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By David d'Lima, FamilyVoice Australia

After dodging the enthusiastic partisans who wave a multitude of how-to-vote cards, the voters in polling booths across our nation must complete their House of Representatives ballot paper and their Senate voting form. But then what happens?

In this short article, FamilyVoice Australia National Secretary David d'Lima describes the journey of your green House of Representatives form, once it disappears into the dark recesses of the ballot box.

After Australian citizens have dutifully considered their verdict, and once we have reached the close of voting on election night, the completed ballot papers are sorted by officials of the Australian Electoral Commission according to the first preference (the number 1) listed on each.

If the pile of ballot papers for one candidate is more than 50% of the total, that candidate is clearly the person preferred by the voters and wins the seat.

Generally that doesn’t happen, in which case the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated from the count, and the pile of ballot papers with a number 1 given to that person are allocated to other candidates’ piles of ballot papers, one paper at a time, according to the number 2 preference on each.

If at that point one candidate has reached a majority of the total ballot papers, that candidate wins.

The above process of eliminating the candidate with the fewest votes continues until one candidate emerges as the one most preferred by the voters. Hence the concept of "preferential voting". We always elect the candidate preferred by the majority in the electorate.

But what about voting 1 for an obscure minor party or little-known independent candidate? That certainly is a way of supporting someone who holds a brave and admirable ambition to make a difference, even if it is clearly not a winnable attempt.

By giving a second or further preference to a major party, the ballot paper may be distributed as described above. Hence, in a seat where no candidate wins on first preferences, the ballot papers for the most obscure or minor party candidate will be the first to help determine which candidate is preferred by the voters.

But since any party gaining more than 4% of the primary vote will receive $2.76 in public funding for each primary vote, every voter who does not vote 1 for a major party effectively deprives that party of that sum of money. Hence each vote for a minor party has funding implications for the major players.

Voters who are less than pleased with their favourite major party, in a seat that will "go to preferences" could subtly punish it by giving it the number 2 preference ahead of some obscure candidate, while effectively voting for the major party.

That possibility is a fascinating undesigned feature of the voting system.

Nevertheless, as we exercise the secret ballot here in Australia, your motives, intentions and preferences are between you and your conscience - but always under the gaze of Almighty God who is the one true law-giver, and on whose behalf we hopefully provide good stewardship as citizens both of heaven and on earth.

Happy voting!

call to action 800We recommend that concerned Western Australians respond to the Discussion Paper by the Government’s Euthanasia Panel (you can read a copy here.)

The best way to respond would be by attending one of the open public consultation sessions.

Otherwise, please send an email to the panel outlining some or all of the concerns below:
To: VADconsultations@health.wa.gov.au


I don’t like the process

The discussion paper states that the panel are not willing to review arguments for or against voluntary euthanasia.
This restrictive call for feedback, includes three metropolitan public consultation sessions, being held on weekday morning’s further restricting opportunity for those in full-time employment.


Show me the data

I agree with the guiding principle on page 15 of your discussion paper that ‘People who may be vulnerable should be protected from coercion and abuse in relation to end of life choices’.

I would like this guiding principle elevated in the mind of our Government and our Members of Parliament as they contemplate creating an assisted suicide system in our State. So that they can fulfil this duty fully informed I request that your final report:

1. Advise on how many people have not been protected from coercion and abuse in each of the fifteen jurisdictions that have tried assisted suicide legislation and whether any have survived;

2. Advise on what the safeguards were in each of those jurisdictions that failed to protect those victims;

3. What have been the findings and subsequent recommendations of investigations into wrongful deaths in the other fifteen jurisdictions? (Wrongful deaths can include deaths by assisted suicide or euthanasia following a mistaken diagnosis, missing signs of treatable depression or overlooking subtle coercion by family members.)

4. Advise what redress was available to the families of the victims in each of the instances where the victim did not survive; 5. Recommend what an acceptable number of Western Australian casualties would be

If you have any questions, please contact our national office: 1300 365 965

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The 2019 Federal Election is right around the corner and once again, like other federal elections, one of the two major parties will form government in the House of Representatives of Australia.

Whichever one ends up holding power will ultimately decide how important matters of family, faith and freedom are approached.

That's why FamilyVoice's Communications & Media team has released the "Know the Key Issues" guide to help you make an informed vote on May 18th.

This document is based on party statements, platform documents, policies and bills up to April 2019. In a few cases there may be differing statements from the same party. In these cases, we have considered what is being done by State governments at a State level as well.

"Our key message for the upcoming May 18th election is be informed, know the key issues and vote wisely. The key moral issues are so vital in this election," said FamilyVoice National Director Charles Newington.

"We encourage you to download our guide and share it far and wide with everyone you know who may be concerned about family, faith and freedom this election," Mr Newington said.

"And while we have produced this as a resource to concerned voters, this is by no means a "How to Vote" guide but rather a simple way of comparing where the Coalition and Labor stand on various matters of importance.

"We encourage you to prayerfully consider who you support and vote for this election and to email your local candidates asking them about their personal stances on key issues.

“We are keen to hear what responses you receive, so please feel free to email them to policy@familyvoice.org.au," he said.

>> Download “Know the Key Issues”<<

Order more copies by phoning FamilyVoice Australia: 1300 365 965. Costs may apply for large quantities.

notre dame firefighter

By Charles Newington, FamilyVoice Australia

When something like this happens no words can carry the weight of loss to those who knew the building and loved it.

Not so long ago my wife and I were in France giving time to pray for the people of France and all whose mother tongue is French. We were standing silently praying In Notre Dame along this vein and when I opened my eyes another person was standing close to me deep in prayer.  When I read the reports of this fire the visual memory of this praying man returned to me. I don’t know what he was praying for, but for me, standing in that place praying for the people of France made the place (and the people) special in a personal way. A fire of faith was kindled.

A spokesperson for the Vatican expressing the sense of loss described Notre Dame as the symbol of Christianity in France. Symbols matter. Notre Dame reminded the nation (and the world) that the roots of the nation are steeped in the faith of many generations. A young country like Australia sometimes feels empty of such enduring symbols built to the glory of God. But they are there for those who go looking for them. They speak of a time when the urban skyline was defined by buildings to the glory of God. Now our skylines are very different as are the intellectual horizons that envision them – much more immediate, much less transcendent and enduring.

Cathedrals around the world are seeing increasing numbers of visitors. I suggest it is a response to secularism’s desertification of society and the growing longing for an oasis for the soul. I’m not cynical about the tourists’ quick walk through, following a guide on autopilot. Many go not knowing what they will see or find but something of God always drops quietly into the searching heart.  

Protestants in earlier times were offended by the idolatry of Catholic churches – and with some justification. They were determined to build churches that were free of embellishments and not distracting to the worshiper. In so doing they unintentionally banished faith from the imagination and corralled it in the intellect. All would be well if the lives of believers were clothed with the fire of Christ’s love, but sadly sometimes we are concerned with fighting some lesser fire.

So now as we watch this ancient symbol burn… let us pray for France and for ourselves – that the true fire of the Spirit may consume the consumable leaving us like Moses’ burning bush – on fire but not consumed.

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Let Jesus qualify you to become His leader

By Caleb Stephen, FamilyVoice Australia

Editors comments:  For those who do not consider themselves leaders this article is still relevant. It is good advice for all Christians to follow in everyday life and if you do you may well become qualified to be a leader.

Never before in history has it been such an exciting time to be alive! As believers in Christ, we have the tremendous privilege and wonderful responsibility of changing the course of history and impacting our world for the better. I have been thinking a lot about what the rest of the year ahead will hold. I don’t know what it holds but I find great peace and comfort in the fact that whatever happens, good or bad, God will use it to glorify Himself. He will use willing servants like you and me to accomplish His purposes and bring the wounded, the needed and the broken-hearted to Himself.

In order to really make an impact, we need to understand the key to truly accomplishing what is strong leadership. What this culture needs more than anything else is leaders willing to rally the troops and stand together to be the change that we’re all looking for. We have enough followers on this planet. People are so willing to follow, but not necessarily happy to lead. Strong leadership will determine how well we can make that impact and how far that impact will go. I like leading. I’m a leadership type. That’s just me. I mean there’s nothing wrong with not being cut out for leadership roles, but I think we need to look for people who have the potential and then mentor them into the roles.

That’s another thing that’s lacking in this culture today. It’s called mentorship. Sadly not much of that happens anymore. Jesus was the greatest leader to ever walk the face of this planet. He was born in humble circumstances, He lived and worked in humble circumstances, yet He teamed up with 12 men from a diverse range of backgrounds to spread a movement that would forever change the world. Below are seven lessons from His life that teaches us how to effectively make an impact.

Love people genuinely

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There’s just not enough love in this world. And by love, I mean real, genuine, agape love. Not the fickle love of the romantic relationships that come and go. In order to truly make an impact in this world, you’ve got to have a perspective of love. That’s exactly what Christ did when He was on this earth healing, teaching and preaching. He loved everybody, even those who were so opposed to Him. In fact, He loved us all so much that He was willing to die on the Cross for us. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all that you do be done with love.” That verse should be our motto for everything we do.

Keep a servant heart

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In Luke 22:27, Christ says: “I am among you as the One who serves.” Our Lord understood that his position of leadership was not one of superiority but one of servanthood. His focus was always on serving and meeting the needs of others. One of my favourite sayings is “the best way to lead is by example.” You don’t send the troops into the thick of combat by leading from behind. It doesn’t work like that. A true leader will be up at the front leading the charge, he will be getting his hands dirty and the troops will follow his example. Too often today, we have leaders who want to be in the public spotlight for their own selfish desire for fame and glory but they’re not willing to get their hands dirty and put in the hard yards to make things happen.

As leaders, we must always understand that we are servants. We start off as servants and we will always remain servants. Having an attitude of humility and a willingness to serve is so important. In fact, I would say that it’s not optional. Pride is probably the biggest barrier to leading effectively. It blinds us to the needs of those under us and it makes us have lofty delusions that we are somehow greater than everybody around us. John Maxwell said that “In order to go up, we must give up.” Leaders must realize the higher in leadership or accountability we are, the more sacrifices we must make.

Build a solid team

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Leaders realise there’s great value in building a solid team around us to challenge us to, to partner with us and to keep us accountable. Jesus understood that in order to spread His message of hope to the world he needed a team. It wasn’t a big team, it was just 12 men who answered Christ’s call to drop everything and follow Him. If we ever want to accomplish anything significant for the glory of God, it’s going to take a combination of talents and ideas to bring vision to life. Without a solid team of people we can rely and depend on, our best attempts at instigating something meaningful will be fruitless.

When we build a team we must make it clear that it’s about “we” and “us” not “me” or “I.” It is everybody collectively and actively working toward a common goal not passively sitting around watching, being entertained and inspired but not spurred on to action. Empower others to use their gifts for the glory of God. I like to say that everybody has some sort of gifting. Nobody should ever feel put down because they’re “not smart” and so forth. Everybody deep down has a gift that God has given them. When I was younger, I often put myself down because I felt I wasn’t a brilliant person and I was constantly encompassed about with failure.  Everywhere I looked I saw failure and I felt I had no hope of going anywhere in life.

But then I prayed earnestly to God to show me my talents so that I could use them for His glory and He did! He enabled to see me the hidden giftings that I had, that I never knew I had. As leaders, it is our job to get to know each of our team members on a personal level, find out their individual giftings and then allow them to unleash their full potential through mentorship. Empowering others starts by giving them opportunities. Opportunities are everything. Too often today, raw talent is bottled up and it’s not allowed to be released in a positive way and that’s just terrible. Mentorship is a very important part of helping others flourish in their gifts, confidence, talents, personal growth and ultimately their service in the kingdom of God.

Actively look for and meet the needs of others

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As I mentioned before, leaders are servants. We must always be on the lookout for ways in which we can meet the needs of others and bless them by doing so. When we serve others, we actually feel blessed too. A simple question like “are you ok?” or “how can I pray for you today?” means a lot. Remember, this is about putting the needs of others before your own. The saying is true: “People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” We must understand that as leaders we will never connect with people or gain influence until we meet their needs. Our Lord understood that and that’s why He continuously and consistently met the physical and spiritual needs of His disciples, his followers and everyone else around Him. Even in His darkest hour while hanging on the Cross, He arranged for His mother to be taken care of by the faithful disciple John.

Be intentional

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The last thing you want is to burnout because when you do so, you become ineffective as a leader. You cannot function to your maximum. There is definitely a place for regular rest because let’s face it: leaders are not super humans. We are just like everybody else, human. As leaders, we must learn to be intentional with our time. It is vital that we recognize the importance of our time and be intentional to balance it between others and ourselves. Christ was very intentional about how His time was spent. He knew the power of balancing time alone and with others. In those times alone, He would recharge and spend time with His Father in Heaven. He was acutely aware of the how important it was to schedule time to rest and unwind. He also knew when it was time to be around others to teach, fellowship and serve.

Forgive!

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Because we are humans and we have different personalities, there will inevitably be conflict at times. The most important part of resolving conflict is to forgive and forget. The Apostle Peter asked the Lord how many times He should forgive those who offended Him. The answer? Every time and as many times as required. We should extend the same grace, mercy and forgiveness that He has extended to us. Everybody makes mistakes and we’re no different. Forgiveness is a very powerful and amazing thing. To forgive those who have wronged us enables us to be happy and closer to those around us. Forgiveness enables us to transcend bitterness, resentment and hatred and move on with the things that matter. It is our job as leaders to have an attitude of forgiveness and be always ready to offer grace toward others.


Caleb is in charge of Digital Communications & Media at FamilyVoice. He also coordinates our young adult national advocacy wing, VoiceForChange.

Prior to working fulltime with FamilyVoice, Caleb was an investigative journalist, ghostwriter, commentator and editor for some of the largest news outlets in the United States, Israel and Australia.  

Outside of FamilyVoice, Caleb enjoys working with youth and the homeless and is an emergency services volunteer.