Andrew M. Potts
Family First has a presence in the NSW Parliament for the first time following the defection of the former Christian Democrat, Gordon Moyes, to the party.
Moyes was expelled by the Christian Democrats in April following years of simmering tension with the Rev. Fred Nile, but remained in the Legislative Council as an independent.
Moyes had criticised Nile for his “extreme fundamentalism” and an “anti-Muslim and anti-gay” obsession, writing on his website that these views were out of step with mainstream Christianity in Australia.
However, in practice the difference between Moyes and Nile on the issue of sexuality is largely rhetorical.
Moyes is currently running a petition opposing full adoption rights for same-sex couples in NSW, following a recommendation for reform by the NSW Parliament’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice in July.
“The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has ramped up the pressure on NSW Members of Parliament to remove the right of adopted children to have a mother and a father,” wrote Moyes in October.
“The leading gay and lesbian newspaper, the Sydney Star Observer, is vigorously advocating Members of Parliament to introduce same-sex adoption legislation.”
Family First opposes gay and lesbian adoption, IVF for lesbians and the recognition of same-sex couples as anything greater than de factos.
With the addition of Moyes, Family First now has five representatives in Australia’s state and federal parliaments.
However, ABC elections analyst Antony Green has written that splitting the Christian vote in NSW may dash both parties’ hopes of seeing more of their number elected to Parliament.
Nile attracted 9.1 percent of the vote on entry into politics in 1981. The CDP vote now sits at around 2 percent.
Family First achieved a primary vote of less than 1 percent in NSW during the 2007 Federal election.
In related news, the Christian Democrats will field nine candidates in the Bradfield by-election in an attempt to maximise their vote, while Nile has announced he will retire from politics at the end of his term in 2015.