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NOW Australia: Faith, Money, Power: What the religious revival means for politics

Margaret Simons

'Well-documented and thought-provoking, a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Australia, and with a Federal election looming it is both timely and necessary.' The Australian Bookseller and Publisher

Pentecostal religion is the fastest-growing religion in Australia – recording a huge growth at a time when more traditional Christian congregations are shrinking.

Award-winning author and journalist Margaret Simons explores the rise of the religious right in Australia, and in particular the influence of the Assemblies of God – the coalition of churches of which Sydney’s Hillsong and Adelaide’s Paradise Church are prominent members.

The Paradise Church spawned the political party Family First. The party’s first political candidate, Andrew Evans, was formerly the pastor at Paradise – a position now held by his son Ashley. The Paradise Church is also the home congregation of Guy Sebastian, the first winner of Australian Idol. The Paradise Church has claimed that God has used Sebastian to carry the Assemblies of God message into the entertainment world.

Federal politicians, particularly Peter Costello, have gone out of their way to address and appeal to Assemblies of God audiences.

Margaret Simons investigates the church’s vast financial interests which include a financial services organization offering insurance, investment opportunities and superannuation. Because it is a non-profit organization, it escapes regulation by ASIC. She also explores a number of interesting property transactions, with real estate passing between church organizations and the private interests of pastors attached to the churches.

What is the appeal of this brand of Christianity and how is it that individuals and families are drawn to Hillsong and the Paradise Church, and have made their message part of their lives?


Margaret Simons is a journalist with twenty five years experience and also an award winning author. Her non-fiction book The Meeting of the Waters – Inside the Hindmarsh Island Bridge Affair published by Hodder Headline in May 2003 won the  non-fiction category in the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. Her landmark book on the Australian media, The Content Makers, will also be published in September 2007, by Penguin.

Maregaret is also the author of Latham's World in the Australian Quarterly Essay series, published in in September 2004.
Her first novel, The Ruthless Garden, won the inaugural Angus and Robertson Bookworld Prize in August 1993.

Recent publications include articles on the ABC in The Monthly May 2005, an on class divides and education in the Griffith Review, both in May 2005 and May 2006.

In 2007 Margaret is a visiting fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, based at the Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University.

Buy Now for $17.95 plus $2.00 postage.

ISBN: 978-0-9802924-6-6                | RRP  $17.95 |              September 2007


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