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Pages tagged "politics"
Centre for Christian Living Open Night with Archbishop Peter Jensen
· June 11, 2013 10:00 AM
'Christian Voices in the Public Square: How should Christians speak on public issues?'
Centre for Christian Living
(CCL) has regular Open Nights on various issues.
Wednesday 26 June, Archbishop Peter Jensen
(pictured left) will consider how to speak as Christians on the public, social and political issues that surround us.
This event will be one of his last in his current role as Archbishop of Sydney.
: Wednesday 26 June
: St Barnabas' Anglican Church, Broadway (57-61 Mountain Street, Ultimo NSW)
: $8 per person
Bookings are essential.
Please book on the website (
) through the 'CCL Payments' tab; or phone 02 9577 9956.
Vishal Mangalwadi to tour Australia in August
· June 06, 2013 10:00 AM
Vishal Mangalwadi, international Bible teacher, cultural and political columnist, and author of thirteen books, will be touring Australia in August, and you are invited to attend. The event is hosted by
Family Voice Australia
in celebration of its 40th anniversary.
Mr Mangalwadi has explored why some nations are more successful than others, and what the Bible says about this. To him, the evidence is overwhelming: the Bible has sown unique seeds in western culture allowing science, technology, human rights and families to thrive. This lead to his best-selling book,
The Book That Made Your World.
Mr Mangalwadi was also a guest speaker at ACL's National Conference in 2011, where he shared about the Christian basis of Western civilisation, and spoke about educating kids in a truthless society. Follow this
to listen to his speeches.
Join Family Voice this August to hear his story and inspiring insights as he examines:
- What has shaped Australia into the nation it is today?
- Has Christianity done any good in our culture?
8 August, 7pm: Public forum, Mueller Performing Arts Centre, Rothwell, QLD
9 August, 10am: Christian leaders seminar, Beenleigh Baptist Church, Beenleigh, QLD
12 August, 7pm: Public forum, Scots Church, Wynyard, Sydney, NSW
13 August, 10am: Seminar, St Anne's Anglican Centre, Ryde, NSW
15 August, 7am: Breakfast meeting, National Press Club, ACT
16 August, 7:30pm: Public forum, Melbourne School of Theology, VIC
17 August, 10am: Christian leaders seminar, 1330 Auditorium, 1330 Ferntree Gully Rd, VIC
20 August, 7pm: Public forum, Hobart City Church of Christ, Hobart, TAS
21 August, 7pm: Dinner, Fogolar Furlan, Felixtow, SA
22 August, 10am: Seminar, Edwardstown Baptist Church, St Mary's, SA
24 August, 7pm: Dinner, Perth Town Hall, Perth, WA
Please visit this
for more information.
ACL's Managing Director Lyle Shelton says a Christian constitutency does exist
· May 30, 2013 10:00 AM
Last week an opinion piece was published in ABC Religion and Ethics by Steph Judd titled
What Christian constituency? Which burnt bridges? Kevin Rudd, the ACL and same-sex marriage
. ACL's Managing Director Lyle Shelton responded with an opinion piece published called
A Christian constituency does exist, and it should have a voice
A copy of his piece is republished below.
In the mid-1990s, when I was a journalist working for Rural Press Limited, I was posted to the company's Canberra bureau in Parliament House for six weeks to fill in for a colleague. I was intrigued at the influence various constituencies had over politics and the media.
My job was to write syndicated articles for the company's rural weeklies reporting on decisions from Canberra impacting the nation's famers. All manner of rural industry lobbyists walked the corridors and had open access to ministers and backbenchers alike.
At the time, rural industry was in decline as farms were being aggregated and families were leaving the land in droves. There were less than 100,000 broadacre farmers in Australia and these were represented by bodies such as the wool, beef and grains councils. Like all media boxes in the gallery, ours was stuffed with releases from a cacophony of organisations seeking influence. None were from Christian groups.
Something was wrong, I thought to myself. If farmers with their dwindling numbers could influence the democratic processes so effectively, why couldn't Christians? Sure, farmers were important to the economy, but their voting numbers were small and they tended not to live in marginal seats. I knew there were far more than 100,000 Christians in Australia, yet at the time there was no organised advocacy group working in the media or with politics putting their point of view to government. Even if only a fraction of the 19% of Australians who attend church once per month supported a Christian voice into public policy, they would still represent one of the largest constituencies walking the halls of power.
Fast-forward to the early-2000s, when Brigadier Jim Wallace, a former commander of the elite SAS and Army's Mechanised Brigade, came on the scene. He retired after a prestigious 32-year military career to take on Australian Christian Lobby. A leader and strategist, Jim gave Christians a rational voice into government.
Over the next 13 years, Jim raised up a formidable team of professional lobbyists working into State and Federal Parliaments. Like other "industry lobbyists," Jim maintained a high media profile, as did his various state directors. For the first time, grassroots Christians holding to orthodox Christian teaching were organised enough to influence public policy in a non-partisan manner through the democratic process.
While we assert that a Christian constituency exists, we have never tried to definitively quantify it. Yes, 19% of Christians attend church once per month. It is these committed Christians who populate the pews and tend to hold to orthodox Christian teachings on justice, marriage, human life, family and the importance of helping the poor - a broad range of policy areas that ACL has always sought to influence.
The relentless push by activists to redefine marriage has caused us to divert precious time and resource to upholding marriage over the past two years, but as important as it is, this issue has never been ACL's sole focus. For us the bigger picture is seeing both sides of politics persuaded to consider policy influenced by the Judeo-Christian ethic that until recently made the West the place that everyone wanted to imitate and still where most want to live.
This is our objective: to see an Australia that is a more just, moral and compassionate society. This can't be achieved by any presumed propriety religious position or argument, but if the ideas have merit, are for the common good and Christians can persuade governments through the democratic processes, why shouldn't they mobilise a constituency to this end?
The University of Sydney's Rodney Smith has said that he researched electorates that ACL had "targeted" and found no difference from the national swing. But unfortunately, he assumes a coincidence of method with other political players that we have long resisted. Until now, we have never even considered targeting electorates (although we are considering it for the upcoming election).
We hold "Meet Your Candidate" forums in some electorates, but this hardly constitutes "targeting electorates." It is a service to the Christian constituency so they have an opportunity to know the people they are being asked to vote for and what motivates them. Surely something any devotee of democracy would applaud.
While ACL cannot accurately say how big the Christian constituency is, others have passed comment on Christians' influence on elections. Writing in the Weekend Australian in 2008, Christopher Pearson referenced the former Labor Senator John Black's organisation, Australian Development Strategies, and its analysis of the 2007 "Rudd-slide" election:
"The most surprising of his findings is that the religious affiliation of swinging voters played a more decisive role in determining the outcome than any other single factor. It will have a markedly restraining influence on government policy."
This brings me to Kevin Rudd and his unfortunate capitulation on marriage this week. After years of being one of the strongest advocates for marriage, he suddenly changed his principles citing bizarre theological interpretations not supported by any of Australia's major Christian denominations, all of whom oppose redefining marriage.
In her article, Steph Judd suggested that I sledged Rudd and that this lacked Christian grace. Politics is a tough game, even for Christian lobbyists. We strive for grace and maybe I could have been more gracious. However, I felt it was also important that a clear message was sent that we could no longer justify and defend Kevin Rudd to the constituency.
ACL was heavily criticised by some Coalition members for giving Kevin Rudd a platform along with John Howard at our 2007 Make it Count election webcast. ACL was also criticised by many sceptical Christians who could not reconcile Rudd's behaviour with his claims to be a Christian, yet we defended him publicly as recently as two weeks ago.
While none of us are perfect, ACL was certainly prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and to urge forgiveness for his occasional outbursts, and his commitment to marriage seemed genuine. However his capitulation this week against every clear Christian principle means we can no longer recommend him to Christians and we needed to say this. Rudd burned his bridges and his hero Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who gave his life for his biblical principles, would be turning in his grave.
Judd further claimed that "some cannot but help interpret the ACL's public statements as hateful." But, as always, no examples were given to substantiate this charge. It is disappointing for ACL to be accused of a "sledge" or of unsubstantiated "hateful" comment when we are routinely labelled "bigots" for expressing our view on marriage.
This week the bigotry card was played by none other than the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Penny Wong. Senator Wong went on to say our views about the need for children, wherever possible, to have a mum and a dad have "no place in a modern Australia." No attempt was made to engage with our argument. Why bother when a slur of Christians will do because, to the shame of large sections of the media, it goes unchallenged. Fairness? Civil discourse? Free speech? It is sad to see our nation losing the capacity to reason from the top down.
Judd wrote, "The ACL has strong working relationships with most denominational leaders across the Christian spectrum, and on that basis it might be fair to claim that the ACL represents orthodox Christian beliefs." That is true but hardly supports the proposition of her article which questioned the existence of a Christian constituency.
While we have this strong working relationship, we are not a peak body for the church. How big is the Christian constituency? No one really knows. We have had over 100,000 Christians watching a single webcast with the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader, and have raised petitions of more than 100,000 supporting marriage. Not a bad effort when we are fastidious in ensuring the integrity of our petitions, even deleting double ups of email addresses, though we know there will be many occasions of people using a shared address.
I don't believe ACL has ever claimed it represents a constituency comprising 61% of the population, which is the Australian census figure of those who claim Christianity. We do from time to time point out the obvious and that is that a great many Australians resonate with Christian values and understand that our society was built on a Judeo-Christian ethic, something we are rapidly departing from without much thought for what might replace it.
Finally, Judd has claimed that ACL is more aligned to the Coalition than Labor. Sure, there are more Christians in the Coalition but there are many also in Labor. We even work with non-Christians in the Parliament as there are many people of good will who have similar values. ACL has always been non-party partisan and we have irked both sides.
Our relationship with the Coalition is testy over asylum seekers, gambling reform and internet filtering. But on other issues we share common ground fast being eroded in a Labor party widely identified as having lost its way and purpose, as indicated for our constituency by its broken promises on marriage, internet filtering of pornography and gambling.
Both sides are letting us down on the nation's promise to the world's poor to increase aid. And we make no apology for holding both to account on this and the wide range of issues of concern to Christians across the broad spectrum of justice and righteousness that we believe Christians want to see governments honour.
In this election we will do our best with limited resources to let Christians know how their MPs and Senators voted on marriage and where individual candidates stand.
If a shrinking farming constituency in all its diversity can organise its lobby, then why can't a much more substantial Christian constituency? There is a place for an organised Christian voice in the public square and a truly non-party partisan Christian lobby will never please both sides of politics at the same time.
As the voices opposed to Christianity and its values become more and more militant, the task of defending those values and even the very right to speak into the public debate from a Christian perspective become ever more difficult. But we commit ourselves to bringing Christian values into the public square whatever government is in power, trying always for the grace that Christ demands.
And we are forever grateful for the great majority of Christians who support us in that and extend to us the same grace and understanding.
Lyle Shelton is the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
Interested in a career in public policy? Consider the Lachlan Macquarie Internship
· April 04, 2013 11:00 AM
The Lachlan Macquarie Internship is a 14-week program aimed at those who are looking at careers in politics, public policy and/or leadership.
The live-in community program is based outside Canberra. The curriculum covers four major blocks: biblical foundations, historical traditions, political ideologies and religion and politics in Australia.
Generous scholarships are available which cover most of the course costs.
Applications are now open for the August intake. To find out more information and to apply go to
ACL Tasmania Conference 2013
· March 28, 2013 11:00 AM
The theme of the
ACL Tasmania Conference 2013
What should we expect from our leaders?
There is a gaping hole in confidence and trust in leadership integrity today. Whether it be in politics, sport, business or media - and sadly even sometimes in the church -we appear to have an epidemic of poor leadership and role modelling. King Solomon wrote around 3000 years ago...
When just men rule, the people rejoice
If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.
Leaders are influencers and therefore have a huge impact on those they lead and therefore society as a whole. Shouldn’t we therefore have high expectations of our leaders? Our three speakers are proven leaders of integrity who together share a wealth of experience – in politics, business, military, church and community and aim to raise the bar on leadership in our country. We invite you to come along and learn how to be part of the solution to Australia’s leadership deficit.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Time: Registration from 6.30pm. Conference runs from
$30 per person
, includes supper
Tailrace Centre, 1 Waterfront Drive Riverside
The confirmed speaking lineup includes
, former Deputy Prime Minister
Jim Wallace AM
, ACL Managing Director
, Chairman Vos Family Office and Vos Construction & Joinery Pty Ltd
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Teenagers care about democracy and government
· March 26, 2013 11:00 AM
Image Source: The Courier-Mail
In light of the upcoming federal election, Michael Knight - "adolescentologist" and founder of Peer Power - raises some interesting points in an article examining the interest of teenagers in the process of democracy and who governs the nation.
His article, entitled 'Teens may seem self-centred but democracy is at their core' was published in the Courier-Mail this month.
Below is a copy of Mr Knight's article.
With the recent announcement of a Federal election, comes the question of whether the incumbent will stay in power or whether the opposition will win a majority and take power.
As someone who spends his days working with teenagers, I wondered whether the average teenager cared about government, its various forms and what role they can play in the whole decision-making process?
After briefly thinking about these two ideas, it would be plausible to conclude that they have little in common - which would be true if one buys into stereotypes and sound bites.
Like a frog in a pot, we can easily lose perspective.
True, Government and politicians can be easy targets for complaints especially given the sound bite news cycle. However before we take another pot shot at our chosen form of government, let us not forget the very form of government we can be so displeased with allows for her citizens to freely express such opinions.
It was the former Prime Minister of England, Churchill who said of democracy, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
Now consider the average teenager in Australia and their attitude to government? Would these two ideas be held in the same sentence?
Given a stereotype of the larrikin Aussie teenager as, laconic, pleasure seeking, narcissists or anarchists I would find myself leaning towards the notion that they could not care less about government – but I would be wrong.
In Peer Power’s 2011 survey of 5,000 teenagers, ‘Adolesecentology’ we asked if they take an interest in how our country is governed? I was surprised to learn that 43% agreed with this statement, and 39% were neutral about this, only 18% disagreed.
Of more interest was that over half of all students surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that democracy really does give the common person power to make significant decisions in how our country is run.
Herein lies the danger of stereotypes and sound bites. They may come over as satisfying evidence to support my disposition or I can use this apparent evidence to ‘join me on the bandwagon of my own uncertainty’ (apologies to Taylor Mali Declarative Sentence).
However, beyond the stereotype and sound bite I discovered one of the colorations within the survey showed that those students who do take an interest in government reported having strong core values and could articulate those values. Hardly laconic, pleasure seeking narcissists or anarchists, but capable, thinking, intelligent and articulate young people forming their worldviews and expressing them.
To my surprise and delight I for one came away from these findings encouraged to know that some teenagers not only care about the governing of our country but are and have formed core values which they are willing to express - a wonderful rite within democracy.
It is true that government at times does make decisions that leave their citizens scratching their head, nor wishing they had ticked the other box on the ballot paper.
It is true that a commonly held stereotype of teenagers is that they may be laconic, pleasure seeking narcissists or anarchists.
But to continue to hold these views would be to lose one’s perspective on what we discovered.
Democracy invites and welcomes the expression of opinions free from the threat of being silenced or imprisoned and many teenagers do care about government within Australia.
Whatever happens in the Federal election, we have a nation where many teenagers care, think and take an interest in how the country is governed.
ACL staff to speak at Easterfest
· March 12, 2013 11:00 AM
ACL's Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton and Communications Director Katherine Spackman will be speaking at this year's Easterfest.
Easterfest is Australia's largest festival about Easter…not just
Easter. Celebrating its message draws thousands of people from across the country to make the pilgrimage up the mountain to Toowoomba.
The ACL staff will participate in 'The Forum' presented by Bible Society, facilitating group discussions on challenging issues of life and faith.
On the Friday, Lyle will be facilitating two group discussions:
Are We There Yet?…response to world poverty
Addicted to Technology? The pleasures and pitfalls of living in the digital age.
In the evening, Katherine will be a panel guest in a discussion on
The Sexual Individualism of the iWorld.
Lyle will also be a key panel guest on Saturday on
Being a Voice in the Political Arena
Christians in Politics - A history of advocacy of those in need.
He will also be a key panel guest on Sunday on
Responding to the crisis in child well being in Australia,
and will facilitate a discussion on
One Heart…Church Unity.
On Sunday evening, Katherine will be the primary speaker on
, facilitated by David Wilson and including guests Destiny Rescue.
If you're able, we encourage you to come along and participate in this event as we celebrate the true meaning of Easter.
Details are as follows:
Queen's Park, Toowoomba
for a detailed breakdown of prices
to register your attendance.
NSW Director Letter to Supporters - February 2013
· February 11, 2013 11:00 AM
The New South Wales Director David Hutt’s letter to supporters in the state is now available online.
Thank you for your continued support. It is crucial as we prepare for the 2013 federal election.
This year Australians will elect a government. As Christians we want to see candidates and leaders elected who will foster a more compassionate, just and moral society.
to continue reading.
WA Director Letter to Supporters - February 2013
· February 11, 2013 11:00 AM
The Western Australia Director, Rhys Vallance, letter to supporters in the state is now available online.
The vision of the Australian Christian Lobby is to see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed, do business and relate to each other as a community.
The upcoming state election is an important opportunity to make sure Christians values can affect government. By now you should have received information about the ‘Make it Count’ leaders’ address from Premier Colin Barnett and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan on Tuesday, 26th February at Mount Pleasant Baptist Community College at 7.30pm. We hope you can make it.
to continue reading.
ACT Director Letter to Supporters - February 2013
· February 11, 2013 11:00 AM
The ACL’s Director for ACT Richard Thackway’s letter to supporters in the territory is now available online.
This year is shaping up to be a big one for the ACT. Already, we have seen a significant difference between those in our community who share a faith position, and those who refrain from one. This is not surprising when we consider the history of secularism in the Assembly, which has produced a spirit of separation rather than cooperation and unity.
The recently appointed Speaker for the ACT Legislative Assembly, Mrs Vicki Dunne, has sort to redress this issue by reaching out to the faith community in the ACT with a plan to begin the new Assembly year with an ecumenical service on Monday 11 February 2013.
to continue reading.
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