Action Alert July 2010

This is an archived edition of Action Alert.

Our New Prime Minister

On 24 June 2010, Kevin Rudd stood aside as parliamentary leader of the ALP and Julia Gillard won the ballot within the Labor Caucus to be the new leader and therefore assume the office of Prime Minister.  Ms Gillard is Australia’s first female Prime Minister, but more significantly, she is also our first avowed atheist PM and our first openly-living-in-a-de-facto-relationship PM.

In an interview with ABC radio presenter Jon Faine, Julia Gillard was asked whether she believed in God.  Her response was, “No, I don’t Jon, I’m not a religious person.  I was brought up in the Baptist church.  As is now very well known I think, we’re Welsh migrants, we’re Baptists.  I grew up going to Mitcham Baptist Church, we lived two doors down from the Reverend there, Ian Porter, and I was great friends with his daughter Helen.  So I grew up going to Baptist youth group and all the rest.  But during my adult life I’ve, you know, found a different path.  I’m of course a great respecter of religious beliefs but they’re not my beliefs Jon.” 

When the interviewer reflected on that fact that John Howard and Kevin Rudd had been regular church attenders and asked how Julia Gillard was going to attract the votes of the Christian constituency, she replied, “Jon, I am not going to pretend a faith I don’t feel, and for people of faith I think the greatest compliment I could pay to them is to respect their genuinely held beliefs and not to engage in some pretence about mine.  I think it’s not the right thing, and I’m not reflecting on past Prime Ministers here, I’m definitely not doing that, but I’m trying to answer your question as frankly as I can – I’ve never thought it was the right thing for me to go through religious rituals for the sake of appearance.  You know, I am what I am, and people will judge that.  For people of faith, what I would say to them is I grew up in a, you know, Christian church, a Christian background, a Baptist church, I won prizes for catechism for being able to remember Bible verses.  I am steeped in that tradition, but I’ve made decisions in my adult life about my own views.

It is commendable that Julia Gillard is not going to pretend to have a faith and engage in religious ritual for the sake of seeking to gain support from the voters who do believe in God.  Her decision to take her oath of office as PM without swearing on a Bible is consistent with her views as an atheist.  She is being true to herself and honest with the Christian constituency of the nation! 

However, although such integrity is commendable, what does Ms Gillard stand for?  In her student activist days, she was Secretary of the Socialist Forum (a group that contained many former members of the Communist Party) which advocated a number of radical objectives, including the introduction of a super-tax on the rich and the scrapping of the ANZUS treaty.  She wrote two decades ago about how the radical left’s agenda could be worked though the Labor Party.  As she wrote at the time, “For the Left to make any real advance, all these perspectives on the relationship to Labor in government need to be rejected in favour of a concept of strategic support for Labor governments.  We need to recognise the only possibility for major social change is under a long period of Labor administration.  Within that administration the Left needs to be willing to participate to shape political outcomes, recognising the need to except (sic) often unpalatable compromises in the short term to bolster the prospect of future advance.  The task of pushing back the current political constraints by changing public opinion would need to be tackled by the Left through government, social movements and trade unions.”  She is also a long-standing member of Emily’s List, the radical pro-abortion and feminist group, and holds a strong pro-abortion-on-demand stance.  In her role as Federal Minister of Education, Ms Gillard was not overly happy with the National School Chaplaincy Program and wanted to broaden the funding arrangements to include non-religious counsellors.  She has said, though, that Labor policy on same-sex marriage will remain the same under her prime ministership, declaring, “We believe the Marriage Act is appropriate in its current form, that is recognising that marriage is between a man and a woman, but we have as a government taken steps to equalise treatment for gay couples.” 

As Christians, we can be pleased that the new PM is committed to not allowing same-sex marriage, but her views on a number of other issues are much further to the Left than those of Kevin Rudd. 

Whether you intend to vote for an ALP candidate at the forthcoming Federal election or not, it would be appropriate to contact Julia Gillard, Prime Minister [PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600, or email at the website http://pm.gov.au/PM_Connect/Email_your_PM, or phone (02) 62777700] to assure her that, as a person of faith, you will be praying for her and asking the true God to guide her.  Commend her for not pretending to have a faith when she does not, but ask her – in a polite way – to re-consider her personal position on the matter of faith and to re-examine the truths that were sown into her life when she was a child.

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Who will stand up for me against evildoers?
Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness?
Psalm 94:16

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This monthly release is prepared by Pastor Brian Robertson (P O Box 2367, Bundaberg, 4670) to inform Christian people about issues within our society.  “Action Alert” does not promote any one political party, but encourages its readers to be “salt and light” by speaking out on some of these matters.  The views expressed in “Action Alert” are those of the author and are not necessarily those of a local church or a denominational organisation.  To the extent permissible by law, no church or denomination accepts liability for anything contained in this publication and any use made of it.