Federal Election 2019: Meet the Australian Christians

Summary

Website: https://australianchristians.com.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AustralianChristians/
Previous names: None, but they are kind of an offspring of the CDP, and their Victorian branch has merged into the Australian Conservatives.
Slogans:
A political voice for Christian Values
When you believe in freedom and family, you vote 1 for Australian Christians
Themes: Christian right, though not quite as far right as some.  Climate change isn’t real.  Family is important.  Right wing economic policy and small government, particularly when it comes to welfare.
Electorate:
Upper House: WA
Lower House: Brand, Burt, Canning, Cowan, Curtin, Fremantle, Hasluck, Moore, O’Connor, Pearce, Stirling, Swan, Tangney
Preferences: In the Upper House, the AC unsurprisingly favour the Australian Conservatives, followed by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, the Liberals, the Nationals, One Nation and Palmer United.  Your basic right wing selection, with a little frisson of racism and the right to bear arms.

In the Lower House, they always put the Greens last and Labor second last, with One Nation generally scoring third billing after the Liberals or the Nationals.  Sometimes the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers score better than One Nation.  And apparently, they find Fraser Anning’s party less distressing than the Greens, Labor, Animal Justice or the Socialist Alliance, which tells you something unpleasant about their priorities.

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Meet the Small Parties: Australian Christians

Ah, the Australian Christians.  This political party had the dubious distinction of being the party to have the most deleterious effect on my blood pressure when I read its policies prior to the 2012 election.  You see, I’m Christian, and this party purports to speak for me – but instead, it says a lot of things that I find utterly abhorrent.

So that’s my statement of disclosure up-front.  I don’t trust this mob, and I’m starting from a place where I eye their policies with suspicion.  I’m sorry – I really try not to do that, but they made me so utterly furious last time that I know I am going to find it difficult to be fair to them this round.

Let’s get started, shall we?

(Note that I will be using the abbreviation ‘CDP’ for this party throughout, as they were previously the Christian Democratic Party, and I want to avoid confusion with the Australian Cyclists Party)

The website for the Australian Christians has a two-part rotating banner on the front page.  The first one is “Promoting Christian Values (‘a party with a  voice in the political conversation that can shape policy, promote and protect the values that create a better Australia for all, no matter what their faith and belief’), and the second is Be a Voice for Christian Values (‘Australian Christian candidates are all committed Christians seeking to be that voice.  The church is faced with challenging and complex issues.  Would you help us to equip fellow Christians to make informed voting decisions?’).

I find the second banner tempting for all the wrong reasons.  I am almost certain that they do not want me to be their voice, any more than I want them to be mine.

The first banner – look, that’s actually a great set of values.  I just have my doubts about whether they are likely to achieve it, because last time their policies struck me as having quite a different effect.

Onward.

The CDP’s group ticket has one or two surprises.  In the Northern Metropolitan Region People Power comes up first, followed by Family First, the Liberal Party, the DLP, Rise Up Australia and the Shooters and Fishers.  These parties are swapped around in the first six spots on all the other regional group tickets. It’s unlikely votes will get much further than this level, really.  At the bottom of the ticket, we have the Sex Party, Voluntary Euthanasia, and the Greens.  They seem to be in two minds about whether they find euthanasia more objectionable than sex parties, and alternate which they put last across their various electorates. The Greens are always third last, and the rest of the parties also move around a bit in the middle so that nobody gets unduly advantaged.

It’s notable that People Power manages to be popular with both the Animal Justice Party and the Christians, since the two parties both preference each other very low.

To the policies, Batman!

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Victorian Senate Group AH: And another Christian Party

There are so many Christian parties on the ballot this year!  It’s insane.  I’m Christian myself and I’m turned off by this – we really do not need a lobby group, and we certainly don’t need five of them.  Actually, I really do think religion ought to stay out of politics, except as far as it informs the principles by which one governs.  (And since this *is* a Sunday, let me just add that I personally feel that if one is a politician who likes to parade his or her Christianity, it would be nice if one also paraded a commitment to assisting and empowering the disadvantaged, the poor, rather than worrying about people’s love lives.  The Bible isn’t actually all about sexual morality, and the New Testament barely touches on it at all.)

Have your eyes glazed over yet?  I’m sorry.  I’m a little frustrated by some of these parties, and I just caught sight of something on the Australian Christians‘ website that made my blood boil.  But we’ll get to that in a bit.  Also, I really, really hate their party name.  Setting aside that it is purely silly to claim that you are the Australian Christians when there are four other loudly Christian parties on the ballot, it implies that they speak for all Australian Christians.  Well, they sure as hell don’t speak for me.  Oops, I said hell.  That really was unintentional, but now I feel compelled to leave it there.

Ooh, hello, I just went and had a look to see who, if anyone, this group were affiliated with and discovered firstly that they seem to be linked to Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats (which explains a lot), and secondly that the Melbourne Anglican Archbishop and the General Secretary of the Victorian Council of churches have much the same objection to the name that I do:

“I am concerned about the possible effects to religious harmony in Victoria if a political group which does not represent the views of the majority of Christians in Australian were to be allowed to use the name ‘Australian Christians’, with an obvious implication that it did speak for all Christians,” says a letter written by Dr Freir to the Electoral Commissioner (as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald late last week).

General secretary of the Victorian Council of Churches, Theo Mackaay told ABC’s PM program last night, “By calling themselves ‘Australian Christians’ they could very easily give the impression during an election campaign that they are speaking for all adherents to the Christian faith.

“What I know of the party, they really do not represent the broad scope of Christianity.”

Sorry to go on and on about this, but a very reasonable criticism frequently levelled at progressive Christians is why don’t they speak out against the extremists.  It seems important, therefore, to point out occasions when they do.

Anyway, let’s look at who the Australian Christians (or some of them) are preferencing in the Senate.

Oh, and another disclaimer, I suppose.  I’m quite pro-choice.  This lot really aren’t.  And they make me very, very angry with some of their claims.

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