A Victorian election advertising campaign by secretive religious group Exclusive Brethren against socially destructive policies such as same-sex marriage had little effect on progressive parties’ vote last Saturday, according to the Greens.

Greens federal leader Bob Brown told Sydney Star Observer the advertisements in major Melbourne newspapers last week rebounded.

We picked up very quickly they were Exclusive Brethren ads, Brown said.

I think people are fed up with that sort of extreme advertising by people who are not prepared to come out and argue their case, let alone vote.

The newspaper advertisements did not name the Greens but warned that the future of Victoria was in danger because persons promoting radical and extreme policies could gain control of the upper house in this state.

The Age reported the person who authorised the advertisements was part of Exclusive Brethren, a strict religious group whose members do not vote.

The group has advertised against pro-gay political parties in the run-up to recent state elections, including in Tasmania in March. The Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal is considering a case against the anti-transgender ads.

At the time of going to press, the Greens appeared to have won two upper house seats but looked unlikely to take a lower house spot in the election that saw the Steve Bracks Labor government returned to power.

It is always hard for the Greens and the polls were falsely high, Brown said.

Conservative party Family First polled less strongly than expected, receiving about four percent of the primary vote and failing to win a seat in parliament.

Meantime, Melbourne City Council has provisionally backed a relationships declaration register for same-sex and opposite-sex couples, after initially voting against the register last week.

The register would be similar to the City of Sydney’s existing Relationships Declaration Program. It is not due to take effect until at least early 2007.

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