Sunday, February 24, 2013

A very big year... election humour

Tony Abbott, Very Big Ear, Election 2013, #auspol, Canberra Centenary
Australia will need some humorous moments in the next seven months as the September 14 election draws tortuously closer.

And so Australian Christian Voter shares a photo that tells the story of the very big year ahead... with apologies to Tony and to Canberra's Centenary.

The photo appears (among other places) on the Canberra Memes Facebook page.

In the interest of fairness, we promise to publish other funny ear photos from all political persuasions as they come to hand - please send them to Other body part photos also accepted, within reason...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bob Katter stakes a claim for Christian voter heartland

Bob Katter, Bob Katter's Australia Party, Christian voter, Christian politics, election
If the result of the recent Neilsen poll carried through to the election - Coalition leading the ALP by 47 per cent to 30 per cent may - the minor parties' battle for the balance of power might become obsolete.

But if it election results in both houses is close enough to bring the fate of the minor parties and independents back into play, Bob Katter's Australia Party is tipped by some analysts as the party to watch.

While the birth of the party nationally has been marked by controversial comments and candidate resignations, it could be a case of 'all publicity is good publicity' considering the challenge most small parties have in creating national profile. And in any case there is little doubt Katter and co will poll well in Queensland, and maybe western Sydney, right where Labor is expected to suffer badly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Open Australia bridges democratic disconnect and puts you in touch with Parliament

A new website that makes the unfathomable depths of Hansard easily accessible will be a huge asset for serious voters in the 2013 election.

OpenAustralia has a simple goal - to be 'a non-partisan website run by a charity, the OpenAustralia Foundation and volunteers. It aims to make it easy for people to keep tabs on their representatives in Parliament.' <>

Parliament, OpenAustralia, Hansard, electorates, election, politics, politicians,
Screenshot of an electorate search using a postcode.
OpenAustralia has already been featured by the Global Mail which has used information sourced from the website to produce charts showing how politicians use language to describe issues. Check out its Party Lines interactive feature.

The OpenAustralia website describes its function as a bridge for the 'growing democratic disconnect':

Sunday, February 17, 2013

This election year be 'fair by instinct' and provide fair go for all says World Vision head Tim Costello

Tim Costello, overseas aid, election 2013, drift in policy, World Vision, Christian voters
'Fair by instinct' should be a guiding principle of the federal election and policy on overseas aid, according to World Vision Australia Chief Executive, Tim Costello.

Writing in the Fairfax Media, Mr Costello said,
'Ever since the Prime Minister called the election, I’ve had three words repeating in my head. Fair - By - Instinct. That’s how the PM described our nation and it’s an assessment I think most Australians would agree with. Fairness is the cornerstone of our constitution and our national identity. But as we head into an election year, I think we need to ask ourselves whether we really believe in a fair go for all.'
Mr Costello said he was disturbed in the drift in policy that saw both major parties reneging on aid targets and deciding to or considering diverting aid money to domestic needs.
'I hope our major political parties are focused on a broader notion of justice, one that includes the poorest and most vulnerable people beyond our shores. These are the people our overseas aid program aims to help, and a recent government report concluded that our taxpayer dollars are making an extraordinary impact in their communities.'
Read Tim Costello's full statement on the World Vision website

VoterValue: When considering your vote in September, take into account candidate and party attitudes to overseas aid and meeting the Millennium Goals.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Carers Alliance and Bank Reformers seek registration alongside the Pirate Party

Carers Alliance, election 2012, Australian politics, Christian politics, voting, political parties
Two new parties have applied for registration towards the September 14, 2013 federal election, joining 33 other parties already contesting the poll.

The Carers Alliance and the Bank Reform Party hope to follow the most recently registered political grouping, The Pirate Party, which had its registration approved by the Australian Electoral Commission on February 13, 2013.

Party registration benefits include having party affiliation printed on ballot papers, not needing the signatures of 50 voters to nominate in an electorate and funding for endorsed candidates who received 4 per cent of the vote.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Humanism? Pragmatism? But nothing to challenge the Christian vision

Is Prime Minister Julia Gillard - a self-confessed atheist - guided by a humanistic moral vision or the pragmatism of political realities?

Mitchell Landrigan, a Visiting Fellow, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney and part-time PhD Candidate, Law School, University of NSW, addresses this issue in his article, 'The search for a godless vision of morality in Australian politics' posted on Online Opinion. He writes:
"On two political issues – gay marriage and asylum seekers – the Prime Minister's stance has perhaps led to confusion in the electorate about the ethical framework that guides the Prime Minister's decision-making.
"More specifically, the Prime Minister's unwillingness or inability to articulate an alternative moral model to Christianity – one based on secular humanism – has arguably resulted in cynicism about what guides the Prime Minister's values and has perhaps led to a perception amongst voters that these are purely pragmatic political choices..."
These issues are likely to come into sharper focus as interest groups prepare their offensives for an extended election campaigning period.

Read more of Mitchell's thoughts.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Christians favour politicians with religious faith: survey

Christian politics, Christian voter, Christian voting, election, leadership, religion
Australian Christians would be more likely to vote for a political leader active in another faith than for an atheist, according to recent research.

Grant Power, as part of his PhD, surveyed 1109 Australian Christians about the effects on their voting intentions of political party leaders' religiosity. Full results here.

In an article published in Crikey last October, Power wrote:
'The two most important factors influencing voting intentions were not religious —  party policies and the political party were key. That is no real surprise — previous research has shown that party policies and the political party are significant factors affecting the voting intentions of the general population.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

First Yom Kippur, now Nazi allusions - where to next?

Christopher Pyne, Mark Dreyfus, Nazis, Downfall, Goebels, election
One wonders if there are any coincidences in politics, not the least Julia Gillard's announcement of an election just before Craig Thomson is arrested and two ministers announcement retirement.

Another instance could be Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne's likening of the ALP's ministerial reshuffle to the 2004 movie Downfall, about the last days of the Hitler regime.

'This government is starting to resemble a scene from Downfall,' Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide.

Did he know that new Attorney General Mark Dreyfus is descended on his father side from German Jews, some of whom fled to Australia to escape the Nazi's and some who didn't and died in the Holocaust?

Understandably, Mr Dreyfus is leading expressions of revulsion against Mr Pyne's comments:

'These immature and offensive comments have no place in Australian political debate.There is no place in Australian political debate for a comparison of any Australian government with Hitler's Third Reich.These comments are deeply hurtful to holocaust survivors, they are deeply hurtful to any right thinking Australian.'

The problem for Mr Dreyfus is that last year he was making headlines for Nazi comparisons of his own:

'Abbott’s wildest claim is that he is running a "truth campaign". Leaving aside the Goebbellian cynicism of labelling a scare campaign a "truth campaign", I think it shows Abbott’s contempt for the Australian electorate.'

When asked by journalist today about his own comments, Dreyfus, predictably, said:

'That's a quite different thing, it's a very, very specific and targeted comment about the propaganda techniques.'

Make up your own mind and watch those coincidences...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New political party has high hopes: Australian Christians

'The political landscape is at a crossroads. We believe the time is right for a new party, shaped by Christian values, to step forward as a viable third alternative.'

This is the bold declaration of a new political party known as Australian Christians which was launched in some states early last year.

A news story on the party by Perth Voice reports comments by national director Ray Moran who hopes that three existing political parties with Christian affiliations - Family First, Australian Christian Democrats and the Democratic Labor Party - can be united into one large Christian party.

However at the time, according to Perth Voice, the only progress had been some "official talks" with Family First.

Australian Christians, political party, election, election 2013, CDP, Family First
A Victorian State Conference and Campaign Launch is being held on February 3 with the theme defending the essential three strands of faith, family freedom. Ecclesiastes 4:12 is highlighted - 'A cord of three strands is not quickly broken' - perhaps applicable also to the goal of uniting Christian political parties.

One of the speakers is Australian Christians' lead Senate candidate in Victoria, Vickie Janson, author of Ideological Jihad. She has recently completed a trip through regional Victoria meeting church leaders and other Christians. Tasmanian lead Senate candidate is Kevin Swarts.

On its website, Australian Christians describes a hopeful vision, clearly unsullied by political realities that too easily engulf even experienced hands.

'We see a movement that is known for what it promotes, not what it opposes. A party with a voice in the political conversation that can shape policy, promote and protect the values that create a better Australia for all Australians, no matter what their faith and belief. We believe this movement has the potential to unite Australian Christians. And we believe it has the potential to influence the values and culture of our next generation.'

Australian Christians, political party, election 2013, Family First, voters
Comment: at first glance, Australian Christians would seem to have unrealistic hopes and little organisation - the twin plagues of most Christian endeavours in the world of politics. A closer look reveals that, in Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania at least, there is some degree of organisation and resource and even a few candidates. ACV

Wikipedia contains a small and slightly outdated reference to the party. It claims that Australian Christians will not operate in NSW due to the strength of the CDP in that state.

Roxon, Evans and McClelland all go leaving Labor campaign in turmoil

Nicola Roxon, resignation, election 2013, Attorney General,
News Limited papers and ABC are reporting this morning that Attorney General Nicola Roxon will soon announce that she is standing down from Cabinet and will leave politics at the next election.

This is in addition to reports that Labor Senate leader Chris Evans will announce his retirement as early as today. Senator Evans is also Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research.

Mark Dreyfus, Attorney General, Climate Change, Who is Mark Dreyfus?And this follows Tuesday's news that ALP Member for Barton Robert McClelland will not contest the next election. Now news has emerged that he is being considered for a judicial post which could force a by-election in his Sydney electorate held by a margin of 6.9per cent.

Who is Mark Dreyfus?
Rob McClelland, resignation, ALP, NSW, judicial post, election campaignOf interest to many Christian voters and others, will be the effect of the departure of Ms Roxon on the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill currently being debated across the country.

The Attorney General is tipped to be Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Mark Dreyfus QC, Member for Isaacs. 

To find out more about the man who may become Australia's next Attorney General:
Read Mark Dreyfus's maiden speech
Read a wide-ranging interview
Read transcript of ADHR bill debate

More on today's political turmoil

Friday, February 1, 2013

God invoked twice on day two of longest election march

God was invoked twice today in circumstances that may have a bearing on the far off but announced federal election.

Daily Telegraph columnist Simon Benson says that '...fate or God's cruel design, made a mockery of Julia Gillard's claim that by calling the election early the government could rise above the political muck.'

He was speaking of the arrest and charging of former Labor MP Craig Thomson the day after Prime Minister Gillard's created Australia's longest federal electoral lead-up by announcing a September 14 poll.

Meanwhile Moses Obeid must have felt the spiritual vibe and brought Jesus, the friend sinners, into the corruption inquiry examining allegations that former NSW resource minister Ian Macdonald provided inside information to the Obeid family that has allowed them to make millions of dollars.

When asked about confidential documents and maps seized in a raid on his family's offices, Moses said 'it might have been drawn by Jesus Christ.'

Both investigations are electorally damaging to the ALP as it makes the long march to election day and we can only assume that many ALP supporters will be invoking God on their knees in the hope these dramas are long gone by then.

(Election) Time for a deft look at Tony's faith says ABC

Tony Abbott, ABC, Chris Uhlmann, election, election 2013, faith, Catholic
The Prime Minister has said she will not be distracted by the election even though she has announced the date, but she may be in the minority.

The election is certainly colouring much media coverage (not the least our own) at present although whether this can be sustained for eight months remains to be seen.

An example is ABC's Religion and Ethics today advising followers on Twitter that, 'It's a good time to revisit @CUhlmann's deft treatment of the tension between Tony's faith and Abbott's ambition'.

If a good time refers to the fact that we'll be voting on September 14, then no doubt we'll also see something deft delivered from the archives on various other politicians and their faith - which will be helpful! From the article:
'Tony's Catholic voice is raised whenever he seeks to describe his political vocation. Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas echo when he tells Paul Kelly that politics is a way of giving glory to God: "This idea that politics is a managerial exercise, a simple question of resource allocation, I just think is dead wrong because politics is about inspiring people and persuading people there is value in what they do."'
Check out the full story: