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Victorian election 2006: Australian Christian Lobby calls on voters to weigh up their decision carefully

The Australian Christian Lobby is urging Christians in Victoria to consider their vote carefully in this weekend’s state election.

DECISION TIME: Victorians will go to the polls this Saturday, 25th December. PICTURE: P_Wei (


“(People) should be look at the actual policies and not just general philosophical statements that candidates are giving,” says the ACL’s Dr Railton Hill.

Dr Railton Hill, state director of the ACL in Victoria, says people should be careful to take an in-depth look at party policies.

“They should be look at the actual policies and not just general philosophical statements that candidates are giving,” he says.

As part of its bid to inform people about party policies, the lobby has been running a series of 10 “know your candidates forums” in marginal seats such as Box Hill, Cranbourne, Mulgrave and Bendigo East.

Dr Hill, an academic at a Victorian university and a member of the Salvation Army, says that candidates who had taken part in the forums have been positive in their feedback.

“They are seeing us as a professionally run, moderate, carefully presented, fair and balanced forum,” he says. “Hence, the organisation is in the position it should be in, in terms of not favoring either side. And that’s very much what we’re on about.”

The ACL have also released their voter’s guide which Dr Hill describes as “the benchmark for Christians in terms of getting information about candidate views”.

The survey contains 23 questions asking whether candidates stand on issues ranging from gaming machine numbers to drug injecting rooms, to civil unions for same-sex couples and the decriminalisation of abortion.

The guide initially covers electorates where the ACL ran forums and may be updated to include other electorates.

A number of other groups have also put out “voters’ guides” or resources including the Victorian Council of Churches, the Uniting Church, Christian ethics group Salt Shakers, and the “interfaith movement”, the Network of Spiritual Progressives.

Dr Hill, meanwhile, says that “without doubt” all political parties have indicated that there is a Christian vote in the election.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that all the parties have been interested in…courting a Christian vote…” he says. 

“This is most clearly evident with the Greens because the Greens have gone to enormous difficulty to court the Christian vote. They’ve put up candidates who are declaring themselves to be Christian.”

But Dr Hill adds that many Christians will have “enormous problem” with some of their policies such as those covering gay civil unions.

Jim Reiher, who is the Greens spokesman on religious and multicultural issues and is also standing as a candidate in the upper house seat of South East Metropolitan Region – which takes in Frankston, Mt Waverley and Springvale – has participated in a number of ACL forums.

He says that while nobody is trying to pretend the Greens are a Christian party, “what we are saying is that we’re not irreligious either”.

“We’re actually a very diverse and tolerant group that tolerate anybody’s worldview and lifestyle and that really the only common factor is a mutual respect for one another…” says Mr Reiher, who, like a number of Greens candidates in this election, is a professed Christian.

The Greens point to statistics from an Australian National University study which show that around 10 per cent of Greens voters are regular church goers (compared with eight per cent of people among the general population) while more than 30 per cent attend church at least once a year (excluding weddings, funerals and baptisms).

The Victorian election has also been notable for the arrival of Family First who have fielded candidates in every single seat in the state, a number of whom are professed Christians.

Dr Hill stresses that while the ACL is “very comfortable” with many of the values espoused by Family First, the lobby is not aligned to any particular party.

“It’s very, very important to have somebody who is not aligned and yet it coming from a Biblical Christian perspective and the parties are slowly realising that…” he says.

He says the ACL urge Christians to stand for preselection in all parties.

“They should prepare themselves, they should do the hard work, they should join parties and they should stand – that is our advice.”


• For the Australian Christian Lobby’s Voters Guide, visit
• Salt Shakers website can be found at
• For the Victorian Council of Churches resources with links to Uniting Church election notes, visit
• The Network of Spiritual Progressives Values Checklist can be obtained by emailing Jim Reiher at [email protected].
Know of any other resources? List them below…

Publication of this article is authorised by David Adams, editor of Sight magazine, c/- 28 Hodgson Street, Ocean Grove 3226.



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