Australian Christian Lobby

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Australian Christian Lobby
AustralianChristianLobbyLogo2011a.jpg
Founded 1995
Registration no. 40 075 120 517[1] (ABN)
Location
Area served
Australia
Key people
Chairman, Jim Wallace AM
Managing director, Lyle Shelton
Chairman Emeritus, Tony McLellan
Slogan Voice for values
Website www.acl.org.au

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is a Christian public company based in Canberra lobbying both national and state/territory governments and running campaigns to change public opinion.[2][3][4][5][6]

It is similar to the Christian right lobby groups found in the United States.[7]

As at 2016 it is conducting a high profile campaign to support the retention of the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman as found in the Marriage Amendment Act 2004 No. 126, 2004.[8].[9] and seeks to allow open expression of its opposition to marriage equality through exempting debate from hate speech laws.[10][11]

It critics have stated that it overstates its base of support with its policies created by a small number of company owners.[12] Critics have variously labelled it a hate group,[13] and operating from a Christian dominationist,[14] and reconstructionist[12] theology, although it rejects those labels.

Structure[edit]

The ACL is registered as a public company, limited by guarantee[15] and files political expenditure returns with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).[16] Funding comes mostly from individuals but names are not disclosed by the organisation itself.[17] It has no political affiliation and makes no statements regarding faith.[17] Eternity House, the Deakin ACT headquarters of ACL is registered as a separate not-for-profit entity.[18]

Lobbying strategies[edit]

ACL activities include:

ACL managing director
Lyle Shelton

History[edit]

The Australian Christian Coalition (ACC) was founded in 1995 by John Gagliardi,[7] a lay leader of a large Pentecostal church in Brisbane. Gagliardi had held journalistic positions as editor of the Townsville Bulletin and as a presenter for Channel 10 news.[28] Co-founders include John McNicoll, a retired Baptist minister turned lobbyist in Canberra, and John Miller a Baptist who held lay leadership positions within his Canberra church.[29]

The organisation changed its name to the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) in March 2001.[1]

Staff[edit]

Year Name Period Time in office
1995 John Gagliardi 1995 – 2000 5 years
2000 Jim Wallace 2000 – 2013 13 years
2013 Lyle Shelton 2013 – present 3 years, 11 months and 20 days

Jim Wallace was the managing director of ACL from 2000 to 2013.[30][31] Lyle Shelton is ACL's managing director.[32] The company has a self-appointed board of management – board members are invited to join by existing board members.[33] Board members are not elected by members.[12] The organisation's biggest expense is paying staff.

Constituency and influence[edit]

One of the main criticisms of the ACL is that it overstates the constituency it represents.[12] Jim Wallace, one time managing director of the ACL, confirmed that the organisation represents its supporters only but stated that they also contact a group of representative theologians representing a number of denominations.[33][who?]

Whilst its claimed constituency is unproven, John Warhurst, emeritus professor of political science at the Australian National University said that ACL has:

  • been successful in establishing itself 'in the top echelon of lobbying groups'[34]
  • having the 'professional knowledge to run modern election campaigns'[35] and
  • 'will not go away'[36]

Warhurst notes that ACL as an evangelical lobby group is more politically influential than the Family First party.[37]

Professor Marion Maddox, of Macquarie University has said that ACL has achieved, 'remarkable influence with political leaders on both sides.'[38]

Former Attorney-General Robert McClelland has said those protesting against ACL would not have recognised that the ACL had supported amendments to 84 pieces of Commonwealth legislation that removed discrimination against same-sex couples.[39]

Some Christian leaders have stated the ACL's campaigning against gay rights does not represent the stance of all Christians, and several Christian Churches have stated they are frustrated and concerned about the ACL's actions on the issue.[40][41]

The ACL has been described as extremist, influenced by Christian dominionism and reconstructionism.[14][12] This is denied by the ACL.[42][43]

Focus of lobbying[edit]

Opposition to:

Support for:

  • traditional marriage, as defined by 2004 amendments to the Marriage Act, the definition is, 'marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.'[54]
  • the nuclear family and the family as the best environment for children[79][80]
  • censorship:
  • reduction of global poverty[93][94]
  • religious freedom for Christians globally[95][96]
  • provision of asylum for refugees, particularly Christian refugees[97][98]
  • christian chaplains in schools[99]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Historical details for ABN: 40 075 120 517, Australian Business Register (historical details), retrieved 14 November 2011 
  2. ^ "Christianity and the LNP". Brisbane Times. 8 Feb 2012. 
  3. ^ Maddox, Marion (2014). "Right-wing Christian Intervention in a Naïve Polity". Political Theology. 15 (2): 132–150. doi:10.1179/1462317X13Z.00000000071. ISSN 1462-317X. 
  4. ^ "Politics, Policy And Faith: The Christian Right In Australia" (PDF). politicsandreligionjournal.com. 
  5. ^ "Pilgrims' progress". Sydney Morning Herald. 24 Jan 2006. 
  6. ^ Tom Hyland (20 Dec 2009). "Political influence of Christian right 'overstated'". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  7. ^ a b Jodie Brough, (2 November 1995), 'Family values' group to target MPs, Sydney Morning Herald, p. 6
  8. ^ Under the Marriage Act 1961 there was no specific definition of marriage until this 2004 amending act.
  9. ^ a b "Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry: Same sex entitlements, Chapter 3". 
  10. ^ "Override hate speech laws to allow marriage equality debate, urges Christian lobby". theguardian. 16 Feb 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Taylor, David (16 February 2016). "Same-sex marriage plebiscite: Christian lobby group wants 'override' of anti-discrimination laws during campaign". ABC News. Retrieved 16 February 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Martin McKenzie-Murray (2 July 2016). "The Australian Christian Lobby's bid for influence". The Saturday Paper. Schwartz Media. Retrieved 9 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "This man runs a political group obsessed with gay-hate". Mamma Mia. 7 Sep 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Stevenson, Chrys (23 September 2011). "Is the Australian Christian Lobby Dominionist?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  15. ^ Historical details for ABN: 40 075120517, ASIC, retrieved 15 November 2011 
  16. ^ Political Expenditure Return – 2009–10, AEC, retrieved 15 November 2011 
  17. ^ a b Josh Taylor (22 February 2016). "Money and mining men behind the shadowy Australian Christian Lobby". crikey.com.au. Crikey. Retrieved 9 September 2016. 
  18. ^ Jeffery, Stephen (20 March 2016). "Australian Christian Lobby registers Eternity House building as a separate not-for-profit". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  19. ^ Transcript – Australian Conference (PDF), National Library of Australia, 2007, retrieved 24 October 2011 
  20. ^ "Turnbull to address Christian concerns". Christian Today. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  21. ^ Here God is anything but dead, SMH, 22 June 2010, retrieved 23 October 2010 
  22. ^ Zwartz, Barney (6 August 2010), Gillard bid to win back Christians, The Age, retrieved 18 August 2012 
  23. ^ Karvelas, Patricia (30 October 2014). "Bill Shorten's description of Christians 'wide of the mark'". The Australian. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Scott Morrison tells Australian Christian Lobby budget will focus on tax and jobs". The Guardian. 23 April 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  25. ^ "Submissions". The Australian Christian Lobby. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  26. ^ Viewpoint, Viewpoint, retrieved 14 June 2012 
  27. ^ Media Releases, ACL, retrieved 15 November 2011 
  28. ^ Sharpe, Brad (25 January 2001). "Business of God". Australia: Gold Coast Bulletin. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  29. ^ Ranganul, Amber (January 2009). "Religiously inspired political activism: A historical and comparative study" (PDF). School of Humanities, Griffith University. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  30. ^ Sandeman, John (29 April 2013). "Changing the guard at the Christian lobby". Eternity Newspaper. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  31. ^ Hatcher, Leigh (28 April 2013). "Jim and Lyle: Changing of the guard". Open House. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  32. ^ "Our staff". Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  33. ^ a b The Australian Christian Lobby, ABC Radio National, retrieved 4 May 2013 
  34. ^ Warhurst, John (29 October 2014). "Pressure groups and the lessons political leaders should learn". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  35. ^ Warhurst, John (11 May 2016). "Religion will play a role in 2016 federal election". The Age. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  36. ^ "The Australian Christian Lobby will not go away". Eureka Street. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  37. ^ Warhurst, John (2006). "Religion in 21 st Century Australian National Politics" (PDF). Papers on Parliament. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. The Senate. 46: 61–80. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  38. ^ Ireland, Judith (19 February 2016). "Who are the Australian Christian Lobby?". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  39. ^ Nasty debate 'un-Australian': McClelland, Brisbane Times, 6 October 2012, retrieved 23 October 2016 
  40. ^ "Christian Lobby analysis reveals strong gay focus". Brisbane Times. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  41. ^ "PM shrugs off Obama's gay marriage support". WAtoday. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  42. ^ Benson, Rod (19 September 2011), "Faith and Politics: Dismantling Stevenson's Dominionist Conspiracy", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 25 October 2011 
  43. ^ Wallace, Jim (23 September 2011), "Exposing Chrys Stevenson's Blind Faith", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 25 October 2011 
  44. ^ Abortion survivor joins debate, Melbourne: The Age, 31 August 2008, retrieved 27 October 2011 
  45. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (19 August 2015). "Sex Party calls for buffer zones around abortion clinics". The Age. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  46. ^ Ogilvie, Felicity (22 November 2013). "Protests banned outside Tas abortion clinics". ABC News. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  47. ^ Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee's Inquiry into the Rights of the Terminally Ill (Euthanasia Laws Repeal) Bill 2008 (PDF), APH, March 2009, retrieved 23 October 2011 
  48. ^ Smith, Matt (13 March 2013). "Euthanasia laws spark debate". The Mercury. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  49. ^ Mounster, Bruce (17 February 2012), Nitschke visit stirs debate, The Mercury, retrieved 17 November 2016 
  50. ^ Kelly, Joe (11 August 2016). "Andrew Denton tells church to get out of euthanasia debate". The Australian. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  51. ^ "Euthanasia bill fails in SA by one vote". SBS. 17 November 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  52. ^ Lisa Cox (22 August 2012), Christian lobby takes govt to task, The Canberra Times, retrieved 1 October 2012 
  53. ^ Amended in 2004 by the Howard Government, it reads, 'marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.'
  54. ^ a b "Marriage Amendment Act 2004". comlaw.gov.au. 
  55. ^ Whitbourn, Michaela (8 March 2015). "Backlash after anti-marriage equality ad debuts on Mardi Gras night". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  56. ^ Support for the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, who was required to answer to an Anti-Discrimination Commission after distributing booklets supporting "traditional" marriage stating that those laws will have to change to allow people to freely express opposition to same-sex marriage in any future plebiscite whilst those advocating for same-sex marriage stating it is an unreasonable request.
  57. ^ "Hobart archbishop's defence moves same-sex marriage advocate". The Catholic Leader. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  58. ^ a b David Marr (12 February 2011), 'Appalling' law lets schools expel gay students, Sydney Morning Herald, retrieved 13 February 2011 
  59. ^ Leighton-Dore, Samuel (31 October 2016). "The ACL furious over "sexually degrading concepts"". SameSame. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  60. ^ Tomazin, Farrah (23 October 2016). "Andrews faces Christian Lobby showdown over sexual classroom videos". The Age. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  61. ^ "Submission to the Senate Economic References Committee on the Inquiry into Third Party Certification of Food: Submission No. 1395". Senate Standing Committees on Economics, Third party certification of food. July 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  62. ^ The ACL has worked with GetUp!, the Salvation Army and the Churches Gambling Taskforce to establish the Stop The Loss Coalition which has launched TV and radio commercials designed to assist in, 'say(ing) 'no more' to the $12 billion pokies industry and the dreadful harm they inflict on hundreds of thousand of Australians'
  63. ^ Richard Willingham (29 February 2012). "Wilkie threat to vote against 'weak' pokie reform bill". SMH. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  64. ^ Wilkie insists poker machine deal still holds, ABC, 18 January 2012, retrieved 19 January 2012 
  65. ^ Bianca Hall (13 January 2012), Sex in the ACT: Part II, Canberra Times, retrieved 19 January 2012 
  66. ^ "Inquiry into the Prostitution Act 1992" (PDF). ACT Legislative Assembly–Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety. February 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2012. 
  67. ^ "Christian group condemns two dads couple". Australia. Bulletin Wire. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  68. ^ "Two-dads decision opens the floodgate". Sydney, Australia. Daily Telegraph. 2 June 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  69. ^ Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 and the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012–Submission 21, page 13, Australian Parliament House, retrieved 11 December 2012 
  70. ^ "Christian lobby group urges MPs to reject adoption bill". News Ltd. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2015. Heterosexual couples who can provide a more complete family environment are already spending years on NSW waiting lists in the hope of adopting a child, with many missing out 
  71. ^ Australian Christian Lobby (February 2009). "Inquiry into adoption by same sex couples: Submission 185" (PDF). NSW Parliament. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  72. ^ Tomazin, Farrah (29 March 2015). "Christian group asks Victorian government for right to discriminate on gay adoption". The Age. Retrieved 14 August 2015. To ask for a religious exemption that would give faith-based organisations the right to choose couples in accordance with their ethos. The group has also called for parents whose children are being adopted to have the ability to choose a straight family. 
  73. ^ "Anger over same sex adoption change". ABC News. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2015. State director Mark Brown says it overlooks the rights of children. 
  74. ^ Gordon, Josh (13 November 2015). "Conservatives force religious exemptions into same-sex adoption laws". The Age. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  75. ^ "Christian lobby groups claim 'radical sexual experimentation' is being promoted in schools". News Ltd. 25 July 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  76. ^ Cook Herietta (28 July 2015). "Safe Schools program ordered to stay silent on gay marriage". The Age. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  77. ^ "ACL says school anti-bullying program 'encouraging cross dressing'". Brisbane Times. 
  78. ^ "Christian lobby boycotts gay student program". The Age. 
  79. ^ Patrick Parkinson with Antoine Kazzi, (2011), For Kids' Sake: Repairing the Social Environment for Australian Children and Young People, Vos Foundation, commissioned by the Australian Christian Lobby ISBN 978-1-74210-241-2
  80. ^ Falling marriage rates hurting children: report, Melbourne: The Age, 6 September 2011, retrieved 27 October 2011 
  81. ^ Cauchi, Stephen (24 June 2012). "Call for strict line on R18+ games". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  82. ^ "Christian lobby wants Hitler sniper game banned". news.com. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  83. ^ Allen, Danny (9 August 2011). "Australian Census: A Vote For Jedi Is A Vote For Jim Wallace". Gizmodo. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  84. ^ Ray, Jeremy (9 December 2010). "Australian Christian Lobby ... I disown thee". The Punch. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  85. ^ Polites, Harrison (12 July 2013). "Why R18+ ratings are still a losing game". Business Spectator. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  86. ^ ACL Confirms Porn Filter Stance – Christianity Today, retrieved 1 April 2009 
  87. ^ "Christians upset at Conroy's net policy 'backtrack'", The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May 2009, archived from the original on 15 June 2009, retrieved 3 July 2009 
  88. ^ Fran Foo (20 July 2010), Concern at lobby group's influence as Christians get filter plan tip-off, The Australian, retrieved 20 July 2010 
  89. ^ Coorey, Phillip (10 November 2012). "Opposition welcomes dumping of Labor's internet filter scheme". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  90. ^ Canning, Simon (1 June 2011). "AdShel backtracks on billboard ban". The Australian. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  91. ^ Particularly regarding advertisements, which were encouraging safe sex, featured a fully clothed, hugging gay couple holding an unopened condom packet. Under a second unopened condom packet, was the name of the advertisement campaign, 'Rip & Roll'
  92. ^ "Australia's most complained about ad Rip & Roll safe sex campaign returns". News Ltd. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  93. ^ "Tony Jones talks to Jim Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby". ABC. 10 August 2007. 
  94. ^ Bianca Hall (11 May 2012). "Coalition won't keep aid commitment". SMH. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  95. ^ Australia must pressure Egyptian Government to protect Christians, ACL says, Australian Conservative, 18 August 2011, retrieved 18 November 2011 
  96. ^ Devine, Miranda (16 October 2016). "The Left's bigotry and hypocrisy toward Catholics and Christians is alive and well". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  97. ^ Owens, Jared (13 August 2015). "Time for Australian airstrikes on IS in Syria says Lib MP Dan Tehan". The Australian. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  98. ^ Shanahan, Dennis; Martin, Sarah (24 November 2015). "Christian churches welcome focus on taking in refugee minorities". The Australian. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  99. ^ Jim Wallace (31 May 2012). "The lobbyist's view: Secularising school chaplaincy". Sight Magazine. Retrieved 31 May 2012.