Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Australian Christian Lobby
That the Senate—
(a) acknowledges that the Australian Christian Lobby does not represent most Christians in this country and are nothing more than a fringe group;
(b) condemns the Treasurer (Mr Morrison) for attending the Australian Christian Lobby National Conference on 23 April 2016; and
(c) calls on the Prime Minister (Mr Turnbull) to reject the Australian Christian Lobby's request for a temporary suspension to the anti discrimination laws should a plebiscite campaign on marriage equality eventuate.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
The motion I am moving today seeks to expose the Australian Christian Lobby for what they are: an extremist fringe organisation that does not represent the views of a majority of Christians in this country.
Honourable senators interjecting—
I hear members of the Liberal and Labor parties heckling me. Well, of course, they have been running a protection racket for the ACL for a very long time. They stand up for these homophobes and sexists in this parliament all the time. Well, the Greens are calling it out, and that is the motion that we are moving today.
The motion also seeks to condemn Scott Morrison for speaking at the ACL conference recently and sharing the rostrum with these bigots and homophobes. It is appalling to see one of the most senior members of this Turnbull government sharing the rostrum with these bigots and homophobes. Mr Turnbull should stand up to these bigots, and this parliament should send a clear message by supporting this motion.
I seek leave to make a one-minute statement.
I thank the Senate. The Australian Christian Lobby enjoys a supporter base of tens of thousands of our fellow Australians. To falsely describe—and, one assumes, thereby malign, offend and humiliate—the ACL by calling it an extremist fringe group is a display of intolerance and feeds ugly community division. For the Greens, of all people, to condemn a group as 'fringe' is a sad display of a lack of self-awareness on their part. In seeking to condemn others for attending an ACL forum, we see writ large not only the ugly underbelly of Green intolerance but their hypocrisy. You see, Mr President, the Greens have been known to participate in ACL forums to harness votes from this alleged extremist fringe group, including Mr Nick McKim from Tasmania. (Time expired)
I believe that parts (a) and (b) of the motion make it a poison pill motion, because, while some members may agree on the calls for the Prime Minister to reject the Australian Christian Lobby's request for a temporary suspension of antidiscrimination laws should there be a plebiscite on marriage equality, I think it is quite unreasonable to attack the Australian Christian Lobby and, in particular, to attack Treasurer Morrison for attending an Australian Christian Lobby conference. If we get to that stage then I think that is a very sad indictment of freedom of speech.