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Pages tagged "media release"
MR: ACL releases Labor’s response to election policy questionnaire
· August 21, 2012 10:00 AM
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby today released NT Labor’s written response to a policy questionnaire ahead of this week’s Northern Territory election.
ACL’s policy questionnaire sought all parties’ views on a range of issues of concern to the Christian constituency ahead of Saturday’s election. Only the Labor Party responded.
Labor’s response has been published on the ACL’s election website www.ntvotes.org.au along with audio from Terry Mills’ recent address to Christians and church leaders in Darwin, which Chief Minister Paul Henderson did not attend.
ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said while he was glad Labor had replied, the content of their answers was disappointing. “Many Christians will be attracted to Labor’s positions on some social justice issues like homelessness and indigenous affairs,” Mr Wallace said.
“However their position on a number of important social issues leaves a lot to be desired.
“Labor’s position on issues such as human trafficking, same-sex marriage, adoption and surrogacy, as well as human rights will disappoint many Christians.
“Win or lose, I hope after Saturday’s election the Labor Party will try harder to engage with and earn the support of the Christian constituency.”
Mr Wallace said ACL was also disappointed that the Country Liberal Party has not yet provided a response to this questionnaire, however acknowledged Terry Mills for making the time recently to address Christians at a forum organised by ACL.
The Australian Christian Lobby is a non-party partisan organisation seeking to bring a Christian influence to politics. During election campaigns, ACL seeks to help inform and activate Christians that they may vote for candidates and parties who will advance a more moral, just and compassionate society.
Labor’s response to ACL’s policy questionnaire and an audio recording of Terry Mills’ address to Christians can be found at www.ntvotes.org.au.
MR: ACL calls on Australian government to pressure Pakistan on religious freedom
· August 21, 2012 10:00 AM
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby is urging the Australian government to place pressure on Pakistan to change its outrageous blasphemy laws.
The call comes with the news that an 11-year-old Christian Pakistani girl was arrested and now faces a possible death sentence after being accused of burning a Koran.
ACL urges Foreign Minister Bob Carr to make representations to the Pakistani Ambassador in Canberra for the girl to be released from prison and placed in child protection.
ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said the Australian government should insist that Pakistan allow religious freedom and compel its government to change its inhumane blasphemy laws.
“Every effort must be made to save the life of this young child and remove the death penalty for any blasphemy law in Pakistan,” Mr Wallace said.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and our government must do everything it can to pressure the Pakistani government to meet its international human rights obligations,” Mr Wallace said.
This year’s ACL National Conference, running from the 5
of October, focuses on the issue of religious freedom, and its important value in every society.
Parliament should resist Greens’ stalling tactics on same-sex marriage debate
· August 20, 2012 10:00 AM
For Release: Monday August 20, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed news that the same-sex marriage debate is finally coming to an end in the Federal Parliament.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that once Parliamentarians in the House of Representatives had finished their speeches this week the matter should be brought to a vote.
“There is a relatively light legislative program this week so there is no reason it could not be resolved this week or early next week,” ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said.
“I am concerned that the Greens are trying to drag the issue out in the hope of legislating by fatigue.
“Three Parliamentary inquiries have found no substantive discrimination against same-sex people under Australian law. It is time the Parliament voted and we moved on.”
MR: Time to resolve gay marriage and move on
· August 19, 2012 10:00 AM
For Release: Sunday August 19, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has renewed its call for a vote in the Federal Parliament to resolve the long-running same-sex marriage debate.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said the debate had dragged on for years through three Parliamentary inquiries and there were now three bills before the Parliament.
“I think everyone is tired of this debate. MPs know it doesn’t rate in their electorates.
“Last week Labor stared down the Greens on border protection. This week the Parliament should stare them down on protecting the Marriage Act, as both Labor and Coalition promised to do before the 2010 election.
“It is clear that the Greens and gay activists do not want to accept the likely outcome of the democratic process and are continuing to stall for time.”
With a relatively light legislative program, this week would be ideal to resolve this issue and move on, Mr Wallace said.
MR: Lack of consultation means vilification laws should be put on hold
· August 19, 2012 10:00 AM
For Release: Sunday August 19, 2012
The ACT's proposed religious vilification laws should be put on hold until consultation was held with religious communities, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said it was extremely disappointing that such controversial laws were being rushed into the Assembly this week when there had been no consultation at all with Canberra's Christian constituency.
Similar laws in Victoria were extremely controversial and led to protracted and expensive legal action which proved counterproductive to social cohesion, Mr Wallace said.
"These same laws were deemed completely unnecessary by the former New South Wales Labor Government which rejected them out of hand.
“While no right thinking person supports vilification of anyone, creating a big legal stick to wield if groups felt vilified would end up suppressing free speech,” Mr Wallace said.
"In a society such as ours which determines its values through the contest of ideas, there needs to be the freedom to engage in robust debate without fear of a legal process being initiated by someone who feels offended.
"The ACT, like the rest of Australia, has defamation laws and these should apply when free speech crosses the line and causes injury."
Mr Wallace said it was wrong that offensive posters had been circulated targeting Canberra's Muslim community but vilification laws were not the way to address this.
MR: ACL welcomes Govt support for ban on donor anonymity
· August 16, 2012 10:00 AM
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the Federal Government’s support of a donor-conceived child to know its biological parent.
While a State issue, ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace welcomed the government’s acknowledgement in its response yesterday to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Report, to ban donor anonymity.
“The best way the Commonwealth can show support for this principle is to resist the push to redefine marriage and ensure that wherever possible children are raised by their biological parents,” he said.
“The government gave in principle support to the committee’s recommendation that there be a prohibition on donor anonymity which shows the government recognises the need for the individual’s interests to be protected – specifically to know who their biological parents are.
“The ACL believes children should, where possible, have the opportunity to be raised by their biological parents and for the government to acknowledge the innate desire of an individual to know their heritage.
“Last year’s inquiry was instigated by people, now adults, who were conceived using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). While most of these people grew up in a family with a mother and a father, the pain of having their biological identity hidden from them forced the inquiry.
“Compounding their sense of genetic bewilderment was the inability to know the medical history of their donor father.
“Donating sperm is not like donating blood – it’s about creating another human being and considering their needs and wants which includes the right to be raised by their father.
“Instead we’re allowing a practice to continue that goes against the organic, biological way children are brought into the world,” he said.
Mr Wallace said the ACL acknowledged the heartfelt desire of couples to have a child but it should never be without considering the rights of the child to have the best start possible with its mum and dad.
Mr Wallace said donor conception practices were increasingly being used by singles and lesbian couples and proposed same-sex marriage legislation would encourage the practice even more.
“This has been the main concern of the ACL – the impact of same-sex marriage on the understanding of family and having children being brought into the world and then deliberately denied their biological parent, something no government should facilitate,” he said.
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.
MR: ACL welcomes PM speaking at ACL conference
· August 14, 2012 10:00 AM
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby is privileged to have the Prime Minister speak at its National Conference but has expressed disappointment at the ongoing campaign of demonisation from the homosexual lobby of anyone who does not line up with its agenda.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace rejected suggestions that the Prime Minister should not participate in the conference on Saturday the 6th of October and said it was natural that she would want to speak to Australia’s Christian constituency, which is a large one by any political standards.
“The Prime Minister’s engagement is part of the political process and Australian Christians represented in the community should have a right to expect that the PM would want to address them,” Mr Wallace said.
Mr Wallace said the ACL has a habit of alternately inviting one of the leaders of the major parties as a political guest for each National Conference.
“The theme of this year’s conference is on Religious Freedom in a Secular Democracy and we look forward to hearing from the Prime Minister on this important value in society,” he said.
Mr Wallace rejected the assertion that people are extremist because they believe in marriage between a man and a woman.
“Today’s attack on ACL by gay activists is typical of the relentless demonisation of anyone from Gloria Jean’s to the Salvation Army and Chick-fil-A in the United States who support or are perceived to support marriage remaining between a man and a woman.”
Mr Wallace also rejected suggestions that the ACL has not advocated for eradication of poverty or homelessness.
“The ACL is on the record for supporting mandatory pre-commitment technology for pokie machines, refugee reform and meeting the millennium development goals which help address these issues in public policy,” he said.
MR: Police wrong on brothels
· August 14, 2012 10:00 AM
Tuesday, 14th August, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby said Tasmania Police had missed an opportunity to promote long-lasting change for the community by backing the legalisation and regulation of the sex industry in its submission to the Justice Department consultation on prostitution.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said Queensland Police had adopted a similar approach prior to brothels being legalised in that state in 1999, but by any measure this approach had been a failure.
“Ninety-percent of prostitution remains unregulated in Queensland despite assurances that it would protect those involved in the trade,” Mr Brown said.
“Legalising brothels only leads to an increase in the number of women involved in prostitution, both legal and illegal. Even in the legal sector, the high risks associated with prostitution can never be eliminated.”
Mr Brown said we should never give legislative license to a trade that exposed women to such high rates of physical and sexual violence.
“In what other industry are 60-75 per cent of the workers raped, 70-95 per cent physically assaulted and 68 per cent sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder in the same range as ‘treatment seeking combat veterans’?” Mr Brown said.
“The only approach to the sex trade that has been proven to reduce the demand for prostitution, and therefore the number of vulnerable women and children trapped in the trade, was the Nordic approach,” Mr Brown said.
First implemented in Sweden, this approach criminalises the purchaser of sex and seeks to free women from the inherently harmful and exploitative trade.
“The success of this approach is clear by its adoption in other countries such as Norway, Iceland, and South Korea,” Mr Brown said.
Although this approach was at first met with criticism by the Swedish police, they now consider that the approach works well and has led to a reduction in illegal prostitution and sex trafficking.
Mr Brown said there is no evidence to suggest the Nordic approach has driven sex work “underground” as claimed by some submitters to the Justice Department consultation.
MR: ACL welcomes expert panel’s recommendations on asylum-seekers
· August 13, 2012 10:00 AM
Monday, 13th August, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the Independent expert panel’s recommendations on asylum seekers, as reported in Angus Houston’s briefing to the press.
The ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said the recommendations strikes the right balance between compassion and the need to end the people smuggler’s trade.
“The ACL welcome’s the panel’s advice to process refugees on Nauru and PNG’s Manus Island and to continue to develop the Malaysian solution as a pilot model for a regional solution, provided, necessary protections can be ensured,” he said.
Mr Wallace said the committee’s recommendations on increasing the refugee intake to 20,000 immediately is a sensible idea, which is Labor policy and has been considered by the Coalition.
“The ACL has long advocated that Australia raise its humanitarian intake and that that be sourced from refugee camps, which would send a clear message that those in most need, the UNHCR-designated refugees, will be treated with real priority and generosity,” he said.
Mr Wallace said it was imperative for the Parliament to act on these recommendations and condemned the Greens for continuing to demand onshore processing when it clearly provides the magnet that sustains the dangerous people smuggling industry.
“It’s time for all parties to use this opportunity for genuine reform by government - too many people have died between Indonesia and Christmas Island for the political impasse over asylum seeker policy to be allowed to continue any longer,” he said.
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