VICTORIAN STATE ELECTION by Michael MurphyNews Weekly
Three minor parties pledge to defend Judeo-Christian values
, November 8, 2014
The outcome of the Victorian state election on November 29 is expected to be close — very close. For a number of months, the opposition Labor Party has enjoyed a lead in opinion polls, but this is narrowing as the election approaches. The polls also suggest that a number of seats will be decided by margins of one per cent or less.
Eight political parties contested the last Victorian state election in 2010. This year, 17 parties are already registered, with a number of others still waiting to hear if their registrations will be accepted. This not only gives the voter many more options, but it also increases the chances of minor parties securing seats in the state’s parliamentary upper house, the Legislative Council, with a relatively small number of primary votes.
While the major parties are desperately trying to make this election about transport, hospitals, education and jobs, three minor parties are pushing against this tide by committed themselves to putting Judeo-Christian values back on the agenda.
These parties are the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), which, since its split from the ALP in the mid-1950s, has promoted policies that enhance life, families and communities; the Australian Christians (formerly the Christian Democratic Party), which has a longstanding commitment to Judeo-Christian values; and the Rise Up Australia Party (RUAP), led by Pastor Daniel Nalliah, who famously fought a court case for freedom of religion and freedom of speech in Melbourne from 2002 to 2007.
The three parties recently co-signed a “public assurance of cooperation”, in which they undertook to work together to direct their respective voting preferences according to shared values rather than personal strategic advantage. This is an historic document — the first of its kind in Victoria. The parties have offered a formal assurance that voting for one of their parties will ensure that preferences flow first to candidates who share the same values for life, families and freedom.
Putting aside their differences, the DLP, Australian Christians and the RUAP are committed to changing Victoria’s political landscape. The pre-election pact they signed states (in part): “We are determined to see our shared values represented in our Victorian parliament. Together we can achieve so much more.”
By contrast, the major parties — Liberal, Nationals and Labor — have publicly tried to steer clear of policies based on values.
While the minor parties cannot hope to win sufficient seats in the lower house, the Legislative Assembly, to form government, they can win seats in the Legislative Council.
The signs are promising. Both the ABC’s election expert, Antony Green, and Glenn Druery (known as the “preference whisperer”, who shot to fame during last year’s federal election, which saw the last Senate seat in Victoria go to the Motoring Enthusiasts Party, despite its minuscule primary vote) have predicted success for a number of minor parties in the forthcoming state election.
Such an outcome would leave the Victorian government’s legislative program vulnerable to veto or revision — particularly if it lacked a clear majority in the upper house.
The state of Victoria is at a crucial turning-point in its history.
The last state Labor government passed some of the world’s most permissive abortion laws. Now in opposition, Labor has pledged that if it is returned to government in November, it will introduce a new range of controversial laws and programs, from forcing secondary school students to learn about GLBT (i.e., gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual) lifestyles to removing exemptions which currently allow religious organisations to employ people of shared values.
When the Liberal and National coalition parties unexpectedly won the 2010 state election, they made a good start by amending Labor’s draconian Equal Opportunity Act to once again allow faith-based agencies the right to employ people with their values, and not be forced to employ people who didn’t share those values.
However, for anyone concerned with life issues, the Coalition government, first under Ted Baillieu, then under Denis Napthine, has been a disappointment. It has made no formal or public attempt to amend Victoria’s 2008 Abortion Law Reform Act, and it gives little official encouragement to its own parliamentarians who are committed to pro-life causes.
The radical Greens are making a bid to hold the balance of power in both houses of parliament (AAP, October 18, 2014). If they succeed, this will not bode well for the unborn, the frail, the aged and the disabled, given the Greens’ support for abortion and euthanasia.
A counterbalance is clearly needed. For this reason the historic preference deal among the three minor parties, the DLP, the Australian Christians and the RUAP, may play an important role in the November 29 Victorian election.
Michael Murphy is Victorian state secretary of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
 Antony Green, “Victorian voters to face giant ballot papers at state election”, Antony Green’s Election Blog (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), October 6, 2014.
Heath Aston, “Micro parties tipped to hold sway in NSW, Victoria”, Sydney Morning Herald, October 8, 2014.
Zareh Ghazarian, “Record number of micro-parties to have say in Victorian election”, The Conversation, October 10, 2014.