New Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) National Conference in Canberra.
The conference begins with a dinner on Friday night, November 7, and continues all day Saturday November 8 at the Australian National University in Canberra.
ACL hopes this will be an excellent opportunity for Mr Turnbull to engage key denominational leaders and the wider Christian constituency.
Other speakers include former NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr and international guests Dr Samantha Callan (UK) and Rev Richard Cizik (USA).
The theme is Building a Nation of Character: Family, Freedom and the Future and will cover marriage and family in public policy, the issue of a bill of rights and both sides of the climate change debate.
Conference site http://www.acl.org.au/national/conferences.stw
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) expressed concern at a review of freedom of religion launched by the Australian Human Rights Commission recently, saying that it appeared to be biased before it even started and aimed at undermining the rights of people with faith to have an influence in the public sphere.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that comments from the Commission’s race discrimination commissioner Tom Calma questioned whether religious beliefs should influence policies being determined in Australia.
“It is unbelievable that an organisation supposedly working to “respect, protect and promote” human rights should bring into question the basic rights of people of faith to freedom of expression and political participation,” Mr Wallace said.
“Everyone, whether of faith, no faith, or a faith in secular humanism, has a right to bring their views into the public square,” Mr Wallace said.
“I expect the Human Rights Commission to be protecting that right – not challenging it.”
Mr Wallace said that, historically, Australian society had been founded on Christian values and people of faith have contributed a great deal to the laws and government of not just Australia, but the very character of Western democracy.
He noted that the reason given for the review was “that these issues are continually in the headlines”.
“Unless there is another agenda here, we are clearly short of reasons to justify such a review,” he said.
The inland areas of Victoria and New South Wales have been in the grip of a severe drought for seven years. Some places have suffered longer. This has caused unspeakable hardship for our farmers and regional communities. The Murray Darling river system is in a very poor state with no water for irrigation for many years now.
The situation is extremely serious. A leaked scientific report has warned of an irreversible ecological disaster unless major rain falls by October.
Warwick Marsh and Pastor Peter Walker with the support of the Australian Prayer Network and the Indigenous Prayer Network, Christian groups and individuals all over Australia are undertaking a prayer pilgrimage along the Murray River from the Hume Weir to the Mildura /Wentworth junction of the Murray Darling.
The purpose of the Murray Darling Prayer Pilgrimage is to rally people together to pray for a final end to the drought and for a flood of rain to fill the dams and clean out the Murray Darling River System and avert a human and ecological disaster.
Warwick Marsh and Ps Peter Walker are asking Christian church leaders, local dignitaries, members of parliament, state government representatives, and member of the public to join with them in special prayer services along the river. They invite others to join them on the journey.
Each prayer service will be held for approx 30 minutes. During each prayer service local dignitaries and church leaders will be asked to bring a brief greeting and/or lead in prayer and/or give a bible reading. Warwick Marsh and Ps Peter Walker will do likewise and then lead in a short communion service with prayers for the healing of the land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. All those present will be invited to pray and participate as much as possible.
Requiem for a Beast, by Perth writer-illustrator Matt Ottley, has won the picture book prize at the Children's Book Council Awards.
The Australian reports Ottley said the book's style and the cover blurb made it clear it was not for young children. "If you don't want young children to be exposed, don't give them this book," he said. "Part of the problem is a lot of schools buy books sight unseen, and that's idiotic."
The CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award is made, according to the CBCA, 'to outstanding book of the Picture Book genre in which the author and illustrator achieve artistic and literary unity'.
The CBCA states it 'includes, on all its official announcements, the advice that 'some of these books are for mature readers'. It is the responsibility of those selecting books for children to assess whether they are suitable for their particular needs.
The CBCA does not control book selection by libraries and schools, nor can it influence the ways in which booksellers display and promote titles.'