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December 2013 News

The end of a big year in politics

  • Written by  Lyle Shelton

It’s been a big year in politics for issues of concern to Christians. Refugees, overseas aid and attempts to change the definition of marriage have featured prominently.

In Tasmania, abortion was last month decriminalised right up to birth with fines and jail for anyone protesting or praying outside an abortion clinic.

Two days before the September 7 election, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced a $4.5 billion cut to Australia’s overseas aid over the next four years, further breaking our Millennium Development Goal promise to the world’s poor.

The new government also cut Australia’s humanitarian intake for refugees from 26,000 to 13,700. It is important to stop the boats (and the drownings) but we should be generous with our refugee intake. Sadly the incidences of persecution, particularly of Christians in places like Syria, Pakistan and Egypt, means the numbers of displaced people continue to grow.

Euthanasia, which puts pressure on the infirm and the elderly, was defeated in the Tasmanian and South Australian Parliaments again this year.

Since 2010 there have been 10 failed attempts to legislate same-sex marriage in a state, territory or federal parliament. Signs are hopeful that this debate might be won for the moment. Thankfully, there does not seem to be enough support for same-sex marriage in the federal parliament.

The challenge now is to get on the front foot and promote marriage as one of the keys to repair Australia’s crisis in child well-being. A damning indicator of this is the 30,000 kids living in out-of-home care because it is not safe for them to be with their parents.

As we go into 2014, there is a big need for us as Christians to continue to represent to politics the sanctity of human life, the centrality of the poor and the importance to children of their biological parents.

Lyle Shelton is the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby

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