14 March 2016
The Australian Christian Lobby has called into question the plebiscite costings released today by international accountancy firm PwC because it lacks objectivity.
An ACL spokesperson said, “PwC is not a neutral organisation in the same-sex marriage debate. The firm is a public supporter of same-sex marriage and of Australian Marriage Equality, who are working on the yes case for the plebiscite.
“Having voiced such strong public support for same-sex marriage, PwC is not an unbiased source of information when it comes to the plebiscite or in efforts to redefine marriage.
“These costings fail to take into account the value of a people’s vote. It is valuable to democracy and valuable to the Australian people who mostly support the plan. They also fail to consider the enormous cost of the nearly 20 times this issue has been raised in parliament in recent years. Parliamentary time, committees and inquiries are very expensive.
“The issue of same-sex marriage has gone before the parliament almost 20 times in recent years. The plebiscite is an important way to finally resolve the matter in a democratic way.
“If proponents for change are so confident of overwhelming public support, it is perplexing that they are relentlessly trying to have the people’s vote scrapped. Surely they should welcome the opportunity to have such a resounding endorsement of their vision for marriage and family.
“By doing whatever it takes to undermine the plebiscite, proponents of change are sending open-minded Australians a message that they would prefer to rush controversial law change without consultation rather than allow people the opportunity to carefully examine the consequences.
“By contrast, those in favour of preserving marriage do not seem to fear democracy and are open to all the consultation and discussion that a plebiscite will involve.
“Australians have shown that they can be trusted to respectfully debate sensitive issues.”
For release: Thursday 17th July 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the public apology by Wicked Campers for its inappropriate slogans but says harsher penalties need to be introduced to prevent re-offending.
ACL’s spokesperson on the dignity of women Wendy Francis said that although the campervan company has apologised for the latest slogan “In every princess, there’s a little slut who wants to try it”, it’s important for state governments to recognise the urgent need of law reform to keep outdoor advertising in line with community standards.
“Although an apology from Wicked Campers is a welcome move, what’s stopping the company from again plastering sexist and misogynistic material on their vans in a year’s time?” Ms Francis said.
“The self-regulatory system of outdoor advertising is clearly not working. Our children and young people will continue to be exposed to sexualised and degrading content in our public space if penalties are not introduced on companies like Wicked Campers and future offenders,” Ms Francis said.
The promise by Wicked Campers to remove slogans of an “insensitive nature” on their vans over the next six months is again another failure to the community.
“Objectifying and degrading women is a serious matter. If Wicked Campers truly understood this, they would remove the slogans immediately, not wait six months to do so,” she said.
“The sexualisation of our everyday environment is contributing to a culture where there is an increase in sexual assaults, eating disorders in young children, and depression.
“Many sexist slogans, including those Wicked Campers have been responsible for, promote violence against women, which is sadly a massive problem in our country.
“A report published in the Lancet medical journal earlier this year revealed that incidents of sexual violence against women in Australia is more than double the global average,” Ms Francis said.
The recent uproar against the campervan company was triggered over the weekend when a Sydney mother launched an online petition after her 11-year-old daughter spotted the latest slogan on a van in the Blue Mountains.
The change.org petition to “Eliminate misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery” has reached over 127,000 signatures to date.
For release: Tuesday 15th July 2014
A more nuanced debate about changing the definition of marriage is needed, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
Polling showing support for legislative change fails to ask people about the knock-on effects, ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said today.
"Does the polling ask people if they are comfortable with children being taken from their biological mother or father.
"Are Australians happy for fellow citizens who believe in man-woman marriage to be sued in the courts or driven from their jobs because of their beliefs, as is now happening in other jurisdictions?"
Mr Shelton said it was all well and good to mount emotional arguments about love as Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyohjelm did yesterday.
"But if as a country we decide to support changing the definition of marriage can we all look in the eyes of a child and tell her that she cannot be raised by her biological mother.
"Are we really happy for dissenters to face legal sanction, as has occurred in Colorado, Washington State and New Mexico in the United States?
"We must ask how these consequences improve liberty.
Mr Shelton said Senator Leyonhjelm wanted to deregulate marriage.
"Does that mean he would support 'marriage equality' for 'throuples'? Where does this end?
“There are countries which allow other definitions of marriage such as child marriage and polygamy.
"Should we deregulate these as well? So many questions, so little debate.
"The debate Australia has been having about changing the definition of marriage has been very shallow.
"We need to be careful that we don't get caught up in a popular culture wave that leaves our nation, and most importantly children, with unintended consequences," Mr Shelton said.
ACL supported the removal of discrimination against same-sex couples in 2008 but like the then Labor Government, stopped short at changing the definition of marriage.
Polling conducted for ACL by JWS Research after the last election showed that same-sex marriage was a low order issue for voters.
For release: Saturday March 15, 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has congratulated the Liberal Party on its resounding win in the Tasmanian election and looks forward to working constructively with the new government.
ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said the enormous amount of time the State Parliament spent debating contentious social issues such as same-sex marriage (twice), abortion and euthanasia had proven unattractive to mainstream voters.
Mr Brown said Christian voters had also been disappointed with the lack of engagement by Labor during the election campaign.
Premier-elect Will Hodgman and a large number of his candidates had participated in ACL election activities.
Mr Hodgman had participated in an election interview where he committed to amend anti-discrimination laws to provide a general exemption to Christian schools when it comes to enrolling students and hiring staff.
“This was a welcome announcement which means Christian schools will be able to enrol students and employ staff who share the ethos and values of the school without being in breach of anti-discrimination laws,” he said.
Mr Brown said the ALP’s lack of engagement with the Christian community may well have contributed to its election loss.
“Only one sitting Labor MP participated in the five Meet Your Candidate Forums conducted by the lobby throughout the state. This was in comparison with seven sitting Liberal MPs and three sitting Greens MPs who attended,” he said.
“The ALP’s poor result should make for some serious soul searching regarding the future direction of the party. Many Tasmanian Christian Labor voters were disappointed with the party’s lack of engagement with the constituency,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown said it was time for Labor to move back to the political centre to ensure its appeal to mainstream Tasmanians.
The disproportionate amount of time spent working with the Greens on a radical social reform agenda at the expense of front and centre issues like jobs and the economy has contributed significantly to tonight’s result. This sentiment was confirmed by former ALP Premier Paul Lennon who on last night’s ABC 7.30 Report stated “it was the preoccupation with the social issues in Parliament rather than the basic issues of health and education and job development”.
Mr Brown said Labor had much to commend to Christian voters and he hoped it would not give up on this constituency as it sought to rebuild.
“Labor has proud historical roots in Christianity amongst Irish Catholic workers and Protestant Methodists who were at the forefront of the creation of the trade union movement. The ALP in its rebuilding process should not ignore these important foundations and ensure its appeal encompasses the large Tasmanian Christian constituency,” he said.
For release: Sunday 2 February 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has questioned the use of taxpayers' money to subsidise so-called art aimed at denigrating religion.
The South Australian Government and Adelaide City Council sponsorship of a Fringe Festival event entitled 'Come Heckle Christ' is inappropriate according to the ACL's South Australia spokesperson Dan Flynn.
The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, was right to urge people to complain about the production, Mr Flynn said, and ACL would encourage its supporters to do the same.
"While ACL supports freedom of speech and most Christians are very tolerant when it comes to public attacks on their faith, 'Come Heckle Christ' had gone too far, particularly as it is partially funded by the public purse," Mr Flynn said.
"In a tolerant society there is room for disagreement and debate but respect for religion should be encouraged."
Mr Flynn noted that advertising material for the production described the crucifixion of Christ as a "fairy-tale" despite the fact that no serious historian believes that.
For release: Wednesday, 15th January 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby believes the support of mainstream politics for the Lords’ Prayer in Parliament means the latest Greens’ push to remove it will fail.
ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said Labor and the Coalition have consistently told ACL, through its election questionnaires over the past three federal elections, that they support parliament opening with prayer and will not change this.
“It is disappointing the acting Greens leader Senator Richard di Natale wants to take away something of Australia's cultural heritage. We daily recognise indigenous heritage in parliament and prayer in parliament recognises western cultural heritage” Mr Shelton said.
”The Christian ethos underpinning western civilisation has fostered free and prosperous societies, including our liberal democracy,” he said.
“When people talk of separation of church and state it does not imply that Christian and/or religious ideas or worldviews do not have a place in the public square. That was not the intention of the drafters of the Australian constitution when talking about religion,” he said.
“The Lord’s Prayer has a legitimate place in parliament and should continue to be a part of the daily ceremonial opening,” Mr Shelton said.
Mr Shelton said the election commitments of both Labor and the Coalition meant that the Greens’ plan should fail.
For release: Wednesday December 11, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed disappointment that federal parliament looks set to repeal the Gillard Government’s modest poker-machine reforms.
ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said legislation introduced by the Coalition last week to repeal the 2012 legislation looks set to be supported by Labor in the senate.
“We can’t ignore the harm of poker-machines and the fact that there are 95,000 problem gamblers addicted to poker machines. Leadership is needed from both sides of politics,” he said.
“The reforms introduced by the Gillard Government were modest and a step in the right direction,” Mr Shelton said.
“The reforms included a trial to be conducted in the ACT of mandatory pre-commitment technology before the switch could be flicked on machines at a later date. ATM’s at gaming venues were to be limited to $250 limits and a national gambling regulator was to be established,” he said.
Mr Shelton said it was unclear how the Coalition would tackle the problem gambling issue with the power of the clubs lobby and state government addiction to gambling revenue.
“Social services minister Kevin Andrews has foreshadowed reforms in the future that would include more counselling for problem gamblers. This is welcome but it is widely accepted that tougher measures to limit losses such as mandatory pre-commitment or limiting machines to $1 bets are what is needed to help addicts,” he said.
“There is enormous impact on the community from problem gambling. Problem gambling can ruin families, harm children, cause gamblers to lose their jobs and homes and can affect their health,” he said.
For release: Monday, December 2, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the motion passed by the Victorian Liberal State Council supporting an amendment to abortion laws to allow doctors’ conscience.
Yesterday’s motion to support the amendment of Section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act to allow a health practitioner not to have to refer for abortions follows recent petitions seeking this amendment.
Petitions were tabled in the Legislative Assembly last week by a National, a Liberal and two Labor MPs’ with a total of 4,314 signatures. Furthermore an online change.org petition, seeking this same reform, has over 3,300 signatures.
ACL’s Victorian Director Dan Flynn said the Liberal State Council motion is good policy that recognises freedom of conscience.
“The current effect of the referral element of Section 8 is to shut down conversations between the doctor and the patient that explore other options apart from abortion,” he said.
“This is evidenced by the plight of Dr. Mark Hobart who is currently under investigation by the Medical Board for failing to refer a woman for abortion in response to a request to abort a 19 week old unborn girl because she was a girl instead of a boy.
“The importance of conscience is not confined to abortion. In a healthy society, medical practitioners must be free to take into account matters of conscience in providing holistic patient care across the full range of medical services,” he said.
Mr Flynn said that the proposed amendment would not affect access to abortion in the state.
“Currently a woman doesn’t need a referral from a GP, unlike many other medical procedures, to access abortion in Victoria. This proposed amendment seeks to remove the requirement that health practitioners with a conscientious objection must refer a patient to someone they know does not have such an objection," he said.
“The Australian Christian Lobby urges politicians of all persuasions to make this sensible amendment so that Victorian medical practitioners are no longer forced to act against their consciences,” Mr Flynn said.
For release: Tuesday 29th October 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has welcomed the defeat of a same-sex marriage motion in the Tasmanian Upper House this evening.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown says today’s decision by Legislative Council Members (MLCs) not to reconsider proposed same-sex marriage laws should send a clear message that it’s time to move on from this tiresome debate.
“This legislation was defeated in the parliament only last year. This debate has become wearisome. It is a low order priority for the majority of Australians and it is time to move on. There is no discrimination in Tasmanian law against same-sex couples – there is no need to redefine marriage.
“In the past 12 months same-sex marriage bills have been defeated in the federal House of Representatives, the Senate, the Tasmanian Parliament, and the South Australian Parliament. This was just another attempt to pass legislation by fatigue.
“Australia should have one law for marriage and it should be determined by the Federal Parliament. We only need look at recent events in the ACT to know that Tasmanian same-sex legislation would likely be challenged in the High Court if it were passed.
“It is not in Australia’s best interests to have a hodgepodge of marriage laws,” he said.
Mr Brown also said the failure of today’s motion was a win for families and the rights of children.
“Marriage between a man and a woman provides a natural, timeless and sustainable foundation for our society. It serves as the best, most stable environment where society can nurture and protect its next generation.
“Every child owes their existence to a mum and a dad and same-sex marriage would deny children the right to know their biological heritage,” he said.
For release: Wednesday October 2nd 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby said it would be a mistake for the Labor Party to lock its MPs into supporting same-sex marriage when voters are looking to both sides of politics to move on from the issue.
“The elevation of this issue again in the Labor leadership contest is unhelpful if the party wishes to appeal to a broad cross-section of the Australian community,” according to ACL managing director Lyle Shelton.
Mr Shelton said many Christians resonated with the policies of the Labor Party but calls to have a binding vote on same-sex marriage would be a turnoff for many Christians and Labor voters.
“Labor’s 2014 National Conference should really be focussing on how the party can better appeal to the centre on social policy, including how best to promote policy which supports, wherever possible, a mother and father for children,” he said.
“This issue has had a fair go over the past three years. It would be damaging for to Labor continue to tie itself to this agenda.”
Mr Shelton said 84 laws were changed in 2008 that removed discrimination from same-sex couples.
“After two parliamentary inquiries found no discrimination in Australian law against same-sex couples and several votes rejecting changing the definition of marriage, it is time to move on,” he said.
“We’ve just had an election fought in part on this issue and the result was the worst Labor vote in 100 years.
“The party of same-sex marriage, the Greens, lost 600,000 votes in a 3 per cent swing against them,” he said.
Mr Shelton said polling commissioned by ACL and conducted by JWS Research immediately after the September 7 election showed same-sex marriage is a low order issue with voters.
“Just 15 per cent of Labor voters said it was a top three issue influencing their vote while just four per cent of Coalition voters rated it as important,” he said.
“Seventy-two per cent of Greens voters are not energised by the issue.
“It is important that Labor maintains its ability to appeal to a broad range of people in the community,” he said.