After Rudd and Abbott got to have their spiel to Christians there was then a short question time. They would have up to three minutes to answer the questions. I felt a bit ripped off with the question time as I felt the questions showed the ACL's agenda and not the Christian leaders who were asking the question. This was self evident as Rudd and Abbott were asked the same questions. This might make it easy to pit them alongside (against) each other, but having the questions pre-prepared gave them more sounds bites on climate change and school chaplains, which they had already covered in their spiel. I would have liked it if the Christian leaders were able to ask a question for themselves and not on behalf of the ACL. Really it could have just been the ACL guy asking Rudd and Abbott the questions; it was rather token to let the different representatives ask the ACL's questions.
In my notes I did wright down who asked what question but since they were the same questions I don't think it represents the denomination asking it, so I haven't cited them.
What are you doing about the children are sacred report and the indigenous people in the NT?
Rudd: We are working on it and has only really been implemented in the last 2.5 years, even though it did come from the Howard government. There are more kids in schools and homes and this all takes time. What we should do is not discriminate based on race and put all people under the same conditions. I would give our government a 5 maybe 6 out of 10 on our effort.
Abbott: We need to be familiar with the indigenous people and I have tried to (he listed some trips he has recently made to the NT) The more personal contact with have with them the better, and the missionaries were a good example of this. The government can't solve the whole issue, they need to do it themselves.
Do you want to keep the Lords Prayer in parliament?
(I really thought this question was showing the ACL's agenda and not the Church's. Rudd and Abbott didn't spend any more than a minute on this)
Rudd: I would support it and know of no future changes for it. (He joked) Just like in parish council meetings, a meeting starting with prayer means there will be no disagreements in it. Sometimes do you have to wonder what effect it does have.
Abbott: I'd keep it. Sometimes you work as if it depends all on you, but you also then pray like it all depends on God. [He was then asked if he would oppose the Greens if they brought it up to which he agreed]
What are you doing about immigration?
Rudd: [He started off by talking about the Nazi's and Hitler an how after WW2 they signed something to say they would look after refugees]. It is our responsibility to protect and maintain an orderly intake. We need to constantly adjust our policies to keep up with the changing world. eg Sir Lanka and Afgan numbers are down so the policy has changed. But we do not want to put children behind bars
Abbott: We have an obligation to refugees. We need to offer appropriate sanctuary which is not residency. Need to reintroduce temporary protecting visas to stop people smugglers.
What do you think about the marriage act? Is it between a man and a woman?
Rudd: First off I have no right over the state, so they can decided. Marriage is between a man and a woman, but we can not discriminate against homosexuals and we have adjusted many laws so this is not the case. It would be good if there was a nationally consistent definition.
Abbott: I supported it then and I support it now, but we don't want to discriminate. [my notes a messy with this next bit], something about protecting appropriately committed people, but not to mimic marriage.
Will you expand the School chaplains initiative in schools?
Rudd: This program is going well and we will evaluate it and then most likely extent it, but first need to make sure it works. You need to remember with this program the school or community can decided if they want someone of faith or non-faith in this position, they can decide. [he got a follow up question about pushing it for more than the drafted 3 years] At the moment there are 2600 schools using this program, we first need to get the data to if it is working before we extend it. But I wouldn't worry as anecdotally it seems to be a good thing.
Abbott: [This question got skipped as Abbott touched on this in his talk (and my old rector was going to ask the question!). I would have liked them to have allowed him to ask Abbott another question of his own - same with the climate change question]
What are you doing about reducing the sexualisation of children?
Rudd: [He got asked about a specific report which he did not have on hand so kept it general] This issue comes from advertises and they need to make new standards for this, but the issue also come from social attitudes and family attitude. I share a concern as I am a father, but in response to specifics on that report, I will make sure I get back to you later.
Abbott: I am a father and share a concern about this. The media seem to have a race to get to the bottom, but we need to allow their freedom. It seems that the classification system is broken and doesn't apply community standards so an inquiry will be needed.
What are you doing about climate change?
(This allowed them to repeat what they had already said)
Rudd: Climate change is real and we need to make sure there is less than a 2 degree change. We have set that by 2020 we will be on 20% renewable energy, that is now law and we will spend 5.1 billion on this. We need to minimise our energy use and we tried three times to pass an ETS but it kept on getting blocked.
Abbott: Climate change is real, but I am not sure it is man made or caused by carbon emissions; but we will reduce carbon emissions by 5% by 2020 but will not commit to anything else. It seems the science/evidence is not clear, so we should first save the economy from this burden until we know more.
Since it is more than likely you will not have the balance of power will you trade anything of what you said tonight in order to pass legislation?
(This was asked both times by the ACL guy)
Rudd: We will try not to as we have values, but we have to negotiate but we will not compromise our fundamental values [I think he means his parties values].
Abbott: I have no intention tonight to make a promise I can't keep. I hope not to and believe these things should not be traded
Here are some more links on the event:
Rudd v Abbott: spot the difference | News stories | Sydneyanglicans.net
AM - Christian leaders quiz Rudd and Abbott 22/06/2010
Leaders parade their values
Tony Abbott: Classification System Is “Broken” | Kotaku Australia
Tony Abbott pledges to re-examine classification system | Herald Sun
And it does look like they will allow a downloadable version of the event soon:
Make it Count a great success | ACL
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