‘Faith In Our Future’ Town Hall Event brings Christians together at SCC

A group of approximately 400 teachers, school leaders and supporters took part in the ‘My Christian School’ event at Swan Christian College on Wednesday night (8 May 2024) with interstate visitors Mrs Vanessa Cheng, Mr Mark Spencer and a number of high-profile politicians taking part in the proceedings to speak about the recent Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report to Federal government and potential changes for employment law in faith-based institutions.

Mr Mark Spencer (Director of Public Policy – Christian Schools Australia) and Mrs Vanessa Cheng (Executive Officer – Australian Association of Christian Schools) have been travelling the country in recent weeks, sharing stories of lives changed by Christian education, of families being supported in their faith journeys and as well as updating staff and supporters of Christian schools with the news from Federal Parliament in Canberra.

Mr Alistair Macpherson (Executive Director – Associated Christian Schools) also detailed some of the legal ramifications of the current discussions taking place in Canberra. 

The purpose of these ‘town hall’ gatherings is to demonstrate the large number of voters that may be affected by these legislative changes, with the following politicians present to hear from constituents and invited guests:

  • Federal Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash (Shadow Attorney-General),
  • Federal Liberal Senator Matt O’Sullivan (Deputy Opposition Whip in the Senate)
  • Federal Labor Ms Tania Lawrence (Member for Hasluck)
  • Federal Liberal Senator Slade Brockman (Chair of Standing Committee of Privileges)
  • Federal Liberal Senator Dean Smith (Chair of Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills), and
  • WA State Liberal MP Mr Nick Goiran (MLC)

Former SCEA students, current SCEA parents, and affiliates from different Christian schools in Western Australia were asked to speak on their experiences of Christian schools and their positive impact on them and their families to date.

The list of speakers included:

  • Mrs Jess Kapitola (Acting Executive Officer – Christian Schools Australia) shared about the transformative impact of Christian teachers and staff in the life of her son.
  • Mr Tyrone Brownley (former student—Swan Christian College) on being welcomed, accepted, and loved during his schooling years.
  • Mr Mark Vanderstoep (parent and teacher from Mandurah Baptist College) on the power of authenticity and love in action.
  • Mrs Nicole Pleysier (Chief Executive Officer, Rehoboth Christian College) on the value of Christian faith for all staff.
  • Mr Callum Kelly (parent, Swan Christian College) on the importance of alignment of Christian school and home values and
  • Ms Chloe Cormack (student from Swan Christian College) on her journey from trauma to transformation in the surrounds of a Christian community.

Why is this event so important for Christian staff in our schools?

On 21 March, the Australian Law Reform Commission released a set of recommendations that would undermine faith and freedom of belief in Australia. If the Government accepts these ALRC recommendations, Christian schools will be unable to employ only Christian teachers and staff who share and can teach the school’s values and beliefs.

These national events are an opportunity to discuss the impact of Christian faith in our schools, share our concerns with our Federal political representatives, and ask for their support in this matter.

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