The Budget Betrayal and Christians

The Word in Hand

Whom do we follow?

Some time has passed since the Federal budget. In that time I have been reflecting on the responses by fellow Christians and non – Christians alike. Why has there been such an outcry? Politicians have lied to us in the past. There is nothing new about that. Why are people so affronted now?

I think I have one reason.  After the confusion and lies of the previous Labor government, Australians were looking for something new and fresh, something different from the turmoil and back flipping that had been going on.  They were tired of it.  Tony Abbott, astutely, played to that confusion and promised certainty and no more lies.  We all knew that the “lie” bit was a lie but we hoped anyway.  This desire of the people to have politics played differently was strong. We have seen that in the move to independent members of parliament and minor parties.

So when the budget came out and promise after promise was broken at a scale never before seen in Australian politics, many people felt betrayed and, I believe, justifiably so.  Even worse, the most vulnerable were targeted with the budget decisions – here and overseas.  If promises had to be broken why wasn’t the Paid Parental Leave scheme, delayed?  Is it too cynical to suggest that most of these people who would benefit would vote Liberal?  Why wasn’t the abolition of the Mining Rent Tax shelved – just as money was starting to come in?  Is it that the miners are too powerful?  There are many more uncomfortable questions like this.  Do I believe that we have to live within our means? Certainly, but there are different ways to go about it.  Starting from the weak up is not it.

But personally, I feel betrayed at a different level as well.  As a child of the King, and many in the Government claim to be His, I cringe when I see fellow children of the King, in politics, obfuscate, justify and support policies that would make the King weep.  Christ directed his followers to support the needy, weak and vulnerable.  He modelled it for us.  He, in fact, has given power to these brothers and sisters in politics and claims their first allegiance – before all else and that includes the Party.

So what is my job now? Matt 18 reminds me that when a brother or sister sins or sins against me I need to go them and speak to them.  And yes, undermining the safety net we have for the vulnerable, I believe, falls into that category. That will have to be my first step.  A step I need to take in grace – even when I feel angry and betrayed.

Categories: Ethics, Obedience, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “The Budget Betrayal and Christians

  1. I could not agree more.

  2. Thank you Pieter for another super post. I have been thinking everything you mention here, but hadn’t taken it to my blog yet. I have posted some of my concerns on Facebook, written along the lines of your post in a survey I was invited to complete after the Budget, and written to my local member, Christopher Pyne, who is one of those in the Cabinet who openly state their Christian commitment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the present national soul searching about Australia’s identity and future led to a greater respect for our Christian foundations and hunger for the kind of rule Jesus invites us to vote for?!

    • Thanks Fred. It may be a bit too strong, but I was reminded of the Edmund Burke quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

  3. I feel your frustration and sense of being let down … only on a much larger scale here in the US. It’s another reminder that this world is not our home and we live in anticipation of the Kingdom of our God.

    • My friends in the UK speak of similar frustrations. Ultimately “democracy” is not the answer. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

  4. davidgroenenboom

    Nice post, Pieter, although the circumstance that compelled you to write it are not so nice. I have been wrestling with these very things myself, and have a post on the boil.

    Last Thursday I heard John Dickson from the Centre for Public Christianity talk about his passion to bring ‘beautiful orthodox Christianity’ into the public square. Wonderful. That will not only mean a challenge of ideas and a robust engagement with atheism, but also an active and passionate doing of justice, loving or mercy, walking humbly with our God, and drawing – by our own example – of our nation into such a life. May God give us the grace to write letters, and to live them.

    Bless you, brother.

    • Thanks Dave, your thoughts are appreciated. One of the challenges is to stop Christians thinking about Capitalism or Socialism and choosing right or left, but thinking of a Kingdom perspective.

      • davidgroenenboom

        …and all the people said…

  5. Ron Koerntjes

    Hi Pieter, a couple of issues with your post. You claim that promises were broken on a scale never before seen in Australia…….Really?
    You rightly point out that Christ told his followers to support the needy the widows the orphaned etc. Indeed such injunctions are to be found throughout scripture. NOWHERE were we told to do it with other peoples’ money. Indeed quite the contrary God instructed us not to steal. Calling it taxes changes nothing.



    • Thanks Ron. Yes “really”. I cannot remember in my lifetime such swathe of “re – reading” or reinterpretation of election promises. And on the stealing issue, what about rendering unto Caesar … Ah, it reminds me of debates of old – and the odd wrestle.

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