You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Family First

Heard on ABC radio this afternoon:

South Australian documentary filmmaker Bruce Rodmand is making a documentary about the Family First party. The following are some paraphrases:

On the allegations that a family first volunteer suggested that lesbians should be burnt at the stake:
"I did a bit of research and asked around about this and it seemd that this was the response after severe goading by someone from the Greens. The party did not attampt to sweep this under the carpet but said they were not about this kind of thing."

"Family First are very financially astute - these people are not idiots - and have funded themselves through voluntary contributions."

"They are here for the long haul - not just the next election but 5, 10 even 50 years ahead."

"Family First play the role of Jesus and try and do the right thing. They are different from the Frd Nile group. It's almost a matter of 'How Would Jesus Vote'" (discussion drowned out by snickers and funny voices from ABC DJ Spenser Howson saying "What Would Jesus Do?")

I can't wait to see this documentary. It sems to be a fair-minded attempt to interpret the Family First Party to the genral Australin public and dispel some myths before they develop.

In The Courier-Mail 11 Oct 04:

Page 6: Newspaper takes pole position for precision
Gary Morgan, pollster:

"He said the new party had 'flown under the pollsters' radar.' 'We have now seen the return of right-wing conservatives and religious-aligned parties and it will be one of the biggest problems facing Labor,' he said."

Labor has traditionally relied on preferences from the Democrats and the Greens, but with the Democrats failing at the polls and the Greens under Brown crowing about heir electoral success as a separate party, Labor is in strife from its own side of politics.

Page 7: Failed Liberal blames sexual preferences

Re: Ingrid Tall, Liberal candidate for Brisbane:
"Her sexuality became a talking point in the campaign when the family First party and nationals candidate Nick Withcombe attacked her stance on family issues. Family First, the new Assembly of God-backed party, was criticised after one of its electoral workers said the party supported lesbians 'being burnt to death'. With counting continuing, the Greens have not given up on winning the Senate position, but are infuriated by the probable outcome after claiming they were targeted by a deceptive Family First television advertising camapign in country Victoria."

The tussle of the minor parties (in urban Brisbane) - the Nationals, Greens and Family First. It strikes me that Family First are closer in social values and economic ideology to the Nationals.

Page 12: Opinion & Letters

Barry Welch:
"A rampant and unfettered John Howard in league with the ratbag religious right. Australians should be afraid, very afraid."

(Barrry Welch is an organiser of the Quensland Teachers Union)

The most virulent attacks on Family First will not come from labor directly - they will come from leftists similar to the one above and from the Greens more directly. Similar to the Chinese political tradition of using relatives and supporters to slander opponents to preserve the face of the key figures.

Page 13: The reason Labor's poll stategy went wrong
John Black (a former Labor senator and campaign strategist)

"Error 5: There were no attempts by Labor to draw a line between themseleves and the Greens, or to attack Family First like John Howard attacked the Greens. Family First seems to me to be like One Nation at prayer. I was horrified to read the comments of some Family First workers about lesbians getting burned at the stake, or lumping synagogues and mosques in with brothels. Yet there were no attack ads on this sort of this, and this group largely escaped scrutiny as a result."

Reminds me of the post by Tom which sugggested the Uniting Church was the Australian Democrats at prayer. Perhaps I can order a re-post? Tom?

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