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The Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) today congratulated Julia Gillard on her appointment as the new Prime Minister of Australia.

David Nicholls, AFA president, said, “Kevin Rudd has made many positive changes since his appointment, including apologising to the Stolen Generation, introducing paid parental leave and focusing attention on the need for improved education and health care in Australia. Unfortunately, he also used his public position to promote his conservative religious beliefs,” he said.

Kevin Rudd has openly acknowledged his Christianity and its influence over his life and his politics throughout his political career. Even today in his speech as outgoing leader he thanked what he referred to as “our one creator”.

With opposition leader, Tony Abbott an outspokenly conservative Catholic whose religious beliefs have motivated policies that seriously threatened women’s reproductive rights, Australian atheists and other freethinkers will welcome a leader who keeps religion out of politics.

“Julia Gillard’s stance on religion is unknown, and this is exactly how it should be,” says Nicholls. “As a rational and highly intelligent person I would hope she is an atheist, but at the very least, I hope that with her appointment, there is an opportunity to take ‘God’ out of the Australian Parliament.”

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