For release: Saturday March 15, 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has congratulated the Liberal Party on its resounding win in the Tasmanian election and looks forward to working constructively with the new government.
ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said the enormous amount of time the State Parliament spent debating contentious social issues such as same-sex marriage (twice), abortion and euthanasia had proven unattractive to mainstream voters.
Mr Brown said Christian voters had also been disappointed with the lack of engagement by Labor during the election campaign.
Premier-elect Will Hodgman and a large number of his candidates had participated in ACL election activities.
Mr Hodgman had participated in an election interview where he committed to amend anti-discrimination laws to provide a general exemption to Christian schools when it comes to enrolling students and hiring staff.
“This was a welcome announcement which means Christian schools will be able to enrol students and employ staff who share the ethos and values of the school without being in breach of anti-discrimination laws,” he said.
Mr Brown said the ALP’s lack of engagement with the Christian community may well have contributed to its election loss.
“Only one sitting Labor MP participated in the five Meet Your Candidate Forums conducted by the lobby throughout the state. This was in comparison with seven sitting Liberal MPs and three sitting Greens MPs who attended,” he said.
“The ALP’s poor result should make for some serious soul searching regarding the future direction of the party. Many Tasmanian Christian Labor voters were disappointed with the party’s lack of engagement with the constituency,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown said it was time for Labor to move back to the political centre to ensure its appeal to mainstream Tasmanians.
The disproportionate amount of time spent working with the Greens on a radical social reform agenda at the expense of front and centre issues like jobs and the economy has contributed significantly to tonight’s result. This sentiment was confirmed by former ALP Premier Paul Lennon who on last night’s ABC 7.30 Report stated “it was the preoccupation with the social issues in Parliament rather than the basic issues of health and education and job development”.
Mr Brown said Labor had much to commend to Christian voters and he hoped it would not give up on this constituency as it sought to rebuild.
“Labor has proud historical roots in Christianity amongst Irish Catholic workers and Protestant Methodists who were at the forefront of the creation of the trade union movement. The ALP in its rebuilding process should not ignore these important foundations and ensure its appeal encompasses the large Tasmanian Christian constituency,” he said.