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Pages tagged "Labor"
Why Labor's policy will hurt Christian schools
· November 05, 2014 11:00 AM
Freedoms taken for granted are being radically re-shaped and most of us are largely oblivious.
If elected on November 29, Victorian Labor is vowing to strip religious schools and organisations of the freedom to select staff who share their ethos.
This is akin to saying a political party should no longer have the right to employ people who share their political philosophy.
It means human rights bureaucrats and courts would determine the employment policies of religious communities.
This is a breach of the human right of religious freedom.
Even the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees religious freedom and the right of parents to educate their children in the religion of their choice.
Many religious schools and organisations value the freedom to require all staff, not just those with religious roles, to be adherents to their religion.
This helps create the environment that gives the school or organisation its distinctive.
Parents value this in schools because they know that their children will be in an environment where everyone from the gardener to the maths teacher share and manifest the values of the home.
This is a precious freedom to so many people and its application hurts no one else in society.
It is not for a government to take away this freedom.
Freedom of religion is closely linked to freedom of association.
Governments should not be dictating the make up of groups who wish to freely associate unless of course there are national security implications.
Requiring the person answering the phone to be a Muslim is the right of an Islamic school in the same way it is the right of a Christian school.
Already 1500 ACL supporters have
Mr Andrews and Labor candidates urging them to re-think the policy.
If you live in Victoria and have not yet taken action, please do so.
Still on Victorian politics, it was good to hear the federal Attorney General George Brandis say last week he was "unalterably opposed" to the anti-conscience provisions in Victoria's abortion laws.
Victorian and Tasmanian abortion laws compel a medical practitioner to refer a woman for an abortion, even if they are opposed to the taking of human life in this way.
"It is wrong for the state to violate the conscience of a man or a woman," Senator Brandis told a religious freedom conference organised by Freedom for Faith at the University of Queensland Law School last week.
Why politics needs you
· June 26, 2014 10:00 AM
Valedictory speeches give an all-too-rare glimpse of the humanity of our parliamentarians.
If someone is giving one, it means they have either lost an election or have achieved the holy grail of politics – retiring at a time of one’s choosing.
These speeches are often inspirational and nostalgic but always emotional.
The Parliament is like a giant boarding school. When people leave, everyone notices.
Last week I wrote about outgoing Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell’s valedictory speech.
With the Senate changing from July 1, the past week has seen more speeches, mostly by Labor Senators.
Valedictories shine light into the soul of parliamentarians and showcase what is good about our system of government.
Family, staff and comcar drivers are all thanked, sometimes through choking voices and watered eyes.
After 18 years in the Senate, the President John Hogg, also of Queensland, made a statement about his time in politics.
The Labor veteran has stood firm on many issues of concern to the Christian constituency and singled some of these out in his speech.
The difficult issues go to the issue of conscience. The hardest thing that I believe we all as members of parliament deal with is our conscience. We get some major challenges indeed. I look back on some of the issues that I have been asked to think about, vote about and speak about: euthanasia; stem cell research; cloning; RU486; same-sex marriage. My views are not necessarily shared on those issues by every other senator in this place or even some but, having a diversity of views is healthy. When those issues and their like are part of your DNA, you cannot expect people to walk away from their conscience. People—and I do not care what side of politics they are on—who have a view different to me are entitled to it. That is a fundamental of our system
Senator Hogg’s words are a subtle but important appeal not to allow political correctness to marginalise and silence people who have these views.
One Senator whose views are polar opposite to Senator Hogg’s is defeated Labor Senator Louise Pratt from Western Australia.
With her partner, Aram Hosie (who identifies as transgender), in the public gallery, Senator Pratt used her
to promote redefining marriage and the denial of human rights to the unborn.
I support the end of discrimination in the Marriage Act – not because it affects me, although it does affect me, but because equal rights for all Australians has always been a touchstone for me, in all aspects of my political involvement. I can assure you that that will remain the case in the future. More than 65 per cent of Australians agree with me. If this parliament truly reflected the views of those who elect us, marriage equality would be a reality.
“I support the right of women to make their own reproductive choices and not have government make those choices for them – and 80 per cent of Australians agree with me. I have been equally opposed to laws that force women to bear children when they do not want to and laws intended to prevent women from bearing children when they wish to...
Laws were finally changed in Victoria in 2010, finally giving women like me, regardless of their marital status, regardless of the gender of our partners or whether we have partners at all, access to the same legal rights to treatment as married women in this country.
Despite attempts to characterise views such as mine as radical, every piece of research in this country demonstrates that these views are shared by a majority of Australians. They are mainstream views, and it is those who deny them that are the extremists in our country
.” (Emphasis added)
I’m not sure 65 per cent of Australians would agree with same-sex marriage if the debate included discussion about its consequences for children losing a parent.
Senator Pratt and Aram are having a bab
y through assisted reproductive technology.
Also, I doubt 80 per cent of Australians, if properly informed of Victoria’s abortion-to-birth laws, would support those either.
It is disappointing that Senator Pratt thinks marriage between a man and a woman is “extremist”.
Other notable Labor departures from the Senate are New South Wales Senators Ursula Stephens, South Australian Don Farrell and Queenslander Mark Furner.
All have been strong advocates for the poor, indigenous, the unborn and the rights of children to a mum and a dad.
Senator Stephens burst into an Irish folk song at the end of her
, adding poignancy to her departure.
Senator Farrell was influential in convincing former Prime Minister Julia Gillard to hold the line on marriage.
Senator Furner will contest the Queensland State seat of Ferny Grove at the next Queensland election.
movingly of his participation in a Senate inquiry into petrol sniffing in indigenous communities.
“I believe we are responsible for the living standards of the first Australians,” Senator Furner said.
As can be seen from the radically different worldviews on display (and this from within one political party), it is vital that people with Christian values participate in the democratic process.
Senator Hogg was kind enough to give ACL’s Communications Director, Katherine Spackman, an
for the Political Spot in the President’s suite in the Senate this week .
In light of all that is written above, Senator Hogg’s words are a wake-up call to Christians.
“Do not place your faith, hope and trust in people such as myself. We need more than faith, hope and trust. We need your active participation in our democratic processes.”
Outgoing Labor Senator John Hogg reflects on his 18 years in public life
· June 24, 2014 10:00 AM
In one of his last interviews as a parliamentarian, retiring Catholic Labor Senator and President of the Senate John Hogg, speaks to the ACL's Katherine Spackman about his time in politics. His comments are a challenge to Christians as he urges people not to place their faith, hope and trust in parliamentarians. He says parliamentarians need people's active participation in the democratic process to "get out there, speak your mind and shape the policies parties are developing and forming". He says that offers as much support to parliamentarians as other means. The link below is an extended interview of 9 minutes. There is a
of 5 minutes available as well.
ACL Candidate Forums prove popular
· March 11, 2014 11:00 AM
Over the past two weeks ACL has run its trademark Meet Your Candidate Forums in each of the five Tasmanian electorates ahead of this Saturday’s state election.
There was a good turnout of both candidates and constituents averaging 10 candidates per forum and over 70 in the audience listening and asking questions of those seeking to be elected.
Sadly there was a noticeable absence of attendance from current sitting ALP members with only one Labor MP fronting the forums. In contrast both the Liberals and Greens had a strong showing at the events.
Questions put to the candidates were wide-ranging but generally reflected the general concerns in the community – the economy, jobs and education.
Out of all the major social issues that have characterised the last four years, abortion was the one that came up most often regarding recent changes to Tasmania’s abortion laws. Questions specifically targeted candidates’ views on doctors’ freedom of conscience and freedom of speech (right to protest near abortion clinics).
Feedback from both candidates and constituents was positive with all forums highlighting clear distinctions in the candidates but at the same time maintaining respect for the varying views from across the spectrum of those seeking people’s votes.
MR: ACL looks to post-Greens future for Tasmania
· January 16, 2014 11:00 AM
Thursday, January 16th 2014
Labor’s broken election promise on governing with the Greens has been disastrous for Tasmania and voters now had the opportunity to create a post-Greens future for the state, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown has welcomed the announcement today that Labor would split from its power-sharing alliance with the Greens.
Mr Brown said it was an absolute breach of trust for Labor to enter into an alliance with the Greens after the 2010 election and people would rightly be wary of today’s announcement, given how easily the same promise was breached in 2010.
“The decision by former Labor Premier David Bartlett to enter into an alliance despite clearly declaring before the election that he would “never do a deal with the devil” damaged Labor’s credibility and its ability to deliver good government,” he said.
“The state government of the last four years has focused a disproportionate amount of time on repeated attempts at radical social policy reform, due in part to the Greens influence, while the economy continues to suffer.
“This has not gone unnoticed by the electorate which walked away from the Greens at the last federal election. The Greens’ primary vote in Tasmania fell by around nine per cent in both the House of Representatives and senate from the 2010 election results.
“Voters last year indicated the desire for a post-Green era where governments could get on with the business of driving key areas like the economy and jobs unhindered by the Greens anti-industry handbrake and its obsession with redefining marriage.
“The end of the alliance in Tasmania provides Labor with an opportunity to start rebuilding its tarnished credibility. There are a substantial number of swinging voters in the Tasmanian Christian community who are looking for genuine options when it comes to who they vote for in March,” he said.
MR: Poll shows no election mandate for same-sex marriage
· September 14, 2013 10:00 AM
For release: Saturday 14th September 2013
Changing the Marriage Act was a low order issue with voters at last Saturday’s election according to a poll conducted this week for the Australian Christian Lobby.
Just 13 per cent of voters said it was in their top three issues when deciding who to vote for with the issue rating 9
overall out of 13 issues put to 927 respondents.
According to the poll conducted by JWS Research, same-sex marriage made the top three list of just 4pc of Coalition voters. It was not a top three issue for 72pc of Greens and 85pc of Labor voters.
ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the poll confirmed what MPs have been saying for the past three years in Parliament.
“During the many same-sex marriage debates in the last Parliament MPs consistently said same-sex marriage was simply not a priority for people in their electorates. Despite Kevin Rudd and Labor elevating the issue to front and centre of the election campaign, this sentiment has not changed,” Mr Shelton said.
“Same-sex marriage had an extremely high media profile during the election and yet it still failed to register as an important issue for the overwhelming majority of voters.
“The fact that Kevin Rudd made it an election issue and lost so convincingly, and these figures of just 4pc of Coalition voters supporting same sex marriage, mean Tony Abbott must maintain support for man-woman marriage as a party policy,” Mr Shelton said.
The poll also found support for changing the Marriage Act had slipped dramatically. Most polls had shown around 63pc support for same-sex marriage but the JWS poll found just 45pc of people thought the Marriage Act should be changed.
Thirty-eight per cent of people were opposed to law change with 17pc undecided.
“Despite years of high-profile campaigning and the demonising of those speaking up for man-woman marriage, support for changing the Marriage Act appears to be slipping,” Mr Shelton said.
MR: Labor-Green preference deal would damage Labor's senate candidates
· August 14, 2013 10:00 AM
Wednesday 14th August 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby is urging the Labor Party to be on a unity ticket with the Coalition in not giving preferences to the Greens.
ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton welcomed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s announcement to preference Greens candidates last in the lower house and urged Labor to do likewise – particularly in the senate.
“Labor has a choice to woo back the Christian constituency which helped elect Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2007 or choose the Greens which have significantly damaged Labor’s primary vote and brand,” he said.
“Labor's association with the Greens' social agenda during minority government had damaged its standing with many mainstream voters.
“Labor has many Senate candidates who are attractive to Christian voters but a preference deal with the Greens would be a turn-off.
"If Labor preferences help the Greens, particularly in the Senate, it will be difficult for many Christians to support the many ALP Senate candidates who are attractive to Christian voters.
"Greens' influence in Parliament and pursuit of fringe agendas has distracted politics from important issues facing the nation," he said.
Make your pledge to 'finish the race' and halve world poverty by 2015
· February 21, 2013 11:00 AM
Australia was one of the 189 member states of the United Nations that had signed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 to halve world poverty by 2015.
At the last election both Labor and the Coalition had committed to boost foreign aid to 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI) by 2015-2016, yet both parties have backed down on its commitment. The government’s commitment stands at just 0.35 per cent of GNI - well short of what is needed to eradicate poverty and help developing nations implement poverty-reducing policies.
From the beginning ACL has lobbied for government to reach the target as outlined by the MDGs and endorsed Australia's willingness to be more generous to the poor. ACL committed itself to communicating parties' election promises to the Christian constituency, including the
ALP's promise not to cut aid
In the lead up to this year's federal election campaign, the Australian Christian Lobby will be asking major political parties to recommit to the MDG goals and specifically the 0.7 per cent of GNI. Micah Challenge has launched its own campaign to 'Finish the Race' - calling on Australian leaders to 'finish what we started' and do our fair share towards achieving the MDGs and halving global poverty by 2015.
Join with Micah Challenge, churches, and other Christian organisations in speaking out against poverty and injustice, and encourage our leaders to act in fulfilling our commitment to reducing world poverty.
Make a pledge today by visiting
MR: ACL welcomes end of Labor-Greens alliance
· February 19, 2013 11:00 AM
For release: Wednesday, 20th February 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the ending of the formal alliance between federal Labor and the Greens.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said he hoped there would never be another alliance between a mainstream political party and the Greens, which were to the left of politics what One Nation was to the right.
“The Prime Minister herself has said the Greens do not share Australian values,” Mr Wallace said. “And this is evident in the tensions that exist in the party between committed environmentalists and members of the socialist left typified by Senator Rhiannon.”
Nick Overton on the Political Spot
· February 05, 2013 11:00 AM
Nick Overton is the Acting Chief of Staff at the Australian Christian Lobby. He spoke to the ACL's Katherine Spackman about the West Australian election on the 9th of March.
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