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Monica Doumit: MP puts Labor at risk over faith

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Rose Jackson, Labor Member of the NSW Upper House. Photo: Pol2019/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
Rose Jackson, Labor Member of the NSW Upper House. Photo: Pol2019/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

If Rose Jackson represents NSW Labor’s real attitude to voters of faith, it has a real problem on its hands. If elected, what would she set out to do?

As we get closer to the March 2023 election, major and minor parties, as well as independents, are going to be pitching for your vote.

NSW Labor is trying very hard to distance itself from the more extreme members of other state Labor governments across the country, many of whom frequently express a vocal, anti-faith point of view (Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is the obvious example) and are actively courting the religious vote.

NSW is the most religious state in Australia. Our multicultural makeup includes many migrants and first-generation Australians and conservative faith leaders still exercise significant influence with a good portion of their congregations.

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So it is a smart move for NSW Labor to court the religious vote.

If they are going to do this effectively, however, they need to be careful that their own MPs aren’t too brazen with demonstrating their disdain for traditional values when it comes to life and family, particularly when they are held by other candidates in the next election.

Noel McCoy, who is tipped to be the Liberal candidate for Castle Hill in March 2023, is one of those likely candidates.

McCoy told The Sydney Morning Herald last week that if elected to NSW Parliament, “publicly make the case for reconsidering policy settings” when it came to abortion.

McCoy went on to say:

“I am unashamedly pro-life. We should give consideration to policy options that ensure no women feels pressured to have an abortion, has access to compassionate care and genuine options (including life-affirming ones) coupled with practical support.”

This seems like a pretty moderate position. He did not call for a recriminalisation of abortion, nor suggest that he would seek to change the law at all.

All he did was propose policy changes that would expand the options for pregnant women to include the practical supports that would help them to choose life.

McCoy’s views would fit in nicely with the man he hopes to succeed, David Elliott MP, who voted against the abortion bill back in 2019, and also with those of his electorate, which is seen as the centre of Sydney’s so-called “Bible Belt.”

“Jackson’s comments were disgraceful and a slur not only upon McCoy, but upon anyone who is brave enough to stand for life.”

McCoy’s comments were, however, all too much for Rose Jackson, a NSW Labor MLC and the shadow minister for water, housing and homelessness.

Jackson took a screenshot of the Sydney Morning Herald article and tweeted:

“Next generation NSW Liberal weirdo Noel McCoy saying the quiet bit of their extremist agenda out loud. I didn’t think I could be any more motivated to boot these guys from office. Turns out I was wrong.”

2GB reported that Jackson went on to say: “Honestly mate, priorities. Just back off talking about my body, you freak.” [Note: I have not been able to find this further comment outside of the 2GB report.]

Weirdo. Extremist. Freak.

These are the words that a sitting member of the NSW Parliament chose to describe someone who declared himself to be pro-life and articulated that the way he would demonstrate this is buy pursuing policies that would give women access to compassionate care, genuine options and practical support.

What’s more, if the 2GB report is correct, asking McCoy to “back off” from talking about her body and calling him a freak disingenuously characterises his concern for the unborn as a pervert obsession with women’s bodies, rather than an authentic, pro-life position.

Jackson’s comments were disgraceful and a slur not only upon McCoy, but upon anyone who is brave enough to stand for life.

She is not only pro-abortion but appears to hold nothing but contempt for those who do not share her views.

There are many in NSW who oppose the abortion till birth laws currently in place, and even more who are concerned about abortion coercion, the lack of domestic violence shelters, affordable housing, reasonably-priced childcare and flexible working conditions that would give women much more ‘reproductive choice’ than simply removing all barriers to abortion.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns and others in NSW Labor’s shadow ministry would do well to pull Jackson into line and distance himself from her characterisation of those who want to protect life as weirdos with an extremist agenda.

Otherwise, he risks the perception that NSW Labor’s pitch to religious voters is only skin deep.

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