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 firstname.lastname@example.org," he said.
Order more copies by phoning FamilyVoice Australia: 1300 365 965. Costs may apply for large quantities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Charles Newington, National Director
Izzy’s Instagram page has one main message – be an outspoken Christian at a time when the thought police are working hard to shut down free speech.
He is pushing the envelope – being public about what he really believes the Bible teaches about the dangers of a sinful life – the full range of behaviours that wreck people’s lives, not just gay marriage.
He has put his faith in Jesus first and is fine with his rugby contract being ripped up. He’s such a super-star expect to see him playing somewhere in the world on a huge contract – and maybe even wearing another nation’s strip and ripping big holes in the Wallaby backline…
This is what free speech looks like. It is controversial and even offensive. It has consequences like losing your job and maybe even landing up in court. What Izzy posted is provocative but it’s nothing compared to some of the comments people make on his page.
And more widely, Christians are being characterized as the most bigoted and intolerant people on the planet. Some of us are bigoted and outraged that our rights are being undermined. It’s a bit uncomfortable but that’s what a free society and free speech looks like. This idea that the only people who should have a right to make public statements are those trained in a left-leaning university is truly ridiculous.
We are becoming far too sensitive – too quick to use words like ‘furious, outraged, incensed’ and ‘offended’. A free society is not easily outraged. It values true diversity and works hard to maintain the basic social structures in which robust dialogue can produce productive change. The alternative is for the State to seriously limit free speech and freedom of religion which is a whole lot worse than Izzy Folau’s one-man mission to remove any doubt about what the Bible says about sin.
So it’s more important to defend our society’s long-standing commitment to free speech than to search the dictionary for new ways to say how angry we are.
A final comment – while I might not have been quite so incisively blunt as Izzy Folau, I’m thankful he values what Jesus has done in him and for the world more than his four million dollar contract with Rugby Australia. That’s big. RA pay him to play rugby but that should not mean they own his soul. We need more people who place their faith above their fortune, because money is a useful servant but a terrible master. Onya Izzy.
Western Australia has entered the next critical stage of the WA government push to legalise euthanasia in Western Australia!
FamilyVoice can now provide guidance (click here) for responding to the WA Government’s Ministerial Expert Panel, which has now released a Discussion Paper and began a public consultation process that assumes the WA public truly wants to legalise assisted killing by doctors.
The panel is accepting submissions until May 24.
Please also attend the open public consultation sessions – which are being held in Perth and regional areas during working hours, as set out here.
If you can attend the sessions, we would like two important questions to be asked of the expert panel:
FAMILYVOICE MEDIA RELEASE (21 March 2019):
Assisted Suicide public consultation in W.A. – a sham
Darryl Budge of Christian advocacy group FamilyVoice is angered on behalf of Western Australian’s that the WA Government’s expert panel will censor objections to euthanasia.
“This sham public consultation is a sociological experiment where the only ‘permissible’ outcome is to agree with the flawed recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices,” said Darryl Budge of FamilyVoice WA.
“This government wants assisted suicide offered in every hospital when it is yet to offer a high standard of palliative care, equitably to every Western Australian.”
“We observe the disturbing irony that this discussion paper was released on the same day the Federal Government released its National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians [Elder Abuse] 2019 - 2023, which states that “All governments are aware of distressing accounts of abuse of older people.”
“Knowing this is the case, how will this Labor government guarantee that patients in hospitals and aged care will be safeguarded against being coerced into decisions for the financial gain of family and friends?”
“This government is signing our elderly up to the worst form of abuse: pressure to die by suicide.”
“It is ironic that this government proposes that legalising assisted killing is a ‘greater choice’, but denies any choice by the WA public to reject assisted killing legislation and to choose to end pain and alleviate suffering , through access and funding to excellent palliative care instead.”
FamilyVoice Australia upholds Christian values and the family: permanence of marriage, sanctity of human life, primacy of parenthood and limited government.
Show YOUR Members of Parliament why it’s so important that Christians remain able to freely live out and communicate our faith.