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Pages tagged "senate"
Church reps give evidence at senate inquiry into same-sex marriages
· August 26, 2014 10:00 AM
Last week church leaders from a number of denominations gave evidence at a public inquiry against the idea of recognising overseas same-sex marriages. Catholic, Baptist and Presbyterian representatives gave evidence at the inquiry in Melbourne. The ACL's Lyle Shelton also spoke at the inquiry. The following radio packages features some of the comments at the inquiry.
Submissions into inquiry about recognising foreign same-sex marriages closes soon
· July 15, 2014 10:00 AM
David Hutt works at the Australian Christian Lobby. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he talks about the inquiry into recognising overseas same-sex marriages. Submissions close at the end of the month to the inquiry. People can sign a statement opposing the bill at
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's Lyle Shelton discusses WA Senate result
· April 08, 2014 10:00 AM
Lyle Shelton is the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he discusses the WA Senate result.
Professor Anne Twomey on the Political Spot about upper house preferential voting system
· October 08, 2013 11:00 AM
Anne Twomey is a Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Sydney. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman she says there needs to be reform to the upper house preferential voting system. She says one option for reform could be enforcing a quota of first preferences a party must have before its elected. Another is optional preferential voting.
ACL's David Hutt on the Political Spot about preferential voting in the Senate
· July 30, 2013 10:00 AM
David Hutt is the ACL's New South Wales Director. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he talks about how preferential voting in the senate works.
Senator John Madigan on the Political Spot
· February 26, 2013 11:00 AM
Senator John Madigan is a DLP Senator from Victoria. He spoke to the ACL's Katherine Spackman about the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012. Senator Madigan says the Government’s amendment seeks to remove the definition of Sexual Servitude and he believes it should remain.
Jim Wallace daily election blog – Fri Aug 20
· August 20, 2010 10:00 AM
By Jim Wallace, ACL Managing Director
Do you know where your Senate preferences will go this election?
One of the hottest battles in this year’s federal election is in the Senate, where the Greens are well-placed to hold the balance of power in their own right for the first time in their history, when newly-elected state Senators take up their seats from July 1 next year.
Unlike for the House of Representatives, voters have a choice of two ways in which to complete their ballot papers for the Senate – above or below the line. ACL has produced short videos on how to vote in both houses for people who are unsure of the process or otherwise interested. You can view the videos by clicking
. The Australian Electoral Commission describes the Senate voting process
The majority of people cast their Senate vote above the line because it is quicker and easier, and you are less likely to cast an informal vote – it takes quite a bit of time and concentration to correctly number 80-odd boxes below the line for voters in New South Wales!
When voting above the line you simply write the number ‘1’ in the box for the political party or group of your choice. Voting this way means that you agree to your preferred party or group distributing preferences in the order they have determined. The way each party or group will direct its preferences is outlined in Group Voting Tickets.
A quick analysis of the Group Voting Tickets for the five parties whose questionnaire responses are featured in the
Australia Votes Election Summary Booklet
– Greens, Labor, Coalition, Family First and the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) – has thrown up some interesting results that might cause some people to carefully consider their voting intentions.
ACL has produced a
of the five featured parties and how they will distribute preferences in each state and territory (where fielding candidates). Under each party name are listed the other parties in the order of where the featured parties will send their preferences. (Note that independent and ungrouped candidates have not been listed.)
The way a party distributes its preferences is by no means an absolute guide to its principles, but it does somewhat reflect an alignment of values with parties it preferences first. Some of the interesting observations and trends to arise from an analysis of the Group Voting Tickets for each state and territory include:
The ALP, through a
noteworthy preference-swap arrangement
, is preferencing the Greens first in every state and territory.
The Greens preference the Sex Party, which is essentially the political mouthpiece of the adult sex industry, second in Victoria and first in the Northern Territory.
The ALP preferences the Sex Party above Family First in every state where both of these two minor parties are contesting, except South Australia.
The Greens preference the Secular Party, which believes that “
religions are not only untrue but harmful to society
”, no lower than fourth in all states, and first in New South Wales.
The Coalition preferences both the CDP and Family First in the top three in each state where those two smaller parties are fielding candidates.
The preferences of CDP and Family First are relatively straightforward with both parties keen to attract the Christian vote. Although in a number of states they have both preferenced One Nation higher than the major parties, this seems to a degree due to wanting to place the Greens and the Sex Party lowest in the order.
(The complete Group Voting Tickets for the Senate are available from the
Australian Electoral Commission website
– simply follow the link to your respective state or territory from the homepage.)
Now it is important to point out that parties allocate their preference flows to best ensure their election and that they all preference all the other parties. However you might rightly question a party’s priorities and its philosophy of “the means justifying the ends,” in the order of preference allocation.
My final word
With the election so close, we have a PM who despite her atheist beliefs and membership of Emily’s List has sought as late as the last 24 hours to give her assurances on her support for traditional marriage and belief in the importance of Australia’s Christian heritage. While moving later than the Coalition, she has also agreed to support chaplaincy, and even more generously; and while not quite as unequivocally, to reviewing the classification system.
Tony Abbott comes into the election with a strong record of personal and public faith, particularly on life issues. The Coalition’s position on marriage and support for chaplaincy have never been in doubt and they have announced the appointment of an International Development Minister to give higher profile to aid within government. They too have committed to a comprehensive review of the classification system, but disappointingly for ACL, are opposed to the Government’s plan to filter RC material on the internet at ISP level.
The remaining policy positions are as they have been throughout the campaign on this site and for the major parties you will find general convergence on most social justice issues, but often a difference in approach, and particularly on homelessness which deserves study.
Don’t forget the importance of the Senate vote. The Greens do not for us provide a real alternative for the Christian voter, as much because of how they have misrepresented themselves to the constituency. This seems further confirmed by their preference deals outlined above. If you are seeking an alternative to the major parties in the Senate we suggest you look seriously at Family First and CDP.
The election is now nigh – please pray for God’s purpose and will to be accomplished.
Jim Wallace daily election blog – Thurs Aug 19
· August 19, 2010 10:00 AM
By Jim Wallace, ACL Managing Director
The much anticipated ‘town hall meeting’ in Brisbane between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott has again confirmed that Saturday will be a tough contest, with honours going, in most commentators view, pretty evenly.
For us the most disappointing aspect of it was to see Tony Abbott saying that the ISP filter would slow the internet down, something that trials prove is not right. It has been proven to slow it by only 1/70th of the blink of an eye.
However the purpose of today’s blog is to discuss the Senate, where it seems that the Greens are on track to hold the balance of power, something we believe is no more in the Christian interest than having parties from the far right of politics holding it like One Nation or the Citizens Electoral Council.
We have pursued this issue of the Greens’ suitability to hold the balance of power on the basis of what we believe has been a deceptive attempt to attract Christian votes, and a conviction that our non-party partisan principles do not extend to ignoring lack of truth in politics.
The reality is that the Greens attempted to mask their policies on a lot of issues of concern to Christians by simply not responding to some 18 of 24 questions in our questionnaire, despite the fact that both their formal policies and record at both state and federal level made it clear they had formal policies or parliamentary track record on them.
While there are clearly some policy positions on refugees, poverty and the environment that will be attractive to us as Christians, it is a matter for each of us to assess whether the degree of difference with other parties’ policies on these issues is enough to overlook the often anti-faith parliamentary record of the Greens, and the weight of policies in this election which are inconsistent with a faith position for most evangelical and orthodox Christians.
The Greens’ track record includes attempts to remove prayer from parliament, sponsorship and support for all manner of anti-life agendas including abortion on demand till birth, cloning, RU486 and euthanasia – almost always taking the extreme position on these issues. They blindly support the gay agenda at both state and federal level, regardless of how it conflicts with the rights of children in homosexual adoption or surrogacy for instance, and have attempted to introduce gay marriage legislation and pledged to pursue it again.
In Victoria they were responsible for causing a government review that had an objective of removing the right of churches and Christian organisations to discriminate in employment so that they can employ Christians in, for instance, Christian schools. The ACT Senate candidate confirmed only this week the stance that if you receive government funding you should not be able to discriminate in this regard.
Many of the Greens’ policies display an incredible incoherency, with for instance their stated concern for women and the environment completely at odds with their support of pornography and prostitution – two of the most obvious ways through which women are demeaned and exploited, particularly through the sex trafficking they fuel.
What then are the options?
Clearly the Coalition and the ALP have candidates in the Senate and are keen to maximise their presence there and the policy considerations are the same as for your decision in the House of Representatives.
You should never underestimate the power of influence of Senators into the parliament and government in general, with Tasmania’s Senator Guy Barnett an example of a Senator who has repeatedly influenced wider parliamentary discourse positively through parliamentary committees and other forums, including playing the key parliamentary role in securing marriage as between a man and a woman in the Marriage Act.
Helen Polley and Eric Abetz are two other Tasmanian Senators with strong Christian track records, and of course there are more in the other states.
Obviously Family First and the Christian Democratic Party will rate high in the consideration of many Christians, with both having clearly pro-family, pro-Christian policies which you can
check of the preference arrangements
will show where these parties’ preference flows will go, a consideration if you are planning to vote above the line.
But remember your vote is not wasted by voting for one of these parties, as long as you are happy with the preference flow they allocate. Remember too you can allocate them yourself by voting below the line, but missing even one square will invalidate your vote.
Both these parties have upper house parliamentary experience and have been very effective in NSW, for the CDP and SA for Family First. In addition Family First's voting record in the Federal Senate has been pretty much exemplary.
To understand Senate voting better,
view this video
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