NATIONAL AFFAIRS: by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
Ten concerns about Rudd's first 100 days
, March 15, 2008
In the lead-up to last November's federal election, Kevin Rudd carefully projected a public image of himself as a compassionate conservative with Christian leanings. How authentic was this image, asks Bill Muehlenberg.It is early days yet for the new Rudd Labor government, but already we have been given some pretty good indications as to where and how this government will proceed. These first few months in office make up the "honeymoon period", in which the media and others are supposed to be kind to the new government, and only use kid gloves in their evaluations and interaction.
The problem is, with an overwhelmingly leftist and Labor-supporting mainstream media, this honeymoon period is likely to last for the full term of the government. Thus it is worth our while to examine some areas which may be of concern to Australians as a whole, and people of faith as well.Concerns
I here raise a number of concerns, some more weighty than others, which may very well indicate even more problems to come. To highlight the areas of concern at this point is not to suggest that there are no positives. Perhaps another article in the future can focus on those aspects. But here are some 10 areas where the Rudd government has been causing some worry.One
. Within weeks of taking up her education portfolio, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that school chaplains should be secular. Under the former Howard government, schools were given funding to have religious chaplains to help bring some spiritual dimension to the life of the students. The new education minister wants to change all that, and allow secular counsellors. She says she wants the scheme to be secular in nature. But schools have plenty of secular counsellors. What chaplains provide is a window into the spiritual realm, which children should have the right to access.Two
. Related to this, Gillard's most senior education adviser, Professor Barry McGaw, has just come out stating that the rapid growth of faith-based schools under the Howard government has threatened the social cohesion of the nation (The Age
, Melbourne, February 25, 2008).
Whereas the Howard government welcomed the faith-based independent schools, it seems that the new government sees them as a threat, a matter of concern. This is especially a worry since the Rudd government is now reviewing funding arrangements for schools. With a militant secularist like Julia Gillard at the helm, this does not auger well for Christian schools.Three
. Another big worry is the fact that, within weeks of taking up office, our Prime Minister sent a warm word of endorsement to the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. This is something John Howard never did in 11 years of office. He was not willing to bow to the radical homosexual lobby and the dictates of political correctness. Unfortunately, Kevin Rudd is, it appears. And he also sent a word of support to the recent Victoria Gay Pride March (Herald Sun
, Melbourne, February 4, 2008), held in February in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Outgames, a homosexual sporting and cultural event.
This is unfortunate for several reasons. The truth is, the homosexual lifestyle is an extremely high-risk and dangerous lifestyle. Why promote something with such negative public health consequences? Rudd might as well proudly endorse a tobacco rights march, or a public celebration of drink-driving.
Also, this is quite bizarre behaviour, given Mr Rudd's flaunting of his Christian faith before the election. He tried to woo believers into voting for him, claiming to be a good Christian. Yet endorsing a lifestyle and behaviour which is decidedly quite un-Christian and un-Biblical is a peculiar way of showing how Christian he is.Four
. Related to this is the whole issue of special rights for homosexual couples. Within days of the federal Labor election win, the ACT Labor government announced it would again push for same-sex civil unions. The first response of the Rudd government was to say it would not interfere in state and territory issues.
But given its pledge before the election not to go down this path, and with subsequent pressure from pro-family groups reminding him of this, the whole situation is currently at a stalemate. Attorney-General Robert McClelland wants the ACT to make some slight changes to their proposal, while ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope is refusing to budge.
In contrast to this attempt at a negotiated settlement, the former Howard government simply knocked such proposals on the head.
Mr Rudd has also proposed a nation-wide registry scheme of same-sex couples, which in many respects is quite similar to civil unions, minus the ceremonies. By granting homosexual couples government recognition, blessing, status, benefits and legitimacy - as in a relationship register - he is on very weak ground in seeking to deny them the remainder: the ceremonies and the word marriage.
Thus, unless somehow challenged, the Rudd government is well on the way to fully implementing the homosexual agenda, something the Howard government worked hard to prevent. Kevin Rudd may say he wants to keep marriage for heterosexual couples, but once you officially give to the homosexual lobby 90 per cent of what they have been demanding, the final 10 per cent will be relatively quick and easy to achieve.Five
. There is also the issue of Australia signing on to yet another UN treaty which will again take away Australian sovereignty and further turn us into a lackey of the UN and the globaloneyists. The Rudd government is preparing to endorse a UN declaration on indigenous rights, something which the previous Howard government refused to do. It rightly argued that supporting this declaration would put Aboriginal customary law in a "superior position" to national law. It would effectively set up a sharia law situation, wherein Australian law is superseded by Aboriginal law.Ceding sovereignty
While the declaration is a non-binding one, Australia has signed itself over to so many international conventions and treaties - well over 1,000 at last count - that one has to wonder how long we can last as an independent nation while continually ceding sovereignty to unelected and unrepresentative global bodies, bureaucracies and committees.Six
. For those concerned about the increasing secularism of the new government, consider these facts. It has always been the case that the Federal Coalition had far more evangelical Christian MPs than did Labor. At the last election, many of these MPs from the conservative side of politics lost their seats. There are still genuine Christians on both sides of Parliament, but the numbers have shrunk.
As an indication of this, at the recent swearing-in ceremonies, most Labor MPs used the affirmation rather than the Bible. A newspaper report explained: "Back on the Labor side, the winds of change were freshening as a majority of Labor MPs refused to be sworn in holding Bibles, instead exercising their option to offer an affirmation of allegiance. Of the Labor frontbench, only Mr Rudd, Simon Crean, Martin Ferguson and Peter Garrett took the Bible in hand as they declared their allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs and successors.
"In marked contrast, all members of the God-fearing Coalition front bench swore on the Bible, many supplying their own for the occasion." (The Australian
, February 13, 2008).
Of course, in a pluralistic country, MPs are free to do what they like in this regard. But this episode simply suggests how much more secular the Labor MPs tend to be.Seven
. Then there is the whole issue of national religious vilification laws. When publicly pressed on this prior to the election, all Mr Rudd could do was hem and haw. He could not make a commitment against such anti-freedom of speech - and really, anti-Christian evangelism - legislation. In contrast, many of the leaders in the Howard government went on record as being firmly against such laws.
The debacle in Victoria since implementing such laws should convince anyone of how bad and divisive these laws in fact are. Such legislation is certainly not needed at the federal level.Eight
. Soon one can expect a call for a national bill of rights, or charter of rights, to be on the agenda. Indeed, many Labor leaders in the past have spoken of such things, and with wall-to-wall Labor governments in place, this and a whole raft of other radical social agenda items will surely be raised.Nine
. Whatever one makes of the "sorry day" activities for the so-called stolen generations, it seems that if the new government were really serious about showing concern for lost children, Labor MPs would be leaping over themselves seeking to have a national sorry day for an actual, and much greater, stolen generation.
I refer of course to the 100,000 unborn children who are stolen every year from not only their parents, but from life itself. And this is all done with the complicity of most government MPs. While there are a handful of pro-life MPs on both sides of politics, most of their colleagues are committed to business as usual. Until this national holocaust is stopped and publicly apologised for, I will remain a bit sceptical about government apologies for other issues involving children.Ten
. Also on pro-life issues, federal minister Bob McMullen announced recently that a grant would go to help with "Sexual and Reproductive Health" in the Asia-Pacific region. This usually means funding for abortion. Although the government has said money will not go to abortion, this is hard to square with the facts.
This work will be "in partnership" with groups like the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which happens to be the largest abortion-provider in the world. Even if government money - $3 million - does not go directly to abortion, that partnering will assist those that do provide it.
If the government were serious about dealing with real maternal health issues, but not providing for abortion, why not partner with groups which are not so pro-abortion? This grant is a part of the Australian government's commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals, something which the Howard government would not support, in part because of the pro-abortion agenda.
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Other issues might be raised here, and News Weekly
readers are invited to submit their own concerns.
Unfortunately, with the entire nation under Labor rule, there really is very little standing in the way of the implementation of a whole raft of radical social engineering agendas. Unfortunately, the parliamentary oppositions, at state and federal levels, seem weak, divided and uncertain as to how to proceed. This is not a healthy state for a democracy.- Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures in ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com