The Australian Christian Lobby has sent out a survey to candidates who are contesting the forthcoming Victorian local council elections that seeks to gauge their stance in regards to same sex parenting, gender transition, trans rights, abortion among other issues.

Jane Moran, Greens candidate for Whitehorse Council (Cootamundra Ward),  received the survey in an email.

“I opened the survey and then, as I started to read through it, quickly put it in its rightful place – the bin. There should be no place for homophobia or discrimination in 2020,” Moran told Star Observer.

“Ironically the Australian Christian Lobby’s survey was the most un-Christian thing I’ve seen in a long time, a nasty piece of work. Religion should not interfere with politics. It is the role of councillors to represent everyone in their community and especially those most marginalised, including LGBTQI communities. The Greens epitomise kindness and inclusion and that’s why I am standing as a Greens candidate at the upcoming local election,” added Moran.

The Victorian Pride Lobby, a community-based advocacy group, has called out the ACL’s survey as a “push for local councils to discriminate against LGBTQI people.”

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 The ACL’s survey arrived in email inboxes with the subject “Candidate, here’s an easy way to win more votes.” The email by Jasmine Yuen, Acting Director of the Victoria ACL, tells the candidates that it has over 175,000 supporters across Australia including over 25,000 in Victoria. It then goes on to ask the candidates to fill out a survey it has titled the “Child Protection Survey.”

“We plan to publish a Child Protection Index, providing our supporters in each council with a clear indication of where candidates stand with respect to issues related to the protection of children,” the email said.

The survey has around 45 questions, and the candidates have to respond with a score ranging between one and five, with one being ‘strongly disagree’, three being ‘undecided’ and five being ‘strongly agree’.

Some of the questions asked in the survey are:

  • A child should not be able to access gender transitioning treatments without parental consent.
  • A boy who identifies as a girl should be free to use female toilets and change rooms at school.
  • A child has a right to grow up with a mother and a father.
  • Drag Queen Storytime events expose children to harmful, sexualised content.
  • Children should be encouraged to experiment with gender and sexuality at an early age.
  • Children should be taught that abstinence is the best practice for avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections/diseases.
  • Biologically male teenagers who identify as female and are transitioning are unfairly better at sports than girls.
  • Schools should use LGBTQ+ affirming literature to teach children tolerance and inclusion.
  • Programs promoting gender as fluid should not be used in schools (e.g. Genderbread Person).
  • A child’s gender is not discovered; it is determined at birth.
  • Abortion is immoral.
  • Parents should not assume the gender of their child without asking.
  • People who refuse to affirm a child’s non-binary gender identity should not be foster carers.
  • Biblical views regarding the nuclear family and gender roles are antiquated and harmful.
  • Children do just as well without the biological father in the home.
  • A foetus in the womb should have the same legal rights as a baby has after birth.
  • Children in single-parent families don’t lack anything, compared to children raised by both biological parents together.
  • Drag queens are appropriate role models for children.
  • A mother’s freedom of choice trumps a foetus’ right to life.

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 Nevena Spirovska, co-convenor of the Victorian Pride Lobby, in a statement said that the ACL “is once again targeting our community with their intolerance and bigotry.

“They have picketed local libraries and loudly hassled small children and their parents during Drag Queen Storytime events. They tried to block marriage equality. They even want to ban council workers from using pronouns in emails! The ACL would do well to spend more time demonstrating the Christian charity they profess to believe in and less time promoting hate and division.

“Most Victorians would agree local council candidates should be focussing on how they will support local communities and businesses – particularly in the face of a global pandemic. Instead, the ACL is wasting candidates time with an unwarranted survey, trying to make their particular brand of intolerance and hostility an official council policy.”

VPL referred to the fact that over 600 council candidates had taken the Rainbow Pledge to protect the rights of the LGBTQI community if they were elected. This included over 102 openly LGBTQI council candidates.

The Victorian local council elections are scheduled for October by postal ballot. To check if your local candidate has taken the Rainbow pledge, visit the Rainbow Votes website.

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