Media Release

The Victorian Government is planning to sell out the best interests of children as part of a package of measures to win the gay vote, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.

ACL Victorian Director Rob Ward said Victorian Labor’s blatant attempt to chase the gay vote by proposing to give them same-sex adoption and a package of other inducements makes a mockery of any claims that changes to adoption laws would only be made if they are better for children.

“The best interests of children are meant to be paramount in adoption laws but here we have the Government indicating it is willing to look at changing these laws solely to appease gay voters,” Mr Ward said.

“With large numbers of heterosexual couples waiting years to adopt a child it is difficult to understand how placing an adopted child in a home where they will be denied the benefit of having both a mother and a father could ever be construed as putting a child’s best interests first.”

Mr Ward said Victorian Labor should be looking to govern for all Victorians and it is alarming to see the party cynically chasing the gay vote, perhaps as a way to counter-act the increased popularity of The Greens.

“It is also a major concern that the Government may be looking to withhold funding from faith-based community welfare organisations which, for instance, might prefer not to employ people whose lifestyle choices might not accord with their religious beliefs,” Mr Ward said. “Rather than genuinely partnering with these organisations – which play such a significant role in Victoria – the Government appears to be trying to impose its own ‘diversity’ regime on them by using funding as the lever.”

Mr Ward said there is also concern that the Government is proposing to give special rights to gay lobby groups to influence government policies, even though they represent only around two per cent of the population.

“One has to question why the Government would discriminate against other lobby groups by choosing to give $400,000 to an already articulate and well-financed gay lobby. In terms of buying votes this is taking pork-barrelling to a new low.”

In terms of the $100,000 over four years to be committed to addressing homophobic harassment, Mr Ward said: “All violence is wrong but I am unaware of any evidence of an epidemic of homophobic violence in Victoria. If such a thing is taking place than a mere $25,000 each year to address it is tokenistic.”

Mr Ward urged the Victorian Government to consider the interests of all Victorians – and particularly children – in the lead-up to the election and to resist pressure to try to outbid The Greens in efforts to secure the small gay vote.

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan 0408 875 979