Long-time politician and outright opponent of the rights of LGBTQI communities, Victorian Liberal MP Kevin Andrews has lost his bid for preselection in the Federal seat of Menzies in Melbourne’s north east to opponent Keith Wolahan.
A member of the Australian Parliament since 1991, Andrews was defeated by Wolahan 181 votes to 111, despite a number of Liberal party insiders expecting a close vote. The ousting of Andrews makes him the first Victorian Liberal party candidate to be turfed by party members in over two decades.
Most recently, in 2014 and in his time as Social Services Minister, Andrews made headlines for booking out the main committee room of Parliament House on behalf the Australian Families Association. The booking was made in order to host an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the redefinition of marriage as “between a man and a woman.”
That same year, conservative Christian organisation The World Congress Of Families named Andrews as it’s ‘Natural Family Man of The Year’ – an award given to “to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to promoting a greater understanding of the centrality of the ‘natural family’ to a prosperous, stable and free society and civilisation.”
Then in 2015 Andrews gave a lecture at UNSW on “The Building Blocks Of Western Civilisation: Marriage And The Family.” In the following years, Andrews used $1,855 in taxpayer funds as part of his approved “study allowance” to attend the US National “prayer breakfast” in Washington DC.
In 2017, Andrews chose to abstain from voting for the bill to legalise same-sex marriage.
Despite Andrews having the support from the usual motley crew of Liberals including Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Federal Health Minster Greg Hunt, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Trade Minister Dan Tehan, John Howard, former Tony Abbott chief-of-staff Peta Credlin and her Sky News colleague Andrew Bolt, it wasn’t enough to secure the retention of his seat. Many have claimed it is a sign of the times, and the need for the Liberal party to inject fresh blood and attract new voters.
Wolahan, who had been waiting for several years for his opportunity to take the seat from Andrews said to reporters after the preselection vote that it “was never a referendum on Mr Andrews’ record, which was one the Liberal Party was very proud of. Today was a vote by the members for the future, and I am extremely humbled by that.”
Addressing Andrews ousting, Josh Frydenberg added that, “Today the Liberal Party in the seat of Menzies has started a new chapter and selected a new candidate in Keith Wolahan.”