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Where do the parties stand on family issues?
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Party responses to the FamilyVoice election survey show big differences


With the federal election just ten days away,  the differences between the major parties are showing more clearly.

Christian community group FamilyVoice Australia has sent ten questions on issues relating to family, faith and freedom to all of the 1,625 candidates with an email address.

The ten questions were also sent to the headquarters of significant parties.

The results, particularly for the major parties, are revealing,” FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said today.

The definition of marriage marked a big divide.  Minor parties including Family First and the Christian Democratic Party supported the man-woman meaning marriage has had since the beginning of history; the Liberal Nationals Coalition supported a plebiscite to allow the people of Australia to decide; Labor and the Greens want same-sex marriage by a parliamentary vote as soon as possible.

“Incredibly, it was only five years ago that Bill Shorten personally told me he supported the man-woman meaning of marriage,” Ros Phillips said.  “At a 2011 community forum in Adelaide he said, before several witnesses: ‘I believe the case for changing the definition of marriage has not been made’.  No cries of ‘homophobe!’ on that occasion.”

Other results include:

Safe Schools Coalition program: Family First will cancel it and replace with a program to combat all forms of bullying.  The Coalition government has significantly revised it and will cease funding when Labor’s contract ends next year.  Labor supports the original program and will extend funding for it.  The Greens will quadruple funding for the original program to $8 million per year.

Free speech:  Family First will re-introduce their bill to remove the words “offend” and “insult” from s18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.  They believe similar state laws need to be amended as well, to prevent the injustice of people being hauled through the courts merely for speaking, in a reasonable manner, truth that may offend others.

By contrast, the Coalition will not change the wording of 18C, even though they promised in August 2013 to repeal it entirely.  Labor has a similar view.   And the Greens want to go further – they will not change 18C, and they will push to remove all exemptions for religious organisations from anti-discrimination laws, seriously undermining religious freedom.

Ros Phillips said she had sent the ten questions to Nick Xenophon, but has not received a response.  “He told me some years ago that he never replies to surveys.  He does not decide his position on a bill until he has seen the final wording,” she said.  “But voters deserve to know his general position on issues.  Nick should at least tell us he supports same-sex marriage and does not want to allow a plebiscite.

“This election could dramatically change the culture and the freedoms we have come to expect in our democracy.  I urge voters to check our website and vote with care!”


  • Family and parenthood
  • Government and society

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