Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Family First's Bob Day is speaking out but we are looking for 'love expressed through action'

Bob Day, Senator-elect, Family First, South AustraliaIn 2010, Family First's Bob Day, a member of Houghton Uniting Church in South Australia, gave this explanation of his involvement in politics:
 'The book of Proverbs tells us to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." If that isn't an invitation to apply one's Christian faith to the political sphere, I don't know what is! When values and ideals are expressed through action in wider society - as happens through the political process, they shape our community and the world in which we live – ask William Wilberforce. The equality of all human beings is a Christian idea which led to democracy, international human rights and the abolition of slavery. And wherever Christianity goes in the world the status of women improves dramatically in that culture. My involvement in politics is an expression of my Christian faith and is my contribution towards helping restore confidence in our political process. I can be active in shaping society in ways that accord with the values Jesus taught throughout the gospels – compassion, respect for life, care for the disadvantaged and above all, love expressed through action.' (Journey magazine)
Now all but elected to the Senate after the 2013 election, Mr Day has been active in the media on a range of issues.

On housing: "The economic consequences of all that has happened over these past few years have been as profound as they have been damaging. The housing industry has been decimated, as have industries supplying that sector. The capital structure of our economy has been distorted and getting it back into alignment is going to take some time. But it is a realignment that is necessary. A terrible mistake was made and it needs to be corrected." News Ltd papers

On South Australia: "A nation like Australia might be able to afford one quaint little state like Tasmania being a dependent welfare national park but it can't sustain a mainland state like South Australia being one." Herald Sun

On the new-look Senate: "When you get representatives of everyday Australians, like the motorists' guy and the sports guy and the LDP guy and (Clive) Palmer - these all seem like sensible, everyday kind of Australians who are conservative." - The Australia

He may need to be a little gentler with his descriptions of South Australia and Tasmania and take a closer look at the policies of the LDP, but at least he's having a go.

But ACV will be relieved when he begins to 'defend the rights of the poor and needy' and be visible for 'love expressed in action.'

As the most recent elected representative of a party with Christian origins, let's pray for the gift of wisdom and mercy for Bob Day.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

ABC predicts Family First candidate Bob Day elected to Senate in South Australia

Bob Day, Senate, Family First, South Australia, election, election 2013
Family First South Australian Senate candidate Bob Day AO may become the second Senator for the party, following Steven Fielding's single term in Victoria from 2004.

While the Australian Electoral Commission Virtual Tally Room is still only showing primary votes, the ABC election pages are calculating the preference flow of all parties and describing as elected Senate candidates in South Australia:

1 Cory Bernardi, Liberal Party
2 Nick Xenophon, Nick Xenophon Group
3 Penny Wong, Australian Labor Party
4 Sarah Hanson-Young, Australian Greens.
5 Bob Day, Family First Party.
6 Simon Birmingham, Liberal Party.

If accurate, this represents the major electoral achievement of parties associated with the Christian vote in the 2013 election.

Other Senate outcomes

In separate news, the Christian Democratic party may have missed out on a Senate seat in NSW due in part to an unusually large vote for the Liberal Democrats, who have won a Senate seat. A second reason is the failure of Christian parties to preference one another. For example the DLP preferenced One Nation and Family First the Motor Enthusiasts Party and these preferences did not flow to CDP before they were excluded.

The Liberal Democrats were in the first column on the NSW Senate paper and the Liberal Party was concerned that some voters would accidentally vote for the Liberal Democrats. Their vote in NSW is far larger than in other states, perhaps supporting this theory, to the detriment of the CDP.

In other results, Nick Xenophon went close to winning two quota's outright, although the ABC is not giving them the second position on preferences.

The Palmer United Party seems to have won a Senate seat in Queensland with former rugby league star Glenn Lazarus likely to return to Canberra where he once starred for the Raiders.

In Victoria, the ABC is predicting the Motor Enthusiasts Party will come from behind on preferences to win the sixth seat despite a strong showing from Family First and Rise Up Australia.

This might one good example of the way Christian parties have let down Christian voters with their preferencing.

Election night results 2013 brought to you by Australian Christian Voter

If you can't cope with TV election coverage, watch the footy and keep the Virtual Tally Room on your computer, tablet

Virtual Tally Room, election results, online election results, election 2013
The range of sporting events tonight include a rugby test, AFL final, NRL final rounds and even US Open tennis and some might add the blood sport - politics.

But if the misery on the faces of Labor commentators and the smug adulation of the Liberals is too hard to take, then there's a cliche free way to stay right up to date with the federal election 2013 result while watching the sport of your choice.

The Australian Electoral Commission's Virtual Tally Room is an appealing alternative to the now defunct National Tally Room in Canberra and the repetitive election coverage on the television networks. (Have you noticed the longer coverage runs, the shallower it gets?)

Anyway, at the VTR you'll find live updates of seat tallies for each party and independents as well as state breakdowns, two party preferred and closed seats.

Using the menu on the left, you can click through to progress on individual seats, see seats where the incumbent is trailing and check out the latest count in the Senate.

Who needs half a dozen or a hundred talking-heads (no matter how much we love you) to describe what can find out for ourselves with a few clicks during the ad break at the footy (or whatever you are up to tonight!).

Got to and enjoy your evening.

Friday, September 6, 2013

One more post on how to vote Christian, kind of, before election day arrives

John Dickson, CPX, how to vote christian, Australian christian politics, election,
John Dickson, one of Australia's leading marketplace Christian communicators, begins his election advice with this quote from Mahatma Ghandi:
'He who says politics and religion do not mix understands neither one.'
christian politics, faith and religion, voting Christian election, election 2013Peace-award winning Pastor Jarrod McKenna begins his electoral advice article in today's Fairfax media with a quote saying just the opposite from Tony Campolo:
'Mixing religion and politics is like mixing ice cream and manure. It doesn't do much to the manure but it sure does ruin the ice cream.'
Despite the apparent divergence of starting points, the two move on to give remarkably similar advice to Christians and other voters in how best to cast their vote.

The fact Dickson seems to be reminding us that faith cannot be left out of any sphere of life, including politics, whereas McKenna is reminding us that faith can only be damaged by politics without benefiting it, is an apparent contradiction, but not a real one.

Both points are true but are in tension. If we allow faith and religion to guide our values, personal choices, voting priorities and political behaviour our politics will be better for it.

If we submerge our faith and religion in the political process thinking it is our saviour and the worldly means of defending our turf or asserting our will then we all lose.

To read more of John Dickson and other election advice, see our previous post. To read Jarrod McKenna, click here.

ACV's final pre-election thoughts

And as this may be our last pre-election post, perhaps there's room for a few brief reflections.

To think any one party or leader will solve all our problems or be above reproach on every point is to think we are in heaven and not on earth.

To be impressed by all the powerful and intelligent-sounding voices, particularly the ones that adopt the, 'I really know more about this than any of you' tone (Bernard Keane, for example) is only to be as fallible as the person who pays no attention at all.

The Christian world-view has many challenges but one advantage is that it accustoms a person to the tension of living fully for today and living fully for eternity. We can care enough to consider policies, write political blogs and cast a considered vote without buying into the depressing spectacle that this is all there is between us and oblivion.

Something to remember about the telling majority of voters in Australia, is that they don't need that much information to make an electoral judgement that by and large is good for the country. We are mostly grounded in the practical issues of life and this is perhaps the best place from which to make political decisions. Governments can often do a reasonable job with nuts and bolts and struggle with intangibles.

Christians are meant to be good with the intangibles and deeply committed to aiding the practical realities of others.

There's an intersection there somewhere with the act of voting and we pray you find that sweet spot on polling day. Happy voting.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

In the silence of the election advertising blackout, consider these Christian voter resources

Australian Christian voting, christian voting, christian election guide, election 2013
With the frenzy of electoral advertising having now entered the mandatory blackout (not before the airing of perhaps the longest single election ad of all time from Clive Palmer), Australian Christian Voter is happy to fill up all our free time by suggesting some useful resources in deciding your vote.

CPX offers oughts and ought nots

John Dickson, writing for the Centre for Public Christianity, declares himself a swinging voter and also a currently undecided one.

From this uncommitted position - with no desire to influence you to vote for a particular party or candidate (which is the same for this blog) - he provides three ways Christians ought not to vote and five ways they should.

It may not make a final decision any easier but at least you will feel you've tried if you follow John's suggestions. Visit his article: Mixing Religion and Politics.

Make it Count webcast

More than 350 churches in many parts of Australia and across most denominations signed in to Australian Christian Lobby's Make it Count 2013 Webcast which began with three minute per-recorded addresses from Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.

Mr Rudd emphasised DisabilityCare, education, compassion for the poor. He acknowledged that some Christians may not agree with some of his political and personal decisions, but he said these had been prayerfully made in good conscience.

Mr Abbott covered a broader range of topics including families, carbon tax, refugees, charities law, gay marriage but began by honouring churches and Christians for the work they do in schools, hospitals and many other fields. He also honoured Mr Rudd for their shared-faith.

Panel members joining ACL's Lyle Shelton were Dr Megan Best, Keith Garner, John Anderson, Robert McClelland and Justine Toh. Watch below.

Make It Count 2013 Election Panel webcast from Australian Christian Lobby on Vimeo.

Three other guides

The Australian Christian Lobby canvassed political parties across 22 policy areas they believed are of importance to many Australian Christians. With a summary version and detailed option, this is probably the most comprehensive election guide you'll find - for the parties that responded. See it here.

The Bible Society of Australia has produced an electoral guide covering nine key areas and they include the Green which is a point of difference from the ACL guide. The material appears to be collation of policy material provided by parties on their website and other sources. See it here.

The Australian Christian Values Institute has produced an Australian Christian Values Checklist which allows voters to compare parties' across 21 targeted policy questions. See it here.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Christian parties battle 'mini-majors' and their own preferencing for Senate success

Christian political parties, how to vote christian, Christian voters, election 2013,
With the emergence of several, well resourced, smaller parties in 2013 - mini-majors - Christian parties face a daunting task in making an electoral impact.

Parties associated with high-profile names such as Bob Katter, Clive Palmer and Julian Assange are all seeking to take some ground from the established voting base of the major parties while also drawing in those who may not normally vote Liberal, Labor or Greens but don't see any real alternatives.

Christian parties have the same goals and while they don't have high-profile national figures to head them (Fred Nile perhaps being an exception) they hope their association with the Christian faith will bring electoral success.

We can broadly classify the following parties as seeking to represent or attract Christian voters: Australian Christians,  Christian Democratic Party, Democratic Labor Party, Family First and Rise Up Australia.

It is unlikely that any Christian party candidate will go close to winning in the House of Representatives as usually their resources are so slim it is difficult to compete. Still a vote for one of these candidates can bring electoral influence as larger parties will always respect the ballot box.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

22 policy areas of concern to Christians feature on Australia Votes website

Australia Votes, policies, election, election campaign, Christian voters, Australian Christian Lobby
Homelessness, abortion, national curriculum, internet safety, sharia law and prayer in Parliament are some of the 22 policy areas canvassed by a political party questionnaire on the Australia Votes website.

Unlike the more common 'tick-a-box' policy responses, the policy pages on Australia Votes contain detailed policy notes written specifically for the site and providing some fascinating insights into policy.

Framed and distributed by the Australian Christian Lobby, the Australia Votes questionnaire avoids broader issues of voter interest and focuses on policy areas that may be critical to Christian voters, depending on their specific interests:
'ACL recognises that Christian voters will share many concerns with the general electorate and has tried to avoid duplicating those. Instead this questionnaire aims to reflect the main concerns of this constituency on topics such as refugees, abortion, marriage, family, classification standards, sexualisation of children and religious freedom.'

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Election campaign rage takes a tune for the worst, or better, depending on your musical choice

rage, playlist, Adam Brandt, Anthony Albanese, Julie Bishop
About the worst election campaign rage we've seen so far is a miffed make-up artist and the now famous 'does this guy ever shut-up' quip which TV journos, scouring for excitement, optimistically labelled 'fireworks'.

But the rage turns up a notch from Friday, August 31, 11.30pm when three of the nation's top political 2ICs feature on ABC music show, rage.

Not so much their furious faces, but their fascinating selection of music with each pollie given 20 songs to select in the nocturnal music program.

The rage website says:

'Deputy Prime Minister Anthony “Albo” Albanese, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop and Dr Adam Bandt, the Deputy Leader of the Greens will be hosting rage in an Election Special. In a rage first, sitting Members of Parliament will guest program the show offering a rare insight into politicians and their relationship with music. Each of the deputies picked 20 of their favourite songs, and share tales about hearing them for the first time, live gigs, run-ins with musicians and dancing around their living room. Which deputy had a song dedication from Bono at a U2 concert? Who’s the PJ Harvey fan? And which pollie has a penchant for French house music?'
Now there' some better questions than your average Q and A... The full playlist is due to be posted on the website sometime on Friday, August 31 but in the meantime, Daily Life reported having seen the lists and that:
  • Adam Bandt's playlist includes Talking Heads’ Girlfriend is Better and Bloc Party's Banquet.
  • Anthony Albanese's playlist includes The Pixies' Here Comes Your Man and The Triffids' Wide Open Road.
  • And Julie Bishop's playlist includes Queens' Bohemian Rhapsody and Madonna's Like A Virgin...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

If only we could vote for policies, not politicians and parties

Christian voters, like many other value-driven voter groupings, most likely progressively tear their hair out the longer an election campaign goes on.

With each day of wall-to-wall election coverage comes new policy bombs that blow up the settled belief that you know who to vote for.

The candidate or party whose policy on one issue sounded reasonable yesterday suddenly make statements on another issue today that you could never support.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Young Harry Potter readers likely to be Rudd voters says SMH editorial

Harry Potter, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, election, election 2013, voters, young voters
'83 per cent of those who had read Harry Potter regarded Bush poorly' reports the Sydney Morning Herald of research into younger voters views in the US Presidential election between George Bush and Barak Obama.

On that basis, says the Editorial headline, 'Harry Potter generation likely to have preference for Rudd' mainly on the basis that they've never had a chance to vote for him and so he may be considered as the 'new' option.

Kevin Rudd, Harry Potter, look alike, electionWhether or not that is true is a matter of conjecture but what is interesting is the assessment of the key messages of Harry Potter and the impact on younger Australians:
'Most of them have, however, read the Harry Potter books and taken in their messages about tolerance, diversity and scepticism of authority.'
And if you aren't convinced about the Rudd/Potter connection, then maybe it's the resemblance that will push you over the line.

For more discussion of Harry Potter, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and our electoral future,  check out the Sydney Morning Herald

Friday, August 16, 2013

Record 1717 federal election candidates is 43 per cent increase

A record 1717 candidates have nominated to contest the 2013 federal election, Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn announced today.

This compares to 1198 candidates who contested the 2010 federal election, and represents an increase of 43 per cent.

This national figure includes 529 Senate candidates for the 40 Senate vacancies and 1188 candidates for the 150 House of Representatives seats across Australia.

Mr Killesteyn said the candidate nominations were officially declared at 12 noon today at public events held around Australia.

He said that the secure printing of about 44 million House of Representatives and Senate ballot papers would now start, with early voting to begin next Tuesday, August 20.

Click to see a state by state breakdown
Click to see a complete list of candidates

Source: Australian Electoral Commission

Monday, August 5, 2013

Early casualty of electoral war - overseas aid a 'soft target' says UNICEF

'...all of the basic programs will have to take a cut... and really there is so much need in our very near region. So much progress has been made, there are 14,000 more children under five survive today than two decades ago, why stall that progress now?'

That's the message from UNICEF in response to the Federal Government's decision to cut overseas aid by nearly $1 billion over four years, redirecting $420 million over four years to Papua New Guinea as part of refugee assessment and resettlement arrangements.

Leaving aside the question of how refugees should be treated,  a key issue for Australian Christian voters, the aid reduction will again delay Australia meeting its commitment to meet that Millennium Goals target of devoting 0.5 per cent of gross national income to foreign aid.

This target was to be met in 2015-16 and has been optimistically deferred to 2017-18. But UNICEF is not convinced:

'It would mean an enormous balloon payment at the end of the period,' UNICEF's Norma Gillespie told the ABC.

'The aid budget makes up just 1.5 per cent of the total government budget and yet over the last three years the sector has taken cuts of 14 per cent. That's a big disproportionate cut, which tells me there really isn't principle behind this, that this is a soft target.'

There almost certainly be many more soft targets in the relentless campaigning of the next 33 days...

The word on this issue from Micah Challenge

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's Kevin (September) 07 as Rudd announces election on National Threatened Species Day

federal election, September 7, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, Australia votes, Make it Count, ACL, Yom Kippur
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced the federal election will be held on September 7, a week earlier than previously announced by Julia Gillard and three years and 17 days after the previous election.

The five week formal campaign is predicted to be the most intense yet seen in Australia coming as it does after a highly contentious hung parliament and the ALP's own implosions followed by a last minute resurrection under Rudd.

September 7 is also National Threatened Species Day which seems fitting given that it is unlikely either major party leader could survive electoral defeat.

And the first thing to become extinct is the planned referendum on recognising local government in the Constitution as the earliest it could be held was September 14.

The Jewish community will appreciate the election being moved away from its holy day of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on September 14 but the Australian Christian Lobby will have some reorganising to do.

The ACL has organised a Make It Count election panel for Wednesday, September 11 which was to provide: 'a unique opportunity for the church to be informed about Christian perspectives on policy issues.'

Presumably the ACL will endeavour to move the panel a week earlier - stay tuned for details: August 5 update - the Make it Count webcast will now occur on Monday, September 3, 7.30pm (EST).

Ironically, Kevin Rudd contributed to some reorganising of the last Make it Count event held on June 21, 2010. Rudd was deposed by Gillard three days after appearing in Make it Count alongside Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Julia Gillard kindly recorded a late message to go on the website.

Perhaps worried that their plans might have again be thwarted by leadership instability, the ACL this year opted for a panel of eminent Christians to speak on issues relevant to people of faith and avoided current politicians altogether.

Friday, June 28, 2013

'I pray that in subsequent governments we will see a return to civility'

Paul Neville, Peter Rose, Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, Chaplain, parliament, civility
Among the large number of Valedictory Speeches given in the last days of Parliament this week, many have brought reflections of faith, acknowledgements of the people behind the scenes and hopes for a more civil Parliamentary life in future.

Paul Neville, National for Hinkler, began his final speech by saying, 'Madam Speaker, it would be fair to say that I have had an interesting and stimulating adult life. Very few things have been denied me by a loving God, who has given me just about everything I have ever asked for, though, as I said in my first speech, it was generally in his time frame not mine.'

After looking back over his long career in politics, his singled out a quiet but influential member of the parliamentary community:

'One person who is often forgotten is Peter Rose, our Chaplain, who quietly and unobtrusively goes about the role of counselling, comforting and leading,' Neville said.

'He assists in the national prayer breakfast and ceremonies for the opening of parliament and the start of each parliamentary year. Some of us in the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship gain strength from Peter's Tuesday morning prayers in the meditation room.'

And leaving a message for those who will continue in Canberra, Neville said:

'I am an unapologetic admirer of Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, a saint and a patron of politicians. More, as portrayed by Robert Bolt, said: "When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties they lead their country by a short route to chaos.

'Colleagues, how true is that today? We have seen it, as politicians, in the collapses through the GFC, in the horrors in the Balkans and in the aftermath of the Arab spring. We have seen the truth of these words in our own state and federal politics, especially over the last decade.

'I will not spell it out; you all know it. Little wonder so many say that they do not trust politicians. As I leave this parliament I pray that in subsequent governments we will see a return to civility in this place.

'Surely it is not beyond our capacity to make question time what it should be: quite simply, an eliciting of information rather than a forum for meaningless spin and invective. Like it or not, it is the vehicle by which the public judge us, because it is the forum of the parliament they get to see most often.

'Surely we can do as good a job as New Zealand, Canada, the UK and France. Despite the expectations of the new paradigms, it has been getting progressively worse from parliament to parliament.'

This story was sourced through an alert.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Full text of Kevin Rudd and Anthony Albanese's leadership speeches

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister, leadership spill, politics, Australia, auspol
As Australian's federal politicians face a 'formidably busy day' today, here's the full text of Kevin Rudd's leadership speech last night, and that of deputy leader Anthony Albanese.

Kevin Rudd:
Let me make some remarks before I turn to the Deputy Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. In 2007 the Australian people elected me to be their Prime Minister. That is a task that I resume today with humility, with honour and with an important sense of energy and purpose.

In recent years, politics has failed the Australian people. There has just been too much negativity all round. There’s been an erosion of trust. Negative destructive personal politics has done much to bring dishonour to our parliament but done nothing to address the urgent challenges facing our country, our communities, our families. In fact it’s been holding our country back. And all this must stop, and with all my heart that is the purpose that I intend to pursue as Prime Minister.

Julia Gillard, leadership spill, Prime Minister Labor Party, politics, AustraliaI want to pause to acknowledge the achievements of my predecessor, Julia Gillard. She is a woman of extraordinary intelligence, of great strength and great energy. All of you here in the National Press Gallery and across the nation would recognise those formidable attributes in her and I know them having worked with her closely for some years. Also Julia, as Prime Minister, and prior to that Deputy Prime Minister has achieved much under the difficult circumstances of minority government. And in doing so she has been helped by a group of dedicated Ministers and Members of Parliament whose contribution I also wish to acknowledge.

In Julia’s case let me say this, if it were not for Julia we would not have the Fair Work Act. If it were not for Julia, we would not have a national scheme which ensures that the literacy and numeracy performance of Australian schools is tested regularly and that interventions occur to lift those students who are doing poorly. She has been a remarkable reformer and I acknowledge those contributions again formally this evening.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How can Julian Assange become a Senator while stuck in the UK?

Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Election 2013, Senate, Constitution
Julian Assange's Senate candidacy for the Wikileaks Party throws up some interesting constitutional and political issues.

The Constitution says that a person convicted and sentenced or awaiting sentence for an offense with a penalty of one year imprisonment or more cannot be a Senator. It doesn't mention whether that conviction or sentence is restricted to Australian law, but that is the presumption.

On the face of it, although Assange faces possible charges in Sweden, and arguably the US, this does not disqualify him because it is not Australia that is pursuing him and in any case he is yet to be charged or tried. And although Australia has said it is investigating whether Assange has broke Australian law, there has been recent movement along that path.

Running for the Australian Senate is clearly a tactical move to ward off  foreign powers, particuarly the US, because it would be less likely to pursue Assange if he was a duly elected representative of the Australian people.

A greater threat to Assange's successful career as Senator, apart from the question of getting enough votes, is the Constitutional clause about absence from the Senate:

'The place of a senator shall become vacant if for two consecutive months of any session of the Parliament he, without the permission of the Senate, fails to attend the Senate.' Part II, 20.
If Assange is still holed-up in the Ecuadorian Consulate into next year, he is unlikely to survive attempts to oust him from his Senate position, should he win one.

More likely he intends to make a dash for Australia if he is successful in the election, believing sensitivity to Australian sovereignty will save him in the UK and that the Australian Government will also be unwilling to extradite him to Sweden or the US. But that still seems a long shot, particularly if Australian politicians are making unsympathetic noises here, given the annoyance Assange has been in Europe.

Barring some legal or political solution, Assange's long term Senate prospects seem problematic at best, despite the new 'body politic' he continually proclaims to be creating.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Updated: Restaurant owner's shameful fundraiser menu a symptom of politics of divide

Julia Gillard, menu, mysoginist, Malcolm Brough, Joe Hockey, Joe Richards, restaruant, brisbane
There were a number of attempts at humour on the 'mock menu' prepared by restaurant owner Joe Richards for a Liberal National Party fundraiser but the one at the expense of Prime Minister Julia Gillard was one of the most disgusting insults to find its way into public life.

Having admitted to being the author of the now infamous menu, Richards claims it was not distributed to Mal Brough, Joe Hockey, party members or supporters at the fundraising dinner and would not have seen the light of day, if not tweeted by a chef in the restaurant's kitchen.

'Rudd's a Goose Foie Gras' and 'We were going to serve Swan Foie Gras this evening, though it lost when we put it the vote' are slightly funny and '...The Dill Simon Crean Pollen and Grilled Kilroy Grass-fed Tenderloin' at least a play on words, we think.

And even 'Please ensure you eat all your greens before they take over completely' has some merit, which is all the more reason why the dissolution into personal, hateful and vulgar comments at the expense of the Prime Minister should be condemned.

Now another menu

But wait, there's more, another shameful menu has appeared, this time at the expense of Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Malcolm Turnbull. If it is authentic, then again we learn that there is no one left to cast the first menu...

It may well be as a nation we are learning that the willingness to cut to the bone with our language, whether in private or public, is not something that healthy and whole human beings do. Extreme provocation might be a mitigating circumstance, only slightly, but political opposition is not.

As Australia adds a restaurant owner to a 13-year-old girl, a radio announcer, swimming executive and soccer coach (and the list grows, daily) who have all been held to account for their racist, sexist or hateful words in the past few weeks, the message must be clear - live well, think well, speak well.

But there's another side to this shameful episode/s. It is the claim and counter-claim of politicians as to who is the most sexist or discriminatory or inappropriate in their language that prompted the 'chef' to tweet the menu. (And of course, the high and mighty 'chef' has been caught out with is own offensive tweet...)

Such are the politics of divide - in the long run no one wins, everyone is wary and we are all found out.

A wise book advises, 'Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.' Ephesians 5:4

Note: In our picture of the menu, the vulgar comments about Julia Gillard have been deleted.
Some details updated on June 14, 2013.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

National Tally Room may not make it to the next election

National Tally Room, ABC, Antony Green, electionThe National Tally Room which nearly disappeared after the 2004 election may become a thing of the past with all commercial networks and the ABC announcing they will not broadcast from it on September 14.

The absence of the hordes of TV presenters and crews will leave the Australian Election Commission's National Tally Room a little light on activity.

ABC election expert Antony Green has written on bis blog that what happens to the tally room is matter for the AEC, but ABC coverage would be as comprehensive as ever, regardless of where it is broadcast from.

Antony Green's report here
Tony Wright provides a little tally room history

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Voters consider support for new parties: Morgan Poll

New political parties, Wikileaks Party, Bob Katter, Clive Palmer, election 2013New research suggests three new political parties contesting their first federal election may achieve some electoral penetration.

According to a Morgan Poll conducted this week, the Australian electorate is considering voting for at least three of the new fringe parties – with Wikileaks ahead of Katter’s Australian Party and the Palmer United Party.

Although there are 14 new parties seeking or gaining registration towards the next election, the Morgan Poll focused on the three with the highest profile.

Gary Morgan said of the poll's findings:
'This year’s Federal Election sees the launch of three new political parties onto the Australian political landscape. Each political party is targeting clearly different demographic segments and today’s special telephone Morgan Poll shows that all have some chance of securing representation in Australia’s Federal Parliament. The Wikileaks Party founded by Wikileaks creator Julian Assange, is only running candidates for the Senate in three States – Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia, but it has the highest potential nationwide support of 21%. Importantly for Wikileaks, Victoria is the State where it has the highest potential support (27%) and is where Assange plans to run for the Senate.'
Interestingly for Christian voters, Victoria is also the state that has had a Senator from a party associated with Christian values. Stephen Fielding won a Senate seat in in 2004 and was replaced by the DLP 's Senator John Madigan after the 2010 election.

Read the full Morgan Poll results
Our story on other new parties 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Debate over Christian constituency and who represents it

Christian, ABC Religio & Ethics, Christian voters, politics, constituency, ACL, Lyle Shelton, Rodney Smith
The existence, strength and representation of Australia's Christian constituency has been under scrutiny since Kevin Rudd announced on his blog that he had changed his views on gay marriage.

In the predictable frenzy of opinion that followed, the Australian Christian Lobby's new Managing Director Lyle Shelton said:
'No government has the right to create these vulnerabilities for the church-going twenty per cent of the population in order to allow the point two per cent who will take advantage of this to redefine marriage. Mr Rudd seems intent on burning bridges not only with colleagues, but with a constituency which had long given him the benefit of the doubt.'
ABC Radio's PM program immediately ran a story, asking who is the ACL and what claim do they have to represent a Christian 'constituency'. The story relied heavily on the comments of Prof Rodney Smith of University of Sydney and a 'research study'. Our report here.

That story was followed the next day by a lengthy piece by one of Prof Smith's former Honours students, Steph Judd, which contained a detailed discussion of whether there was a distinct Christian voting constituency and if the ACL could claim to represent it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pirates, bullet trains, Wikileaks, Carers - just some of the parties registering to contest September election

AEC, party registration, election 2013, new parties, Uniting Australia Party, Voluntary Euthanasia, DLP, LDP, Liberals, Wikileaks
As an election year experience, Australian Christian Voter has subscribed to the Australian Electoral Commission's political party registration alert.

Whenever a party applies to register, change its name or has its registration approved or otherwise and the pace of alerts is definitely pick up.

Early alerts pertained to The Pirate Party, Carers Alliance and Bank Reform Party - read our earlier story here.

The next party registration alert seemed to coincide with the (very slow) discussion of a very fast train - The Bullet Train for Australia Party. Canberran Timothy Bohm is named as the applicant and the party's website says its goal is create a better Australia for our children and will have no other policies than to push for a high speed train.

An innocent little alert then came through for the Uniting Australia Party, a few days before Clive Palmer's plan to form a political party hit the headlines. Despite the application not being finally approved - objections can be made until May 24 - the UAP is already naming candidates and running advertising. It helps to have deep pockets.

Then this month, a trifecta of interesting new parties hit the AEC in time to beat the May 13 deadline for new registrations - Wikileaks Party, Voluntary Euthanasia Party and Nick Xenophon Group. You can find out more about their registration applications on the AEC website.

Wikileaks Party is a vehicle for would-be Victorian Senate candidate Julian Assange but has an interesting array of Australians on its National Council. The party has been formed by campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke and he is standing for the Senate, possibly in South Australia. Nick Xenophon says he has reluctantly formed the party so his name can be above the line on the ballot paper.

Meanwhile to parties with a symmetry to their names are both seeking changes or abbreviations to their existing registration.

The Democratic Labor Party of Australia wants to drop the 'of Australia' part with a new abbreviation, DLP Democratic Labor. And the Liberal Democratic Party wants to change its abbreviation from Liberal Democrats (LDP) to Liberal Democrats. The Liberal Party is objecting.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ABC PM asks 'how powerful is the Australian Christian Lobby?'

Australian Christian Lobby, Jim Wallace, Lyle Shelton, PM, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, politics, election
ACL's Jim Wallace and Lyle Shelton.
ABC PM segment transcript below.
With the issue of gay marriage brought front and centre through Kevin Rudd's 'coming out' of a change of mind, the Australian Christian Lobby has been called on to respond from a conservative Christian perspective.

This has led leading ABC Radio program to look into the group which has been a political strength especially since the Kevin 07 election where, Kevin Rudd again, harnessed elements of the Christian vote so effectively for Labor.

The key figure for the ACL over many years was former SAS commander Jim Wallace who until this month was Managing Director and has just moved to the position of Deputy Chairman. He has been replaced by former ACL Chief of Staff, Lyle Shelton.

The ACL has worked hard to interest Christians and churches in the political process, helping to run electorate meetings and hosting pre-election Make it Count events with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. Kevin Rudd appeared at one of these in Canberra in 2010 the night before he was ousted by Julia Gillard.

And now as the election meanders closer, with the issue of gay marriage again front and centre, the ACL is busy on this and many other important policy debates for the diverse Christian community.

Hear AM reporter Peter Lloyd's segment on the Australia Christian Lobby or read the transcript below. Visit the ACL website.


DAVID MARK: The former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, has been receiving as many brick-bats as bouquets for coming out in support of same-sex marriage. Some of the most strident criticism of his move has come from a group called the Australian Christian Lobby. It warned Mr Rudd his change of view will cost him votes in what it calls the 'Christian constituency'. But does such a constituency exist? And what power does the Australian Christian Lobby really wield? Peter Lloyd has been investigating.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Australia's aid commitment deferral may cost a million lives: Tim Costello

'Australian aid saved 200,000 lives this past year. If we had kept our promise and not pushed it out by another year that's another million lives over the next four years that would have been saved.'

This was World Vision Australia Chief Executive Tom Costello's response to Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr's confirmation that Australia's commitment to lift foreign aid to 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2014-15 has been pushed back to 2015-16.

While acknowledging that there would still be a rise in foreign aid, he said the aid budget had already had "a very significant haircut" and blasted the diversion of spending for another year. Read more here.

Christian justice organisation, Micah Challenge has been calling on Australians to write to Wayne Swift asking him not to reduce the commitment to aid. Read more here.

Rev Fred Nile's fiancee Silvana Nero contests NSW by-election

Silvana Nero, CDP, Fred Nile, fiancee, Northern Tablelands, by-election, Adam marshall wins
Rev Fred Nile's fiancee Silvana Nero is placed seventh on the ballot paper as the Christian Democratic Party candidate for the by-election in the NSW seat of Northern Tablelands to be held on May 25.

Ms Nero, a single mother of three who lives in government housing in Dee Why, is hoping to fill the parliamentary vacancy left by independent Richard Torbay who resigned suddenly and has since been referred to ICAC.

Torbay had been selected as the National candidate for Tony Windsor's federal electorate of New England in the upcoming election. He has been replaced by National's Senator Barnaby Joyce.

Ms Nero has encouraged people to vote for her saying on her Facebook page, 'I am on the Northern Tablelands by-election ballot at No.7. Lucky number. Vote for me and go to the bottom of the ballot.'
She describes herself as 'Pro-Life, Pro-Family and Pro-Christian ethics'.

She has been a teacher for 30 years, including in Walcha and Tamworth (Northern Tablelands) and says of her faith:
'As long as I can remember I have trusted and put into practice that “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7. I stand for Biblical truths that brings us hope, peace and love.'
Fred Nile engagement, Silvia Nero, CDP, election,
Rev Nile, 78, the national leader of the CDP and NSW MLC, announced this month his engagement to Ms Nero, 55, admitting that he was besotted with her and that his wife Elaine who died in October 2011 and said he could remarry, although ruling some women off limits.

Ms Nero says that Rev Nile is her 'knight in shining armour' and has made it clear that they do not live together or share a room as both believe strongly in marriage - Rev Nile was married for 53 years.

Fred Nile's engagement announced
Silvana Nero's Facebook page
Northern Tablelands by-election
Official CDP Facebook page

Postscript: The Northern Tablelands by-election was won by Adam Marshall (The Nationals) with 63.3 per cent of the primary vote followed by Jim Maher (Independent) with 13.5 per cent. Ms Nero came seventh with 2.1 per cent of the primary vote.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Which Australian politicians believe in God?

Do MPs believe in God? Easter, politicians and faith, election,
More than 80 per cent of the federal politicians who responded to a News Ltd survey said they believed in God and would be attending at least one church service this weekend.

In the report by Candace Sutton posted online this afternoon, four politicians 'out' themselves as atheists - three Greens and a Liberal - while a fourth Green politician, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas) admitted: 'I am still a journeyman on this one...'

Those who responded to the survey saying they believed in God included:

Australian Senate: Senator Eric Abetz (Lib, Tas), Senator Chris Back (Lib, WA) Senator David Feeney (ALP, Vic) Senator Mark Furner (ALP, Qld), Senator Ian Macdonald (Lib, Qld), Senator Bridget McKenzie (Nat, Vic), Senator Dean Smith (Lib, WA), Senator Ursula Stephens (ALP, NSW), Senator Matt Thistlethwaite (ALP, NSW).

House of Representatives: Karen Andrews (Lib, Qld), Bob Baldwin (Lib, NSW), Jamie Briggs (Lib,SA), Teresa Gambaro (Lib, Qld), Steve Georganas (ALP, SA), Natasha Griggs (CLP, NT), Bob Katter (KAP, Qld), Shayne Neumann (ALP, Qld), Graham Perrett (ALP, Qld), Tanya Plibersek, (ALP, NSW), Michelle Rowland (ALP, NSW), Kevin Rudd (ALP, Qld), Janelle Saffin (ALP, NSW), Bruce Scott (Nat, Qld), Alan Tudge (Lib, Vic), Bert van Manen (Lib, Qld), Maria Vamvakinou (ALP, Vic), Joe Hockey (Lib, NSW).

Don't believe in God: Senator Lee Rhiannon (Greens, NSW), Senator Larissa Waters (Greens, Qld), Adam Bandt (Greens, Vic) and Senator Simon Birmingham.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Full transcript of the Prime Minister's national apology for forced adoptions

Today [Thursday, March 21, 2013], this Parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologises for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies, which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering.

2. We acknowledge the profound effects of these policies and practices on fathers.

3. And we recognise the hurt these actions caused to brothers and sisters, grandparents, partners and extended family members.

4. We deplore the shameful practices that denied you, the mothers, your fundamental rights and responsibilities to love and care for your children. You were not legally or socially acknowledged as their mothers. And you were yourselves deprived of care and support.

5. To you, the mothers who were betrayed by a system that gave you no choice and subjected you to manipulation, mistreatment and malpractice, we apologise.

6. We say sorry to you, the mothers who were denied knowledge of your rights, which meant you could not provide informed consent. You were given false assurances. You were forced to endure the coercion and brutality of practices that were unethical, dishonest and in many cases illegal.

 7. We know you have suffered enduring effects from these practices forced upon you by others. For the loss, the grief, the disempowerment, the stigmatisation and the guilt, we say sorry.

8. To each of you who were adopted or removed, who were led to believe your mother had rejected you and who were denied the opportunity to grow up with your family and community of origin and to connect with your culture, we say sorry.

Did Crean collude with Gillard to try and fatally discredit Rudd?

Simon Crean, leadership spill, Labor, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd
Did Simon Crean collude with Julia Gillard in yesterday's phantom leadership spill?

If there is one place conspiracy theories may actually have some credence, it's the Labor Party in 2013.

On a day when we should have been sitting down to headlines of a national apology for those harmed by forced adoptions, we were overtaken by absurd political machinations or, perhaps, absurdist political theatre with B grade actors.

Watching Simon Crean's media conference early afternoon yesterday, in which he explained how he was urging Julia Gillard to call a leadership spill, he articulated two assumptions:
  • Having asked the Prime Minister to call the spill, he assumed she wouldn't.
  • Having not asked Kevin Rudd to run for leader in the spill, he assumed he would.
As it unfolded, Gillard did call a spill and Rudd didn't stand as a candidate. The only one to find themselves in changed circumstances was Simon Crean - sacked as a Minister.

But even more interesting was the way Crean spoke about Gillard and Rudd.

Julia Gillard, leadership spill, Simon Crean, Kevin Rudd
When explaining his motives, Crean spoke quietly and tenderly about Gillard, saying everyone knew the length and depth of his relationship with Julia and that this was not personal.

When asked about Rudd, he spoke harshly, almost spitting out the words, saying Kevin had to run, that he had to stop playing games on the sideline, that he was sick of the games.

If you forget the words Crean actually spoke, and think of how he said them, then he was clearly a friend to Julia Gillard and an adversary of Kevin Rudd. And this would be in keeping with his previous words about Rudd in which he described him as 'treacherous'.

Which is why it is not crazy-conspiracy to ask, did Crean fall on his sword for Gillard in an attempt to flush out and once-and-for-all fatally discredit Rudd, knowing that he didn't ever have the numbers to win?

Another argument in favour of this theory is that Crean's tactics yesterday match the style of 'policy by ambush' that seems to be gripping Labor leadership in these frantic days. Think media law...

If there was no collusion, and Crean acted alone, believing he could single-handedly redirect the fortunes of Labor, then it was one of the strangest political miscalculations we will see... until the next one.

Perhaps the only thing stranger about yesterday was Bob Katter wandering the corridors of Parliament when a division was on that nearly led to a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister. Reading from the same script, was he hedging his bets (and his vote) as to whether it was better politically, or not, to be a part of bringing down the government...

The Biblical obligation to pray for those in authority, never seemed more apt and more needed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Here's what Tony Abbott said on 60 Minutes

Tony Abbott appeared on 60 Minutes tonight, interviewed by Liz Hayes, and also featuring his family including his sister, lesbian Christine Forster.

Mr Abbott, who many tip to be Australia's next Prime Minister, was being tested as to whether his views of the past were current today or whether he could successfully present himself as a changed, '21st century man'.

Here is some of what he had to say:

When Liz Hayes suggested that he was only person who could stop himself becoming Prime  Minister, Abbott said that he often will 'warn the party that we could stop ourselves winning, it often happens.'

Asked if Julia Gillard's now famous misogyny speech - directed mainly at Abbott - had hurt him politically: 'In the end, I guess, we’ll find out on polling day but it wasn’t true and it wasn’t fair.'

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Debate it may not be, but event considers religion and politics

'Can we untangle religion and politics?' is the headline question at the Ideas at the House event - Church and State, Sydney Opera House, March 24.

The event is framed as 'AC Grayling discusses Church and State' in a 'fiery panel debate' but it's unclear if there are equal sides represented or perhaps it is an issue were there are no clear cut sides. The tone of the website publicity leans towards a negative view of church influence on state and politics and the make-up of the panel seems to settle the issue.

Anthony Grayling MA, DPhil (Oxon) FRSL, FRSA, an outstanding academic and writer, is currently Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford.

But in the context of this 'debate' his appointments to various humanist and secularist societies are of special note. As the headliner for this event, clearly an agenda is set.

The second panelist highlighted is Sean Faircloth, no less than Director of Strategy and Policy at the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, US and the author of Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All And What We Can Do About It.

The first Australian to appear is Father Frank Brennan, a Jesuit priest, an adjunct fellow in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the ANU, professor of law in the Institute of Legal Studies at the Australian Catholic University, and professor of human rights and social justice at the University of Notre Dame Australia.

Father Brennan will represent a component of Christian or church views and is entirely capable of matching it with his fellow panelists.

The choice of the final panelist seems to leave Brennan alone at the event in at least putting forward some points supporting the role of church and religion in society.  Pru Goward is well known as an ABC broadcaster, former Executive Director of the Office of the Status of Women and current NSW Minister for Family and Community Services.

She is seen as more of a Conservative, but from a secular perspective, as far as we aware.

Not that we should assume that Christians all advocate for an entanglement of religion and politics or church and state, in an institutional sense. Most, hopefully, would want government to be fair and equitable for all, regardless of religion.

However they may consider the historic Judeo-Christian basis for our society and the unique place of Christian social justice deserve special recognition (or simply the recognition it deserves) and, to some extent, protection. And they may also consider that seeking to vote for candidates and parties that carry some alignment with their personal and deeply held values and views about life is not a sin.

To this end, perhaps if the organisers were interested in balance they may have appointed Goward a kind of moderator and added another eminent Christian thinker such as World Vision's Tim Costello, CPX's John Dickson or Dr Justine Toh, to name a few.

Church & State will be held at the Sydney Opera House, Sunday March 24 at 4pm with standard tickets starting at $35. More information here ACV.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Full transcript of Julia Gillard's speech at the University of Western Sydney, March 3, 2013

After acknowledging various Labor luminaries, Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered this address at the beginning of her 'week in western Sydney':

'I want to share you with a story David Bradbury relayed to me just last week. Denis Mars is the co-founder of a start-up based in San Francisco which develops technology for online video conversations and conferences.

David and Denis met at a convention in Silicon Valley and because Denis is Australian they got to talking. It turned out that while Denis is finishing his graduate degree at Stanford in California, his first degree, like David’s, was from Sydney University.

He and his wife, Renee, are both from the western suburbs. In fact, Denis grew up right around the corner from David, in the next street, not so far from here in Fairfield West. Here’s a young man from these streets, who’s founding firms on the other side of the world, who’s making new ideas pay, who’s making his living building new technologies.

His is a genuine local success story we can admire. A story of aspiration and achievement. But no one person’s story is the story of this entire region, home to 1.6 million people, including 350 000 children – and the third biggest economy in Australia.

Indeed, no one community’s story is the story of this region. Penrith isn’t the same as Parramatta; Campbelltown isn’t the same as Castle Hill. But there are some things we do want for this region as a whole and for every person in Sydney’s west.

Seeking Julia Gillard's western Sydney speech

Julia Gillard, western Sydney, speech, transcript, UWS, electionJulia Gillard yesterday delivered a five point plan for western Sydney and elaborated on her belief in opportunity as the key to improved quality of life - but as of at least 1:24am the following day a full transcript of the speech is yet to appear, anywhere.

This is perhaps surprising for an important speech given at the start of one of the most highly publicised Prime Ministerial appearances in recent time.

Oh well, perhaps everyone from the PM's office was kicking back at Rooty Hill RSL...

In the meantime, Malcolm Farnsworth's was the first to post a full recording of the speech and when it does arrive, the full transcript should be found here.

And the five point plan for western Sydney:
  • Support jobs and put Aussie workers first,
  • Deliver high-speed broadband to the region, 
  • World-leading education for children,
  • Insurance against disability, and
  • Help in managing the pressures of modern family life and modern society. 
The Liberal party countered the Prime Ministers speech by listing 18 promises the Prime Minister has broken to western Sydney.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Peter Harvey: faith, family and an outstanding career

Peter Harvey, Women's Weekly, God, Jesus, Canberra, journalist, Christian, faith
'Peter Harvey... Canberra.'

This signature sign-off was heard during the 6pm news by many thousands of Australians for years from journalist Peter Harvey when he served as the head of Channel Nine's Canberra Bureau. One of the first stories he covered was the dismissal of Gough Whitlam in 1975.

The 68-year-old Walkley Award-winning journalist died shortly before the 6pm news on March 2, at Royal North Shore Hospital, his wife Anne and children Claire and Adam by his side.

Tributes have since flowed in rivers for a man who was universally respected both for his professional skills and his integrity as a human being.

In December, The Australian Women's Weekly asked Harvey to write about his fight with pancreatic cancer and in this article he credits his wife, his family and his God for the strength to 'get along, day by day'.

'Anne has been the centrepiece of my life since the day I met her in the late 1960s in Sydney. I loved her then and that love has only grown deeper. There's also my children (Adam and Claire, both journalists). They're grown up now, with wonderful careers and their own lives, but are always part of us. Close then, close now. I'm also supported by a firm belief in God and Jesus Christ, a faith that not even a grim and punishing Church of England boarding school could hinder.'
He also said his work was a 'reassuring constant' -  a career that started in the Daily Telegraph, encompassed 2UE, 2GB, the BBC, The Guardian, Newsweek and of course, Channel 9.

Peter Harvey will be sadly missed. Read his full article, My Battle with Cancer.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Australian political books to read while waiting for the election

With the election campaign still with seven months to run and the weather being particularly inclement, perhaps it's timely for considered voters to read some of the many books authored by our politicians.

And while this may not be considered light reading, bedtime reading or relaxing Sunday afternoon reading, it may give you a better idea of who you are voting for on September 14.

australian politics for dummies, political books, parliament, electionIn no particular order and with a willingness to add relevant titles if we have missed any, check out this selection which may be purchased by clicking the cover image.

There's probably no better place than to start, particularly if you are new to the Australian political arena, than Australian Politics for Dummies which will explain everything from how the parties originated to why was Gough Whitlam so upset in 1975. $33.95 from Booktopia.

Australian politics, books, election, australian christian voter, Julia Gillard, The Making of Julia Gillard, Jacqueline Kent The Making of Julia Gillard by Jacqueline Kent is one of two biographies written abut the Prime Minister before her rise to that office. The other is Julia Gillard by Christine Wallace. Both are curiously hard to buy online in Australia, this ebook edition has been updated after Gillard became PM - $21.17 from Amazon,

Australian politics, books, election, australian christian voter, Tony Abbott, Battlelines,Battlelines by Tony Abbott was published in late 2009 after the 2007 demise of the Howard government. In this book he presents his vision of the way forward for the Liberal Party and reflects on people such as Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, and Julia Gillard. This ebook edition $17.99 from Amazon.

Australian politics, books, election, australian christian voter, John Howard, Lazarus RisingWe better take a moment to consider Australia's two most recent former Prime Ministers, given they both cast long shadows on today's politics, one way or another.

John Howard, firmly in retirement, has written a best-selling autobiography, Lazarus Rising, that is sought after because of the detailed political information it provides from Howard's long career. $28.95 from Booktopia.

Australian politics, books, election, australian christian voter, Kevin Rudd Kevin Rudd: The Biography was written before the 2007 election in which he became Prime Minister and was a perhaps somewhat hurried book to help introduce a relatively unknown Rudd to the Australia electorate. It still provides useful personal insight into Rudd the man. Ebook edition $21.17 from Amazon.

Australian politics, books, election, australian christian voter, Bob Katter, An Incredible Race of People From one maverick to another, Bob Katter is now the leader of his own party and is taking his big cowboy hat to the nation. Like Abbott, he has presented his vision of the way things should be in the encouragingly named An Incredible Race of People. $33.95 from Booktopia.

Australian politics, books, election, australian christian voter, Speechless, james buttonChanging tack a bit, Speechless is from journalist and one-time Kevin Rudd speechwriter, James Button. The son of much-loved Labor man, Senator John Button, James describes in a very personal way his one year foray into 'his father's business' - Australian politics. He gives us an inside view of the events surrounding Rudd's demise and what he sees as Labor's drift away from the party his father championed. $26.40 from Booktopia.

We've run out of steam for now, there's a limit to how many political books can be embraced at one time. But please howl us down about omissions and we'll update this page from time to time. In fact, we may start our own political book store on this site...