Nearly one in 10 Liberal candidates at this weekend’s NSW state election will not direct voters to give their second preference to the Rev Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party (CDP).
Seven candidates out of 73 will ask Liberal voters to just vote 1 in the Upper House. Under the NSW system of optional preferential voting, that means either the vote will be exhausted if their Liberal is not elected or voters may allocate preferences how they wish.
The seven, hailing from electorates with large GLBT or Muslim constituencies, are the Liberal candidates for Sydney, Coogee, Liverpool, Lakemba, Granville, Bankstown and Auburn.
None of the seven will ask voters to direct preferences to the CDP in the Lower House.
All Nationals candidates in the election will direct voters to give their second preference to the CDP in the Upper House, including Orange candidate Andrew Gee who succeeds Nationals MP Russell Turner, a long-time ally of the GLBT community.
Openly gay Liberals, and candidates for Sydney and Coogee, Adrian Bartels and Bruce Notley-Smith, told the Star Observer about their decision to buck the party trend by not directing preferences to the CDP.
Bartels reassured Star Observer readers that the only way a vote for him could turn into a vote for the CDP was if they preferenced them themselves.
For people in electorates where the Liberal candidate was directing people to preference the CDP, Bartels encouraged people to think of how-to-vote cards as “the serving suggestions on a box of cereal — you don’t have to have it with strawberries”.
“Unlike at federal elections, in NSW preferencing is optional, so if anyone is uncomfortable about how a how-to-vote card directs them to vote, they have all the power in their own hands.”
Notley-Smith let out a long laugh before telling the Star Observer, “No”, when asked if he would preference the CDP.
“The Christian Democrats position is quite the contrary of mine and I encourage people to just vote 1 Liberal in the Upper House,” he said.
“If anyone wants to go to my website, you’ll find the how-to-vote card and it just has 1 in the Upper House and 1 in the Lower House.”