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Christian organization rates political parties on social issues


The Centre for an Ethical Society (CES) has analysed replies from political parties to its 16 point questionnaire on key issues of social justice and rated them on a “good Samaritan” index.

The Democrats scored the highest with 77 [of 80], followed by the Greens, 74 & the ALP 66. The Coalition failed the “Good Samaritan” test scoring 37.

The CES is a mainstream Christian ecumenical body established in 2006 promoting Christian social justice values. It seeks to co-operate in the development of a more just and compassionate Australia.

Its Charter affirms that commitment to social justice is an intrinsic non negotiable element of Christianity and is the application in society of Christ’s commandment to love your neighbour as yourself.

“Social justice is a major and core element of Christianity as over 2800 verses of the Bible make clear and as Christ himself affirmed when he said that to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself are the two greatest commandments” said Bishop George Browning, CES Board Chairman.

He regretted that this is often forgotten by the public and by some Christians, who give the impression that Christians are only concerned with a narrow range of issues concerning the beginning and end of life and sexual orientation”.

He added: “Social Justice is of course not the only factor to be considered by Christians when they come to decide whom they want to govern this prosperous nation which has the material and wealth to minimize, and even abolish, the many social injustices which exist in Australia.

“But it is an important factor which a Christian cannot ignore without questions being raised as to whether they have a proper understanding of their faith”.

Terry McCarthy, Hon Executive Director of the CES, said that the parties’ responses were not necessarily taken at face value.  Consideration was given to their track record and to their responses to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into Poverty and Disadvantage.

“For example,” Terry McCarthy said, “One of the key recommendations of that inquiry was that a collaborative working relationship between Federal and State Governments was essential.

This was, and remains, not only the most obvious solution to obvious problems, but it also avoided senseless and debilitating ‘blame shifting’, duplication and wastage of resources which could be diverted to helping those of our fellow Australians who are in need of help.”

The CES rated parties on each issue on a 5 point scale: 5 where the problem was recognized and practical solutions according to Christian social values were offered; 4 where the problem was addressed with an acceptable approach, but lacked details; 3 where the problem was recognized with some ideas on solutions; 2 where it was not recognized and/or vague solutions offered; 1 where not recognized an no ways to deal with it in accord with Christian social principles offered.

The original questionnaire, the responses of Parties and a table setting out the detailed results are on the CES Website www.ces.org.au.