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Christian lobby backs council candidates based on attitudes to same-sex parenting, abortion


Candidates were asked whether they agreed or not with 45 statements about voluntary assisted dying, sex education, school chaplains, foster care and whether children need both a mother and a father in the home.

They were also asked for their position on whether: “Drag queens are appropriate role models for children”; “A boy who identifies as a girl should be free to use female toilets and change rooms at school”; “Abortion is immoral”; “A child’s gender is not discovered; it is determined at birth”; and “The nuclear family is one of the best insurance policies against societal breakdown”.

The lobby has endorsed 35 candidates in the councils they surveyed, which was focused on the areas where engaged supporters live, including in the Yarra Ranges, Wyndham, Monash, Whitehorse, Melton, Knox and Brimbank.

The majority of the candidates are running as independents, but 15 of them have been linked to the Liberal Party (which does not endorse council candidates), an analysis of the list found.

“These are people who have demonstrated what we think is a solid commitment to the welfare and protection of children. While councillors are not regularly making decisions on matters related to children, we think it may offer guidance on how they will vote on other matters relating to the family and society as well,” Ms Yuen said in a statement.

Peter Killin, who was forced to pull out of the 2019 federal election as a Liberal candidate for the seat of Wills after comments about MP Tim Wilson from 2018 came to light, including advocating against more gay MPs being elected, is one of the 35 candidates endorsed by the ACL.

One of the questions for council candidates.

One of the questions for council candidates.Credit:ACL

“As candidates, we get all manner of surveys from all manner of people in all different directions, and that was just one of many,” Mr Killin said when asked about the survey.

Mr Hakim said the ACL’s survey seemed to be deliberately divisive and did not allow for nuance.

“Even the name of the survey, it’s not about protecting children, but fitting children to your own idea of normal,” said Mr Hakim, who is running on an independent ticket with his mother Safaa Hakim.

“We can’t make this argument into a black and white one … as much as people want to make it really simple, it isn’t.”

Jamal Hakim, who is running to be a councillor in the Melbourne City Council, says the ACL survey is divisive.

Jamal Hakim, who is running to be a councillor in the Melbourne City Council, says the ACL survey is divisive.

Mr Hakim, who is managing director of reproductive health non-profit Marie Stopes Australia, said there is a always a place for religion, but not in a way that impacts other people.

“Everybody is welcome to live in their own way, so long as it’s respectful of others in our communities.”

The ACL, led by then director Lyle Shelton, spearheaded the “no” campaign during the same-sex marriage postal survey. The group also lobbied against the anti-bullying Safe Schools program focused on supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

The Victorian Pride Lobby has also condemned the survey, saying the questions were outside the scope of local government.

“The ACL is once again targeting our community with their intolerance and bigotry,” the pride lobby’s co-convenor, Nevena Spirovska, said in a statement last month.

“The ACL would do well to spend more time demonstrating the Christian charity they profess to
believe in and less time promoting hate and division.”

The Victorian Pride Lobby has launched its own “rainbow local government pledge”. About 50 candidates in Melbourne City Council have so far committed to being inclusive of diverse sexualities and gender identities.

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