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UPDATED: Family First? You NEED to know what they stand for.

Wendy Francis

There are some people who have views that are so repugnant to me that I shake my head in disbelief that they even have a platform from which to sprout them. Wendy Francis is one such person. Stephen Fielding is another. Co-incidentally, they are both from the Family First political party. This party sounds pretty innocuous. Families. Who doesn’t like families, right? Chances are, you have on, come from one or are part of one. Possibly all three! So chances are that you might be inclined to give them tick somewhere on your ballot on August 21st.

STOP RIGHT THERE.

Because you need to know what bigotted, homophobic, inflammatory views this party holds. You need to know that they’re not about putting all families first. Just one type of extremely narrowly defined family.

This weekend on Twitter, Family First senate candidate Wendy Francis broadcast the following tweets to her followers and the world:

Senator Steve Fielding

Family First currently have just one representative in the Australian Senate, Steven Fielding. The party received just 1.88% of the votes in Victoria, but because of pre-arranged deals, Fielding became a Senator in 2004. He is up for re-election in 2010 after completing his six-year term.

His contribution to the passing of Australia’s first paid parental leave scheme in June was to VOTE AGAINST IT BECAUSE:

“Drug addicts and welfare cheats can go out there and get themselves pregnant and then after 20 weeks have an abortion and still pocket the government’s cash,” Senator Fielding told the Senate.

This is despite the fact that the government had held many briefings and information sessions prior to the introduction of the legislation for any member of parliament who wanted to ask these kinds of questions. Other anti-abortion parliamentarians had their concerns addressed privately to their satisfaction.

Stephen Fielding refused to attend any of these sessions and instead used parliament to launch a vile attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our community, not to mention those who have lost babies so tragically in such circumstances due to extreme medical complications.

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Family first? Or cruel and opportunistic grand-standing?

I asked Julie Cowdroy to do a quick Family First Cheat Sheet so we can all better understand what they’re about:

Family First is a socially conservative political party. The party was formed in 2002, by Dr Andrew Evans, a former Pentecostal church pastor. However, Family First denies it is a Christian party despite nearly all of the candidates having a conservative Christian background.

The Family First website states:

  • Family First is a party set up to give Australian families a voice in Parliament;
  • Family First wants Australia to be the best place to raise a family;
  • Family First is independent and represents commonsense, mainstream values and ordinary Australian families.

Here are a few of their core values taken straight from the policy section of their website.

 

FAMILY

  • Family First logo

    “’Family’ for Family First means the relationships that bind grandparents, parents and their children, mums and dads and siblings and form the basis of a living community.

  • Family grows out of heterosexual relationships between men and women. Family life flourishes when couples strive for stable commitment to sexual fidelity to each other.
  • Family First have also stated that “Marriage between a man and a women (sic) is the surest approach to the establishment of stable family life and is therefore worthy of positive support and promotion of government and society.”

ABORTION

  • Family First is opposed to the medical procedure of abortion.
  • Family First understands that this issue is controversial and emotive, and a matter of deep personal sensitivity to many people especially women. However Family First recognises that many women are deeply hurt by the widespread promotion of abortion as the solution to crisis pregnancies and by their own experience of abortion.

 

MANDATORY INTERNET FILTER

  • “The present system of education and the promotion of end user filtering have clearly failed. Family First will insist upon mandatory filtering in Australia….at the ISP level.”

You can read more about Family First policies and core values in detail here

Far more interesting than the REAL debate, here is Fiona Patten from the Australian Sex Party and Wendy Francis from Family First on Sunrise last week.

UPDATE by Julie Cowdroy

David Barrow was listed on the Family First website as running for the seat of La Trobe in Victoria when he posted the following comment numerous times on this post.

“My understanding of what a couple means, and my personal interpretation of Family First policy on this or what it ought to be, is that a family couple  is a committed co-dependent relationship between two adults in its widest sense.

At Family First, we say that a family couple is a committed relationship between a man and a woman: Adam and Eve.

And it is also Adam and Steve — gay and lesbian couples — and Eve with Eve (even Eve with Eve if you will). So when it comes to families, Family First is a “broad church”  (in the modern secular sense of that term): heterosexual, gay and lesbian couples, as well as bi, trans, and intersex.”

When I saw the comment, I called Family First who seemed to be completely unaware of Mr Barrow’s views. The Victorian branch of Family First have since announced that they have officially disendorsed Mr Barrow on the grounds that he misrepresented his own views when he signed up to be the candidate for La Trobe on 23 July.

Family First Victorian Chairman, Peter Lake, says “Family First took immediate action to disendorse the candidate in La Trobe upon being alerted to the secret affidavit.

“Clearly the views expressed by Mr Barrow in his affidavit are not in accordance with the views of Family First and as a result, the party has disendorsed his candidacy, effective immediately.”

Family First had to inform the candidate via email because he could not be contacted by phone.