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September 25, 2004

family first

Leak has got the fear bit right.

That is the tactic employed by conservatives. Then they talk about the strong hand of the father ensuring stability and order. That is one form of Australian conservatism.

I'm not sure about the effects of the interest rate fear campaign. The claim is that only the Coalition will keep interest rates low. It is hard to accept given the election splurge, the unfunded promises and the spending placing upward pressure on interest rates given the strong economy. Most market economists have indicated that interest rates will be no different under either political party.

Has the fear worked? It sounds shrill now. With household debt ratios at record levels and housing prices falling the fear campaign may have already done the job,
and only needs a bit of reinforcing. Six of the last eight major published polls have shown movement towards the Government.

And that shadowy figure in the background? Clearly aliens (the Other) who hate us and want to destroy our way of life, kill our kids and bom our property.

What Leak has missed is the rise of Family First, the presence of a broadly-organised American-style religious right in politics that makes families the foundation stone of society. Family First has its base in Adelaide and appeared at the South Australia state election back in 2002, where it won a seat in the Legislative Council.

Then as now the media ignored them until the end of the campaign. Much is made of the Australian Greens preferencing the ALP,but little is being said about the equivalent deal for the Liberals with the Family First party, which is the political arm of the Assemblies of God church.

The pundits have been saying that Family First has little chance of winning seats.

Oh yeah? Some quick revisions are necessary. Family First is in a strong position to pick up a Senate seat in South Australia given its good preference deals.

Their family agenda is to oppose abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriages and stem-cell research and promote sexual abstinence before marriage. It dovertails nicely with the conservative views within the Liberal Party. They pick up where Brian Harradine left off.

While the preference flows of the socially conservative minor party may have limited effect in most states, they will be crucial in the three marginal South Australian seats held by the Liberals. The ALP counted on winning these. The Liberals are okay in Makin, whivch is strong Family First territory. But the Libs are looking shaky in both Hindmarsh and Adelaide.

However, it has been reported that internal Family First party polling has shown the primary vote has reached 4 per cent in Queensland and South Australia.

If right that enable the Liberals to hang onto their marginal seats in SA. 3 more the ALP has to find elsewhere? The Coalition will lose seats but how many?

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at September 25, 2004 11:03 AM

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Here's my exhaustive insiders take on all matters Family First. Please read it.


Posted by: Nathan Zamprogno at October 1, 2004 04:58 PM

It is an excellent post.

Posted by: Gary Sauer-Thompson at October 2, 2004 01:25 AM

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