There were a number of fascinating insights revealed. Julie Gillard lost the evangelical conservative vote that Kevin Rudd worked so hard to established with his credential as a practising Christian.
John Howard actively pursued his Christian faith but it was a private faith and such considerations did not affect the politics of necessity. Both Paul Keating and Tony Abbott are mainstream Catholics and such considerations were / are factors in their politics.
Bob Hawke's dad was a Congregationist Minister. His parents were very close to their son's spiritual well-being and although Bob sought a different way, his commitment to the Christian cause was never far from his heart. This was evidenced in his Reconciliation pitch between business and the union movement.
Malcolm Fraser's austere Presbyterian roots was never disguised. I recall many a story of Sir Robert Menzies who would seek out his Presbyterian minister for a brief discussion for wisdom when tough political decisions were required.
All this was very interesting and so as we turn to some practical issues associated with the civil society in light of the Prime Ministerial religious attitude, the central issue that affects every person is that of political correctness.
A single beach item
There is not a commentator today who would not disagree with the tenant that the whole notion of political correctness has to a real extent dropped off the radar. There are three reasons for this, the first is that by and large the civil society has moved sideways to accommodate a reasoned level of a fair go to those once pillared.
The second, is that greater concerns have taken over and we can count on our hands what these are. The Islamist threat within our borders is real and challenging, the very nature of young Australian Muslims travelling to Syria / Iraq to fight the Jihad frightens us all. The last thing we want imported is a blood stained politic. Political correctness takes a very dirty great step of retreat when this Goliath is at the door.
Other political issues have been the boat asylum seekers who have been seeking a way into Australia through non-legal UNHCF means. The Australian people voted with their feet overwhelmingly in 2013 trashing the then Labor Government whose open door policy proved very debilitating.
A third issue has been the economy and the huge national debt left by Labor which the new Coalition Government with a tough budget has only now just begun to reign in. If your family is having trouble having enough money to feed the kids, cover medical expenses, give them a decent education, then political correctness is not your number one issue.
It is these every day life situations that effect us all and the question is not longer how might any committed Christian - simply talking about their life as a follower of Christ, or even offering to pray for someone they care about - "break some kind of perceived political correctness" - those days have passed, there are much greater issues upon our neighbours hearts.
At one time, in the not too distant past, a Christian could have been deemed as vilifying and perhaps even lose their livelihood for simply acting like a Christian should. Yet in many countries around the world, by simply being a Christian and speaking of the joy of being such, they could face punitive action by the authorities. Any sensible person needs to become mindful of the laws and customs of the countries they are visiting, or are resident in.
Four years ago UK School Teacher Olive Jones was sacked for praying with a distressed student and such was the outcry she was reinstated, and now today UK Prime Minister David Cameron is saying Christians ought to become more assertive.
Like these leaves
Every day life
We need to realise that just as we have freedom as Christians in Australia, those of every other faith have the same freedoms to practice and talk about their faiths. There is no cause to be cause offensive. Being astute and sensible is a responsibility for the Christian.
Robust debate about such things in western society is part and parcel of democracy and Christians need to be conversant with their subject and become part of this community discussion. Just look at the ABC's Q&A as a classic example. This can happen on a train, in a school P&C meeting, over a coffee with friends, in fact anywhere; as long as they do not deliberately offend (to make an offence) those who are obviously not being receptive to the message they are trying to tell.
Western societies are political in nature, they are not Christian Kingdoms, so getting involved in politics is important for those who are movers and shakers. There are times in which Christians need to use 'political correctness' in social issues to ensure the underprivileged get a fair go.
Christians need to be aware that there are those who disagree ideologically with the Christian world view, and some will use 'political correctness' and any other means to oppose anything Christian within the public domain. Nor should the Christian have a persecution complex as many people simply do not wish to be confronted with religious ideas.
A friend of mine is not a Christian and doesn't want to lumped in or seen to be as one with committed Christians. Nothing sinister at all. This also needs to recognised and may require God's timing for a word in season.
Christians have confidence in prayer and in the workings of the Holy Spirit. The economy of God and the politics of man are intertwined. There are numerous Biblical examples of this, such as Joseph in Pharaohs court, Esther before the King and the Apostle Paul before Herod's court.
This confidence will help us realise when it is appropriate to share our faith to help others, and where it is 'politically incorrect' to speak out due to the sensitivities of others. It can be tricky.
Confidence like these leaves
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html