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Has Australia become even Unfairer?

Wed 13 Oct 2004 In: Comment

According to Australian election news, the federal Senate now has its own conservative Christian entourage, a South Australian outfit known as Family First. Who are these people? According to the delightfully-named Aussie independent political and current affairs publication Crikey, they seem to be a socially conservative Australian political party, whose public statements appear to imply that they oppose same-sex marriage, but not neccessarily incremental same-sex relationship-related rights, such as superannuation. Certainly, Family First's own website shows finessing of the controversial same-sex superannuation issue in South Australia. Family First appears to be Australia's version of our own beloved United Future, which may mean that it has concealed its real homophobia under a stealth cloak. Certainly, it's not as blatant as Fred Nile, who happily seems to have missed out on a federal Senate seat. Unfortunately, the federal Coalition social conservatives picked up several from the Australian Labor Party. It is unknown how many of the 'Liberals' are affiliated to the Lyons Forum, a conservative Christian network within the Australian Liberal Party credited with tighter censorship laws, repeal of Northern Territory euthanasia legislation, a federal RU486 ban and the recent federal prohibition of same-sex marriage. Family First appears to have strong denominational conncections to the Pentecostal Assemblies of God church, whose membership seems to have voted en bloc for Families First. However, it remains to be seen whether the party's newfound prominence will mean it stays as moderate as it seems, or whether, like United Future, it is a stealth fundamentalist party. Still, unlike Dunne's drongos, at least it is honest about its philosophical base and political objectives. However, it is likely that the adverse Senate result will mean further federal inertia on even incremental reforms like same-sex pension or superannuation access across the Tasman. If relationship reform comes, it will come at the state or territory level, where the Australian Labor Party currently controls all seven jurisdictions. Recommended Backgrounder: Website: Craig Young - 13th October 2004    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Wednesday, 13th October 2004 - 12:00pm

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