The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Malcom Turnbull criticises Australian Christian Lobby’s anti-abortion stance

Posted by Rhiana Whitson on November 8, 2008

Malcolm Turnbull, leader of the Liberal party, has defended abortion and a woman’s right to choice at a speech given at today’s national Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) conference held in Canberra:

Mr Turnbull said women had the right to end an unwanted pregnancy.

“It is their choice,” he said.

The ACL is one of Australia’s most vocal anti-abortion Christian groups.

“There are groups, and I know some of them are represented here, who would argue that the law should be changed to have a complete ban on abortions,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Not many people believe that would be productive, and indeed [it] might be quite counter-productive.”

According to the Age online, Turnbull, who was star speaker at the event received no applause for his comments, which would have no doubt angered the powerful lobby group whose Victorian chapter orchestrated much of the recent failed anti-abortion protests at state parliament.

I certainly wouldn’t say I’m a fan of Turnbull, however it is a breath of fresh air to hear a major conservative politician directly challenging the views of highly conservative and powerful lobbyists such as ACL, especially as their ‘star speaker.’

Turnbull also criticised the church’s discrimination against same-sex relationships. However his criticism was still conservative in its essence; he still denies the right of gay men and women the right to marriage.

He rejected gay marriage, but said there should be no discrimination against same-sex couples in general.

“If you think about it, if you discriminate […] against a gay couple, between two men living together, do you really think that they’re going to say ‘oh well, that’s no good, we’ll go off and get married to a woman’?” he asked the audience.

Although, for a Liberal politician, actually for any politician, it could be considered progressive – even Obama is anti-gay marriage.

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11 Responses to “Malcom Turnbull criticises Australian Christian Lobby’s anti-abortion stance”

  1. I got a little flutter of excitement when I began reading this article. But I am sickened that this country has followed America’s lead of all political leaders needing to be card carrying christians. Despite our doctrine of separation of church and state, proclaiming a love of god and a follower of a particular church has become the latest political accessory.

    I still dream of our future atheist, lesbian Koori Prime minister 🙂

  2. Sara Lewis said

    Who woulda thunk? It feels weird feeling proud of Malcolm Turnbull, but I think I sort of maybe kind of do. A bit.

  3. Clem Bastow said

    I started begrudgingly liking him when he got a Twitter account: “Malcolm is learning about Twitter”.
    Have we drifted into a parallel dimension or something?

  4. Scal said

    This is very heartening; the Liberal party is learning that it needn’t be evil.

    ANF, I don’t agree that “political leaders need to be card carrying christians”. Turnbull was speaking at a Christian event; he was undoubtedly invited because he is a Christian, and it’s reasonable that his faith would be a topic of discussion at that conference. We don’t really hear about (or care about) our politician’s religious beliefs, we just hear about it when it’s a “related topic”, y’know? Or when they try to ram it down everyone’s throats, a la Abbott.

    In fact, I heard once from someone inside the ALP that Rudd’s ambitions were hampered by his strong religious beliefs for a long time.

    Do we know what Gillard’s beliefs are? Swan’s?

    I don’t really think we care.

  5. Bearded Lady said

    I’m not too suprised. He’s a bit of a libertarian isn’t he? Or at least your classic small ‘l’ liberal. Hardly good news for feminists but at least he’s an improvement on John Howard.

  6. Scal – prior to the last two elections, leaders of the two main parties attended Hillsong services (despite it not being their brand of christianity), its hard to not see that as a cynical move as a vote grab.

    As for Gillard and Swan, they aint leaders. Until they jockey for position they can get away with not making overt references to being a christian.

    Blair (and his wife) are devoutly catholic, while Bush, McCain and Obama have always thanked publicly thanked god.

    In the 70’s and ’80’s religion seemed less of an issue in politics but times are changing. Surely I’m not the only one to have noticed it?

  7. Steven said

    I don’t think in America you could realistically expect to get anywhere unless you kept it out there in front of peoples noses that at least your public persona was Christian – particularly when you’ve got a name that doesn’t sound like your Mr Johnny Appleseed-American.

  8. G-Web said

    Lol at Turnbull’s statement (from The Age article quoted above) that “Jesus is full of very sensible advice on a whole range of matters, including some business matters”.

    Can he do my tax, do you think?

  9. tobias said

    Turnbull talks love of Jesus http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=3IZ34wIDVFg

  10. Bearded Lady said

    Jesus on business matters:

    “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24. Similar verses are in Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25).

    Wonder whether that was bit he meant?

  11. Don't you just love them said

    Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.
    Ronald Reagan
    I say in the above case; let’s put the shoe on the other foot. If you want an abortion, euthanasia should be your option for yourself. If there is a problem, fix it by your own demise. Why? Illogical you say; why? This is exactly what you are advocating for an innocent child. Just think; this could have all been spared if your parents aborted you. Now there is a bit of a challenging statement. If life in your own eyes, is so expendable, what would be wrong with you euthanasing yourself to remove the problem.

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