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Pages tagged "the Greens"
Why silence is no longer an option
· February 20, 2014 11:00 AM
The Greens sure are committed.
Last week in the Senate they tried and failed to remove the Lord’s Prayer from parliament.
Since 1901, the prayer has been recited at the start of each sitting day in the senate and house of representatives by the president and speaker respectively.
A group of committed pray-ers is always present in each chamber. No one is forced.
Australia did not become what it is in a vacuum. Christianity had a profound impact on the development of western institutions, including parliament.
While not everyone in Australia is Christian (although more than 60 per cent tell the census they are), nothing changes the fact that Christianity made a significant contribution to making Australia what it is today.
It is a simple fact that Christianity is part of our cultural heritage in a way that other religions are not. That is no disrespect to them. The ethics and ideas of other religions simply did not have the same impact on the formation of western values and the Australian nation.
As the pre-European peoples of this land, indigenous people, are of course a huge part of our cultural heritage. Recognition of their cultural heritage is also acknowledged in parliament each day and that is fair enough. The Greens have not sought to remove this.
Most of us would condemn the cutting down of a 113 year old tree, but when it comes to our cultural heritage the Greens are happy to fell any vestiges of the values of our past.
Greens Senator Richard Di Natale cites the separation of church and state for wanting to remove the prayer.
This misunderstanding of the concept is becoming wearisome. The Greens and others who abuse this concept are attempting to cloak their secularism in neutrality and objectivity, but in reality seem to be excluding Christianity in order to substitute their own secular irreligion.
Australia was founded with the principle of separation of church and state but it was never meant to keep religious ideas, people or even prayers out of public life.
It was simply to ensure that Australia, unlike Britain, did not have an established church constitutionally entwined with the state.
The idea was for all religions to be allowed to flourish without any being favoured by the state.
This in no way precludes the Lord’s Prayer being recited or the Muslim MP Ed Husic swearing an oath on the Koran, as he did when he was appointed to the front bench during the previous government.
There is a clash of ideas and values occurring in our political discourse. That’s fine, that’s healthy, that’s democracy.
Suggesting that someone’s faith has no place in the workplace, as Senator Di Natale did
, is anti-democratic. Why are Di Natale’s views superior?
Australia would not be the nation it is today if ethical ideas informed by faith were disbarred from the public discourse.
Whether people believe in God or not, the ideas of the teacher Jesus embodied in the Lord’s Prayer are worth reflecting on.
The idea that humans are not the font of all power is especially worth meditating on. Especially in parliament.
Meanwhile, the Greens have vowed to keep fighting to remove the prayer
in the same way they are relentlessly campaigning to redefine marriage.
It is time to push back on their vision to deconstruct our civic and family life.
They are a small political party but they have a big voice. Seasoned with grace, we should start to use our voice. Silence is no longer an option.
Tolerance does not mean all views are equally valid
· February 12, 2014 11:00 AM
Federal parliament resumed this week and one of the key issues on the agenda of the Greens political party is yet another bill to redefine marriage.
Last December the High Court struck down the ACT’s same-sex marriage law and effectively cut off the legal pathway for states and territories to legislate for this.
In its ruling the High Court said the Commonwealth Parliament, if it wished, could legislate a new definition of marriage – even one that allowed for more than two people.
Despite the repeated assurances of the same-sex marriage lobby that their agenda does not lead to a slippery slope of polygamy or polyamory, the learned judges of the High Court made it clear that marriage did not necessarily mean a limitation to two people.
I don’t for a moment think the federal parliament will go for this, but the fact that such a broad definition was seriously canvassed by an institution such as the High Court underscores that we indeed live in interesting times.
It is not known when the Greens might seek to make their legislative move but it will most likely be in the Senate and soon.
No one seriously believes the numbers exist in this parliament to change the definition of marriage but that won’t stop the Greens and some of their supporters who regrettably exist in both major parties.
For them, this is a strategy of legislation by fatigue – chipping away at the support for man-woman marriage relentlessly.
We live in a democracy and while it is highly unusual for so much parliamentary time to be given over to an issue which has been repeatedly rejected, it is their right to campaign in this way if the parliament allows it.
This makes it all the more important for those of us who believe that motherhood and fatherhood should not be deliberately denied to a child, to speak up and not leave a vacuum.
The influential American Pastor Rick Warren, who prayed at President Obama’s first inauguration, has stood lovingly and graciously firm in his support of man-woman marriage.
Like us at ACL, he is tired of being characterised as against certain people because of his views on marriage.
Last December, he was asked by CNN’s Piers Morgan why he apparently did not support ‘equality’.
“While I may disagree with you on your views on sexuality, it does not give me a right to demean you, to demoralize you, to defame you, to turn you into a demon
“See tolerance, Piers, used to mean we treat each other with mutual respect, even if we have major disagreements. Today tolerance has been changed to mean ‘all ideas are equally valid.’”
Warren went on to say this idea of tolerance was nonsense.
It is worth watching this three minute clip from CNN.
In a 2012 interview with Christianity Today,
Warren was asked about Christians who apparently hated Muslims. His response could equally apply to attitudes towards same-sex attracted people.
“I am not allowed by Jesus to hate anyone. Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
Australia has a unique opportunity on behalf of children to resist a trend to redefine marriage that has gripped a small number of nations in the world.
At the weekend yet another
story appeared promoting the acquiring of babies by same-sex attracted Australian men through complicated commercial surrogacy arrangements, this time in Thailand.
Commercial surrogacy is of course illegal in Australia and for good ethical reasons. The story contained no discussion of the rights of the babies, who were ‘relinquished’ by their birth mothers to be raised by the men.
If the Greens have their way and a new definition of marriage is legislated, it will be near impossible either through stifling political correctness or anti-discrimination law to say it is wrong for a child to be deliberately removed from its natural mother or father.
Our democratic freedoms give us the right to prosecute the case for retaining marriage. The Christian concern for justice, particularly for children who can’t speak for themselves, means we must speak up.
Our disagreement with those seeking to redefine marriage and family does not mean we don’t love them. Yes, even the Greens.
MR: Labor should appeal to the mainstream on marriage
· October 02, 2013 10:00 AM
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.
ACL's Lyle Shelton writes in The Australian
· September 17, 2013 10:00 AM
The Australian Christian Lobby's Managing Director Lyle Shelton has written an opinion piece, first published in
No mandate for change.
Below is a copy of the opinion piece. You can also read it on The Australian website
No mandate for change
Tomorrow in Canberra nine people - eight Labor and one from the Greens - will set themselves up to decide marriage policy affecting the entire nation.
Capitalising on the normal disruption of a change of federal government, the ACT government will introduce a bill for same-sex marriage into the territory's 17-member assembly.
With no residency requirement, the Labor-Greens government is mischievously creating a problem for interstate people who will not be married when they cross back over the border.
The Liberals, sensibly, are not buying into it and will oppose the bill on constitutional grounds.
The commonwealth parliament has the power to override territory legislation and, because marriage is a federal responsibility, it should do this. It is not in Australia's interest to have a hodgepodge of marriage laws. It is concerning that same-sex marriage advocates say they would rather see an ACT law challenged in the High Court so that judges, not elected people, can settle the issue. Clearly, the strategy is legislation by fatigue and, if that doesn't work, bypass democracy and get it before judges.
The last thing Australia needs is US-style judicial decision-making on issues of social policy. The federal election and this week's descent into farce means there is now an opportunity to put the debate about changing the definition of marriage behind us and move on.
Kevin Rudd made gay marriage a signature campaign issue by promising to legislate within 100 days if re-elected. He pushed it all the way to election eve and the issue received prominent and overwhelmingly positive media coverage.
But the electorate was underwhelmed. Labor returned its lowest primary vote in 100 years and the party of same-sex marriage, the Greens, suffered a 3 per cent swing.
Where was the pink vote?
A poll commissioned by Australian Christian Lobby and conducted last week by JWS Research asked people to identify what issues were most important to them when they voted on September 7. The poll confirmed what parliamentarians in touch with their electorates have always said: same-sex marriage is a low-order issue outside a handful of inner-city seats.
The poll found that 13 per cent of voters rated it as a top-three issue. Just 4 per cent of Coalition voters thought it was important. Among Labor voters, 85 per cent don't think it is a high priority and 72 per cent of Greens voters are not energised by it.
But we already knew this.
In August last year, MPs reported back to parliament after surveying their electorates on the issue. Greens member for Melbourne Adam Bandt had a motion carried in the parliament requesting MPs to undertake this.
Of 30 who reported back, 24 revealed where their electorates stood. Six MPs claimed majority support for same-sex marriage but 18 said their constituents were opposed to change.
In the seat of Dawson, George Christensen reported opposition of 456 to 78; in O'Connor, member Tony Crook reported 523 to 115; in Deakin, Mike Symon reported 1015 to 65; in Blair, Shayne Neumann reported 580 to 115; in Cook, Scott Morrison reported 850 to 50; in the seat of Cowan, Luke Simpkins reported 903 to 103; and in Fowler member Chris Hayes said 90 per cent of his electorate supported marriage between a man and a woman. Bandt had kicked an own goal in demanding MPs survey their electorates.
Soon after, same-sex marriage bills were defeated in the House of Representatives and in the Senate by almost two to one.
Same-sex marriage advocates claim that since the election they have 50 confirmed supporters in the House of Representatives, an increase of eight on the previous parliament.
However, the chamber has 150 members and, despite the war of attrition being waged on MPs by the gay lobby, they remain well short of the numbers needed to change the Marriage Act.
Despite continually claiming Australians want it, same-sex marriage advocates oppose putting it to a referendum.
What is rarely talked about is that there is no discrimination in Australian law against same-sex couples. This was completely removed in 2008 under the attorney-general at the time, Robert McClelland. As he pointed out during ACL's pre-election webcast, the gay-marriage debate is not about discrimination, it is about definition, and regardless of who legislates the matter will end up in the High Court to decide what marriage meant in 1901.
"I don't think that's a comfortable place for the High Court to be," McClelland said.
It will take extraordinary judicial gymnastics to rule it is anything other than man-woman. There are bigger issues for organisations such as ACL to pursue with the new government, such as its election-eve cutting of $4.5 billion in overseas aid to people in extreme poverty.
Same-sex marriage is far from inevitable despite what the public is constantly told.
There is no mandate for change. It's time to move on.
Lyle Shelton is the managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
MR: Senator Hanson-Young right to sue over photo-shopped image in Zoo Magazine
· September 12, 2013 10:00 AM
For release: Friday 13th September 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby supports Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s legal action again Zoo Magazine for objectifying her.
ACL spokeswoman Wendy Francis said the magazine demeaned the Senator and by extension all women who were seeking to make a serious contribution to public debate.
“Zoo magazine, obviously short of ideas and creativity, simply decided they could separate the senator’s head from her body and replace her body with that of a bikini model,” Ms Francis said.
“Who gains from this? Zoo magazine must think they do.
“Who loses? Well, apart from the obvious victim of disrespect, Ms Hanson-Young, every other Australian woman, old and young alike, who aspire to be taken seriously in their chosen profession.
“Not only did the cut-and-paste photographic job demean Ms Hanson-Young, it also demeaned one of the most important issues facing our country.”
The article, titled "ZOO's Asylum Seeker Bikini Plan" was published in July 2012, a week after the Senator addressed the Senate regarding Australia's humanitarian intake of asylum-seekers.
But NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum does not agree, saying yesterday at the hearing into the matter that she did not believe the photo made the senator look incompetent or immature.
Justice McCallum, however, granted Senator Hanson-Young leave to argue her case in front of a jury. The case will be heard at a later date.
“I’m sure the jury will have no trouble seeing what Zoo Magazine is doing for the status of women through this sort of activity,” Ms Francis said.
MR: Same-sex marriage not a vote winner
· September 07, 2013 10:00 AM
For release: Sunday 8th September 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby congratulates the Coalition on its election win and says it demonstrates that despite the incredibly high profile during the campaign of same-sex marriage, it was not a vote winner for Labor.
“It is clear that changing the definition of marriage is not something that defined the way Australians voted despite Labor’s high-profile campaigning on it and strong support for it in the media,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.
“Australia has an opportunity now to move on from this debate but if same-sex marriage activists persist in the new Parliament, it should go back to the people again for the ultimate conscience vote in a referendum,” Mr Shelton said.
“Mr Rudd’s bullying of a Christian pastor on Q&A in the final week of the campaign made Australians feel uncomfortable with the consequences for freedom of speech and freedom of belief should the law on marriage be changed,” Mr Shelton said.
“It should not be up to politicians to decide to normalise this sort of treatment of fellow Australians who will always believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Mr Shelton said reforms in 2008 meant there was no discrimination against same-sex couples under Australian law and it was unnecessary to divide people in the way Mr Rudd did by changing the definition of marriage.
Despite the Greens championing of same-sex marriage, they had suffered a swing against them while a pro traditional marriage political party, Family First, looks to have picked up a Senate seat in South Australia.
Mr Shelton hoped Labor would realise the error of following Greens’ social policy and of having changed its party platform on marriage at its 2011 National Conference.
“There is an opportunity now for Labor to further distance itself from the Greens and move back to the sensible centre on social policy as part of its rebuilding process.”
Euthanasia on the election agenda of some parties
· August 22, 2013 10:00 AM
In any election campaign euthanasia is usually an issue under debate just outside the main campaign of the major parties.
ACL has long advocated
for valuing human life in a caring society and for the improvement of palliative care services. Legalising euthanasia is a unjust means of putting the onus on vulnerable people to prematurely end their lives.
The Australian Greens last week announced they will introduce legislation in the next parliament to legalise euthanasia. The following day, controversial euthanasia advocate Dr Phillip Nitschke argued in
The Canberra Times
that euthanasia should be considered on the basis of economics; that granting older Australians the right to end their life would help relieve the health budget. Dr Nitschke is the co-founder of the new Voluntary Euthanasia Party and is standing as a candidate for the ACT Senate in the forthcoming election. The party's preferences will flow to the Greens.
The Greens' spokesman for health Senator Richard Di Natale said the party would base their euthanasia policy on a bill by its NSW Senate candidate Cate Faehrmann. Ms Faehrmann's bill was defeated 13 votes to 23 in the New South Wales upper house earlier this year when she was a member of that house.
ACL welcomed this defeat
In light of these recent comments, director of anti-euthanasia group HOPE
Paul Russell published an opinion piece
questioning the validity of the arguments put forth by the Greens and Dr Nitschke, including apparent safeguards to the initiative. These questions have become increasingly relevant as the federal election draws near, and as the parties deal with this issue.
Parliaments across Australia have repeatedly rejected legalised euthanasia; South Australia in 2009, 2010 and 2012, Tasmania in 2009, Victoria in 2008, and Western Australia in 2010. Throughout the debate, the ACL has run campaigns encouraging people to make a stand against legalising euthanasia by contacting their local MPs.
Dr Megan Best, a bioethicist and palliative care specialist, will be one of the panel guests in ACL's
Make it Count 2013 Election Panel
webcast on Monday 2nd September. Author of the book
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
, her primary research interest lies in spirituality and suffering at the end of life.
Lyle Shelton defends marriage on 6PR
· April 19, 2013 10:00 AM
ACL's Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton participated in a debate with Greens MP Lynn MacLaren about same-sex marriage on 6PR radio.
to listen to the debate.
MR: ACL welcomes end of Labor-Greens alliance
· February 19, 2013 11:00 AM
For release: Wednesday, 20th February 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the ending of the formal alliance between federal Labor and the Greens.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said he hoped there would never be another alliance between a mainstream political party and the Greens, which were to the left of politics what One Nation was to the right.
“The Prime Minister herself has said the Greens do not share Australian values,” Mr Wallace said. “And this is evident in the tensions that exist in the party between committed environmentalists and members of the socialist left typified by Senator Rhiannon.”
Make a Stand' against euthanasia in Tasmania
· February 19, 2013 11:00 AM
For many years, parliaments across Australia have repeatedly rejected legalised voluntary euthanasia. South Australia in 2009, 2010 and 2012, and Victoria in 2008, Western Australian 2010.
Despite this, Premier Lara Giddings and Greens MP Nick McKim are behind a new move to introduce euthanasia into the Tasmanian parliament. A discussion paper suggesting an assisted dying model of euthanasia was released on the 3rd February for public comment.
The last time euthanasia was debated in the Tasmanian parliament was in 2009 when Nick McKim's Dying with Dignity Bill was resoundingly rejected 15 votes to 7.
If you are a Tasmanian resident, we encourage you to make a submission to ACL's 'Make a Stand' campaign against the government introducing laws for euthanasia.
You can make a direct submission to Premier Lara Giddings.
Responses should be sent to: GPO Box 123, Hobart, Tasmania 7001 OR
Alternatively, you can send an email with your thoughts to your local parliamentary representative. To find out how and for more resources, visit
ACL's 'Make A Stand' campaign page.
A short euthanasia brief by the ACL is also available
or click on the picture above.
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