Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do the new cross bench members carry their cross?

When Julia Gillard became Prime Minister there was massive interest from the Christian community as to whether she believed in God or carried Christian values.

Now that we have a handful of independents holding the balance of power, it will be interesting to see if their religious faith or otherwise receives the same scrutiny.

None of them have clear Christian identification in their publicity material but the rural independents would be well accustomed to visiting church events as part of country life.

At this stage, between four and six members of the House of Representatives will sit on the cross benches - that is, not on the Labor or Liberal side of the house.

They are the independents, Member for New England (NSW) Tony Windsor, Member for Lyne (NSW) Rob Oakeshott and Member for Kennedy (Qld) Bob Katter, all regional or rural electorates. Issues highlighted by these three include help for regional Australia, a departure from the two-party system of government to a more united parliament approach and

Also on the cross benches is Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, who is a member of The Greens and his policies are those of The Greens. He highlighted gay marriage and a price on carbon as two of his priorities.

A possible fifth is Member for O'Connor (WA) Tony Crook who ran as a National but is reported as saying he will sit on the cross benches as an 'independent WA National'. He is staunchly anti-mining tax and ETS.

And a likely sixth member is independent Andrew Wilkie who appears to have won the seat of Denison in Tasmania. He is contacting independent Senator Nick Xenophon for advice and one of Wilkie's key issues is to combat the spread of poker machines.

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