AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER

  • 40 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE FEDERAL ELECTION
  • NSW PREMIER COMES OUT IN FAVOUR OF SAME – SEX MARRIAGE
  • GILLARD AND ABBOTT CONTINUE TO OPPOSE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN SPITE OF NEW ZEALAND VOTE
  • SAME – SEX ADOPTION LAWS PASSED IN TASMANIA


40 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE FEDERAL ELECTION

With the early announcement of the Federal Election date (14th September2013) we are able to plan ahead and announce that the Australian Prayer Network is  calling for 40 days of Prayer (and optional fasting) for the 2013 Federal Election commencing on Monday 5th August and concluding on Friday 13th September. 
 
For those individuals, prayer groups, and Churches who are members of the Australian Prayer Network (i.e. regularly receive our weekly newsletters) we will be forwarding the daily prayer points and bible readings to you on the Tuesday of each week for the week commencing the following Monday. For example we will be sending out the prayer points for the week beginning Monday 5th August on Tuesday 30th July and for the week beginning 12th August on Tuesday 6th August.  This will allow Churches to include the weekly prayer points in their Sunday notices and bulletins each week for the week beginning on the Monday.
 
For those Churches, prayer groups and individuals who are not members of the Australian Prayer Network, and do not wish to become members, they will be able to download the prayer points from our website at http://www.ausprayernet.org.au/       
 
Just as we have been able to prepare in advance we are issuing this advice early so Churches wishing to participate can also plan ahead to engage their whole congregations in this national initiative and encourage other Churches in their area to also plan to join in this special season of prayer at a critical time in our nation’s history.  We would welcome your personal support and your efforts to encourage others to also join in praying for God’s blessing, righteousness and justice to come upon our nation, as together we cry out to Him to give us a Government that will facilitate His will and plans for our land. 

Source: Australian Prayer Network

 

NSW PREMIER COMES OUT IN FAVOUR OF SAME – SEX MARRIAGE

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has declared his strong support for legalising same-sex marriage in Australia and challenged federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote on the issue. In expressing his support for New Zealand laws allowing same-sex marriage, the Premier said the issue was ”about family”. “I believe that commitment and family units are one of the best ways to organise society therefore I support the concept of same-sex marriage” he said. While he preferred the Federal Parliament change the Marriage Act, if a current NSW parliamentary inquiry found the state could act alone, he would vote to allow same-sex marriage in NSW.
 
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, who opposes same-sex marriage, said the issue was one for Federal Parliament.  ”The Federal Parliament has debated the issue only recently and it’s of note that both Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott both voted against any changes,” he said.  Asked if Mr Abbott should allow a free vote of Coalition MPs, he said: ”That’s for Tony Abbott and the Coalition at a federal level.”  West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said he did not personally support gay marriage but acknowledged public support for change was growing. ”I think it is a conscience issue,” he said.
 
In November, a cross-party working group of NSW MPs from the Coalition, Labor and the Greens and an independent gave notice it would introduce the State Marriage Equality Bill in the upper house. Last May the upper house voted 22 to 16 in favour of a motion supporting same-sex equality but many believe legislation to legalise same-sex marriage would be defeated in the lower house. An upper house Greens MP and member of the cross-party working group, Cate Faehrmann, said Mr O’Farrell’s advocacy could change that. ”In relation to the lower house, I don’t think you can underestimate what leadership from the Premier means,” she said.

Mr O’Farrell said he was ”not going to campaign on the issue” but felt the NZ vote presented a ”suitable opportunity” to express his view. The Premier said he did not believe in using his position in the party room to sway votes on matters of conscience and there was ”sufficient distance” between his comments and a possible vote in the parliament for that not to happen. Mr O’Farrell said his views were not those he held five or six years ago. ”It’s been an evolving thought process with me.” Hearing the NZ Parliament break into a Maori love song after the vote ”even tweaked at my emotions. You just get a concept of how deeply people feel about this.”
 
Anne Twomey, an associate law professor at the University of Sydney, said NSW could legalise same-sex marriage but that state laws would then conflict with the federal Marriage Act. She said a significant problem would arise as to how state law interacted with Commonwealth laws such as those dealing with de facto relationships, which dictated property rights if a couple broke up. ”It’s just very, very difficult. I would be very reluctant to do this.” Ms Twomey said given the impact on people’s lives, you have to be absolutely confident that you have a system that will work and not leave people in complete chaos in their relationships later on,” she said.
 
The President of the NSW Council of Churches, the Reverend Dr Ross Clifford, said.  “In view of calls for a change in federal Liberal Party policy on same sex marriage to allow a conscience vote, it is vital that Mr Abbott and other senior political leaders maintain party policy and ensure a clear choice on this issue for voters at the federal election in September,” Dr Clifford said. “We need politicians at all levels who are willing to take an uncompromising stand on moral issues and who have the integrity to clarify their personal positions before the federal election. 
 
Dr Clifford called on church leaders and church members to contact their local federal members and senators to clarify how they would vote if allowed a conscience vote. Dr Clifford said “It is imperative that federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott remain firm in his support for the current definition of marriage, and allow the Australian people to decide on September 14 what kind of society they want for their children and grandchildren,” he said.

Source: Compiled by APN from various sources

 

GILLARD AND ABBOTT CONTINUE TO OPPOSE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN SPITE OF NEW ZEALAND VOTE

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she won’t be moved from her stance against gay marriage despite New Zealand passing legislation allowing same sex couples to tie the knot. Asked by a member of the public at a community cabinet in Melbourne why Australia lagged behind New Zealand in legalising same-sex marriage, Ms Gillard said she would not be changing her mind on the issue. ”I doubt we’re going to end up agreeing,” Ms Gillard said. She told the community cabinet at Ringwood that Labor has allowed a conscience vote on the matter.
 
The Greens greeted the news from New Zealand by saying the party would introduce legislation when parliament resumes in May that would ensure Australia recognises the marriages of gay couples who wed overseas. Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said that the ”sad thing” about New Zealand legalising same-sex marriage is that Australian gay couples would wed there only to ”leave their marriage at the customs gate” when they return to Australia. ”We are happy for our New Zealand cousins but we want to see it here,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
 
When comment was sought on the NZ development from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, his office pointed to a previous interview in which he reiterated that while Coalition policy stated that marriage was between a man and a woman, MPs would not be allowed a conscience vote on this issue.  Last year, an attempt to legalise gay marriage failed in the Australian parliament, with Ms Gillard opposed to the move, and Mr Abbott refusing Coalition MPs a conscience vote.  Mr Abbott was asked again about same-sex marriage and said ‘We had a parliamentary vote on this just a few months ago and it was fairly decisively rejected” Mr Abbott said.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

SAME – SEX ADOPTION LAWS PASSED IN TASMANIA

Laws that allow same-sex couples to adopt children have passed the House of Assembly in Tasmania with just four Liberal MHAs voting against it. Opposition Leader Will Hodgman granted a conscience vote and voted in favour, along with deputy leader Jeremy Rockliff, Peter Gutwein, Adam Brooks and Matt Groom. Children’s Minister Michelle O’Byrne, who championed the bill, said she was pleased to see the bill pass. Ms O’Byrne said. “This is a big step forward in removing discrimination and I look forward to seeing it passed by both houses of parliament.”
 
Rene Hidding, Jacquie Petrusma, Michael Ferguson and Mark Shelton voted against the bill. Three members did not vote – Tim Morris was in the chair, while Elise Archer paired with Brian Wightman, who was absent. All other Labor and Greens members supported the bill, which will now head to the Legislative Council.

Source: Compiled by APN from various sources