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Monday 08 November 2010


Proclamations of the Red Queen

10th August 2010

A Brief Guide to the Australian Christian Right

Posted by: Craig Young

It never ceases to amaze me how disorganised most of the Australian LGBT communities are when it comes to opposing the Australian Christian Right, except for Rodney Croome and his Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group.  As a result, they have a federal same-sex marriage ban to fight against. To help compensate that, I’ve decided to provide a brief reference guide to help them out in the current federal election campaign.

Endeavour Forum: Australia’s antifeminist group. Leader Babette Francis is an ageing Anglo-Indian conservative Catholic who was recently widowed when her husband, Charles Francis QC, died. She is an anti-abortionist, opposed to affirmative action and antidiscrimination laws, legal recogntition of same-sex couples, stem cell research and decriminalisation of voluntary euthanasia. She once stood for the National Party of Australia. It is most notorious for its early eighties campaign against the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Endeavour Forum is tiny, elderly and obsolete in a context where Australia has finally produced its first federal female Prime Minister.

Endeavour Forum: http://www.endeavourforum.org.au

National Civic Council: This Victorian-based conservative Catholic group experienced a period of brief notoriety and lasting resentment during the fifties when it helped to split the Australian Labor Party at the height of an anti-communist red scare. Although it produces News Weekly, a social conservative current affairs magazine, NCC is in serious decline, due to the increasing age of most of  its core cohorts of conservative Catholics. It does not have its own website.

It has a satellite state and federal Senate parliamentary front group, the Democratic Labor Party, which denied the ALP office through the Alternative Vote electoral system due to its views on foreign policy and industrial relations until the early seventies. More recently, the DLP has revived, although predictably now obsessed with conservative Catholic dogma against abortion rights, assisted suicide, stem cell research, same-sex marriage and parenting.

News Weekly: http://www.newsweekly.com.au

Democratic Labor Party: http://www.dlp.org.au

Family Voice (Festival of Light): Like NCC above, this Adelaide-based fundamentalist Christian pressure group has been around for ages, although only since the early seventies. It is pro-censorship, opposed to abortion, voluntary euthanasia, same-sex marriage and parenting, stem cell research and sex work. It has had strong transtasman relationships with New Zealand’s Society for Promotion of Community Standards and Maxim Institute over censorship policy and against prostitution law reform.

Family Voice: http://www.fava.org.au

Family First Party: This conservative Christian federal party is more akin to New Zealand’s Kiwi Party and United Future, although Australia’s federal Senate is elected through the Single Transferable Vote electoral system, which although proportional, privileges demographic concentrations of voters.  Although this means Australian Green Senators in other contexts, it also means that this fundamentalist party is represented there, due to the strength of Adelaide Pentecostalism. Like UFNZ and the Kiwi Party, Family First is primarily obsessed with opposing abortion, stem cell research, repeal of the federal same-sex marriage ban, voluntary euthanasia, stricter censorship legislation and very little else. It puts in far less effort when it comes to more mainstream issues, although it did vote against the anti-union WorkChoices legislation of the Howard administration, climate change and challenge Australia’s draconian and inhumane refugee and asylum seeker policies.

FFP has one federal Senator (either Steve Fielding, Victoria or Bob Day, South Australia), two South Australian Legislative Councillors and one NSW Legislative Councillor, Gordon Moyes. At the moment, it’s in trouble for stupid remarks made about same-sex parenting by Queensland FFP candidate Wendy Francis, and has repudiated Victorian FFP candidate David Barrow for supporting LGBT relationship equality. 

Postscript: It now seems that Senator Fielding may not regain his Senate seat. The Victorian Democratic Labor Party  may gain it instead as the Senate’s STV division of votes continues. However, it may also be the case that Bob Day (South Australia) will secure a Senate seat. Day is a former Liberal Party hardline anti-unionist “WorkChoices” supporter and probably will not support the ALP in the Australian Senate.

Family First Party: http://www.familyfirst.org.au

Christian Democratic Party: This NSW fundamentalist political party is run by Fred Nile, a long-time NSW Legislative Councillor and histrionic opponent of LGBT rights, women’s reproductive choice, nude beaches, voluntary euthanasia, stem cell research, Muslim religious freedom and successive Mardi Gras parades. CDP evolved from the NSW Festival of Light and used NSW’s STV electoral system to use NSW’s Bible Belt to get him into the Legislative Council. The CDP has only ever had two Legislative Councillors. Fred cuts a lonely figure, having lost fellow ex-CDP MLC Gordon Moyes to the Family First Party and dealing with his wife Elaine’s health problems. He has announced his retirement in 2015. Meanwhile, he is attacking inclusive adoption reform in New South Wales.

Christian Democratic Party: http://www.cdp.org.au

Australian Christian Lobby: Originally established in 1995, this Pentecostalist lobby group was set up to oppose the Northern Territory’s decriminalisation of voluntary euthanasia in 1995 as the “Australian Christian Coalition.” Predictably, it has a narrow public policy agenda, opposed to same-sex marriage, altruistic surrogacy, decriminalisation of voluntary euthanasia and supportive of greater religious involvement in state schools and Internet censorship as well as dealing with problem gambling. Controversially nonpartisan. Arrogantly stated that Gillard’s unmarried status was a strike against her insofar as “Christians” were concerned.

Postscript: Working alongside Nile, it is now attacking New South Wales’ proposed inclusive adoption reform bill.

Australian Christian Lobby: http://www.acl.org.au

To be sure, there are other, more minor groups as well as those listed above. These include the Australian Family Association (http://www.family.org.au), which is a conservative Catholic-dominated NCC front group; the Australian Federation for the Family, a minor group established by two Tennessee immigrants, Jack and Margaret Sonneman (http://www.AusFamily.org); the Family Council of Victoria, a talkfest group for Australian Christian Right networking (http://www.fcv.org.au); Focus on the Family Australia, an Australian satellite of that familiar predatory US Christian Right multinational corporation (http://www.families.org.au); the National Marriage Coalition, which is an ACL/AFA/male backlash amalgam established to combat any repeal of Australia’s federal same-sex marriage ban in 2004 (http://www.marriage.org.au); and Salt Shakers, a small but extremely aggressive and militant Melbourne-based broad spectrum Christian Right activist group, roughly equivalent to SPCS in New Zealand (http://www.saltshakers.org.au)

Tags: Politics · Religion

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