With the National Human Rights Consultation Panel having reported to Government in favour of a Charter of Rights, we have serious concerns that this might become a reality, and that while doing little if anything to improve human rights for the most vulnerable, it would create a serious threat to religious freedom. Paradoxically it would inhibit the Church in maintaining the Christian character and purpose of its own welfare and outreach to the poor and disadvantaged.
As we have seen in the Victorian churches and Christian Schools fight to retain their right to discriminate in favour of Christians in employment during the last year, a Charter will almost certainly be used by activists to attack the church and religious freedom. Cardinal George Pell’s article in the Australian clearly articulates the real and present danger a Federal charter of rights poses to religious freedom.This situation has come about because Christians at the grass roots level have largely been absent from the debate, and particularly the public consultation process, allowing proponents of the Charter to claim they have a strong groundswell of popular support. It is now necessary to reverse this by Church congregations becoming active.
We need as many people as possible emailing, writing and visiting their local members and Senators and voicing their concerns about a charter ... A short brief is attached of points to emphasise ... More information is on the Make a Stand web site.
We also need as many people as possible to sign the electronic petition available on the Make a Stand web site. We are currently sitting at about 15,000 signatures but will need over 30,000! We will have the petition tabled in Parliament during the November sitting weeks (November 16-26th), so we need to sign people up quickly.
The Christian constituency is one of the largest and potentially most influential in the country, but only if it shows commitment. This is a critical issue of religious freedom on which commitment is required ...Thanks for your help.
Jim Wallace AM