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The Hon Bill Shorten

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THE HON BILL SHORTEN LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG SPEECH AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN LOBBY NATIONAL CONFERENCE THE HYATT, CANBERRA SATURDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2014
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  THE HON BILL SHORTENLEADER OF THE OPPOSITIONMEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG SPEECHAUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN LOBBY NATIONAL CONFERENCETHE HYATT, CANBERRASATURDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2014 **PLEASE CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY**[Acknowledgements m!tted I think I’m like many Australians, I don’t usually talk publically about my faith – and I shall not make a habit of it. As a member of parliament and as the leader of a great political party, I am not in the business of preaching to others, and of course like most Australians, neither do I take kindly to being preached at when I am going about my business in the public square.  Today, I hope we can share our hopes and ideals robustly - respecting each other’s dignity and conscience.  I spoke with my local priest at t Thomas’ in !oonee onds two weeks agowhen I was organising my thoughts for this speech, and he suggested I begin with something from the scriptures.  The passage I’#e chosen is from !atthew$ #lessed $%e t&e 'oo% !n s'!%!t( )o% t&e!%s !s t&e k!ngdom o) &e$en+#lessed $%e t&ose w&o mo,%n( )o% t&e- w!ll .e com)o%ted+   #lessed $%e t&e meek( )o% t&e- w!ll !n&e%!t t&e e$%t&+#lessed $%e t&ose w&o &,nge% $nd t&!%st )o% %!g&teo,sness( )o% t&e- w!ll .e/lled+#lessed $%e t&e me%c!),l( )o% t&e- w!ll .e s&own me%c-+#lessed $%e t&e ',%e !n &e$%t( )o% t&e- w!ll see God+#lessed $%e t&e 'e$cem$ke%s( )o% t&e- w!ll .e c$lled c&!ld%en o) God+ I am sure you recognise the beatitudes, the beginning of arguably the most famous speech in human history. In the ermon on the !ount, %esus shares the uni#ersal lo#e, tolerance and ser#ice that underpins his &ospel which is the core of the 'hristian message. (e re)ects the empty #engeance of an *eye for an eye’ and tells us insteadto *turn the other cheek’.  %udge not, %esus tells us$    0o% !n t&e s$me w$- -o, 1,dge ot&e%s( -o, w!ll .e 1,dged( $nd w!t& t&e me$s,%e -o, ,se( !t w!ll .e me$s,%ed to -o,+ And abo#e all, he tells us to lo#e our neighbour as we lo#e oursel#es.  To treat people as we would like to be treated. In ee%-t&!ng( do to ot&e%s w&$t -o, wo,ld &$e t&em do to -o, +hen I was at school we were taught that this was the *golden rule’. It was at the heart of the %esuit call to be a *man for others’.And I ha#e spent my working life, both representing workers and as parliamentarian, trying to measure up to this standard of compassion and empathy.  To answer the clarion call to care for the #ulnerable, to speak up for the powerless, to re)ect hatred and intolerance, to help the poor and to pursuepeace. f course, none of these #irtues belongs to 'hristianity alone.or does a belief in social )ustice necessarily depend upon the teachings of 'hrist. o faith has a monopoly on compassion. o religion *owns’ tolerance or charity or lo#e. Australia is a remarkable country, full of decent and generous people of good conscience, drawn from all faiths and none.  And Australians rightly epect our national leaders, to respect the constitutional separation of 'hurch and tate. /emember %ohn 0 1ennedy’s famous response to allegations that he was the *'atholic candidate’2 (e declared that as resident he would be$ 2%es'ons!.le to $ll )$!t&s( .,t o.l!g$ted to none3  That’s the only religious test Australians apply to their leaders. ometimes people describe modern, multicultural, multi-faith Australia as *tolerant’. 3ut the society we ha#e built beneath the outhern 'ross goes beyond that. +e do not )ust *tolerate’ di4erence, we celebrate it. f course, we epect people to lea#e behind their old con5icts, respect our laws, uphold our #alues. 3ut we do not endure di#ersity under su4erance - we embrace the contribution that all those who’#e come from across the seas ha#e made to their new home.And the greatness of our nation is that e#ery person is free to be proud of what they belie#e.0or Australians of faith, religion is a base to build upon in public life – e#enif it is also a destination for retreat, solace and sustenance in pri#ate life .
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