Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of a $300m strategy to tackle ice addiction, but has challenged him to invest the public funds in those community organisations with proven track records, which are often Christian faith-based, and are suffering from official discrimination.
“It has disturbed me to hear that groups like Teen Challenge, one of Australia’s most successful organisations delivering ice rehab treatment, with a success rate of over 80%, present in 100 countries and with 1200 centers world-wide - feel as though they are being denied government support and funding because they base their rehab program on the Christian faith,” Senator Lambie said.
“Yesterday I received a briefing from Malcolm Smith, the founder and executive director of Teen Challenge where I was informed that bureaucrats and politicians had indicated that Teen Challenge would qualify for more public funding if less emphasis was placed on its Christian values and Christian symbols, like the sign of the cross, were removed or hidden. If this is the case, then it is political correctness gone mad,” Senator Lambie said.
Senator Lambie made the comments as she toured Teen Challenge’s Grace Academy in Western Australia - a residential rehabilitation center that offers men and women aged 16 and over, freedom from drug and alcohol dependence and has achieved considerable success based on Christian principles. Senator Lambie’s purpose for the tour is to build support and understanding to help the establishment of a similar rehab center in Tasmania.
“At Grace Academy I saw and spoke with young Australians being cured of their drug and alcohol addictions in a program that offers academic, vocational and spiritual training. My message to the Prime Minister when it comes to treatment for ice addiction is `We don’t have to waste money by reinventing the wheel. There are already many people and groups in the drug rehab sector doing brilliant faith based work. Please don’t let government bureaucrats or politicians who seem ashamed or scared of Australia’s Christian heritage, stuff up this opportunity to equip our young people with the skills they need to return to society as responsible citizens;,” Senator Lambie said.
“I’m probably the least qualified person to speak about the Christian faith, (I’m a sinner trying to get to heaven), however in the race to embrace and celebrate multiculturalism in Australia, it became obvious that some in government have lost their way and are ashamed of our faith-based heritage.
``There have been many terrible crimes and mistakes made by people using the name of Christianity, however in the current climate where a war is being waged on our Christian and democratic culture, I believe that Christmas isn’t the only time when Australians are allowed to celebrate and be proud of the faith that formed our nation, culture and values,” Senator Lambie said.