Helping Christians to make a difference
Dealing with current Issues
Helping Christian families to make a difference
8 Dec 2014
Catching up on four insightful articles on the issues…
1. Is Islam the problem or the solution?
Mark Durie has another insightful article that addresses this important question …
Article: Islam: solution or problem, that is the question
Mark begins, “A slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood is “Islam is the solution”. Dean Philip Jensen recently stated in regard to the Islamic State (ISIS) that “It is time to face the truth that Islam itself is part of the problem.” Solution or problem: what is the truth about Islam?...”
2. Canada introduces Income splitting for families
The Canadian government has recently introduced ‘income splitting’ as a way of supporting single income families where the mother stays at home to raise a family.
Article: FAMILY POLICY Canada introduces income-splitting for families, John Ballantyne, News Weekly, 22/11/2014.
3. Responding on homosexual ‘marriage’
This Alliance Defending Freedom blog article gives TWO ways that we should NOT respond on this issue…
Article: Two ways we should not respond to the redefinition of marriage, 17/10/2014.
4. On gambling wins and losses
An excellent article on gambling, and the ‘science’ of winning and losing – especially on poker machines.
The authors note that gamblers have a poor understanding of probabilities – and think a ‘near miss’ is ‘almost a win’ and will often bet more and play faster to try and win.
The authors, Mark Dixon and Jacob Daar, who are from the Southern Illinois University, note that usually we AVOID behaviour that results in negative outcomes and DO activities that are rewarding. They ask why gambling on poker machines (slot machines) is different.
They highlight something that we discovered MANY years ago!
They write, “One feature present in almost every modern slot machine is the partial win or “loss disguised as a win.” Since slot machines have gone from the traditional 3-reel 1-line slot machine to the modern 5-reel video slot, often with 25 or more winning lines, near-miss outcomes have become almost unidentifiable from other losing outcomes.”
What happens is that the gambler might play ‘5 lines’ at a time – at $1 a LINE that means a bet of $5!
They might win on ONE LINE and LOSE on 4. The machine flashes “WIN 1” – but the reality is that the gambler has actually LOST on 4 lines (or $4 of the $5)!
Article: Losses disguised as wins, the science behind casino profits, The Conversation, 3/11/2014.
A round-up of NEWS from the past fortnight - marriage, election, halal, welfare, Christmas gifts and more...
This will be our FINAL News Update for 2014. I’m taking a break for a few weeks . . .
Our office will be open for a couple more weeks – it will close on 18 December and re-open on 19 January.
We pray that you will all have a joyous time at Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ!
Read the News Update:
The campaigns are over and the votes have been cast. The pre-poll and postal votes are still being counted, so the final results will not be known for some days, especially in the upper house, the Legislative Council.
The Victorian Electoral Commission has a ‘Virtual Tally Room’ that posts provisional results – this will be updated as more votes are counted. The current page shows the proportion of first preference votes (of those counted so far) that were won by each party in both Houses.
Click here for the VEC Virtual Tally Room.
The VEC Tally Room Legislative Assembly page gives details for each District.
- In most cases, ‘Early votes’ have not been counted yet.
ABC election analyst Antony Green provides an overview of the likely outcome of seats changing in the Legislative Assembly.
Click here for their current assessment of seats in the Legislative Assembly (updated regularly).
Click here for a ‘current’ view of possible seats in the Legislative Council – again this is NOT final!
Labor wins government
We all know that Labor has ‘won the election’ by winning the majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly.
As John Black, a demographer and analyst, and former Labor Senator, wrote in The Australian, “Labor didn’t win this election. Hardcore Liberal voters chucked out their own. Just as hardcore Labor voters chucked out state Labor governments during the chaotic Rudd/Gillard era.”
In the Legislative Council, the balance of power will probably be held by a number of ‘micro parties’, along with the Greens. These could include the Shooters and Fishers, the Australian Country Alliance, the DLP and even the Sex Party. As more votes are counted, these will change – the ABC has a provisional count on their website based on votes counted so far – click here.
Again, many of these seats were won at the expense of the Coalition LOSING votes.
The Nationals have lost some of their support in country areas. The District of Shepparton in the Legislative Assembly could be won by Independent Suzanna Sheed, who ran a campaign based on getting support and spending for the local area.
How do we respond?
Given the strident anti-Christian policies proposed by Labor concerning religious freedom and homosexuality, many of you will be disappointed with the election result! However, we must remember that we are only commanded to stand and be counted – we are NOT required to ‘win’. We are to be ‘salt and light’ in the community. God is in ultimate control and is sovereign. We are not privy to His ultimate plan – we just know that ‘He wins’ in the end!
We must remember that William Wilberforce was one man, a Christian, in the British parliament, and it took YEARS to change the laws regarding slavery. Meanwhile, he worked with his Christian friends to establish a huge number of societies and organisations in the COMMUNITY to improve moral values.
Some reflections on the election result:
In many senses, the Coalition LOST the election, rather than Labor WINNING it…
The Coalition in Victoria was no longer seen as a ‘conservative’ option and many voters, especially in rural areas, abandoned them. Labor leader Daniel Andrews is from the Socialist Left, with strong union connections, and lacks the charisma of other politicians. But they still won…
Christian leaders and were often hesitant – or reluctant - to speak out, even on the important moral and religious freedom issues. Some church leaders only became active in the last few days of the election campaign. Many only spoke on the one issue that would actually affect them – the right for Christian schools and religious organisations to employ Christians who share their values.
The reality, of course, is that many Christians actually support left-wing policies and parties and would support all the things we are concerned about!
Labor ran a populist campaign, focusing on jobs, education and public transport.
They worked with unions, bringing out union representatives to campaign for them, even at polling booths on election day! As one person wrote on our Facebook post, the new slogan for Victoria could be, “Victoria: the Union State”!
Labor made $24 billion of promises (source).
Labor highlighted public transport and removing level crossings and opposed the East –West link. In such a contest, public transport WON!
But the choice WASN’T one OR the other - the reality is we need BOTH, which the Coalition was actually committed to… and had already completed the removal of several level crossings! But they didn’t sell their message well…
Liberals – not conservative
The problem for the Coalition is that, under the leadership of Ted Baillieu, the Liberals had moved AWAY from their traditional and conservative values. They had moved toward the centre, or even, on some issues, to the left.
After Denis Napthine became leader, the Coalition did nothing to re-establish a conservative policy platform. The vacuum was filled by a number of small conservative parties.
When we challenged some of the Christian Liberal MPs about what the Coalition government HADN’T done, concerning moral issues like amending the abortion law or repealing the religious vilification law, they pointed out their action in repealing the equal opportunity law regarding employment by religious groups, as well as their support for SRI. They kept telling us that ‘the other side is a lot worse’!
As Andrew Bolt said, there was nothing to differentiate them from the other parties, especially Labor. He highlighted the two lost years when Ted Baillieu was leader.
Denis Napthine didn’t take action to show Liberal was different.
The Coalition didn’t lose because they were radical or right-wing’ – Andrew noted that they needed to embrace traditional ‘liberal values’ or conservative causes, but instead were too ‘meek’!
As one federal Liberal once told us, ‘The Liberal Party has never won from the LEFT’. They need to be a conservative party – we already have Labor, the Greens and now the Sex Party filling the ‘left’ end of the political spectrum
During the election campaign – and before – the Coalition was poor at SELLING their policies and achievements.
Denis Napthine’s concession speech actually highlighted more of Liberal’s achievements in fixing the financial mess and getting the state back on a better economic footing than we had seen during the election campaign.
Some commentators have talked about the influence of the Abbott government – with some noting this is a warning to the Abbott government to be clear about its message and focus on local issues. Others responded by talking about the increasing popularity of the Liberal governments of Mike Baird (NSW) and Campbell Newman (Qld). The fiasco over the flawed federal budget didn’t help, but it seems the blame for the loss of support for the Coalition lies closer to home!
Two opinion articles reflecting on the election result…
Roger Franklin, editor of Quadrant Online, has a tough, but perceptive, article about the election result. After commenting on the result, and reflecting on some of the possible factors, he writes, “The primary colours on your typical pundit’s palette will never paint the full picture of this government’s demise. For that you must look to the pointillism of countless failures of will and nous and principle.”
Professor Sinclair Davidson (Professor in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs) writes on Catallaxy Files, quoting Roger Franklin.
He concludes, “The problem with the Victorian Liberals is that they are embarrassed by their constituents – they want the votes, but don’t want to deliver. Ronald Reagan is said to have observed that you’ve got to go home with the one that brung you to the dance. Well, true – but before you go home, you’ve got to dance with the one that brung you too.
"The Victorian Liberals don’t get that. These are people who won office in 2010 promising to repeal the Charter of Human Rights and by 2014 the same people were campaigning to retain 18c. I can’t imagine why any liberally minded person could ever vote for them – the Victorian Liberals were so useless they couldn’t articulate any reason why they should remain in office either.”
28 Nov 2014
NSW Liberal Democrat Senator, David Leyonhjelm, has introduced a same-sex ‘marriage’ Bill to the federal Senate. He had previously announced his intention to put forward a Bill to legalise homosexual ‘marriage’ – but it had been anticipated he would not do so unless the Coalition Party Room agreed to a ‘conscience vote’ for Coaltion MPs.
PLEASE VOTE: Channel 9 is conducting a poll – click here to vote NO.
The question: “Do you support the latest push to legalise same sex marriage in Australia?”
The Bill, titled the Freedom to Marry Bill 2014, would allow any two people to marry regardless of "sex, sexual orientation and gender identity" (subject to the current restraints already in the Marriage Act)’.
Ironically, the subtitle of the Bill claims it is a Bill to “reduce government intervention in marriage”!
He claims that the Bill will give non-government religious and civil celebrants the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples.
This is our FINAL email regarding the Victorian election. Please pray about the outcome.
The only thing LEFT to do is VOTE!
When you go to the polling booth to vote, you should already know HOW you are going to vote!
Yes, I know people will be handing out ‘How to Vote’ cards – but we suggest that you take with you a printed version of your ballot paper for both the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council that is ALREADY filled in with your proposed vote. You can then just COPY your preferences onto the REAL BALLOT PAPER!
Filling in a ‘sample ballot’ is especially important it you plan to vote BELOW the LINE in the Legislative Council. More advice on doing that – see below.
Getting a ‘sample ballot’ . . .
Alternatively, for the Legislative Council, use the Group Voting Ticket document for your Region – these LOOK LIKE the actual Ballot Paper you will receive at the polling booth.
Choose the Party you most like and print that page/s out – if you want to vote BELOW the line, just ALTER the preferences to suit how YOU WANT TO VOTE!
THIRDLY, you could use the FamilyVoice SURVEY which lists candidates in Ballot Order - click here.
One advantage with this is that the SCORES received by the candidates on the FamilyVoice survey are shown – this is not always definitive - as the DLP received '0' because they didn't complete the survey!
If you don’t know your District or Region, click here to check your enrolmentt.
Voting ABOVE or BELOW the Line in the Legislative Council
Voting ABOVE the line means placing a ‘1’ in the box of the party of your choice – preferences are then allocated according to the Party’s ‘Group Voting Ticket’.
You should ONLY do this if you are confident of the way they have allocated their preferences! [More details in our post on VOTING # 6 ]
However, we found that there were some surprises at the last federal election – with some parties allocating high preferences to small parties they thought had no chance of getting elected – like the ‘Motoring Enthusiasts Party’! In this election there is the one-issue 'People Power – No Smart Meters' group...
FamilyVoice has provided some helpful advice:
Peter Stevens writes,
“A few weeks ago, three pro-family parties – the DLP, Australian Christians and Rise Up Australia – announced that they would preference each other first, before preferencing other parties. Or that’s what we thought they meant. In fact, they have preferenced each other fairly high up, but in several cases have preferenced one or two other minor parties ahead of pro-family parties.”
He asks, “So is it safe to vote “1” in a box above the line for a pro-family party?”
The answer is ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’ depending on WHICH party you want to put as No 1!
It comes down to HOW the Party has allocated their preferences in their Group Voting Tickets. More of Peter’s response and advice BELOW…
Summaries of Group Voting Tickets
The official Group Voting Tickets are on the VEC website – click here.
Choose your REGION and scroll through to look at how each party allocates their preferences!
Last week we sent out Peter Newland’s summary of the GVTs – by Party – for Eastern Metropolitan. Peter has now completed these summaries for ALL EIGHT REGIONS.
These EIGHT summaries are listed and linked below.
These documents show the preference flow of each party – BY PARTY, not by listing all candidates in every party. This means it can all be condensed onto a single page.
Peter has simplified this by JUST INCLUDING ONE page – which shows the parties in a ‘Conservative order’, placing the most conservative parties (according to Peter’s assessment of their preference flow) on the LEFT of the Chart …
Note:These are very helpful, though there are some anomalies – if a party splits their preferences for one of the parties, then it is difficult to analyse in such a table. For instance, in Eastern Metropolitan, Rise Up Australia Party gave a high preference to the Liberals’ Richard Dalla-Riva, who is pro-life, but listed at Number 3 on the Coalition ticket, then preferenced Labor before the other two Liberal candidates. On Peter’s FIRST summary chart, their preference flow showed Labor before Liberal.
Peter has now altered the algorithm to reflect this and RE-DONE the Eastern Metropolitan document which shows RUAP preferencing Liberal BEFORE Labor.
+ Eastern Metropolitan GVT Summary - version 2
+ Northern Metropolitan GVT Summary
+ South-East Metropolitan GVT Summary
+ South Metropolitan GVT Summary
+ Western Metropolitan GVT Summary
+ Eastern Victoria GVT Summary
+ Northern Victoria GVT Summary
+ Western Victoria GVT Summary
Have a look at your Region – and check the preferences for your favoured Party – if you are happy with them then you could vote ‘1’ above the line for that party.
The ABC has also published longer ‘Group Voting Ticket summaries’ – click here.
Back to the question – “So is it safe to vote ABOVE the line?”
“In some regions it may be – you would need to check the voting tickets in your region to see if you agree with the order chosen by your preferred party (see ABC page).
“But to be safe – and to ensure that your vote does not end up electing someone from an obscure party with only one policy (like People Power – No Smart Meters), we advise you to number your own preferences below the line.
Don’t be alarmed – you don’t need to fill in ALL 40-odd boxes if you don’t want to [you have to number at least 5, but number MORE than that!].
“Keep it simple, and number the candidates in a pro-family party first. You could then number candidates in other pro-family parties, but make sure you put all the candidates in the major party of your choice next. You can then stop numbering – it doesn’t matter after that. . .”