For release: March 17, 2010

With polls predicting the Tasmanian Greens will hold the balance of power following this weekend’s election it is important that Christian voters are aware of the party’s policies on issues ranging from euthanasia and same-sex marriage through to gambling, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.

ACL Tasmanian Director Nick Overton said some of the policies being put forward by the Greens would be of great concern to many Christians, while others – such as their anti-gambling policy – would be appreciated.

“Although they are still the only Tasmanian political party not to respond to our questionnaire, the Greens have been clear in the past about their plan to continue to push for euthanasia to be legalised in the next parliament, putting the lives of vulnerable sick and elderly people at risk if they are successful,” Mr Overton said.

“Even though marriage is a Federal Government issue, the Greens have also indicated that they will continue to push the gay marriage barrow – another factor of concern for those who understand the importance of upholding marriage as being between a man and a woman.

“On the more favourable side, the Greens’ plan to rid Tasmania of poker
machines over the next five years would have merit with Christians concerned about the disastrous effects of problem gambling on families.”

Mr Overton said it was important that Christian voters were aware of these policies and very disappointing that the Greens had not replied to the ACL questionnaire, giving Christians the opportunity to scrutinise their written policies on other concerns.

“We have appreciated the fact that a number of Greens’ candidates, including Greens’ Leader Nick McKim have taken the time to attend our Meet Your Candidate Forums and answer questions individually from Christians attending. However these forums obviously have a limited reach and we still don’t have the benefit of receiving Greens’ policies in writing, which thousands of Christians could then read about in detail on our www.tasvotes.org website.

“I understand that Mr McKim has said he would have liked to have participated in our Make it Count event with the Labor and Liberal leaders last month, but the format for this event has always been restricted to the two main party leaders – in other States and Federally, as well as for last month’s event.”

Mr Overton said that questions put to the political parties – with responses posted on www.tasvotes.org – ranged from queries about polices on indigenous issues, homelessness, mental health and climate change to abortion, palliative care, religious freedom and prostitution laws.

“Answers to the questionnaire provided by the Labor and Liberal Parties have provided some valuable insights for Christians on their positions on issues of concern. For example both Labor’s and Liberal’s answers on whether they plan to legalise surrogacy for same-sex couples would give no reassurance to Christians concerned about the best interests of children.

“Some good ideas and initiatives have been put forward by both parties on tackling homelessness and their answers regarding the need for comprehensive abortion data collection are also favourable. We also appreciate the clear policy position of the Liberals in saying they are against the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games.”

Mr Overton said that the aim of the Tasmania Votes website is to assist Christians to make a wise and informed vote at the upcoming election after accurately weighing up the different party polices and views on issues of concern to them.

Media Contact: Nick Overton on 0408 850 629; Glynis Quinlan 0408 875 979.