Martyn Iles to leave Australian Christian Lobby

Martyn Iles has headed up the ACL for the last five years.

Martyn Iles, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), has been let go from his position by the organization's board.

He announced the development via email to ACL supporters last Friday, stating the termination was not voluntary. 

He added that there was "no question of misconduct" and that the decision was due to a change in the strategic direction of the organization.

"The Board has reviewed ACL's strategic direction and decided I am not the right person to lead the revised strategy, which focuses more primarily on political tactics, less on the gospel," he said.

He said he felt no bitterness about the dismissal, and that he agreed with the board that he was not the right person for the new vision, saying, "I have always been a preacher first, a politician second."

Iles asked that supporters continue to pray for ACL staff and the ongoing work of the organization.

ACL's chairman of the board Jim Wallace gave an official response on Monday, stating that the goals of the organization had not changed, affirming the ACL's commitment to its founding principles, and the underpinning of the Gospel message in the organization's political engagement.

Wallace indicated there were negotiations with Iles over the difference in vision for the organization prior to his dismissal, saying, "While we cannot go into specifics, we thought we were in a discussion which would have led to a resolution. However, this did not proceed as we expected."

The Australian Christian Lobby is a leading religious advocacy organization which has had a significant role in influencing policy in Australia around prominent issues related to religious freedom and traditional values.

With Iles having been the face of the organization for the last five years, news of the dismissal resulted in a wave of online debate and conjecture about the decision among both supporters and critics.