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Help transform Australia with God’s truth
Help transform Australia with God’s truth
Religious Discrimination Bill update
Pages tagged "tony abbott"
The week the marriage debate turned
· August 18, 2015 10:00 AM
Last week was a turning point in the marriage debate.
Liberal backbencher Warren Entsch planned to introduce a cross party bill into the Parliament to abolish the requirement for gender complementarity in marriage.
As Parliamentarians flew into Canberra for the first sitting week after the long winter break, they were greeted by the privately-owned Canberra airport lit up in the rainbow colours of the same-sex political movement.
Media speculation was at fever pitch. They were on the brink of winning the prize of marriage redefined.
Warren Entsch was ready to strike. His first hurdle was last Tuesday’s party room meeting where he needed to convince his Coalition colleagues to abandon their policy of support for marriage in favour of a free vote.
Sometimes if you are for something, you have to take a stand. And some courageous people did.
It soon became apparent there was opposition to Entsch's play.
The issue was unresolved so Coalition MPs and Senators reconvened at 3:15pm, right after Question Time.
One after the other, parliamentarians stood up in the party room and spoke against abandoning the idea of marriage between a man and a woman in party policy.
For the next six hours a civil debate, by Mr Entsch’s own admission, ensued.
At 9:30pm parliamentarians emerged with the news that a two-to-one majority of the party room was in favour of keeping marriage as party policy.
The Prime Minister Tony Abbott held a media conference at 10pm to say a referendum or plebiscite will be held in the term of the next Parliament to allow the Australian people a vote on whether or not they want marriage redefined.
It was an extraordinary day.
The Canberra press gallery and the same-sex political movement were apoplectic at being denied their prize as it sunk in that there would be no same-sex marriage law before Christmas.
We now have until after the next election to continue to make the case for marriage to remain between one man and one woman.
We have possibly 18 months and this time must not be wasted.
This is not a time for neutrality.
Anyone who watched
ABC1's Q&A program last night
would have seen the anger and intolerance of Greens leader Richard Di Natalie and Labor's Sam Dastyari. It was chilling.
Their vicious attacks on Katy Faust, a US guest on the program who was raised by lesbians, give us an indication of what is to come if the law ever changes.
By Di Natalie and Dastyari's reasoning, those of us who argue for children's rights to know their parents are nothing but bigots.
We all know how society rightly treats bigots. If we want a free society for our children, we had better speak now.
I am told reliably that Katy's interview with Tony Jones on Lateline last week rated its socks off.
Australians are being denied the other side of the debate,
something ABC1's media watch conceded this week.
If our side is allowed to present its case fairly, there is no reason why our fellow Australians will not be convinced that children need a mother and father and marriage is the most effective way to secure this.
Thanks to the 50,000 of you who signed our online petition to the Senate. We will seek to have it tabled soon.
Thanks also to the 40,000 of you who emailed parliamentarians in this recent period. Online activism makes a difference.
Yesterday I was told that parliamentarians received your thank you emails after the party room vote. This lifted their spirits because at times this has been a toxic debate.
The past week has shown that marriage is winnable. But it requires us to speak up.
We now have more time and I am confident that as we speak the truth of marriage will be revealed to our friends and the wider Australian community.
Thanks for staying in the fight. The next phase is beginning.
Politics spills from church to the hill as PM hangs on
· February 10, 2015 11:00 AM
Before the Liberal Party's leadership spill motion, the Parliamentary year began in church yesterday.
Both Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten attended the ecumenical service at Canberra's Kingston Baptist.
Many of their members and senators were there as well. Christ was honoured and prayers were prayed to mark the start of the Parliament year.
Salvation Army Major Dr Kelvin Alley preached on David of the Bible, emphasising his courage, wisdom and grace.
With church at 7:30am and Mr Abbott's party room spill meeting set for 9am, Major Alley referenced the challenging political year ahead and encouraged parliamentarians to draw strength from the Lord in the same way David did.
After church, Mr Shorten and wife Chloe lingered at the back to greet the congregation on their way out.
From church it was straight to the party room in nearby Parliament House for Mr Abbott who survived the move against his leadership.
He is now on notice to improve his and the government's performance.
Failure will almost certainly bring on another spill.
It seems nothing has been learned from the recent political past. Two Labor prime ministerial coups ended badly.
So it is incomprehensible that the Liberal Party is tearing itself apart in the same way.
Sadly politics is full of ego, self-interest and arrogance and this trumps logic almost every time.
Our last three Prime Ministers - Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott have faced leadership coups in their first term of office.
All leaders have their foibles, but it seems like an anti-leadership disease has afflicted our body politic.
Very little slack is cut.
Now part of this is self-inflicted because too many political leaders, Mr Abbott included, are too quick to break their word fuelling the public's fires of disillusionment.
We now see wildly violent election swings such as that in Queensland a little over a week ago.
Parliamentarians who elect their party leader and therefore the Prime Minister seem to be just as fickle as the electorate.
There is a crisis of trust in our system. The nation is the loser.
Politics is very much a reflection of who we are as a community. After all, we elected our parliamentarians.
Both we and our parliamentarians need the courage, wisdom and grace of David of the Bible. We constantly need reminding that God is God and we are not.
A church service to open the Parliamentary year is a great way to do this.
Call to ban face coverings in public
· September 16, 2014 10:00 AM
Christian Democratic Party leader the Reverend Fred Nile wants a ban on the wearing of face coverings in public.
Last week Rev Nile introduced a private members bill into the NSW parliament outlining the plan. The bill will be debated in state parliament this week.
Issues of national security and the threat of Islamic State are reasons for the bill, according to Rev Nile.
“We also face the new Islamic State terrorist threat, whose black uniforms for both men and women include face coverings to prevent identification,” Rev Nile said.
In 2010, Rev Nile introduced a similar ban that failed to pass through parliament. Belgium and France had passed laws that same year banning face coverings.
The bill proposes a $550 fine for a person who covers their face in public. An $1100 penalty would also be issued to a person who forces someone else to cover his or her face.
Face coverings would only be allowed under certain circumstances including during a parade or religious services.
Recently, Rev Nile joined calls for a
ban on the IS flag
after reports of one being auctioned at a Sydney mosque.
“They fly the flag as something to be proud of – they should be ashamed of beheading people and selling women into slavery,” he said.
In recent months, Christians and other religious minority groups have suffered under the brutal regime of IS in Iraq. Christians are being forced to convert to Islam, pay a protection tax, or face death.
The Australian government last week committed to sending planes and troops to Iraq to fight IS militants.
“Australia is prepared to engage in these operations because of the threat that this murderous death cult poses ... because it has ambitions beyond any other group to arise so far,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
In response to the persecution, ACL launched a
calling on the federal government to increase its humanitarian intake.
to Iraqi-born Assistant Parish Priest Father Paul Mingana speak about refugee places for persecuted Christians with ACL’s Katherine Spackman.
Free speech debate is only just beginning
· April 02, 2014 11:00 AM
The last federal Parliamentary sitting week in March was dominated by fierce debate about free speech and racial vilification.
Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act makes it illegal to offend, insult or humiliate someone because of their race.
The Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt ran foul of these laws and was fined, prompting the then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to promise to repeal them.
No thinking person, and especially Christians, wants racism.
The question is, how do you strike the right balance between free speech and creating a culture of respect for all people?
The human rights lobby believes strong legal protections are needed against racist elements in the Australian community and wants the laws unchanged.
I tend to think the Australian community is far more tolerant than some give them credit for.
The Attorney General George Brandis has argued that free speech is a higher value and is proposing to repeal Section 18C.
However, he proposes to make it against the law to vilify or intimidate people on the basis of race where vilify means to incite hatred against a person or group and intimidate means to cause fear of physical harm.
While still subjective, that seems to be a more appropriate place to strike the balance.
But what of non-race-based claims of vilification?
Some people claim the statements: "Marriage should be between a man and a woman" and "that wherever possible, children deserve their mother and father" to be deeply offensive, humiliating and even 'hateful'.
Some politicians have even said there is "no place in Australia" for these views.
It seems the debate about free speech and freedom of religion in Australia is only just beginning.
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.
Tasmanian lower house rejects voluntary euthanasia bill - again
· October 22, 2013 11:00 AM
Last Thursday, the Tasmanian lower house rejected a bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia in the state.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, co-sponsored by Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim, was defeated 13 votes to 11.
Labor House of Assembly Members Michael Polley, Brian Wightman and Brenton Best joined the ten Liberals and voted against the legislation.
This is a great win for the dignity of human life, given the campaigning of euthanasia supporters in the week leading up to the debate, particularly on the part of right-to-die advocate Philip Nitschke.
Last month the Prime Minister Tony Abbott was asked about the legislation
and said he would prefer to keep to the status quo. He acknowledged the current practice between doctors and patients where pain relief is often administered which may, as a secondary effect, shorten life. This is not euthanasia because there is no intention to kill – its firstly focused on the comfort, symptom management and pain relief of the patient. Euthanasia and assisted suicide is the deliberate killing of someone by action or omission.
The Tasmanian government should be focussed on improving palliative care services.
Thank you to all of you who've been working, praying, and corresponding with MPs over this important issue. Your dedication to and support of the most vulnerable in our society does not go unnoticed.
If you're a Tasmanian resident, please take a few minutes to send a quick email to the MPs who opposed the legislation to thank them for their stand against this potentially dangerous bill.
For many years, parliaments across Australia have repeatedly rejected legalised voluntary euthanasia - South Australia in 2009, 2010 and 2012, Victoria in 2008, and Western Australian in 2010.
The last time euthanasia was debated in the Tasmanian Parliament was in 2009 when Greens MP Nick McKim’s Dying with Dignity Bill was resoundingly rejected 15 votes to 7.
ACL ran a
'Make a Stand' campaign
against the legislation in the lead up to its debate.
ACL's MD Lyle Shelton on the Political Spot about election results
· September 10, 2013 10:00 AM
Lyle Shelton is the MD of the Australian Christian Lobby. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he discusses the election outcome.
MR: Prime Minister and Opposition Leader to address Christians at webcast event
· August 26, 2013 10:00 AM
For release: Tuesday August 27th 2013
ACL is pleased to announce that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will address Christians at the
Make it Count 2013 Election Panel webcast
via video message on Monday September 2
ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the 3 minute pre-recorded video messages from each leader will be played at the start of the webcast and provide the basis for subsequent discussion by the panel.
Mr Shelton will then facilitate discussion in front of a live studio audience around issues including refugees, gambling, poverty, sexualisation of society, family and marriage, life issues and more.
The panel event will comprise of leading Christian thinkers and subject matter experts:
Chief Executive Officer and Superintendent of Wesley Mission
, former Deputy Prime Minister
, former Attorney-General and retiring ALP member for Barton
, bioethicist and palliative care specialist
, Centre for Public Christianity
This event is being made available for churches by registering at
Registrations close Sunday, 1
September at 11.59pm
The event begins at 7.30pm AEST & WST (delayed) and 7pm CST and runs for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The event is organised by Australian Christian Lobby and sponsored by Christian Super.
Political parties fail to raise issue of homelessness in Australia
· August 23, 2013 10:00 AM
The federal election campaign has raised issues like marriage, paid parental leave, cracking down on people smugglers, and managing the federal budget. What there fails to have been is a serious discussion on the state of poverty and homelessness across our nation.
The ACL places a strong emphasis
on changing the state of poverty and justice in Australia through public policy; as Christians, we are called to be "generous to the poor" (Proverbs 19:17) and to "give to the needy" (Luke 12:33).
This week, the Pastor of a church in Sydney's Kings Cross urged the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott to focus more on the needs of the unemployed and homeless during this election campaign. In an
interview with ABC News' Sally Sara
, he says the most vulnerable in our society, including the homeless and asylum seekers, are being dehumanised by the level of fear in the current political debate, and that more and more, we are becoming a country with no heart.
Also this week, welfare group
St Vincent de Paul Society demanded an anti-poverty strategy
for Australia in the election campaign. Its CEO Dr John Falzon said that nearly 13 per cent of the population was living in poverty, including more than half a million children. The group has called on both sides of politics to commit to meeting the Homelessness White Paper target of halving all homelessness by 2020.
, there are over 105,000 homeless people in the country. That means that on any given night, 1 in 200 people have no home to go to. The rate of homelessness is also on the rise; the 2011 Census showed that in five years, the rate of homelessness increased by eight per cent. This is caused by a number of reasons, including a chronic shortage of affordable and available rental housing, domestic and family violence, and financial crisis.
ACL's Katherine Spackman recently
interviewed Mission Australia's CEO Toby Hall
about the need for political parties to address the issue of homelessness in Australia. Mr Hall said that both sides of politics have been weak on the issues; Kevin Rudd has loosely made comments about halving the poverty rate in Australia by 2020 but this has not been backed by any policy or money, and there has been very little focus on it by the Coalition. Mission Australia is asking both sides to partner together to provide the necessary resources and affordable housing to combat poverty and homelessness on our streets.
In the lead up to the federal election, the ACL sent a questionnaire to political parties designed to educate voters of party positions on issues of particular importance to Christians. Follow
to find out their answers to the homelessness question.
PM tries to address religious freedom worry in marriage debate
· August 21, 2013 10:00 AM
By Lyle Shelton, ACL Managing Director
It may be that the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is concerned his new-found position on marriage is hurting his standing with Christians.
At last night’s “peoples’ forum” debate with Tony Abbott in Brisbane, the two leaders were again asked for their positions on same-sex marriage.
It was interesting that Mr Rudd went straight to concerns about religious freedom in his answer saying the church should never have to conduct same-sex weddings.
The church was not even mentioned in the question.
After years of defending man-woman marriage, Mr Rudd reiterated his new view that there could be two systems of marriage: civil same-sex marriage and church-based marriage that excluded homosexuals.
But what then does the “marriage equality” campaign mean if churches do not have to provide “marriage equality”?
It is clear from overseas examples that advocates for changing the definition of marriage will not stop until they achieve what they see as full equality.
Already a wealthy, high profile homosexual couple in the UK is
planning to sue the church
because they are being denied a church wedding. The ink is not even dry on the UK Parliament’s same-sex marriage bill, which was recently passed but not yet in force.
But the pressure on the church from the homosexual political agenda is not just oversees. A local leader in the marriage equality movement, Ivette Madrid of Equal Love Canberra, told ABC radio last month she could not agree to churches being exempt from performing same-sex weddings.
“The churches will be discriminating on the basis of gender and so I don’t think that should be allowed at all,” she said.
In the last Parliamentary sitting week, a law was rushed through Parliament stripping Christian aged care homes of their religious freedom to protect their ethos. The former head of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich, wants
Christian schools to be next
It is naïve to think the church, Christian schools and charities will be allowed to happily co-exist teaching their vision of marriage and family when the state has by law changed the definition of marriage to something diametrically opposed.
The State will be obliged to ensure its definition is enforced, otherwise the law change “marriage equality” advocates seek is meaningless.
It is disappointing that Mr Rudd’s new view which he announced last May (but last night said was a position he “
took some time ago
”) did not include a discussion on the ethics of children missing out on the love and nurture of their natural parents, a further necessary consequence of same-sex marriage.
In Mr Rudd’s rush to legislate within 100 days if he is re-elected, the rights of the child are not even being considered nor are the implications for religious freedom and freedom of speech.
For his part, Mr Abbott continues to hold the line, although he can’t guarantee that his party room will not water down Coalition policy on marriage by demanding a conscience vote after the election.
“All I can do is candidly and honestly tell people what my view is. I support the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman,” Mr Abbott said.
A political leader’s view has a powerful influence over his or her party. The best chance of retaining marriage at this election lies with the Coalition.
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