Meet the Small(er) Parties: Family First

And now the Festival of Ungrouped Independents comes to a close, and we return our attention to parties that actually have a chance of being elected.  God help us all.  Quite literally in this case, because the next party in my Carnival of Tiny Parties is the right-wing Christian party, Family First.

Family First’s slogan is “Strong Families.  Strong Values.  Strong Australia.”

(you have no idea how much I want to parody this slogan.)

They then unpack this slogan to explain to us that “A job, a home, your finances under control, a safe neighbourhood to live in, a secure retirement and a few of life’s small pleasures… contribute to healthy families”.  And when they say families, they are talking about extended families.  But probably not gay families.

We are told that values are the foundation of a nation, with the values in question including “telling the truth, living within your means, hard work, respect, courtesy, compassion, courage, generosity”.  Lots of good, conservative values there, with just a teensy bit of potential for judgment (living within your means, for example, sounds good until you’ve been so poor that your income simply does not cover rent, food and bills any more – and then it just becomes a judgment on why didn’t you plan better).

Under Strong Australia, we start with this:

Anything not based on economic reality is doomed to failure. Whether it’s farming, mining, tourism or small business, it is a truism that capital goes where it is made welcome and stays where it gets looked after. 

Definitely positioning themselves as a voice of economic rationalism here, I would think.  I worry a bit about capital going where it is made welcome – this can become an argument for lower wages awfully easily.  To do them justice, Family First does at least pay lip service to a need to understand “how ‘barriers to entry’ to getting a job causes unemployment.”

So we have the introduction to our themes, but before we hear the entire symphony, let us take a brief pause to find out what Family First thinks of the other instruments in the orchestra.  Preferably before my metaphor gets completely out of control (I’m doing a lot of singing this weekend, and it’s taking over my brain…).

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Victorian Senate Group G: Putting the Family First

Moving along the ticket we find ourselves back in right-wing Christian land, albeit in a somewhat calmer and less racist incarnation.  Yes indeed, it’s time to meet Family First! Incidentally, what’s with all the right-wing Christian political parties on the ballot this year?  I count four, and that’s just based on the ones I recognise – there may be more hidden in small parties I haven’t read up on yet.  As a left-wing Christian I find this rather disheartening…

(but for heavens’ sake, let’s not start another, left-wing Christian party to the mix.  Religion doesn’t belong in politics, to my mind… and in some ways, that could be a summary of this entire post, but I digress)

It is worth noting that while one cannot strictly do a donkey vote of the senate above the line (if you do number all the groups above the line in order, the AEC will simply ignore all the numbers other than 1, and your vote will follow that party’s ticket), anyone who decided, for some obscure reason, to donkey vote below the line would be likely to have their vote end up either at the Liberal Party or here with Family First – between the two, there are unlikely to be many fractions left after that point.  So donkeyish voting in the senate will be electing someone from the right wing of politics.

Also, a quick disclaimer – I currently have a horrible lurgy and am doped up to the gills on Codral, so this post may be sillier than usual, and while I will do my best to avoid typos, there may be some transposed words, so apologies in advance for any errors – feel free to point out corrections in the comments.

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Politics: Federal Election – Meet Family First

So, we’ve had our (rather alarming) jump to the left – now let’s try a step to the right. Quite a few steps to the right, in fact, because group C on the Victorian ballot paper is about as close to the Christian Right as Australian politics gets while still being marginally electable – Family First.

Here’s what they have to say about themselves:

We believe Australia should be the best country in the world to raise a family.
* We are passionate about families and small businesses; two groups which do not have a strong voice in Parliament.
* We will promote family values and campaigns on the issues that really matter to families and small businesses. Issues like:
– Improving job security and workplace conditions
– Reducing unacceptably high petrol and grocery prices
– Helping Australians afford their own home
* We will lobby for sensible solutions to improve legislation and get the best outcomes for families and small businesses.

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Politics: Preferences and Family First

Politics is depressing me today. I got a heads-up from the Greens that both Democrats and Labor are preferencing Family First ahead of the Greens (so did Liberal, of course, but this is no surprise). Family First being the strongly Assembly-of-God linked ‘Christian family values’ party. It looks suspiciously like a bi-partisan effort to keep the Greens out of Senate. Those who like to go on at length about the evils of Family First claim that this party is funded by AOG churches in the US, and is trying to make abortion illegal. Careful checking of their website shows them trying to stay well away from this image, but succumbing to it when they absolutely must – they will mislead and misdirect, but they will can’t bring themselves to lie outright, which is something, at least.

I have to say, I can see why Democrats put Green last – Greens and Democrats are fighting it out for the same ecological niche, politically speaking, so naturally you want to give the competition as little help as possible. But I’m very disappointed in Labor. I feel betrayed, in fact. Family First scare me, and I wish that one of the major parties at least would stop helping them.

I do not want a scary Christian political party holding the balance of power in this country. I have no problem with Christianity, even the scary kind, as a private religion, but I do not trust any religion once it starts developing legislative power. I love Australia and I love its diversity and general tolerance of (or should I say, complete lack of interest in?) many different kinds of religion.

Sorry, this is getting repetitive, but the whole thing really frightens me. Not least because my choice of profession has made me feel obliged not only to be Pro-Choice but to be actively, openly so. I was going to add commentary on that, but I’ll leave it for now. Most people reading this know my views and why I hold them, and if you don’t you are welcome to ask.

Anyway, I’m scared. And I’m wondering how hard it would be to move to New Zealand…

Oh, and I’ll be restarting the politics project shortly. Things are quiet today, so I have no excuse.