it is up to the Government to act, now that encouragement has been given for the boundaries to be pushed further under the guise of ‘artistic merit’.” Please click
to read the media release.
Parental leave scheme passes Lower House
· June 03, 2010 10:00 AM
The Federal Government’s paid parental leave scheme bill passed the Lower House this week. The scheme, which is due to begin on 1 January 2011, will provide 18 weeks paid leave for working mothers at the minimum wage of $543 a week, subject to eligibility. Mothers who don’t qualify for the payment can still access the $5000 baby bonus, but will be $2000 worse off under the scheme.
ACL is supportive of paid parental leave because it gives working mothers an opportunity to spend more time bonding with their new-born children. However, every mother should be paid equally in recognition of the financial sacrifices all families make to raise children, and because we should value both the paid and unpaid work of women. Women who decide to stay home to raise their children should not be financially disadvantaged.
The Opposition has stated its intention to support the bill in the Senate but would make the scheme even more discriminatory against women who work exclusively in the home by offering up to $75,000 to working mothers to take six months away from paid work, whilst offering stay-at-home mums the baby bonus alone.
The Greens have a position very similar to that of the Opposition, but Family First Senator Steve Fielding is likely to push the bill in the opposite direction when it comes before the Senate shortly. He is currently running a petition calling on the Government to remove the provisions from the bill which are discriminatory against stay-at-home mothers. Click
to support the petition.
The Australian columnist Angela Shanahan recently wrote an excellent opinion piece arguing that the Government’s paid parental leave scheme creates two classes of mothers. She says that the scheme doesn’t offer women real family choices, but induces them to stay in the workforce with the promise of greater financial assistance. To read the article click
From ACL’s vantage point it appears that much of the debate about the paid parental scheme has focused on purely economic considerations, rather than on honouring the contribution that women make, whether that be in the workplace or in the home. A non-discriminatory payment to all new mothers would value all women equally and better address the social aspects of the debate.
At the time of writing, the Senate Community Affairs Committee was due to publish its report into the paid parental leave scheme.
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