Review of Breakfast Address by Jim Wallace
Ex Soldier Heads A
Christian Lobby Group ¨C Is this the Church Militant?
by Lydia Kinda
Just as Winter is creeping in, the glorious leaves of autumn are descending to
remind us Summer is over despite the lack of rain. 33 hardy souls attended the
latest Breakfast at our friendly hostelry, 525 Lonsdale Street.
Coming from the suburbs at an unearthly hour of 6.30am, one realizes there must
be many shift workers as the Eastern Freeway is already crowded. The breakfast
was another opportunity to mingle with other Christians in the legal profession,
or soon to be in the form of law students.
pleasing to see people not wasting time but quickly introducing themselves,
getting to know each other and breaking any hierarchical boundaries. The
gathering was to hear a talk by Jim Wallace AM. Jim has an impressive CV, his
career in the armed forces, from which he resigned recently just before being
promoted to General. His call by God to his current work was costly financially,
and one senses that the financial stress imposed by kick-starting a new
organisation is as challenging as any Nehemiah must have felt in trying to
motivate the Israelites to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in spite of
Jim¡¯s main theme was the clash of Anti-Discrimination legislation versus the
Freedom of Religion and the Freedom of Speech. As Executive Chairman of
the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Jim aims to get all Christians to use their
political strength as a major group of voters to encourage the rebuilding of a
framework which supports Christian values rather than erodes them.
Jim told the group
that we need champions in Parliament. Even now, at least 40 out of 150
Parliamentarians regularly stand up for recognised Christian values. They need
our encouragement to keep doing so, not just our hate mail when they get it
wrong. There are Christians in Parliament but often they are not even given an
opportunity to speak because no one believes there is a Christian constituency
out there that they represent. They need us to stand up to be counted to get
¡°standing¡±, so to speak, and be heard.
ACL aims to make sure
Christian values get into the Parliament by getting them into the Party Room and
through there into the Cabinet Room where the argument could be won. This, he
believes, is the way to have political effect. ACL aims to do this by building
links and relationships and activating the Christian constituency to identify
itself as one that needs to be won. To this end they are looking for new
members. Currently he is encouraged by the increase in registrations with 20- 30
new registrations a week.
Whilst stressing that he does not support a conspiracy theory, Jim contends that
there are groups who work to well-defined strategies, which include demonising
or otherwise silencing anyone who dares to oppose their agenda. ACL believes
that this has reduced the larger battle we face on these issues to one of
preserving or re-establishing truth in public debate.
He stressed the concern that we are fast losing our Freedom of Speech. Australia
differs from the US in that it is not enshrined in our Constitution. He states
that we are now 20 times more likely to be sued for things we say in Australia
than in the US. He cited a recent incident in which the Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Sydney cited the advantages of marriage and the gay advocate
Rodney Croome threatened a $20,000 defamation case against Pell. In Victoria our
Racial and Religious Intolerance Act 2001 has now enshrined principles
contrary to our normal due process in that the burden of proof is on the
accused, or rather the person alleged to have either contravened the Act or
assisted or authorised the person alleged to have contravened the Act, to prove
themselves innocent of the charge (Section17 & 18). The following is from the
Burden of proof
The complainant is
responsible for proving that the act was done in public, that it was done
because of his or her race and that it was reasonably likely to offend, insult,
humiliate or intimidate a reasonable person of that race. The respondent must
establish that the act is covered by one of the exceptions and that it was done
reasonably and in good faith.
Even if the accused is
successful in refuting the allegations, there is no comeback and no costs. He
cited the case of the two involved in the Catch the Fire Ministry whose legal
bill must now be enormous because something that should have taken two days has
stretched out for nearly 2 years.
He stated that during the case evidence was put that it was suggested people
attend the Catch the Fire lectures to try and ¡°get offended¡± by what was being
said. Jim felt this was akin to entrapment.
He also cited the recent case of a witch in Casey. The Mayor had encouraged
people to pray against paganism (www.paganawareness.net.au/casey.html)
and agreed to settle out of court with an apology. Paganism is growing and cases
such as this can only strengthen it. Perhaps because, as Christians we tend to
turn the other cheek, we are allowing ourselves to be attacked whilst not
defending ourselves from unfair attack which discredits us all.
Jim complained at a lack of impartiality of Government enquiries and that the
legal fraternities are most to blame. He reminded us that marriage today is more
than ever under severe threat, especially with cases like the Kevin and Jennifer
case (www.hreoc.gov.au ) where the Full
Court of the Family Court granted leave to HREOC to intervene in the appeal
against the Judgment of Justice Chisholm. The issue being the definition of
¡°man¡± and that Kevin, a former transsexual, is a ¡°man¡± for the purposes of the
Marriage Act 1961 (Cth). The definition of marriage is no longer frozen
in time. Jim challenged us to take on test cases to remove the negative effects
of the Anti Discrimination legislation. He stated legal minds were needed to
bring a more visible profile of Christians within such bodies as the VLRC. He
reminded us that our rights are under attack and we need to take up the
challenge. He finished with reading Isaiah 1:10-17 and suggesting by it that God
was not satisfied with our worship alone, if all around us was like ¡°Sodom and
During questions some of us raised concerns but all of us were probably
challenged to agree with Jim that as lawyers we should use the skills we are
trained with to think through the issues he raised in determining how we can
bring those skills to bear for the glory of God.
Jim Wallace AM
Jim Wallace is the
Executive Chairman of the Australian Christian Lobby, one of Australia¡¯s fastest
growing political organisations, which aims to see Christian values better
acknowledged in the way we are governed, do business and relate as a community.
He is also a sought after commentator on Defence and security issues having left
the Army as brigadier in late 2000 after a 32 year career which included command
of the SAS Regt, Special Forces and the Army¡¯s mechanised Brigade of three
thousand personnel and most of the Army¡¯s fighting vehicles. He is a graduate of
Duntroon, The British Army Staff College and the Australian College of Defence
and Strategic Studies. In 1984 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia
for his services to counter-terrorism. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian
Defence Studies Centre and was recently appointed by the Minister of Defence to
the Council of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Jim worships with his
family at the Hughes Baptist Church in Canberra.