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The best welfare system mankind ever devised

NEW YORK – Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed UN ambassadors and delegates at a private event in New York City on Thursday 28th of January on the issue of family.

Hosted by ADF International, the evening reception aimed at inspiring and informing delegates, officials and key influencers at the United Nations about the importance of family and marriage for the present and future prosperity and well-being of our society.

Mr. Abbott delivered a personal, elegant, dignified, upbeat affirmation of humanity’s first and foundational institution and why it is important to leave a strong marriage culture to future generations.

Ideally, children would grow up with a mother and a father

Mr. Abbott said:
…the job of policy makers is less to be role models, as spouses and parents, than to build the best possible conditions for families to flourish. Sometimes, this requires policies: to promote prosperity and to deliver better services; and sometimes, it requires values: including an acknowledgment that, ideally, children would grow up with a mother and a father.

Policy makers shouldn’t be judgmental about people’s personal choices, but we can’t be indifferent to the erosion of the family given its consequences for the wider community. It was my distinguished predecessor, John Howard, who pointed out that the traditional family was the best social welfare system that mankind had ever devised.

Mr. Abbott spoke frankly and compassionately about his own family’s stake in the debate:

These days, at least in Western countries, family structures are typically more complex than they were. Two of my sisters are divorced. One has a new partner. Another has a same sex partner.To me, my sisters’ partners are first class members of our extended family. The way they live shows their commitment to each other, even though there’s been no ceremony.

I doubt that my sister’s female partner would be more part of the family if same sex marriage were permitted – because membership of a family rests on commitment – and commitment is what counts, as much as what it’s called.

And he offered a statesman’s wisdom on how society – including and especially aiming at democratically-elected leaders – should approach such future-shaping debates:

I support people’s right to make a case for the things they believe, and want them courteously heard; but policy makers should strive to hold the common ground.

In today’s world, we need less ideology and more common sense; we need less impatience and more respect; we need less shouting at people and more engagement with them.

We shouldn’t try to change something without understanding it, without grasping why it is that one man and one woman open to children until just a very few years ago has always and everywhere been considered the essence of marriage and the heart of family.

Mr. Abbott’s message – that we should respect and appreciate the good of marriage by affirming and strengthening it now and passing a strong marriage culture on to our children – was powerful, timely, and worth your time to read in full.

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