Within the broad political spectrum in Australia, Australian Christians stands out as the only political party who have consistently defended Christian values and principles during and in between election cycles.
Established in 2011, the Australian Christians political party has progressively made its mark, especially in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, representing a strong voice for faith, families, and freedom. The party’s vision is underpinned by a desire to align legislation with biblical teachings, advocating for policies that resonate with a Christian ethos.
By working to have representatives elected as Members of Parliament and Senators who uphold Christian values, Australian Christians aims to foster a legislative environment that supports faith based principles, thereby offering a political platform for Christian believers..
Being a Political Party in Western Australia
A political party is integral to the democratic process, providing a platform for citizens to express their political preferences. Political parties contest elections, and if successful, implement policies that align with their ideological stance. Being a political party in Western Australia involves adhering to a set of regulations and standards set by the Australian Electoral Commission.
This includes registration, which legitimises a party, and compliance with electoral laws, ensuring a level playing field for all political entities. Parties engage with the electorate, articulating their policies through various mediums, aiming to garner support and votes in elections. Australian Christians is the only conservative party registered in Western Australia.
Being a Lobby in Australia
In Australia, a lobby represents a group or entity seeking to influence politicians and public officials on specific issues. Being a smaller party, Australian Christians often support the efforts of lobby groups. Unlike political parties, lobbies do not contest elections but focus on swaying policy decisions to favour their causes.
The essence of being a lobby in Australia is to have a potent voice in the political arena without direct electoral involvement. It is not possible to vote for a lobby group.
Lobbies often have a significant network of supporters and resources, which they leverage to create awareness and influence public opinion.
They are pivotal in bringing specific issues to the forefront of political discourse, thereby impacting policy decisions.
The footprint of both the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and the Australian Christians in the socio-political landscape of Australia is evident through their respective historical undertakings.
The ACL has been a vocal advocate on various issues, one of which was opposing the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
Their activism during the 2017 Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey was a testament to their continued engagement in national issues.
Australian Christians, has progressively made its presence felt in Western Australia’s political domain, aiming to infuse Christian values within legislative discussions.
Key Figures and Leadership
At the ACL, the transition of leadership from Jim Wallace to Martyn Iles, to Michelle Pearse marked a continuum in the advocacy for Christian values. Their endeavours played a crucial role in elevating the ACL’s profile in the Australian political landscape.
With a tenure extending over seven years at the helm of Australian Christians, Maryka has passionately served the Western Australia community for 16 years.
Holding qualifications in community development, politics, and leadership, she brings a wealth of experience to the table, encompassing community and program development, campaigning and elections, as well as problem-solving and community engagement.
Her leadership has been pivotal in driving the party’s agenda of representing Christian values in the political sphere of Western Australia.
The calibre of leadership in both entities underscores their resolve to champion Christian values amidst the dynamic political discourse in Australia. Through different pathways, the leaders have sought to carve out a niche for Christian perspectives in the broader social and political dialogue.
Major Campaigns and Initiatives
The ACL’s venture into campaign strategies emerged more visibly during the 2019 Australian federal election where they rallied support against policies that were seen as detrimental to Christian family values.
On the other hand, Australian Christians have been engaging the electorate in Western Australia, voicing concerns over issues like freedom of religion and the sanctity of life. Their campaign initiatives reflect a continuous effort to have a Christian voice in the decision-making corridors.
Each campaign and leadership decision taken by these entities has not only shaped their journey but also elicited varying public reactions, underlining their active roles in the socio-political discussions within Australia.
The Australian Christian Lobby
The Australian Christian Lobby emerged in 1995 with a mandate to protect the rights and values of Christians in Australia.
The lobby zeros in on critical issues such as religious freedom, life, and family, striving to inculcate a Christian perspective on social and political issues.
With a robust network of volunteers and supporters, the ACL takes on political campaigns, actively seeking to shape legislation and public opinion on matters close to its heart, like marriage, family structure, and censorship among others.
Despite its noble objectives, the ACL has faced its fair share of criticism, especially regarding its stance on LGBTQ+ rights, with some quarters describing it as extremist, potentially influenced by Christian dominionism and reconstructionism.
Australian Christians Party
On the flip side, the Australian Christian Party, sprouting in 2011 under the banner of Australian Christians, has a mission in promoting welfare for all Australians, aligning legislation with biblical teachings, and advocating for faith, families, and freedom.
Unlike the ACL, the Australian Christians aim to have a direct representation in the government.
They believe that having Members of Parliament and Senators will provide a platform to support and promote policies resonating with Christian values.
The modus operandi of these two entities elucidates their different capacities in the political arena; the ACL as a lobbying group and the Australian Christians as a political party.
While both are rooted in Christian values, their approaches to influencing policy and public opinion are notably different.
The ACL leverages campaigns to sway political and public opinion, whereas the Australian Christians seek to achieve their objectives through direct representation in the government.