Australian Christians Media Statement
The ALP’s intended changes to the Equal Opportunity Act would deny faith groups from engaging in what many other organisations understand as culture-based recruiting. This is a serious narrowing of freedom of association and seriously undermines freedom of belief.
What makes organisations different is known as ‘company culture’ and is defined by ere.net as ‘the set of pervasive values, beliefs, and attitudes that characterize a company.’ Ere.net says it’s what attracts job seekers and keeps employees; that it’s not a box to be checked or a framed mission statement in the lobby or about office décor but is something woven throughout every aspect of the organization. In marketing they call it “brand”. But if the ALP is elected to govern, it seems clear that faith based organisation’s will be denied the opportunity to weave their values through their organisations and successfully ‘brand’. In the name of inclusivity, shared values and beliefs are to be dictated by the state and will exclude shared faith.
Steven Hunt PhD says that ‘the most important aspect of (company) culture is the degree to which common practices and beliefs in your company are perceived as unique and similar to the beliefs and preferences of candidates’.
While a political party should understand this basic principle better than most (exempting themselves from political inclusivity) Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews has determined that when it comes to faith based organisations, faith is not necessarily an inherent requirement of the job. In this case, birds of a feather are no longer able to flock together. That means that freedom to foster a faith culture in the workplace will be seriously undermined, if not totally eradicated, by a Labor government.
Australian Christians candidate for Eastern Metropolitan region and former Recruitment Consultant Vickie Janson stated ‘freedom of belief and association are pillars of our society. The idea that faith based organisations cannot include shared beliefs on the employment selection criteria singles them out from other organisations and denies the opportunity to engage in the very successful method of culture-based recruiting. People who share the same values and beliefs in any organisation simply make for a happier team and are more likely to be a long term placement’.
It's not just the Christian community who can't understand this position held by Andrews. Labor candidate for Ringwood Tony Clark confessed he didn't know why Andrews was going in this direction either. And Labor's Mount Waverley candidate Jennifer Yang was also publicly confused at the ACL candidate forum about the proposed amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act.
With Andrews' claim to end dicrimination and fight for equality, many can now see the 'emperor has no clothes'. Not only will there be no equal opportunity for faith based oganisations in the job market to employ people who share their values and beliefs; if Andrews is Premier, there will be no equal opportunity for children to have the legal possibility to a mum and a dad. Shouldn't children have equal opportunity before the law to what provides natural diversity; a mum and a dad? What sort of society are we promoting when we fight for the natural habitat of animals and yet deny children a natural habitat? With an Andrews government those that fight for children to have a natural habitat, may be considered discriminatory, bigoted and perhaps even criminal. Is that the sort of democracy Australians want?
Narrowing freedoms is not in the best interests of anyone. Narrowing inherent requirements to skills alone will not benefit the workplace in the long-term. It will merely turn ordinary people of faith into criminals for preferring to foster a workplace of shared values and beliefs. Janson said ‘ this proposition is ludicrous and we trust that faith based communities will send that message to Daniel Andrews in this critical election by voting to uphold freedom of conscience, belief and association.'
Australian Christians is a federal political party with the goal of representing the values and concerns of the 2.7 million Christian Australians who attend church once a month or more, and others who identify with these values and human rights concerns.
Vickie Janson, Victorian State Director
M: 0411 298 464