Greens ACT Senate candidate Christina Hobbs told the RiotACT this afternoon that neither she nor any Federal Greens candidate would attend an Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Meet the Candidates forum tonight, and confirmed the Greens had not replied to the organisation’s questionnaire for political parties on moral and social justice issues.
“Absolutely not. While I’m happy to speak with people of all political persuasion I will not legitimise an extreme fringe group,” Ms Hobbs said.
“We didn’t receive it in ACT to my knowledge but I don’t have time to fill a survey of a fringe group with bigoted extreme views.”
Candidates scheduled to attend include Labor Senator Katy Gallagher, Liberal Senator Zed Seselja and Sex Party candidate Steven Bailey.
Senator Gallagher tweeted this afternoon, “There will be many people tonight who don’t support the election propaganda of @ACLobby.”
But Ms Hobbs urged all ACT candidates to boycott the event.
“I am not surprised to see Senator Seselja attend this event – he is a well-known opponent of gay rights – but I am incredibly disappointed to see that the Labor Party has accepted the ACL’s invitation.
“In the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy, most Canberrans would be horrified to see both of their Senators sharing the rostrum with bigots and extremists. By attending this event, Senators Seselja and Gallagher are both legitimising bigoted and offensive views.
“For too long, the Australian Christian Lobby and conservative forces have been setting the policy agenda, and spreading lies and misinformation about Australia’s LGBTI community.
“This is the same group that once said being gay was more hazardous than smoking.
“This is the same group that warned that same-sex couples having children will lead to another stolen generation.
“And this is the same group that has called for anti-discrimination laws to be ‘set-aside’ so opponents of same-sex marriage could engage in a huge race to the bottom during a plebiscite campaign.
“It’s time for Canberra’s representatives to show some leadership on this issue and pull out of tonight’s event.”
The ACL is labelling next week’s Federal election as the most important in a generation because it says “redefining marriage will … threaten many of our most fundamental freedoms”.
The Deakin-based organisation describes itself as a “grassroots movement of over 50,000 people seeking to bring a Christian influence to politics”. It is non-party partisan and non-denominational, but the major parties’ policies on two key issues of concern for the group this election, same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program, mean it is effectively calling on its members to vote for the Coalition.
“More than any other election issues, these two will radically reshape Australia, starting with re-shaping our children’s understanding of sex and gender,” says managing director Lyle Shelton in the organisation’s election guide (an extract from which appears in the image above).
“You and I know that this is just the rehearsal. If the Coalition is elected, the next big challenge will be the campaign to preserve marriage through the promised plebiscite after the election.”
The website includes a series of links to party responses to a questionnaire on moral and social justice issues. These will provide valuable insights to voters of all perspectives. Scroll to the bottom of this page on the ACL site to find the questionnaire responses.
Recent news items on the organisation’s website include:
According to a Wikipedia article on the organisation, it is opposed to same sex marriage, euthanasia and abortion.
A recent comment on a post on the ACL Facebook page on abortion had this to say:
“If a life would have gone forwards without intervention then the intervention is an act of murder. Why all the protests about sharks when we remain silent about human lives lost every day. Shame and guilt perhaps?”
A spokesman said the ACL had invited all the candidates. Other confirmed attendees included Sandie O’Connor of the Rise Up Australia Party, David Kim of the Christian Democratic Party and Anthony Hanson of Mature Australia.
The forum will be held at the lobby group’s Eternity Church, at 490 Sulwood Drive, Kambah (not its Eternity House office in Deakin), between 7pm and 8.30pm tonight, and a spokesman told the RiotACT that all are welcome so long as they RSVP by 5pm today at http://www.acl.org.au/act_senate_meet_your_candidates_forum