Judge Abbott and Hockey by their policies, not their religion

Harsh policies

Much has been made of the religious faith and schooling of government ministers and their relationship to policy. The topic is a trivial indulgence that diverts attention from more important questions, writes Andrew Hamilton in Eureka Street.

Talk about politicians' faith focuses attention on the people who make decisions and not on the people affected by their decisions. To conclude that they are influenced by their faith or are unfaithful to it may give satisfaction to the person who makes the judgment, but it does nothing for those affected by unfair policies.

Nor is this kind of judgment one that Christians may make if they wish to be consistent. At the heart of Christian faith is the conviction that we are all sinners saved by Christ, and so are no better than anyone else. It follows that the proper business of Christians is to refrain from judging others. It is to try to win them. Like everyone else, they are called to judge policies by their effect on human beings, especially the most vulnerable.

By these standards the Budget was problematic. Certainly it attempted to address longer term challenges of matching revenue to proper expenditure. But it penalised the most vulnerable members of society while leaving untouched subsidies to the more affluent. It also weakened the regulatory bodies necessary to protect the longer term good of society, particularly those to do with the environment and fairness.

It will make Australian society harsher. It was rightly on the nose with Australians. The fault did not lie in the Government's failure to sell it but in the noisomeness of what was on offer.

The interesting question is why people would advocate and introduce such harmful, self-destructive policies. The framers of the Budget certainly did not lack courage. When people are surprised at the rejection of their ideas they have normally been guided by ideas so self-evident to them that they believe others will need only to hear them in order to be persuaded.

FULL STORY Who cares if Abbott and Hockey are Catholic? (Eureka Street)

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