The NSW Liberals may lose two of their most outspoken gay and lesbian rights critics following a push by the party’s ‘conservative-progressive’ faction to stop David Clarke MLC from recontesting the the next state election.
Civil Contractors Federation CEO David Elliot has nominated for preselection for Clarke’s Legislative Council spot with the backing of the conservative-progressive faction, which is led by Clarke’s former protégé, federal Liberal MP Alex Hawke.
The progressive-conservative faction will find out if they have the numbers to replace Clarke on Friday when pre-selectors pick candidates for the next state election. If they do, Clarke’s allies have warned it would trigger “World War III” within the party.
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported another outspoken critic of GLBT rights, Charlie Lynn MLC, would quit the party to become an independent if Clarke is dumped.
In 2008, Lynn claimed the equalisation of the NSW age of consent laws was intended to expose teens to child molesters.
“Immediately after the 2003 election former premier Bob Carr introduced a bill to lower the age of consent for young boys from 18 to 16 years,” Lynn said. “During the election campaign there was not one squeak about Labor’s intent to expose vulnerable young boys to sexual predators.”
During debate on age of consent in 2003, Lynn read out letters from constituents claiming gay men were more likely to be pedophiles.
Clarke used his maiden speech during the same debate to attack GLBT rights as “contrary to the natural law”.
The following year, while welcoming a federal ban on same-sex marriage, Clarke claimed, “studies show a far higher rate of sexual molestation of children in homosexual households than in heterosexual households”.
He repeated the claim to an ABC journalist the following year.
Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott wrote to Liberal pre-selectors at the beginning of the month, urging them to keep Clarke.
“I know him well and can testify the only big difference between David’s views and the mainstream of the broader Australian community is his fearlessness in expressing them,” Abbott wrote.
Sydney Star Observer contacted Abbott’s office to ask if Clarke’s views on homosexuality were mainstream, but no response was forthcoming before going to print.
Clarke told Sydney Star Observer he would have to look at research over the last six years before deciding whether children in same-sex parented households were at greater risk of molestation today.