Michael Ferguson is one of the Liberal members for Bass. He holds numerous ministries in the Gutwein Government.

Today I want to highlight something Michael said during the debate in relation to the assisted suicide bill last year. In his second reading speech in relation to that bill, Michael said:

I am a Christian. I would not say I am a very good one, but I find it interesting that faith and religion has been brought into this debate repeatedly, but usually not by those people who call themselves Christians, like myself. 

 “I do not think I need to, because I am quite naturally disposed to arguing this bill and these attempts to change the law on mercy killing and physician-assisted suicide, around the ethical principles that my worldview is as a person, of who I am, including as a person of faith.

 “I was concerned when Mr Gaffney publicly stated to, I believe, the National Secular Lobby of Australia, and I quote:

 ‘All groups and individuals have a right to voice their opinion on any issue; however, no religious group should feel as though they should be able to influence policy-making in Australia.’

 “Why has Mr Gaffney singled out the Christian church in Australia, and yet so much has been made by Mr Gaffney, and others, in support of this bill by bringing in groups who call themselves, for example, Christians in Support of VAD, and other select individuals who have been brought into this debate who are public Christians, and who have a different opinion to myself?

 “That is just wrong. Any group should be able to influence policy-making in Australia. What else?”

Michael touches on a very important principle. Australia is a free country, not a secular one.

That means our nation and Tasmania is not founded on a presumption of atheism but the notion that all people have the right to have – and live out – their faith according to their conscience and to participate in political and community life on the basis of their faith.

Tasmania is the only state in Australia which constitutionally recognises the importance of religious freedom. Section 46 of our Constitution says, “Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.” Tassie leads the way!

Well done Michael for calling out the double standards of those who try to silence the Christian voice in the public square.

Lara Alexander is another Liberal candidate for Bass. She recently told me that she is likely to have voted against the assisted suicide bill had she been in Parliament.

Please pray for Michael and Lara in these last hectic days before polls open on Saturday 1 May.