By Jim Wallace, ACL Managing Director

Well the decision has been made. There will be many who rightly question the decision of the Independents given the count on seats won, first preference votes and two party preferred votes, all of which were in the majority for the Coalition. However, as Tony Abbott has gracefully acknowledged, that is our system, and we need to respect it for all its other strengths.

The real concern is the influence of the Greens in the next parliament, certainly from July 2011 when they take their place holding the balance of power in the Senate.

Despite being unable to answer the question about gay marriage in ACL’s Election Questionnaire, they are now, not unsurprisingly, raising it as a major issue they will be pursuing as early as they can in the Parliament.

However Christians should take confidence that Julia Gillard made an unequivocal promise on gay marriage, not only to maintain the party policy that marriage is between a man and a woman as long as she is the leader, but also not to trade it off if the Greens hold the balance of power.

While the Greens will attempt to force a conscience vote on the issue, neither Labor or the Coalition can allow this, without betraying the their promises, as their position on gay marriage is an unequivocal plank in their party policy and party policy is not subject to a conscience vote.

Family First may yet retain a seat in the Senate, with Bob Day, the SA candidate still ahead for the final seat there with over 85% of the vote counted and with preferences still to be distributed. While David Fawcett the Liberal candidate competing for the final seat is also a strong Christian, it would be important for the future of Family First to retain the seat in the Senate.

A minority Government is certainly a recipe for instability and we need to pray that it will not lead to a further deterioration of Christian values in the nation. In this regard the Christian constituency must realise that it must commit to a much higher degree than it has of late, and participate in debates in the public square and bring Christ into it.