As far as I’m aware there are only really 3 duties that are imposed upon citizens of Australia. Of course, there are a whole lot of things that your country respectfully asks you to refrain from doing – shooting people who walk too slow along busy streets, etc. On the whole we tend to proscribe rather than require action. This is a very good thing. Laws that are in the form “Thou shalt not” leave large spaces for the exercise of individual decision-making. On a public street you can walk in any particular direction, wearing whatever peculiar get-up you like, you just can’t do it in the nude. Contrast that proscription to a situation where walking along a public street required you to give reasons and a destination.
Making good laws is a tricky business.
I went along to the NSW Parliament today to sit in on a hearing of the Standing Committee on Law and Justice. The Committee are taking public submissions on possible changes to the NSW Adoption Act to allow Same-Sex couples to adopt children (one of our ethics lecturers from Moore College was invited to make a submission, which he did brilliantly). It’s a tricky issue, there are a lot of different scenarios that need to be considered in order to frame a law that will reflect a just outcome for all the citizens of this state. We’d need a very long discussion to outline all the pros and cons.
Best part of the outing was, however, seeing gutsy and thoughtful Christian engagement with an issue that affects our community, in a way that wasn’t merely sectarian (addressed only to the concerns of Christians) but designed to helpfully participate as citizens in our democratic process.
We need far more of this kind of engagement.
As far as the 3 duties, you can work it out…