Abbott tells Church to "butt out" of politics

The race has begun to see who will lead Australia as the next Prime Minister, but it seems as if the current government is not only fighting the Opposition, but the country's religious leaders.

With the Federal election only 6 weeks away, Tony Abbott, Australia's most prominent Catholic politician, is at war with the churches over their criticisms of the Coalition's industrial relations policy.

Mr Abbott has told Church leaders to butt out of politics and stick to encouraging morality among their flocks, The Age has reported.

"There are no moral problems with the IR laws. A political argument is not transformed into a moral argument simply because it's delivered with an enormous dollop of sanctimony," Mr Abbott said.

"I do think that if church men spent more time encouraging virtue in people and less time demanding virtue from governments we would have ultimately a better society".

Bishop of Parramatta Kevin Manning said the IR policy put business profit before people. Echoing Bishop Manning, Catholic social justice groups have expressed fears that the Government's WorkChoices legislation unfairly affects the vulnerable and cuts the time families can spend together.

But Mr Abbott said the challenge for Christian critics of the Government's industrial relations policy is to explain how 10.9 per cent unemployment under the former government is more fair and more just than 4.2 per cent under this Government

"Mr Abbott sounds like someone who is panicking", Bishop Manning said.

Church leaders give Abbott moral lessons (The Age, 12/10/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Tony Abbott Warringah MP
Parramatta Diocese
PM John Howard
Parramatta Diocese

Abbott lashes Catholic "fellow travellers"(CathNews, 12/07/07)
Catholic voters turn to Rudd (CathNews, 11/07/07)
Bishop Manning named a "Champion of the West"(CathNews, 6/04/06)

15 Oct 2007