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Pages tagged "parliament"
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.”
Church service to mark the Commencement of the Parliamentary Year
· February 11, 2014 11:00 AM
A church service has been held to mark the commencement of the 2014 Parliamentary Year. ACL's Katherine Spackman went along to the church service in Canberra which was attended by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten. She has produced a 10 minute radio package of the service.
ACL's Lyle Shelton says Lord's Prayer should remain a part of Parliament
· January 21, 2014 11:00 AM
In this radio interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman, ACL's Managing Director Lyle Shelton discusses why the Lord's Prayer should remain a part of the opening of each sitting day in Parliament. The Greens' senator Richard Di Natale is calling for it to be scrapped.
Lyle Shelton on the Political Spot about church service opening the 44th Parliament
· November 12, 2013 11:00 AM
Lyle Shelton is the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he talks about the church service that opened the 44th Parliament. Members and Senators from both sides of parliament attended the service in Canberra.
Caroline Norma on the Political Spot about committee report on slavery and human trafficking
· July 02, 2013 10:00 AM
Caroline Norma is a member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia. Last week a House of Representatives committee handed down its report from an inquiry into slavery and people trafficking making 8 recommendations including introducing a compensation scheme for trafficking victims. (Read related blog post
Federal slavery inquiry ignores Swedish legislative approach to combating human trafficking
) In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman, Caroline Norma responds to the committee's report. A 5 minute interview can be listened to below or an extended 12 minute version
Tas petition to have abortion bill thrown out
· May 30, 2013 10:00 AM
[caption id="attachment_23590" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Mark Brown"]
A new abortion petition (this is the third one) is underway aimed at the Legislative Council. The petition seeks to have the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013 thrown out in its entirety. The
closes on the 23rd June. The previous two petitions were focused on the lower house where the bill narrowly passed last month with a few minor amendments. More information about the bill is available at Make a Stand.
A paper version is also available
. If you are a Tasmanian resident, could you please:
Print further versions of the paper petition and make them available for signing after Sunday services. These will need to be compiled and mailed to the address at the bottom of the form before the 19th June. Alternatively you could set up a computer or two after church for people to sign online. People should only sign one or the other.
Encourage your congregation to be contacting upper house members to advise them of their opinions on this legislation. Details on how to do this are available at
Make a Stand
Make a point of praying for our 15 upper house members as they contemplate their response to this and other pieces of legislation to be debated in the Legislative Council this year.
I realise some may feel fatigued at the continued need for action on this and other causes. With such relentless opposition our response, both in prayer and practical action, needs also to be one of continued perseverance, especially with so much at stake.
Thanks for your important contribution in standing for the rights of the unborn.
Tribute to flood, cyclone and fire victims in Parliament
· February 10, 2011 11:00 AM
Parliament was in full swing agains this week. There were some moving tributes to the flood, cyclone and fire victims including an emotional response from PM Julia Gillard.
The Federal Memeber for Blaire Shayne Neumann spoke about the devastation in the City of Ipswich and the Sommerset Regional Council.
"If you were to got to my electorate, you would think it was a war zone. There are people there who are living in caravans on river banks and creek banks, adn they look like they are traumatised - because they are. They have not started the clean-up - you would think that the flood waters had receded 12 hours previously," he said. (You can read his full speech
Federal Member for Cook Scott Morrison prayed
“As our nation grieves the great losses we have suffered may God bring hope and comfort to the devastated and broken hearted. May our spirits not be consumed by the fires that have taken our homes, our hearts not be overwhelmed by the waters that have inundated our land and our character continue to stand tall as the violent winds have battered our shores.” (His full speech is
21,000 people urge parliament to say ‘no’ to charter of rights
· November 25, 2009 11:00 AM
For release: November 25, 2009
A massive petition endorsed by over 21,000 people opposed to a charter of rights will today be tabled in the Senate.
The petition, organised by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and to be tabled by Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis, is one of the biggest in the life of the current parliament. It calls on the Parliament to reject the proposed charter of rights or to ensure that it is not enacted without first holding a referendum.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said the widespread support for the petition from denominations and churches across Australia should send a clear message to the parliament that people are very concerned about the prospect of a charter or its equivalent being implemented.
“Christians care deeply about protecting the human rights of the most vulnerable but they are aware that the proposed charter of rights would do little to benefit human rights, but much to undermine some basic freedoms Christians take for granted,” he said.
“These instruments also inevitably reflect someone’s ideology, usually not reflective of the well-being of the most vulnerable.
“Here in Australia, both the ACT and Victorian charter of rights explicitly exclude the right to life of a child before birth – despite the fact that the right to life is the most inalienable of rights.
“It is a bit difficult to convince Christians that there are no dangers to freedom of religion when Victorians have just fought a 21-month battle to retain the right to employ Christians in Christian schools and churches because of a challenge under the Victorian charter,” Mr Wallace said.
The wording of the petition is as follows: “We the undersigned are opposed to a Charter of Rights which would allow judges to determine if laws are incompatible with human rights. We support the protection of human rights, especially those of the most vulnerable in our society, but we wish to see elected representatives of the people, not unelected judges, remain responsible for the protection of human rights. We note that this system has already made Australia one of the freest countries in the world with a human rights record the envy of people all over the world. We call upon the Australian Parliament to: a. reject a Charter of Rights or b. not enact a Charter without a referendum.”
Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979.
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