Marriage equality advocate and openly gay Liberal Party candidate for the seat of Melbourne Ports Kevin Ekendahl has responded to criticism of Family First’s position in his how-to-vote card preferences, dismissing the accusations as irrelevant.
Ekendahl has been criticised by some in the LGBTI community for placing the anti-gay Christian party Family First second on his how-to-vote card.
“It means absolutely nothing. State-wide what happens is our how to vote cards are all designed and organised by our head office, by our director — he’s the one who decides where our preferences go, and essentially, my preferences won’t go anywhere,” he told the Star Observer.
“Because I’m going to be one of the two candidates with the most primary votes, our preferences don’t get counted. So it actually means nothing at all.
Ekendahl sees the accusations as part of an effort to derail his campaign against sitting Labor MP Michael Danby, who has also been the subject of criticism from the LGBTI community.
“I’m sure people that want to try to derail my campaign would see that message in there, but really…there’s no way I can be supporting Family First by putting them second on our how to vote card,” Ekendahl said, saying the Australian Christian Lobby have been campaigning against him in the seat.
“At the end of the day, voters can put their preferences however they want to. People who vote for me don’t have to follow my how to vote card.”
Ekendahl pointed out Danby also preferences Family First candidate Robert Keenan second on his how-to-vote card, despite Danby’s claims to be a supporter of marriage equality.