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.
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 once voted for the communist party, while John’s father was a lifelong Labor 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.
Peter is from the Bundjulung tribe from the Northern Rivers district of NSW and resides in Tabulam, in Northern NSW. Peter is head of the Australian Indigenous Christian Ministries. He and his wife Maria have ministered throughout Australia and around the world.
Peter was the President of the Praise Corroboree, a major prayer and reconciliation event that took place in Parliament House and the Canberra surrounds from 1996 to 2001. During this time he twice led delegations of Aboriginal elders to meet and pray with the then Prime Minster, John Howard in Parliament House In Canberra.
He has successfully organised and led a ‘Joel 2 Solemn Assembly’ in Alice Springs in October 2016 and is working towards new prayer assemblies in the coming years.
Peter has had a long interest in politics and was for many years a member of the Christian Democratic Party and has stood with Rev Fred Nile for election to the upper house.
He is no longer a part of the Christian Democratic party but is passionate to see Christian values restored in our nation.
For Peter the Bible is tribal and has a profound correlation with indigenous culture and heritage. One of Peter’s favourite verses is 2 Chronicles 7:14.
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.