As to why the Labor Party lost the unlosable May election and why Scott Morrison is still Prime Minister and not Bill Shorten the recently released ALP review identifies a number of reasons. Alienating the blue collar vote by pushing a deep green environmental agenda, attacking the savings and super schemes of older Australians and the electorate’s distrust of shifty Bill all contributed.
Equally as important, and generally not recognised by the secular, politically correct commentators at the ABC and Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald, is the role of religion and Christianity in particular.
The ALP’s review argues “When all other variables are controlled for, it is estimated that identifying as Christian was associated with a swing against Labor. While the statistical analysis did not break down Christian voters into sub-groups, it appears from electorate-based evidence the most pronounced swings were among devout, first-generation migrant Christians”.
Given Israel Folau’s fate for simply opposing homosexuality and the continued attacks on Margaret Court for opposing same-sex marriage (plus fears the Labor Party would not fully support the commonwealth government’s religious freedom legislation) it’s understandable why so many Christians and Christian advocacy groups were hostile towards the ALP.
A link between voting and the Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite
Evidence of the impact of the religious vote includes the fact that many of the electorates where there was a strong vote against same sex marriage in 2017 are also electorates where there was a strong swing against the ALP in this year’s commonwealth election.
As acknowledged by Chris Bowen, the ALP member for McMahon, “people of faith no longer feel that progressive politics cares about them”. Not surprisingly recommendation 6 of the review argues the ALP must do more to broaden its support “with groups within the Christian community”.
It’s not that simple
If only it were that simple. While the leader of the opposition Anthony Albanese argues he is listening to disgruntled voters the reality is the ALP’s policies in areas like religious freedom, gender and sexuality, late term abortions and euthanasia are still anathema to people of faith, especially Christians and Muslims.
Take the ALP policy pamphlet A Fair Go for LGBTIQ Australians taken to the last election. While many religious parents choose faith-based schools on the basis such schools should be free to abide by their religious beliefs the ALP pamphlet argues the Sex Discrimination Act should be amended to “remove the exemptions that permit religious schools to discriminate against students and staff on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity”.
The ALP’s current policy platform also adopts a cultural-left, politically correct view on controversial and sensitive issues related to radical gender and sexuality theory. By endorsing what are called the Yogyakarta Principles the ALP is clear if elected that an ALP government would do all in its power to assert the rights of LGBTIQ+ people.
The officially endorsed policy states an ALP government would “strengthen laws and expand programs against discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics and queer status”. Such rights would include, as has happened in Victoria and Tasmania, the right transpeople have to change their birth certificate based on their preferred gender. No doubt schools and sporting bodies will be forced to allow transpeople to use whatever changing rooms and toilets they self-identify as and schools will be made to teach there is nothing normal or preferable about the love between a woman and a man.
“schools and sporting bodies will be forced to allow transpeople to use whatever changing rooms and toilets they self-identify as and schools will be made to teach there is nothing normal or preferable about the love between a woman and a man”
While the government’s religious freedom legislation has yet to be finalised it is also true that senior ALP figures like Senator Penny Wong are intent on restricting religious freedom in order to advance the cultural-left’s social and political agenda.
Senator Wong is on the record arguing “Religion-based moral codes continue to limit the freedoms and the rights of those who, in the view of religious groups, do not conform to their views” and “In advocating, and indeed proselytising, their own views, they too often restrict and constrain the rights of others”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, on the other hand, has made clear his support for religious freedom by arguing “I believe there is no more fundamental right than the right to decide what you believe, or do not believe. That means Australians of faith should be free to hold and practise that faith without fear or discrimination against them”.
One of the defining moments of the 2019 election campaign was when Prime Minister Scott Morrison was filmed participating in an Easter service at his Pentecostal church. By not being afraid to publicly celebrate his religious faith and by previously criticising the radical Safe Schools gender and sexuality program Morrison no doubt won support among religious voters. The challenge for the ALP will be to achieve a similar result at the next election.