Monday, July 16, 2012

Both major parties are to blame for the Greens’ disproportionate and negative influence in both houses of Federal Parliament and both parties should be more diligent to ensure Greens are put last on how to vote cards, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

ACL Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton today welcomed moves by the NSW branch of the Australian Labor Party to ensure the Greens do not automatically receive Labor preferences at elections and urged the Coalition to do the same.

All but two of the Greens Senators elected at the last election were voted in on the back of preferences and the Greens won their first ever lower house seat at a general election in 2010 election on the back Coalition preferences for Adam Bandt in the seat of Melbourne.

"ACL has been warning for years that the Greens are to the left of politics what One Nation was to the right and sounded such warnings before Labor struck its governing agreement with the Greens," Mr Shelton said.

"The Victorian Coalition showed putting Greens last was effective in keeping them out of Parliament at the last state election."

Mr Shelton said that despite the posturing that occurred before elections, Labor inevitably ended up exchanging preferences with the Greens with disastrous results.

It was disappointing that the Coalition sometimes favoured the Greens over Labor – something which resulted in Adam Bandt’s historic win.

"It is largely because of one Greens’ activism in the House of Representatives that the same-sex 'marriage' debate has dragged on so long, despite the majority of MPs saying this issue does not resonate in their electorates, " Mr Shelton said.

"In the same way the major parties stared down the One Nation threat, they need to work together to see the Greens' Parliamentary presence diminished.

"ACL is concerned that Labor's closeness to the Greens is damaging its ability to reach out to Christian voters, something which was instrumental in its success at the 2007 election."

Mr Shelton said ACL was non-party partisan but critical when necessary. He said it was important for good democracy that both major parties presented policies which were attractive to the Christian constituency.


[1] Of the 30 MPs who spoke in parliament in August last year at the behest of Mr Bandt, 18 said an overwhelming majority in their electorates supported retaining the current definition of marriage, six said they favoured change and six didn’t indicate the numbers in their electorate. There is broad agreement on both sides of the debate that an overwhelming majority of MPs support retaining Marriage Act in its current form.