Senator Abetz addresses the Dinner
Salt Shakers first annual Dinner was held on Saturday 27 August 2005 in Box Hill, Victoria.
The Speaker at the Dinner was Senator Eric Abetz, the federal Special Minister of State, a Liberal Party Senator from Tasmania. We first met Senator Abetz shortly after starting Salt Shakers in 1994.
Senator Eric Abetz, a committed Christian, challenged those present to take the Christian Gospel to the people and "remember the great injunction of Martin Luther that we must 'pray as though it all depended on God, but act as though it all depends on you'. This acknowledges Gods omnipotence and our individual responsibility."
He highlighted the responsibility of individual Christians to be active in all areas of life, including the area of politics and the issues of the day. He emphasised the need to be fully informed about the issues. He criticised church leaders for speaking on the politically correct issues of the day and not speaking out on all the key moral issues.
Some extracts from his speech are in Salt Shakers' Media Release about the event.
The official transcript of the speech, as provided by Senator Eric Abetz:
Senator Eric Abetz - Speech given to Salt Shakers Dinner - 27 August 2005
Some of the comments reported on this page and in the Salt Shakers' Media Release are not included in this transcript but were added on the night. Those comments have been transcribed from the tape of the speech.
A CD containing Senator Eric Abetz's speech in CD or mp3 format is available from Salt Shakers.
Cost $10 posted.
Our media release: Media Release - Straight talking from Senator Abetz at Salt Shakers Dinner 28 August 2005
The media articles reporting on the Dinner are below.
*** Before the Dinner
Rodney Croome, a homosexual activist from Tasmania, had called on the Prime Minister to sack Senator Abetz for speaking at our Dinner! This led to a considerable amount of publicity!!!
Gays unimpressed by minister's Salt dinner
The Age, By Andrew Darby, Hobart, August 26, 2005
Rodney Croome complains about the Senator speaking at the Dinner.
"Senator Abetz said he spoke to all manner of organisations and individuals as part of his parliamentary duties. "It is disappointing that Mr Croome, who preaches tolerance, has so strongly engaged in the very behaviour he condemns," he said."...
Salt on the wounds
The Mercury, Hobart. By GAVIN LOWER 27 August, 2005
"TASMANIAN Liberal Senator Eric Abetz will ignore criticism from gay activists and deliver a speech to a group accused of holding anti-gay views..."
Abetz accused of undermining gay tolerance
ABC Online - Thursday, 25 August 2005.
"Tasmanian gay activists want the state's senior Liberal Senator Eric Abetz sacked from the federal ministry over his plans to address what they call a gay-hate group.
... A member of Senator Abetz's staff has confirmed the speaking engagement and the Senator's intention to keep it...."
Abetz accuses gay activist of hypocrisy
ABC Online, Thursday 25 August 2005
"Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz has accused a gay rights activist of spreading the intolerance he often complains about...."
*** Following the Dinner
Abetz lashes church leaders
By Liam Houlihan, The Mercury, Hobart. 29 August 2005.
"TASMANIAN Liberal senator Eric Abetz has slammed church leaders who enter political debates as uninformed, ignorant, hollow and unhelpful...."
Church leaders blasted
By Liam Houlihan, Herald Sun, 29 August 2005.
Senator hits out at heads of church
The Age, By Josh Gordon, Canberra. August 29, 2005.
"SPECIAL Minister of State Eric Abetz has lashed out at politically correct church leaders, accusing them of ignorance, seeking cheap headlines and avoiding individual moral responsibility by blaming the Government for social problems.
In a speech to the Melbourne-based Christian ethics group Salt Shakers, Senator Abetz said some church leaders had done Christianity a "disservice" by making uninformed comments on political issues, including the Telstra sale, industrial relations and native title..."