By Jim Wallace, ACL Managing Director

The much anticipated ‘town hall meeting’ in Brisbane between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott has again confirmed that Saturday will be a tough contest, with honours going, in most commentators view, pretty evenly.

For us the most disappointing aspect of it was to see Tony Abbott saying that the ISP filter would slow the internet down, something that trials prove is not right. It has been proven to slow it by only 1/70th of the blink of an eye.

However the purpose of today’s blog is to discuss the Senate, where it seems that the Greens are on track to hold the balance of power, something we believe is no more in the Christian interest than having parties from the far right of politics holding it like One Nation or the Citizens Electoral Council.

We have pursued this issue of the Greens’ suitability to hold the balance of power on the basis of what we believe has been a deceptive attempt to attract Christian votes, and a conviction that our non-party partisan principles do not extend to ignoring lack of truth in politics.

The reality is that the Greens attempted to mask their policies on a lot of issues of concern to Christians by simply not responding to some 18 of 24 questions in our questionnaire, despite the fact that both their formal policies and record at both state and federal level made it clear they had formal policies or parliamentary track record on them.

While there are clearly some policy positions on refugees, poverty and the environment that will be attractive to us as Christians, it is a matter for each of us to assess whether the degree of difference with other parties’ policies on these issues is enough to overlook the often anti-faith parliamentary record of the Greens, and the weight of policies in this election which are inconsistent with a faith position for most evangelical and orthodox Christians.

The Greens’ track record includes attempts to remove prayer from parliament, sponsorship and support for all manner of anti-life agendas including abortion on demand till birth, cloning, RU486 and euthanasia – almost always taking the extreme position on these issues. They blindly support the gay agenda at both state and federal level, regardless of how it conflicts with the rights of children in homosexual adoption or surrogacy for instance, and have attempted to introduce gay marriage legislation and pledged to pursue it again.

In Victoria they were responsible for causing a government review that had an objective of removing the right of churches and Christian organisations to discriminate in employment so that they can employ Christians in, for instance, Christian schools. The ACT Senate candidate confirmed only this week the stance that if you receive government funding you should not be able to discriminate in this regard.

Many of the Greens’ policies display an incredible incoherency, with for instance their stated concern for women and the environment completely at odds with their support of pornography and prostitution – two of the most obvious ways through which women are demeaned and exploited, particularly through the sex trafficking they fuel.

What then are the options?

Clearly the Coalition and the ALP have candidates in the Senate and are keen to maximise their presence there and the policy considerations are the same as for your decision in the House of Representatives.

You should never underestimate the power of influence of Senators into the parliament and government in general, with Tasmania’s Senator Guy Barnett an example of a Senator who has repeatedly influenced wider parliamentary discourse positively through parliamentary committees and other forums, including playing the key parliamentary role in securing marriage as between a man and a woman in the Marriage Act.

Helen Polley and Eric Abetz are two other Tasmanian Senators with strong Christian track records, and of course there are more in the other states.

Obviously Family First and the Christian Democratic Party will rate high in the consideration of many Christians, with both having clearly pro-family, pro-Christian policies which you can see here.

A check of the preference arrangements will show where these parties’ preference flows will go, a consideration if you are planning to vote above the line.

But remember your vote is not wasted by voting for one of these parties, as long as you are happy with the preference flow they allocate. Remember too you can allocate them yourself by voting below the line, but missing even one square will invalidate your vote.

Both these parties have upper house parliamentary experience and have been very effective in NSW, for the CDP and SA for Family First.  In addition Family First's voting record in the Federal  Senate has been pretty much exemplary.

To understand Senate voting better, view this video.