Date: July 12 2012
MELBOURNE Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier asked the Victorian Electoral Commission not to let Fred Nile's Christian Democratic Party change its name to Australian Christians.
Archbishop Freier and the Victorian Council of Churches complained that the new name suggested the party spoke for all Christians when its views were supported by probably only a minority. But the commission said it had no grounds to reject the name change.
''I am concerned about the possible effects to religious harmony in Victoria if a political group which does not represent the views of the majority of Christians in Australia were to be allowed to use the name 'Australian Christians', with an obvious implication that it did speak for all Christians,'' Dr Freier wrote to the Electoral Commissioner.
The Victorian Council of Churches objected because the name was confusing, general secretary Theo Mackaay told The Age.
He said the Australian Christian Church, also known as Assemblies of God, was very active in Victoria, and there were a host of churches and organisations whose members might think a party called Australian Christians had their approval.
He said the party sought to change its name only in Victoria and Western Australia, apparently because the Fred Nile brand name had strong recognition in NSW and Queensland.
Australian Christians' Victorian spokeswoman and Senate candidate Vickie Janson replied: ''We're Australians and we're Christians. Do the Liberals speak for all people who support liberal democracy? Does the Labor Party speak for all workers, or the Greens for all people concerned about the environment?''
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