Helping Frank Brennan


In his recent Eureka Street article Frank Brennan, for whom I have respect and admiration, says he's unable to discover just who the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) represents when it makes public comments or representation into the political arena.

This information is readily available on our website where among other things we clearly state: 'The ACL is not presuming to be a peak body for the Church, but aims instead to provide a professional Christian presence into government that can both forewarn and forearm the Church, as it brings its influence to bear on government policy.'

ACL has never claimed to represent the views of all Christians any more than the Greens represent the views of all who love trees or Frank would claim to represent the views of all Catholics — just ask Cardinal Pell!

The ACL website shows it is, however, widely supported and networked across the Church. For example:

  • Over 100,000 Christians in over 800 churches around Australia viewed the 'Make It Count' webcast organised by the ACL in 2007 which saw the then Prime Minister John Howard and then Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd addressing Christian leaders from right across the Church.
  • More than 21,000 people signed our petition calling on the Government not to introduce a charter of rights.
  • Our large supporter base is drawn from across the evangelical and orthodox communities.

One thing I would like to make clear is that far from opposing the protection of the rights of the weak and the vulnerable, ACL champions them. Frank suggests that the aged, the mentally ill and the disabled are three groups that need more protection. We agree, but we do not believe that a 'one-size-fits-all' Human Rights Act is the best way to provide protection and support to these groups and others that may need succour.

Our society is free, democratic and enjoys broad human rights protection under our legal and constitutional system. What we need is to encourage governments to address any shortfalls in the focused way that only specific legislation tailored to the issue in question can do.

Jim WallaceJim Wallace is Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.

Topic tags: Frank Brennan, jim wallace, Australian Christian Lobby, charter of human rights



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Existing comments

Is it possible to inspect the membership list and the constitution of the ACL?

jltrew | 02 February 2010  

The ACL sounds like a worthy organization but on the issue of Human rights it misses the point.The aged, mentally ill and disabled are politically correct targets for human rights attention. There are however many areas of society where human rights are being denied and where governments are the cause of the loss of rights. Such will never ever be resolved by direct legislation because it is direct legislation which has taken away the rights...A Charter of Rights is the only way such Australians can ever get redress..

Jim Macken | 02 February 2010  

Jim Wallace insists that we don't need basic human rights protections, yet offers no solutions of how best to protect these human rights. Why not?

Ben | 02 February 2010  

Hi Jim

I have had a quick look at your website. Sorry, I can't tell who you represent either. The quote above tells us who you don't represent. In the section titled "ACL and the Church" you use both the singular ("the ACL aims to benefit the Church by...") and the plural ("the ACL seeks from Churches..."). When most Catholics see the singular capitalised use of the words "the Church" we read it as the Catholic Church (touch of arrogance there, perhaps). But this does not seem to be your intent, and two of your four board members are from Baptist congregations in different places (could not see information on the other two). Which part of your website makes details of your constituency "readily available?"

Adrian McMaster | 03 February 2010  

Not everyone may agree with Cardinal Pell, but it doesn't mean he is not correct.

DBC | 26 February 2010  

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