|Previous names:||None, but they are kind of an offspring of the CDP, and their Victorian branch has merged into the Australian Conservatives.|
||A political voice for Christian Values
When you believe in freedom and family, you vote 1 for Australian Christians
|Themes:||Christian right, though not quite as far right as some. Climate change isn’t real. Family is important. Right wing economic policy and small government, particularly when it comes to welfare.|
||Upper House: WA
Lower House: Brand, Burt, Canning, Cowan, Curtin, Fremantle, Hasluck, Moore, O’Connor, Pearce, Stirling, Swan, Tangney
|Preferences:||In the Upper House, the AC unsurprisingly favour the Australian Conservatives, followed by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, the Liberals, the Nationals, One Nation and Palmer United. Your basic right wing selection, with a little frisson of racism and the right to bear arms.
In the Lower House, they always put the Greens last and Labor second last, with One Nation generally scoring third billing after the Liberals or the Nationals. Sometimes the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers score better than One Nation. And apparently, they find Fraser Anning’s party less distressing than the Greens, Labor, Animal Justice or the Socialist Alliance, which tells you something unpleasant about their priorities.
Policies & Commentary
OK, I’m going to be up front here and tell you that this group lost me when they preferenced Fraser Anning ahead of the Labor Party. Not even the Greens, not even the Socialists, but the Labor Party. I mean, come on. Their reasoning appears to be that the ALP now has an explicitly pro-choice platform, but that is no excuse for blatant hatred and racism. ALP has plenty of policies that a Christian party ought to appreciate – Anning’s group has nothing going for it but hate, but it’s conservatively-inflected hate, so apparently that’s alright. I’m already disgusted and I haven’t got past their How To Vote page yet.
The usual disclaimers apply here: I’m Christian, but of a left-leaning, progressive, LGBTQIA+-affirming variety. And I also think that God didn’t create this world so that we could selfishly destroy it, so I’m pretty big on taking action on climate change. And I get really, really cross when people try to pervert my religion into a stick with which to beat other people.
(And even more cross when they favour blatant racists over people who are trying to prevent the planet from becoming too hot to live on. Have they *read* their Bibles?)
Let’s get started.
The AC’s front page tells us that
Australian Christians is a political party in Australia which promotes and protects the values that create a better Australia for all, no matter what their faith and belief. Australian society’s values are based on our Judeo-Christian and biblical heritage. Our policies and core values are based on this heritage.
Australian Christians candidates are all committed Christians, seeking to be a voice for Christian values. Joining Australian Christians is open to all residents of Australia who are guided by Christian values and principles. Join us in our mission.
WE BELIEVE Australia needs a Christian voice in Parliament to keep society stable and government accountable.
Not to rain on their parade, but have they noticed how many of our MPs (including our PM) are actually… Christians? Never mind…
Their front page links to a feed from their Facebook, which tells us, among other things, that we should put Labor last because ‘a vote for Labor is a vote for more late-term abortion across Australia’, but can I just point out that in fact they have put the Greens last on their how to vote cards, suggesting that the Greens don’t just endorse late-term abortion but probably also eat babies. Which is ridiculous because everyone knows that the Greens are vegan. (Spoiler: the Greens aren’t all vegan. Which is why we have the Animal Justice Party! Who are *also* below Labor on the ballot suggesting that, I don’t know, maybe they feed babies to their tame cows? Or chickens, perhaps. Chickens can be vicious.)
You can tell I’m avoiding engaging here, can’t you. Sorry. I’ll settle down and look at this properly now.
The About Page asks us
When it comes to the future of Australia, what’s important to you and your family?
And then it informs us that
WE BELIEVE Australian Christians are called to unashamedly fight for the rights of families, our freedom of expression and the sanctity of life.
They have set out this whole section like a Creed, starting each line with ‘We Believe’, which feels faintly blasphemous – actually, no, not blasphemous, exactly, but rather manipulative, I think. Also, they don’t use the definite article when describing themselves – it isn’t ‘The Australian Christians’, like a specific political party. It’s ‘Australian Christians do this that or the other’, which pisses me off, because they are trying to make me and other Christians part of their argument, and I object to being made complicit in their nastiness.
Anyway, their creed includes good stewardship and leading with integrity; consistency in government (presumably code for ‘no swapping Prime ministers mid-stream’); and the inevitable Judeo-Christian values and Christian voice in parliament.
There are plenty of Christian voices in Parliament and we really, really need to stop it with the Judeo-Christian values. Two different religions, guys. Two different lots of values, too. And we don’t need a government that delegitimises all the other religions.
They believe that creating change takes time and team effort, that they are blessed to live in Australia which is apparently ‘the Great Southland of the Holy Sprit’.
I mean, first, somebody has been singing too many choir anthems if they think that’s how you spell ‘Spirit’, and secondly, I now have this image of the Holy Spirit descending on Southland Shopping Centre in Cheltenham, and it’s all getting very weird.
Oh, and they believe that they serve an incredible God who loves His people. And they invite us to Believe with them.
Just imagine what would happen if the 2,500,000 Australians who reportedly attend church, took seriously their mission to be salt and light to their nation.
- They would vote not just because they are obliged to but because they want to honour God and contribute to the well-being of their fellow citizens.
- They would seek to be well informed about candidates before Election Day and consult Christian websites not just the secular media.
- They would not hesitate to declare their support for Christian values at the ballot box in any way they can (through their vote and their practical support of Christian candidates before and on the day of the election.)
- They would pray that God’s righteousness, justice, compassion and wisdom may be evidenced in the laws of our nation through the people we elect to parliament
- They would consider their democratic vote a privilege and responsibility, and make an informed decision about the future of their nation.
Guess what? Some of us do all of those things, and reach REALLY different conclusions to the Australian Christians. I mean, my Christian values are things like solidarity with the poor and the oppressed and refugees, and thus voting on policies that will hopefully make their lives better. Or respect for God’s creation, which I express in trying to take actions that will keep this world beautiful and varied and above all liveable. Or loving my neighbours, and doing as I would be done by. These are the values that I support at the ballot box.
Alas, the Australian Christians do not share my values.
The AC has policies in nine key areas. On Family and Welfare, they start straight off with ‘Family Court and Child Support Agency, and tell us that they agree generally with the views expressed by the Shared Parenting Council of Australia. A quick Google of the latter finds that it is enthusiastically endorsed by Men’s Rights groups, so we know where we stand here, and guys, I’m sorry, I just can’t do another post about the Family Court and custody, OK? You can read my posts on Australian Better Families or the Non-Custodial Parents Party if you really want to know what I think on this topic.
The AC does add three extra-special twists to their policy. First, they want DNA testing before anyone has to pay child support, which… look, deceit and cheating are terrible things, but emotional bonds are also a real thing. Is it really Christian to say to the child that you’ve raised since birth, and who knows you as their only father, oops, sorry kiddo, I’m not actually your dad, so you can’t expect any help from me. I mean, really, WWJD. And the J in that would be Joseph.
They like the phrase ‘genuine domestic abuse’, which carries with it the implication that not all abuse is really abuse. And they specifically say that economic abuse isn’t a thing.
But they do get one thing right.
As the Family Court always seeks to act “in the best interest of the child”, it is incongruous that the opinion of children who are of age to express their feelings adequately is not solicited to a greater degree, as the children would be more aware than anybody else of the parents’ behaviour, care, attentiveness, cooperativeness and availability. Therefore, the child’s opinion must be given considerable weight in the Court’s decision regarding custody matters.
And this is the difference between conservative Christians and Men’s Rights Groups – the Christians actually view the children as people with rights and feelings and opinions. The MRA groups only really care for the feelings and rights of the father.
(The mother is out of luck no matter which way you slice it.)
On Marriage, the AC doesn’t like same sex marriage one bit, but did we really expect them to? They are concerned about restoring the importance of fatherhood via mentoring programs for men and boys, they support pre-marriage education (which might be a good thing, but probably not in the hands of this group, since I would be willing to bet that they are into male headship. They are concerned about domestic violence, though their language suggests that women are equal perpetrators, and they want mandatory mediation for divorced parents with children, which… is not going to work when there is domestic violence in the picture.
Their policy on child welfare is mostly about keeping families together, but they also don’t like the early sexualisation of children. And they make a good point, here – girls, in particular, are sexualised at far too young an age. But I have a feeling that what they are actually talking about here is Safe Schools… and certainly, their Education policy suggests that I might be right on this.
AC does not support the introduction or funding of programs that seek to disenfranchise. It does not support the current model of Safe Schools and will reintroduce a fairer program aimed to promote general wellbeing across the whole school populous.
They are also worried about the curriculum being used as ‘a political tool to push certain values while ignoring others’, and want parents to be able to choose schools that support the ‘beliefs, traditions and values of their home life’, probably though a voucher system. They are worried about social engineering.
Australian Christians strongly supports freedom of association and therefore supports the freedom of religious schools to select students or staff that uphold the ethos of the school.
So it’s fine to kick out gay students or teachers. What a very Christian attitude.
Remember that bit in Matthew where Jesus says ‘If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.’
How many children and young people have been pushed away from Christianity by a definition of the religion that tells them that they are wrong, deep inside, just because of who they are? I know that what broke Christianity for me for many years was that I actually met people who were LGBTQIA and I simply could not believe in a God who would condemn my friends to hell because of who they were, and who they loved. I eventually realised that God is far more loving than my fundamentalist friends would have me believed, but it took a long time. Not everyone finds their way back.
OK, on to another policy! The Australian Christians have an extremely lengthy policy on drugs and alcohol, which include what I think is actually a fairly accurate accounting of the causes and effects of the Opium Wars, and a somewhat more optimistic history of Prohibition in America. As far as I can see, the AC would really quite like to make drinking illegal, but they know that won’t fly in Australia, so they want to treat it like cigarettes instead – tax it heavily, stop alcohol advertising, and educate people on the dangers of drinking. As far as drugs are concerned, the AC believe in zero tolerance rather than harm minimisation.
The AC wants more support for the elderly. They want to bring down the cost of living, they don’t want family homes to be included in means testing for the pension, and they want to bring down the cost of living so that retirement income goes further.
The AC is OK on disability and carers. They want proper funding for the NDIS, more support for carers, and a general focus on making sure people with disabilities can participate in society.
People with disabilities are entitled to the same dignity and recognition as all other citizens and deserve special support from all levels of government and our Australian communities.
If I want to be a bit picky – and I do – I’d note that this wording is slightly patronising, and the emphasis on carers (‘Carers are the unsung heroes and need to be supported’), is a little disproportionate. Essentially, the disabled people feel like the commodities in this policy, not the centre of it – they deserve dignity, right, all people do, but look at the work carers do, aren’t they heroes? Carers are important, but they shouldn’t be the core of your policy on disability.
The AC is big on family-centred economics. They start off with all this sweeping history which eventually boils down to this:
Today in western nations the issue of family fragmentation is once again being increasingly dealt with by what was referred to as the Welfare state or Paternalism. It seeks to provide everything to everybody under the benevolence of an “all-caring” government.
I’m sorry, but I really do not think that the IPA is where a Christian political group should be getting its ideas about charity and welfare. But it turns out that the AC are big into small government and personal responsibility.
Intact families reinstate the classic liberal idea of limited government, freedom and responsibility.
Even in the most caring society there will always be people who need welfare throughout their lives, but the traditional and principle aim of government welfare should be assisting in the short-term while encouraging self-support in the long-term Australia desperately needs to restore the balance.
Sound classical economic policy and welfare society (not the welfare state or its heavy handed establishments such as the Family Law Court) must once again rise up into the place where traditional family and organisations such as volunteer groups, clubs, churches, charities and so on, are mixed with some targeted, well-designed government assistance.
It is family and community who are most intimately acquainted with the real, immediate needs of those nearest and therefore do a far better job of caring than any government could.
Family-centred economics, then, appears to be about relying on family, church and community to support individuals in need, rather than the government. There are a lot of problems with this idea. Even assuming that the family and community want to help, they may not be able to. Not all families have the financial capacity to help others. Help from family and community can come with strings attached – or just a burden of gratitude that can stifle friendships. And… some communities and families are pretty toxic. How does someone who is fleeing abuse access support if the community sides with their abuser? As for dignity – it’s really hard to ask for help, especially from people who you know are also doing it tough.
In my view, the Australian Christians are 100% wrong on this. Helping people is what the government is *for*. We pay our taxes so that people can receive the support they need without having to beg. And the fact that Centrelink makes people jump through undignified hoops is not an intrinsic problem with letting the government be involved in welfare, it’s a problem with the fact that our government likes to punish people for being poor. The solution is not to get rid of welfare, it’s to get rid of the government.
The Australian Christians have a policy on small business. They like small business! It helps families! They want less red tape, more low-interest loans, and help for small businesses to grow.
They also care about rural Australia, and want policies that place emphasis on the actual well-being of rural people and communities, rather than industries. They also want proper infrastructure for rural areas, and for rural communities to reap a fair share of the wealth they generate. They like local government, too.
On transport, the AC wants safe and sustainable public transport, alternative fuels, and better facilities for cyclists! Hooray! A policy I can agree with!
Alas, they follow this up with a policy on the environment that starts well, (believe we all have a responsibility to care for and manage the environment we share), but moves rapidly on to the idea that climate change is natural and carbon taxing cannot be supported. They support sensible pollution controls, but don’t want to burden businesses and households by taxing carbon.
The world has more important priorities other than the likelihood of global warming, including pressing environmental issues: overfishing, irrigation,soil degradation, sea pollution, forestation, urbanization, poverty cycles and many more.
I’m sorry, but they are wrong.
This makes the rest of their environmental policy fairly useless, because while they want to protect natural diversity, deal with pollution, improve waste management, etc, they don’t want it to cost anything, and that’s really not feasible now.
They are worried about energy prices, and their policy seems to be implying that the drive for renewables is some sort of conspiracy driven by Al Gore, Kevin Rudd and the UN. The IPCC is also apparently not a real scientific body. Wind power and solar power are unacceptably expensive and unrealiable. Also, I now see that all of this policy was written in 2014, and evidently hasn’t been revisited since. Sigh.
The AC believes in freedom of religion, speech, expression, association and thought, and they ‘reject identity politics and enforcing acceptance of changeable,non-biological characteristics like gender expression and sexual identity’.
Yeah, those things aren’t really changeable, and also, really? How does it harm you to let people define themselves and their identities? What is wrong with calling people by the names and pronouns they prefer, and otherwise leaving them in peace? Nobody is asking you to change your own gender expression or sexual identity. All they are asking is for basic courtesy.
The AC feels that the only protected categories under discrimination law should be race and gender. And they want a general religious exemption from the Sex Discrimination Act, so that schools, families and churches can speak and act according to their consciences on this matter.
Oh, for goodness’ sake. Look, what do you honestly expect to gain from telling people who are LGBTQIA+ that they are going to hell if they don’t change their ways? Do you honestly think that nobody has ever told them this before? How is this helpful to anyone?
You know, I’ve never really understood the urge to pray *at* someone before, but I think I’m going to put some extra prayer time tonight into praying that God will actually speak to the hearts of the Australian Christians and show them how much hurt they cause when they ‘speak according to their conscience’ about LGBTQIA+ people.
Actually, I’ll do more than that. Kathleen Jowitt has written a really lovely, funny, touching novel called ‘Speak its Name‘, which is a coming of age story about a young evangelical Christian woman who is beginning to realise that she is a lesbian and is trying to reconcile the two things. It’s one of the kindest books I’ve read. If you are reading this, and you think this book is something that you might need – or if you just want to consider this perspective in good faith, drop me a message below and I’ll send you a copy. (There is probably an upper limit on how many of these I can afford, but let’s see how we go, eh?)
Moving on, the AC is of course pro-life, and wants health professionals to be able to conscientiously object to abortion. They are against infanticide (unlike all the other heathens in politics…), under which they include the denial of life-saving medical treatment to severely disabled infants. Which… sometimes, that treatment is only going to prolong life briefly, without adding quality.
But I’m going to let Jen Gunter take this one.
While some parents may insist on heroic measures, many of us, after counseling from neonatologists, specialists in high-risk pregnancies and other medical professionals decide that a blanket and an embrace is the highest quality care we can give our baby.
They are also against IVF, embryo research, and cloning.
On the upside, they do want better funding and support for women who are pregnant.
The AC is also against euthanasia, and calls for greater access to palliative care. I still don’t know what I think about euthanasia, but I do think that they are being morally and logically consistent here – if you are going to be anti-euthanasia, you definitely need to make palliative care more accessible. So good on them for getting that right.
The AC doesn’t like prostitution, and supports the Nordic model, which ‘prosecutes those who use prostitutes, thus discouraging men from harassing women in the street.’ My understanding is that sex workers oppose this policy, as it makes their lives less safe. I have to say, I’m deeply uncomfortable with the idea of sex work – I feel it encourages a view of the female body as a commodity, which is not helpful to society – but I think the immediate safety of those in the industry has to take priority.
The AC is worried about housing affordability, and makes this puzzling statement:
We agree with Senator Bob Day’s acknowledgment that this is not really about housing affordability but about ‘land affordability’ and would support policies that will provide the adequate and affordable supply of land required for new housing.
I mean, presumably this is about opening up new suburbs and not by somehow building an extension out the back of Fremantle, but I’m totally open to the latter option, if it’s on offer.
The AC is pro-censorship. Which is odd, because they were pro-freedom of speech back when we were talking about religious freedom.
Society has a moral duty to limit what can be conveyed by the media in order to protect children and the whole community from what is harmful, especially violent and pornographic content which current research links to domestic violence.
Do you know what is actually linked to domestic violence in Australia?
Well, according to the VicHealth’s research summary of the 2013 national community attitudes towards violence against women survey, it’s the unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women, and an adherence to rigidly defined gender roles.
Anyway, the AC wants a default internet filter in schools, libraries and homes that will protect children from viewing harmful adult content. Adults who want to view such content would need to opt in.
On Asylum Seekers, the AC wants us to recognise our obligations under the UNHCR and resettle those who have been found to be refugees as soon as possible. They also support policies that provide relief and intervention in foreign countries.
Australian Christians notes that all things being equal, most people would prefer to remain in their homeland. We therefore support policies that provide relief and intervention in foreign countries to avert refugee movements, loss of life and family upheavals. We recommend providing Temporary Protection Visa’s (TPV’s) for those in need of them with the right to work in and contribute to Australia until it is safe to return and rebuild their homeland. We shouldn’t aim to deprive other nations of the human resource they need to rebuild post conflict.
Hmm. The main issue there is that people on TPVs are often under a lot of stress and find it hard to settle in Australia because they don’t know when they will be forced to leave. Maybe if we had a government that showed signs of caring for refugees this would be less of an issue, but still.
The AC then start pointing out all the places where Christians are persecuted and want a special assistance visa category for Pakistani Christians. (They do, finally, start talking about ‘other minorities’, but their primary concern is persecuted Christians.)
They have quite an interesting idea about helping transition asylum seekers into the community:
Introduction of a Pilot Homestay Transition Program for asylum seekers who have completed identity, health and security checks and for refugees wishing to take advantage of this transition option into Australian life. This is designed to offer a safe, humane, cost effective and personal introduction to Australian life that will engage individual community members and break down barriers for a better Australia. It is also intended to reduce time spent in detention, offer affordable housing and supplement the income of Australian families while giving genuine refugees a fair go and a softer introduction to Australia.
This is a genuinely lovely idea, though it would probably be difficult to manage for whole families. But I’m in favour of this one.
They want to increase foreign aid, and use diplomacy to advance political and economic stability, religious freedom and human rights.
However, there are limits to their charity.
- Demands for near-instant parity for immigrants should be resisted. In particular, the government should not be subsidising immigration through welfare (apart from genuine refugees). This merely increases the need for higher taxes and more welfare redistribution
- Australia should continue being a welcoming country to all people but citizenship should be based on the mutual agreement that in exchange for the privilege of living and working in this nation, our common core values should also be embraced. This needs to be clearly understood, valued and preserved, as immigration should never undermine our democracy and social cohesiveness.
They want applicants for citizenship to have 10 years of residence in Australia, proficiency in English, evidence of likely continued employment or economy support, links to the community, and no criminal record. This doesn’t sound unreasonable, though it would depend where the bar is set for each of these criteria.
Oh dear, they are worried about illegal boat arrivals, though. And western liberal values. Oh, and now they are going on about separation of church and state, and come on, guys, you are the ones who want to have prayer at the opening of Parliament and RE in state schools. Some consistency, please! I suspect this is code for ‘no creeping Sharia here’.
Their policy on Aboriginal affairs is… well intentioned but evidently didn’t involve consulting any aboriginal people. They view education as paramount in ending cycles of poverty and abuse, and suggest boarding schools as a good solution to the problem of education in remote communities, and the identification of gifted aboriginal children and their placement in selected skills. They view violence and abuse in the Aboriginal communities as ‘endemic’ and want to remove at-risk children or children who have been abused into foster care or kinship care. Both of these ideas sound as though they are coming from a place of concern, and both sound suspiciously Stolen-Generationish, and likely to wind up cutting off children from country and family. (I’d note that while we remove children who have been abused from their white parents – sometimes – children who are merely ‘at-risk’ are very rarely removed. There is definitely a double standard happening here.)
The AC does want to encourage community elders to teach at-risk youth the cultural skills and legacy of their ancestors. They want more policing in remote communities, but with an emphasis on respect and community policing.
Oh, and they want to repeal Section 18C from the Race Discrimination Act 1975. Make up your minds, guys – are you for censorship or against it? So far, it seems to be a big YES to saying terrible things about other people but a big NO to showing naughty things on the internet. Myself, I’d reverse that, and I’m not even into naughty things on the internet.
(I got that spam email today that warned me that We Know What You Have Been Doing Online And We Shall Tell The World If You Don’t Give Us Your Money, and I was this close to writing back ‘mate, *everyone* knows what I’ve been doing online, I spend my entire life writing blog posts about it’.)
(Also, even if I wanted to look at naughty pictures on the internet, when would I find the *time???*)
The AC wants to reduce social housing and encourage private ownership, including 99-year leases. Also, they don’t like welfare, and are a bit worried that people who aren’t aboriginal enough might get more than their share.
The AC supports mining on aboriginal land if it is ‘mutually beneficial’. Hmm. And excessive environmental bureaucracy must be rolled back. Really.
Ooh, Katter alert! The crocodiles are back!
The Green’s clash of environmental political correctness with aboriginal interests often hinders practical solutions to human problems. For example, a community wished to convert crocodile cull licences to hunting ones that generated greater income and incorporated with selling guided hunting tours to overly cashed up tourists. To date the Northern Territory parliament refused the application.
Also, they really don’t like anything that is too much about collectivism. Probably smacks too much of socialism… anyway, the AC is very big on individual property rights and indigenous businesses.
And that’s it.
The Australian Christians want me to consider their policies from a Christian perspective, and I have done my best to do so. As I have been reading, I had in my head one of the chants I sang over Easter. It’s one of the oldest hymns in the church, with versions dating from the 4th century, perhaps earlier. The text is Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Roughly translated, this means ‘Where there is charity and love, God is there.’
To my mind, only a handful of their policies pass this test. The Australian Christians are good on refugees and asylum seekers, OK on immigration, and when it comes to Aboriginal Australians and people with disabilities, well, at least their intentions are good. Their economic policies, however, are weirdly libertarian, which is not very Jesus-like in my view, and their environmental policies are terrible. And they are so very inconsistent on freedom of speech.
And then there’s the fact that they seem to think Pauline Hanson and Fraser Anning are hunky dory.
They aren’t on my ticket, but even if they were, they wouldn’t be scoring well with me.
Eurovision Theme Song as determined by me, very objectively
I don’t even know what is going on in this undeniably weird song by Azerbaijan, but it features operatic angels and rock and roll devils, and hellfire in the backdrop.
For peace we pray
Save us from all fears
Oh Lord, save us…
Oh, and look, here is their environment policy:
The earth is in flame
And you must share the blame
Look inside yourself
We both are there