Sunday, June 27, 2010

Christian parties say they offer value for votes

Australian voters with a Christian perspective have been focused on the major parties with the Make it Count webcast last Monday and a new Prime Minister on Friday.

Christian voters will watch closely the performance and direction of Julia Gillard in the coming weeks to see if the engagement with the Christian community, notable under Kevin Rudd, continues.

In the meantime, with an election imminent, parties specifically aligned with Christian values continue to press their claim to receive the votes of believers.

Australian Christian Lobby’s Jim Wallace said a vote for a Christian party candidate, even if they don’t win, was never wasted.
'People have to remember that because of our preferential system, you can place a first vote for a Christian party and then, whether your preference is allocated as the party would have them or you allocate them yourselves, your vote is never wasted,' Mr Wallace said.

'So I think those parties, and support for those parties, is very, very important. It’s very important when they are in the Upper House because we have seen the CDP has at times held the balance of power and exercised a lot of good in NSW and we have seen with Family First they have exercised a lot of good in the SA parliament where they hold, at least on certain issues, the balance of power.'

CDP's Rev Fred Nile said his party would make this issue a major campaign message as he knew from research that many Christian voters did not understand the value of voting for a Christian party first.

'Many voters don’t seem to realise that if they vote for the Christian party first and then go to their favourite major party; if we don’t get enough votes, their vote will then flow to their major party preference.

'What this does is send a message to the major parties, "We are concerned about these Christian issues. We would like you to adopt these policies, or be more Christian". So it’s a very powerful message and I know the major parties spend a lot of time, on election night, studying the preference flow,' Rev Nile said.

'So it’s really getting more value for your vote. If you vote directly for Labor or Liberal they can say, and rightly so, that you are fully supporting all their policies, when probably that Christian isn’t. Voting for us gives them a kick in the pants – because they ask why would the voter do that, and it forces them to do a bit of analysing of the vote and the issues.'

Parts of this Post were first published in Alive magazine and written by ACV journalist, Peter Hallett.

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