By Jim Wallace, ACL Managing Director

The acknowledgement by Julia Gillard that the general dissatisfaction with State Labor governments is hurting Federal Labor should send a strong message to all parties that they cannot afford to confuse their brand name.

While state party organisations are usually very autonomous, it is inevitable that voters will not make this distinction and perhaps even important that parties are made to show more consistency across the jurisdictions.

Certainly Christians in Victoria and Qld have seen state Labor governments introduce, propose or test a number of legislative initiatives that have offended them. The list between just these two states ranges over even late term abortion, surrogacy for two men or even a single man, and threats to the right of churches and church bodies to discriminate on employment.

In NSW we are now facing a state Labor Government in its death throes looking to legalise homosexual adoption, and remove the long established status of scripture in schools, by introducing competing programmes.

Wherever they have been present, the Greens have invariably played a key role in the championing of this type of legislation – a role very important to take into consideration given the consequences for many Christian moral concerns should they hold the balance of power in the Senate.

But the Coalition does not have a clean slate either, with the WA Barnett government, dragging its heels on what was a clear election promise to fully investigate the Swedish model for controlling prostitution – a system which criminalises the purchasers of sex, rather than its real victims, the sex workers.

Brand name is important, we shouldn’t excuse state / federal inconsistencies too easily, but instead demand of all parties that they set a national standard on the highest party performance in terms of policies, values and conduct.

In further confirmation of their anti-marriage agenda, the Greens have this weekend announced that they will be seeking to force a conscience vote on gay marriage within the first year of the new parliament – one of the 18 issues they failed to be honest with Christian electors with on our election questionnaire.

While some Christians may place other issues higher in their reckoning, this, together with the history of the Greens legislative agenda in state parliaments mentioned above, should have us all looking at the alternatives in the Senate. There is a broad field including the major parties, Family First and the CDP – a good reason to start studying if you haven’t already, the parties’ responses to our election questionnaire on this site.

Over the last days of this campaign I will draw your attention to some of the policy differences between the parties and also comment more on the all important race for the Senate.