The Canberra Declaration
The Preamble to the Australian Constitution
contains the words, “Humbly relying on the
blessing of Almighty God”. As Australian
citizens we continue to declare that we too
put our trust in Almighty God.
For centuries, to speak of Western civilisation
was to speak of Christian civilisation. The
two were in many ways synonymous. The
values that we have cherished and sought
to strengthen are in large measure founded
on the Judeo-Christian belief system. The
many freedoms, advantages, opportunities,
values and liberties which characterise the
West owe much to the growth of Christianity
with its inherent belief in the dignity of the
human person as created in the image of
God and the code of behaviour that flows
from this belief.
The Canberra Declaration follows on from
the 2009 Manhattan Declaration and the 2010
Westminster Declaration. It declares that when
Christian values are respected and allowed
freedom of expression, not just confined to so-
called sacred spaces but in the public arena as
well, society is richer and healthier.
We wish to emphasise three areas that demand
particular attention in our contemporary
Australian society, namely religious freedom,
marriage and the family, and the sanctity of
human life. Were we to undermine any one
of these values, the social fabric of our nation
would be seriously weakened, to our personal
and collective detriment.
Religious freedom includes freedom of conscience
and freedom of speech. The importance of these
freedoms is shown in countries where they are
threatened or absent. Police states and totalitarian
nations inevitably begin with the curtailment of
basic liberties, including religious freedom and
the right to speak one’s mind and conscience.
This includes the right to change one’s religious
We affirm the basic necessity of freedom of
conscience, having the liberty to speak publicly
about one’s faith and beliefs, and having the
right to practise the religion of one’s choice.
If these freedoms are removed – even in
the name of supposed benefits – the prized
values of democracy and liberty are seriously
In Australia today these freedoms are being
restricted by laws which, although appearing
positive on first reading, have the potential to lead
to unintended and unacceptable consequences.
These laws include anti-discrimination legislation,
hate crime laws and legislation on religious
and sexual vilification – each of which may be
interpreted in a way that effectively works as
a barrier to religious freedom and freedom of
Thus the signers of this declaration affirm the
fundamental right of Australians to religious
freedom and freedom of speech, and we oppose
legislation which denies such freedoms. We
likewise oppose laws subjugating our nation
to foreign powers and instrumentalities which
restrict these freedoms.
Marriage and Family
Another vital package of values and social
benefits is the long-standing institution of the
natural family resulting from marriage between a
man and a woman – as affirmed by the definition
of marriage in the Marriage Act: “…the union
of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all
others, voluntarily entered into for life”.
No other social institution has done so much
good for people and for nations, yet marriage is
being undermined, to the detriment of children,
individuals, and society itself.
Lifelong marriage between a man and a woman
guarantees children their biological birthright
to a mother and a father and has a proven track
record of providing them with protection,
education, welfare, support and nurture. No
other arrangement has improved upon the
benefits of marriage.
In the face of competing alternatives and moves
to redefine marriage, we affirm the importance
and social utility of marriage between a man and
a woman and the families formed thereby.
The third important set of values revolves
around the sanctity of human life which is
being undermined in much of the Western
world, through abortion, euthanasia, and some
of the new reproductive technologies.
We believe that all human life, being made
in the image of God, has intrinsic and equal
value from conception to life’s natural end.
The very heart of a humane and civilised
society is based on the way it treats its most
vulnerable and innocent members including
the unborn and the disabled. We therefore
insist on the right of all persons, including
those who are vulnerable or dependent, to
protection from conception to natural death. We
will support, protect, and be advocates for such
people, since to do anything less is to weaken our
humanity and despise our personhood.
We will not comply with any directive that
compels us to participate in or facilitate abortion,
embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide,
euthanasia, or any other act that involves the
intentional taking of innocent human life.
Religious freedom, marriage and family, and
the sacredness of human life have provided
the foundations enabling Western democratic
societies to flourish. We erode these foundations
at our peril.
The faith which is at the heart of many of the
values and strengths underpinning the Australian
nation now compels us to speak up in their
For the future of this nation, and for our
children’s future, we call upon all like-minded
citizens to support and sign this declaration.
Your can sign the Canberra Declaration. Go to
The Canberra Declaration was prepared by twelve Australian Christian leaders, including Graham
McLennan of the National Alliance of Christian Leaders Australia, and Warwick Marsh of
Fatherhood Foundation, and adopted at the Government of God Conference, led by Pastors Norman
& Barbara Miller, held at Parliament House, Canberra, from 21 July to 24 July 2010.
Conference members stood and declared the Declaration into Parliament House and into the
spiritual realm over Australia.