The Australian Christian Values Institute is an initiative of the board of Australian Heart Ministries, a non-profit charity dedicated to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Australian Christian Values Institute has a vision to 'renew the Christian vision of Australia for the common good'.
We believe in transparency, and we believe in the benefits of a healthy diversity of opinions. The team consists of people from a broad range of life, philosophical and denominational persuasions. We value this diversity and breadth of experience as we challenge and hold each other to spiritual and intellectual integrity. We take the processes and quality of what we do very seriously.
In the interests of transparency key advisors and team members are introduced here. This list is not the whole team, as there are many others, who like those you find listed here, volunteer expertise, technical guidance or other support.
Warwick Marsh was born in Sydney in 1954 and grew up there, finishing his schooling at Katoomba High School. A student radical, Warwick took an active part in the counter culture of his day and attended many student and anti-war moratorium protests. Most of his friends at the time were Marxists, Trotskyists or student members of the SDS, the leading radical political group of the day. It was during this time that Warwick developed his musical skills and began writing songs inspired by Bob Dylan and Afro-American blues artists.
Warwick has been married to Alison since 1975 and they have five children. Warwick lost everything in 1984 in the 'recession we had to have' in a business failure. In 1986 he was a member of the Builder's Worker's Union working in the construction industry in Wollongong.
In 1990 Warwick and Alison began work in the non-profit sector in outback and regional community-based missions. They used music to communicate a message of hope, recording several albums with their musical family and other young musicians and Aboriginal friends.
In 1998 Warwick received the 1998 FOL Father of the Year Award at NSW Parliament House. In 2001 he received a Centenary Medal from the Governor General for 'his service in musical leadership , youth and the Aboriginal community and internationally'. Warwick was co-founder and national co-ordinator of the Aboriginal led Praise Corroboree, co-founder of Musicoz, co-founder of the River Foundation, current chairman of Australian Heart Ministries, Fatherhood Foundation, member of the National Day of Thanksgiving management board, convenor of the National Prayer Council and founder of the Australian Christian Values Institute.
Warwick has a passion for creative expression using music, TV and radio, a heart for families, a deep love for Australia and a passion for the poor of the world, particularly in Africa. Warwick and his family attend the Lighthouse Church in Wollongong.
John has had a varied career, beginning with the Royal Australian Navy, an Antarctic expedition, managing ski schools in the Victorian Alps, an executive officer with Australian Volunteers Abroad, an international aid NGO headquartered in Brussels, and in the aid and trade areas of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Along the way he completed university studies in history, politics and journalism.
Since “retiring” ten years ago, John has worked part-time or in an honorary capacity for four active Christian members of parliament at the state and federal level, researching and advising on Christian issues of interest. John has experienced life across the political spectrum, including periods as an office-holder, in the ALP and the Fabian Society, a full-time official in one union and research for another, and over ten years as an adviser to Christians in Federal parliament. John has been married to Pam for over forty years and has children and grandchildren. For many years he has been a warden and lay reader in Anglican churches.
John says he is more interested in the application of Christian values to decisions of parliaments than to which side of politics implements the decision. For six years John managed a concessional finance program in China, and he quotes a post-Mao Chinese leader: “What does it matter if a cat is black or white so long as it catches mice.”
John’s involvement in parliament was led by Romans 13:1-6 that says in part, “The authorities that exist have been established by God… For (they) are God’s servant to do you good.” John comments, “Governments are ordained by God, and ministers of the Crown are called ministers just as clergy are, because in the early English parliaments where the term originated they were expected to minister to the people in accordance with God’s word to humankind in the Bible.
Even backbenchers can be seen as ministers to their electorates. I see my role as helping ministers and MPs from all political parties carry out their God-given roles, while at the same time understanding the great difficulties they often face.”
Bill Muehlenberg, who was born in America in 1953 but has made Australia his home, lives in Melbourne. He has been married to an Australian,Averil, for over 25 years and has three sons.
Growing up in the 1960's, Bill was a student radical involved in many protests. He was the editor of an underground newspaper and actively involved in the drug culture of his day, smoking dope, using LSD, mescaline and selling drugs. Arrested a number of times by police in his youth he finally found a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a young man which gave him a real change of heart and birthed in him the desire to help others. Since that time Bill has devoted himself to sharing the good news of God's love through Jesus Christ and helping those less fortunate than himself.
He has a BA with honours in philosophy (Wheaton College, Chicago), a MA with highest honours in theology (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston), and is completing a PhD in theology at Deakin University, Melbourne.
Bill and Averil spent five years in Holland working as missionaries with Youth With A Mission. He was formerly the National Vice President of the Australian Family Association. He was formerly the National Research Coordinator at Focus on the Family. He currently continues an independent ministry in pro-faith and pro-family activism. He is head of an apologetics/ethics ministry called CultureWatch: http://www.billmuehlenberg.com
He is the author of In Defence of the Family and many hundreds of printed articles and book reviews. Bill is a part-time lecturer in theology, apologetics and ethics at several Melbourne theological colleges. Bill and his family are members of Crossway Baptist Church, Victoria.
Paul Monagle was born and bred in Melbourne. He married Kathy in 1974 and they have 5 grown up children. Kathy and Paul currently reside in Canberra, ACT.
Paul is very committed and active within the Catholic church and is passionate for the community. He has occupied many positions both within the church and the community. He is on the Archdiocesan Executive for the Canberra and Goulburn Region and has held a number of Archdiocesan appointments. Paul has worked as a government appointee on the ACT Vocational & Educational Training Commission and served time on the Catholic Education Commission. Recently he served on the ACT 'Jesus all about Life Campaign Council' as the Catholic representative. Paul is currently President of the ACT Australian Family Association and numerous other pro-family and church-based community groups.
Early in his working career Paul Monagle was an official with the Public Service Union and has subsequently worked in human resource management, now specialising in that field as the Director of Human Resources for the National Library.
Although Paul is not a member of any political party he has been involved in the pro-family movement for many years and therefore has a good understanding of the political process. As a passionate believer in the value of children and families to Australia he is well known in the pro-family movement as an untiring spokesperson for Christian values with a strong sense of social justice for the less fortunate in our society.
Graham McLennan was born in Dubbo in 1945 where he also grew up and was schooled. He attended Hurlstone Agricultural College and finished his Dental Degree at Sydney University where he became a Christian. He married Pam in 1969 and they have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Graham was a Captain in the Australian Army and received the Defence Medal and the National Serviceman's Medal.
In 1973 Graham studied with Francis Schaeffer in L'Abri, Switzerland. In 1986 Graham and his wife founded the National Alliance of Christian leaders (NACL).
Graham was on the executive of the National Gathering of 1988 and the Bicentennial of Christian Education in Australia in 1993.
He received the Presidential Medal from the President of Vanuatu for 'services to the nation' and has written many books and articles about Australia's Christian heritage. He has a passion for that subject and for the development of Christian media.
Graham McLennan has formerly been involved in two different political parties but now prefers to encourage Christians in all parties to make a stand for truth within their party.
Currently Graham is convenor of the NACL and Chairman of 103.5FM, Orange, NSW. He is also a member of the planning committee of the National Christian Heritage Centre, Australian Christian History Research and has served on many other national and international Christian boards and charities over the years. Graham and his wife attend a Pentecostal church in Orange and he is a passionate advocate for the outworking of the love of Christ in the community.
Peter Stokes was born in London in 1947 and migrated to Australia in 1972. He is the Executive Officer of SALT SHAKERS. Peter and his wife Jenny started SALT SHAKERS in 1994. After fighting against a gambling venue being established in their local shopping centre, they believed God was making them aware of the importance of understanding what was happening in the community. They felt it was important to inform Christians about a range of moral and ethical issues.
Peter has worked full time in Christian policy development with the SALTSHAKERS non-profit organisation since 1995. Prior to that, Peter was a coach driver for day tours in Melbourne. He has also been involved in sales, advertising, radio and is a joiner by trade. Peter is also an ardent environmentalist with a deep love for God's creation as can be seen from his nature photographs found here: Peter's Photo Galleries. Peter and Jenny attend a Baptist church in Melbourne.
Peter and Jenny Stokes, the chief research officer for Saltshakers, have been prime movers in the revitalization of Christian values in Australia. They have worked very closely with Warwick Marsh since the first Christian Values Checklist, published in 2001. Peter and Jenny are not members of any political party but are bipartisan in their approach to Christian values in the political discourse. Peter and Jenny are passionate to see not just Christian values advanced, but the true message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ - a message of love, acceptance and forgiveness which brings healing to the broken hearted and restoration and renewal for the nation.
John Comino has an interesting political history. John's grandfather emigrated to Australia from a Greek Island in 1901 and worked on the cane field taking the place of the Kanakas who had been deported. He voted for the communist party. John's father was a lifelong labour supporter and took great delight in telling the labour powerbrokers how they could better win and election. John's views have probably moderated somewhat since his grandfather's day, but he is a strong advocate for social justice and the need for government to embrace Christian values for the greater good of the people they serve.
John believes that we should not put our faith in political parties but in the deep wisdom of Jesus Christ and his spirit of love and concern for God and man. John has been married to his wife Christine for 34 years now and has four children and one grandchild.He is the pastor of Sydney Community Church based in Concord, NSW.
Jack Sonnemann was born in Memphis Tennessee in the USA. In 1983 Jack with his wife Margaret Sonnemann started The Australian Federation for the Family (www.ausfamily.org) to support family values, protect children and turn the tide of pornography.
It has been proven that pornography is responsible for much of the violence against women and children and Jack’s research shows the links are indisputable. Jack has been travelling across Australia campaigning against the ever increasing sexualisation of our children and the media onslaught against Aussie families.
Jack loves the country so much he has taken out Australian citizenship and his southern drawl is now firmly planted in the Tasmanian’s heartland where he lives with his wife. He has worked with politicians from all sides of the political fence including the Tasmanian Greens who ten years ago backed a bill to restrict pornography to children.Jack gives full credit for their courage in their stand against the porn industry.
Jack is no stranger to controversy and has appeared on TV and radio many times. Jack and Margaret have given everything to make a stand for Australian children and families. Jack is deeply committed to the Christian values that made Australia a great nation.
Brian was born in New Zealand in 1959, moved to Australia when he was five, and has lived in Queensland since then. Raised in a family in which politics was a major focus, Brian had intended to gain tertiary qualifications that would serve as a ‘launching pad’ for a career in politics.
It was the political turmoil in Australia at the end of 1975 that caused Brian to re-think the direction of his life. Until then, he had been committed to the politics of the Left and preparing himself to join the political fray once he reached university. Karl Marx and his writings were part of family conversations.
Brian was also an ardent atheist, dismissive of all religious belief and derisive of those who chose to believe in any supernatural dimension. However, in 1976 in his final year in secondary school, Brian opened a Bible for the first time in his life and discovered that it made sense. He found a new meaning to life and encountered the Person of Jesus Christ in a life-changing way. After a couple of years studying Medicine at the University of Queensland, Brian responded to a sense of call to study for pastoral ministry.
He and Caroline were married in January 1981, and he began studies at the then Baptist Theological College of Queensland.
Since 1983, Brian has been involved in pastoral work in Baptist Churches in Queensland. He has pastored in four churches – two of which he planted – and has been pastoring in his current church since it commenced in 1996. He also has a passion for Christian schooling and was instrumental in the establishment of a Christian College in the community in which he lives; his wife, Caroline, teaches at that school.
Brian has complete confidence in the truthfulness and trustworthiness of the Bible, and seeks to enable people to understand the reality of God and to apply this worldview consistently in their lives. If Jesus Christ is Lord – as the Bible declares Him to be – then He is Lord over all things, and not just over religious or spiritual things..