logo General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia
Church and Nation Committee
Catalogue of Resolutions of Assemblies since 1979, listed by Topic


Index of topics

Abortion and Human Engineering
Christian Citizenship
Constitutional Issues
Gun Control
Gender Issues
Homosexual Practices
Indigenous Australians
International Relations
National Currculum for Schools
Nuclear Armaments and National Defence
Religious Freedom -Canberra Declaration
Sexual Abuse of Children
Unemployment and Work
Violence and Pornography

  Abortion and Human Engineering

2007 Min 95
That the Assembly
4. Adopt the following "statement" on abortion: We the commissioners to the 2007 meeting of the Presbyterian Church of Australia General Assembly.
(a) Affirm the biblical teaching of the right to life (especially as this applies to the unborn child) that all life is sacred to God, and that human life is a gift of God from conception.
(b) Affirm that abortion is always unacceptable except where two competent medical practitioners (other than the one under consideration to perform the abortion) deem the
abortion essential to protect the life of a mother when threatened with immediate death
should the pregnancy continue.
(c) Affirm that if and when the extremely rare contingency mentioned in the above clause should ever arise, everything medically possible should also be done to try to ensure the continuation of the lives of all that are thus being threatened.
(5) Affirm the Church's commitment to provide appropriate pastoral care and gospel ministry for unmarried mothers, women considering an abortion, women who have had an abortion, and their families, and wherever possible to offer referral to appropriate specialized Christian support agencies.

1994 Min 59
That the Assembly:
(1) Determine that:
(a) Abortion is always unacceptable except when at least two competent medical authorities (other than the person under consideration to perform the operation) deem the abortion essential to protect the life of the mother when that is threatened with immediate death should the pregnancy continue. (A caesarean section to save the life of an unborn child (or children) should not be confused with abortion).
(b) If and when the rare contingency noted in the previous clause arises, everything medically possible should be done to seek the continuation of the lives in danger.
(c) Abortion is an improper means of birth control or of avoiding parental responsibilities in the case of “unwanted” pregnancies.

  Alcohol 2010 Min 96
a. Despite its abuse by many, the Assembly affirms alcohol as God's Gift when used in
moderation (1 Tim. 4:4, 5:23, John 2:1-11).
b. Respect the position of total abstinence, taken by many Christians, on theological, ethical, practical and health grounds and does not wish to offend their consciences by this declaration in accordance with the principles of Romans 14.
c. Warn, with all seriousness, of the perils of drunkenness for both the body (Prov. 23:20-35) and the soul (1 Tim. 6:10).
d. Urge those addicted to alcohol to seek the help of organizations that specialise in the treatment of such addictions, recognizing that Christ's Power is able to break any sinful pattern through his Spirit.
e. Urge Sessions, Deacons Courts, Committees and Boards of Management to make their facilities available to such organizations that specialise in the treatment of such addictions.
f. Urge Christians to develop a definite attitude to alcohol by,

i. educating themselves and their families on the effects of alcohol and the consequences of alcohol abuse;
ii. noting that self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5.22-23);
iii. adopting either temperance or total abstinence in their personal and family intake of alcohol;
iv. being constantly aware of how their attitude to alcohol affects their witness to others.

g. Urge Christians, privately and in public, to be models of responsibility and sobriety where they choose to be consumers of alcoholic beverages (Titus 2.11-14).
h. Deplore the fact that alcohol is being consistently abused within the community with devastating results such as death and injury on the roads and in the workplace, addiction, violence, domestic disruption and misery, poverty, problems in pregnancy and damage to personal health.
i. Urge concerted action by state and federal governments, in consultative partnership with insurance companies, aimed at curbing the abuse of alcohol in the community by:

i. restricting advertising of alcoholic beverages in the media;
ii. facilitating sources of sports sponsorship and associated advertising funding, alternative to marketers of alcoholic beverages at sporting events;
iii. placing clear health warnings on alcoholic beverages;
iv. imposing equitable taxes on the sale of alcoholic beverages that adequately
cover the financial cost to the community of alcohol abuse;
v. applying taxation proportionately higher according to the percentage of alcohol content of the beverage;
vi. regulating tightly the institutions that sell alcoholic beverages, including the hours in which they operate;
vii. encouraging or offering insurance policies with conditions that promote abstention or temperance in the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

  Blasphemy 2001 Min 57
(1) (a) Encourage individuals and sessions not to be apathetic about the widespread growth in the use of gratuitously blasphemous references to "God" and "Jesus Christ" in today’s mass media.
(b)  Encourage individuals and sessions to register disapproval of the use of gratuitously blasphemous language with the regulatory authority applicable e.g. the Australian Broadcasting Authority for commercial television, having first complained to the outlet on which the material was aired.

  Christian Citizenship 1979 Min 97
11.  Encourage men and women of the Church to serve the community by becoming involved in public life.
12. Commend the publication THE CHRISTIAN AS A CITIZEN to Assemblies, Presbyteries, Sessions and congregations for study.

  Constitutional Issues

1994 Min 59
(3) Note the Scripture does not require people to support either the form of constitutional monarchical government as now existing in Australia or a republican form of government.

1985 Min 37
(4) Thoroughly opposes any attempt to remove the Union Jack from our Flag. reflecting as it does, in the crosses. of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick, our Christian Heritage and traditions.
(5) Urges all our people in Australia to become involved in the campaign to protect the  Australian National Flag in its present form.

  Gun Control 1997 Min 80
(2)   Request the Moderator-General to communicate to the Prime Minister, The Hon.John Howard, M.P. and to the Federal Parliament the appreciation of the church in achieving biartisan support for the enactment of uniform gun controls in the aftermath of the Port Arthur Massacre.

  Genter Issues 1979 Min 97
8.  Urge courts and congregations of the Church to continue to recognize and employ the spiritual gifts of women, as well as those of men, in the service of Christ.

  Homosexual Practices

2007 Min 95
(11) Recognise that same-sex domestic partnership arrangements are neither legally nor technically 'families" and therefore entitlements properly belonging to families should not be extended to participants in such arrangements.
(12) Request the Federal Government and Opposition not to extend entitlements which properly belong to families to same-sex domestic partnerships.
(13) In particular, request the Federal Attorney General and the shadow Attorney-General, to move to amend the Sex Discrimination Act in such a way as to prevent same-sex partners and singles from continuing to access artificial reproductive technology.

1994 Min 59
(2) Determine that:
(a) Homosexual practices are sin. The person who comes to Christ honestly seeking to leave this lifestyle will find Christ able to liberate from this sin.
(b) Marriage is the union before God, and at law, of a heterosexual couple.
The family ought not to be redefined so as to permit homosexual marriage or to permit homosexual couples to adopt or foster children.
(c) The Church, in a humble spirit, is to exercise ministries of compassion towards, and to evangelise homosexual persons.

  Indigenous Australians

1997 Min 80
That the Assembly:
Affirm that reconciliation between all people can only come about when they embrace the love and grace of Christ.
That the Assembly:
In relation to mission to aboriginal people and the National Enquiry into the Separation of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families (“Bringing Them Home”)' (BTH)):
(a) Recognise with gratitude to God the good, appropriate, culturally sensitive, linguistic, God honouring and enduring work done by the Church and her missionaries for the Aboriginal people.
(b) Remain committed to serving the indigenous people of Australia and recommit itself through its committees to sustained promotion of ministry to Aboriginal people.
(c) Note that the report (BTH) describes a sinful racist policy of various governments whereby indigenous children were separated from their parents on the grounds that the parents or one of them was an indigenous person.
(d) Recognise that in relation to that government policy it would have been exceedingly difficult for the church to know the full situation over an extended period covering various administrations.
(e) While it promoted the maintenance of Aboriginal family structures, lobbied the government for Aboriginal welfare and protested against the abuses of Aboriginal people, yet, to the extent that it failed to understand and speak out against that, sinful government policy and, it seems, at times a government policy of neglect towards traditional Aborigines, the church committed a sin of omission and unreservedly apologises to all affected.
(f) Request APWM and PIM to cooperate in an investigation of the Church’s, involvement in the said separation policy and an assessment of harm done, to report to the next General Assembly of Australia with recommendations as to how the Assembly can further put right any harm it has unintentionally caused.
(g) In relation to BTH recommendations 38a, 38b, 39, 40a, 41, (which relate to making available archival material, missions on Aboriginal lands, and the provision of counselling services) request its committees and State assemblies to:
(a) provide any information it may have relating to the forced separation of children from their parents to appropriate government departments.
(b)  identify any church mission stations which may be rightfully returned to the appropriate land council and, upon negotiation with the land council, make a recommendation to the next General Assembly of Australia.
(h) Recognise that its Church and Nation Committee will, upon due thought, prayer and consultation, make further statements relating to Aboriginal issues as appropriate.

(3)  Acknowledge to the indigenous people of Australia and to Almighty God:
(a)  that under the common law in force in Australia 'as recognised by the High Court in the “Mabo” case, indigenous Australians have rightful entitlements (“Native Title”) to land to which they maintain an appropriate connection, where it has not been granted to competing owners;

  International Relations 1982 Min 32
(b) Encourage the Australian Government to promote policies that enable full exchange of goods and people between all nations, and so generate increased understanding and goodwill between people while pursuing policies that will ensure the livelihood and well-being of the Australian people.

  Marriage 2010 Min 96
a. Declare that marriage is a divine creation ordinance relevant for all mankind (Gen 2:23-24).
b. Declare that marriage, rightly defined, is a public commitment between one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
c. Affirm its understanding that the purposes of marriage are to promote lifelong love and companionship between the spouses, to provide the most favourable and stable environment in which to conceive, give birth to and nurture children and to promote the health and stability of society.
d. Reaffirm its long-held opposition to the redefining of marriage so as to include partners of the same sex.
e. Encourage teaching and ruling elders and other pastoral leaders to teach the distinctive, Christian, covenantal view in preparing couples for marriage.
f. Call on all involved in de facto heterosexual, domestic relationships to solemnise those commitments by means of marriage (Hebrews 13:4) and appeals to all pastoral leaders to persist in calling on them to do so.
g. Recognise the value to both the church and the world of the celibate, single adult life (1 Corinthians 7).
h. Commend chapter 5 of General Assembly of Australia's Constitution, Procedure and Practice 2006 Edition, "Determinations on Marriage and Divorce", to the consideration and study of all ministers, elders, pastoral leaders and members of the church. (http://www.presbyterian.org.au/PDF/GAACode%20Book2006.pdf)
i. Urge church members to show understanding and compassion for people whose lives have been affected by marriage and/or relationship breakdown, including divorce.
j. Commend the Federal Parliament on its continued affirmation of the legal definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life
  Materialism 1979 Min 97
15 . Request the Moderator General to consult with the national Heads of other Christian Churches with a view of issuing a statement of concern to the people of Australia, calling on all citizens to moderate greed, selfishness and materialism rampant in the nation today; to cultivate a true regard for the common good; and to call the Christian community in this land to a Day of Prayer for the nation, or some similar united and national initiative.

  National Curriculum for Schools

2010 Min 96
13. In relation to the National Curriculum,:
a. Views the development of a national curriculum for schools as a difficult and complex undertaking and reserves its right to make submissions to the process through its Church and Nation Committee.
b. Considers that curriculum be only one of the components of education and sound teaching,  other elements including social  interaction and development,  critical thinking and recreational and aesthetic development.
c. Instructs the Church and Nation Committee to monitor the development of the national curriculum and to report to the 2013 General Assembly.
d. education authorities relating to the importance of recognising Australia's Christian heritage and the religious and moral components within the proposed national curriculum.

  Nuclear Armaments and National Defence

1982 Min 32
1 (a)  Urge the Australian Government –
(i) to pursue policies that encourage genuine disarmament negotiations with all countries, both with respect to the present stockpile of arms, and the further production of both conventional and nuclear weapons, in order to reduce the arms race and to promote world peace;
(ii) to ensure that our defence forces and equipment are such as to adequately withstand the attacks of hostile powers.

  Poverty 1979 Min 97
16.  Request the Moderator General to initiate an appeal to all Presbyterians for relief of famine and its attendant medical problems in Kampuchea, and request Federal Government to investigate possibility of sending a medical team to assist in that country.
  Religious Freedom - Canberra Declaration 2010 Min 96
15. In relation to the Canberra Declaration, invites members of the Church to give consideration to individually signing the Canberra Declaration
  Sexual Abuse of Children 1997 Min 80
That the Assembly:
Commend “Breaking the Silence”, a document approved by the General Assembly of N.S.W., which deals with policy and procedures for protecting and dealing with sexual abuse within the church.

  Unemployment and Work

1982 Min 32
(c) Express concern with the rising unemployment rate and the number of Australians below the poverty line.
(d) Urge the Church and its congregations to actively and compassionately help those who have needs because of eh current economic situation.
(e) Advise the Prime Minister, and the Leader of he Opposition of resolutions 1(a) – (1( c)

1979 Min 97
1.  Affirm that it is ordained by God that all who are able, should contribute to the common good through work.
2.  Express deep concern to Australian citizens unable to obtain work.
3.  Urge the Commonwealth and the State Governments to ensure that those citizens genuinely seeking work but unable to find it, are properly supported by society during the period of their unemployment.
4.  Urge members of congregations, individually and/or by group action to seek means of creating employment and of sharing existing work.
5.  Encourage congregations to seek out individuals and families affected by unemployment, in order to express particularly God's love and the support and interest of the Church.
6.  Request the Commonwealth Government to convene a national conference consisting of leaders of governments (national, state and local levels) the ACTU, commerce, primary and secondary industries, to strive urgently and compassionately for a reduction of the present levels of unemployment.
7.  Send copies of the section of the report entitle "UNEMPLOYMENT" and resolutions derived therefrom to the following - The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the National Country Party, Government and Opposition Leaders in the Senate, State Premiers, the ACTU, the Federation of Australian Council of Employers, and the Metal Trades Industry Association of Australia.

  Violence and Pornography 1997 Min 80
That the Assembly:
Request the Moderator-General to communicate to the Prime Minister and the Federal Parliament the call of the church for them to energetically pursue uniform legislation throughout the Commonwealth that removes from legal distribution all materials of a violent and pornographic nature.