Australia is one of the safest nations on earth. Because we live such peaceful and secure lives, it can be easy to take this for granted, forgetting that many others around the world don’t enjoy the same benefits.
It’s also easy to lose sight of the ideas that gave rise to safe societies like ours. Western nations like Australia are universally recognised as places of refuge for those fleeing danger because of the great freedoms, values and liberties that exist here. But these didn’t spring out of nowhere.
Historically, they grew out of the Judeo-Christian worldview, which insists that every person is created in the image of God and is therefore is born with inherent worth and dignity. In this ethic, to harass, molest, abuse or enslave another human being is to assault the Creator himself.
In police states and totalitarian regimes, these sacred ideas were never present or have been silenced. As a result, basic liberties like freedom of speech, conscience and religion are absent at worst or tokenistic at best—and people can be harmed, even by the state, for not thinking and expressing the “correct” ideas.
The Canberra Declaration exists to remind Aussies of our nation’s great freedoms—and the rich faith heritage that has played a central role in the safety and security we enjoy.
Were this heritage to be forgotten, suppressed or abandoned, we would be the poorer for it, and we would forfeit many of its attendant rewards.
Indeed, we’ve already begun to see this take place in recent decades.
Some of the nation’s hate-crime and anti-discrimination laws, while well intentioned, are being exploited by special interest groups. Consequently, it is now less safe for people of faith to speak and live out some of their most basic convictions.
No parent can protect their child from all harm, but in recent years we’ve seen the rise of state-sponsored sex education curriculums, such as the ironically-named “Safe Schools” program, which encourages risky sexual activity and links to pornographic web content and adult online communities.
The womb should be the safest place on earth, but with some 70,000-80,000 abortions taking place in Australia each year, pre-born children have a 1 in 5 chance of making it out of the womb alive. Despite this, there is a continued push by some to make abortion even more common.
Euthanasia laws have been passed in some states and are being debated in others. Despite their veneer of compassion, they erode the value of life and open the door to harm for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
It’s difficult to square these modern realities with the Hippocratic oath, still sworn by our nation’s medical professionals, which once ruled out the administering of poison or the destruction of a child.
The mark of a humane and civilised society is the way it treats its most vulnerable and innocent members—including the unborn, the dependent, the disabled and the elderly. When we see people’s dignity, humanity or personhood threatened, we can’t remain silent.
At the Canberra Declaration, we believe in the intrinsic worth and equal value of every person, all the way from conception to life’s natural end. And we believe in the historic rights and freedoms that ensure safety and security for all.
So, we invite you to join with us by signing the Canberra Declaration for a safe and secure Australia.