October 06, 2004


Lots of media concern about anti-abortion Christian party Family First, and its preference deal with the Coalition. But how many people know this about Labor recruit Peter Garrett?

He opposes abortion, in vitro fertilisation and euthanasia - beliefs that put him alongside the Howard government's staunch conservatives such as Tony Abbott. Garrett, in fact, is a committed Christian on a mission to change the world - and he believes the best way to do that is in a mainstream political party.

Oooh! Scary! (The above link, to Morgan Mellish's September 30 piece in the Australian Financial Review, requires subscription/registration.)

UPDATE: "The new Family First party is being energetically derided as a fanatical right-wing fundamentalist Christian organisation because it is against abortion and euthanasia."

Posted by Tim Blair at October 6, 2004 02:33 PM

Seriously, i'm not sure that the Family First group don't have a few skeletons. Though what about the Greens? As loopy if not more so. The SMH pointed out Howards' drug policy though made no comment about the Green's 'progressive' view.

people can be indignant as much as they like, though not to have applied the same yardstick to the Greens only highlights the lefts' double standards.

Posted by: nic at October 6, 2004 at 02:43 PM

And I thought Peter Garrett was cool - makes a girl wonder where have all the normal politicians have gone.

Posted by: Daisy Duke at October 6, 2004 at 02:50 PM

I want to see Garrett get up in the house and start singing "US forces". Sit Jim Mognie to one side and Rob Hirst to the other and let them rock the house.

I still reckon Ron Hitler-Barassi from TISM would make a better politician.

His maiden speech.
RHB: Johnny, boy, your a crock of....

Speaker: Would the honourable member for Springvale resume his seat.


Posted by: Joe at October 6, 2004 at 03:22 PM

Hypocrisy, indeed. And look at the heat the ABC and broadsheets have been putting on Tony Abbott over a private meeting with an archbishop.

Nevertheless, while one may disagree with his politics, Peter Garrett deserves an accolade for standing up for his convictions.

Couldn't find the linked story, so I read Peter Ruehl instead, brilliant as usual:

Through all this mess, you've got to figure out how to vote. This could be the reason some polls have shown a sudden swing towards the Greens. They're crazy, but at least they come right out and tell you how they're crazy so you don't need a calculator, 23 balance sheets and Alan Greenspan to reach the same conclusion. With the Greens, it's pretty simple: trees, drugs and rock 'n' roll. And with Planet Bob as their leader, they don't even have to worry about money because it's growing on the trees he's saving.


What's gone unnoticed until the past few days is the effect this election is going to have on the one next month in the US. (I pointed this out presciently a couple of weeks ago, but it doesn't count because I'd been drinking.) Because of his backing in Iraq, a win or a loss by Howard could mean George Bush is re-elected or is one-term toast. ...

Anyway, a few American commentators, including The Wall Street Journal and the fruity Fox News, have argued that a Howard defeat would mean one of the country's closest Iraq allies no longer supported it. You can bet Kerry would have that hanging on Dubya like a cheap suit.

What the Americans are missing is the fact that Iraq has not, to this point, been an election issue here. Latham's backed off it as though it were Janet Jackson coming at him with a paternity suit. And what that means - you have to love this - is Dubya's re-election prospects could hinge on how well Howard's sold a first-time home buyers' program in some suburban electorate Bush has never heard of.

Posted by: ilibcc at October 6, 2004 at 03:43 PM

Family First anti-abortion. Tim, that's a load of rubbish.

If you vote for Family First in the Senate and vote above the line you are giving preferences to the Australian Democrats in NSW and elsewhere. The Dems are not exactly anti-abortion are they?

I wonder what FF are doing in WA where the odious Grieg heads the AD Senate ticket?

In Qld, FF above the line preferences are going to the Cheryl Kernot clone, Hetty Johnson, who happens to be so against child abuse that she is pro abortion. Can you work that one out?

What does all this prove? If you want to vote anti abortion vote below the line in the Senate.

Posted by: TN at October 6, 2004 at 04:24 PM

Abbot after Howard?
No chance ever, he's seen as a professional Catholic (got some advice from Father the other day and denied it, Tony understands the problem).
Ok for front bench.
But a creepy deist to many voters.
Pete regularly skewers Lifelong in Parliament and is sort of Boy Scout religious.
No spiritual angst there.
Will get the guernsey.

Posted by: TT at October 6, 2004 at 04:58 PM

The first time I heard Gavin Bryars' Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet was a version done by Garrett and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Bryars had previously recorded it with Tom Waits, so I suppose that makes it cool, Daisy.

Posted by: David Morgan at October 6, 2004 at 04:58 PM

Why are us Cathylicks viewed as creepy!! My fangs only come out at night.

I need blood, the blood of chronic christians!!

Posted by: Joe at October 6, 2004 at 05:02 PM

Didn't Jesus warn his disciples that they would be persecuted because they are His disciples?

Serious Micks (that is people who believe in the Magisterium, the Real Presence etc) are seen a creey because they believe that God made us to know him, to love him and to serve him in this life and to be with him for ever in heaven (yes, I've teaching my children the Catechism; I never learnt that when I was at my trendy 1980s 'Catholic' schools).

This is far too confronting for a Godless generation.

Posted by: TN at October 6, 2004 at 05:10 PM

As always disagreement equals persecution to a deist.
Confronting?.....Nah, its all too trival.
Try Looney.

Posted by: TT at October 6, 2004 at 05:28 PM

try "trivial"

Posted by: TT at October 6, 2004 at 05:29 PM

TT, your take on Tony Abbott's visit to the archbishop may well be wrong.

And disagreement doesn't mean calling people loony because of their beliefs. TN therefore has a case.

Posted by: ilibcc at October 6, 2004 at 05:40 PM

try "loony" tunes
it's an objective judgement

Posted by: TT at October 6, 2004 at 05:48 PM

FF policy on abortion isn't to stop it(they are realists).Rather it is to have more information available for people to make informed decisions prior to having abortions.

Posted by: gubbaboy at October 6, 2004 at 05:56 PM

There is something strangely admirable about TT's flippancy about eternity.

To use names, like Looney, to describe Catholics simply proves my point that God is far too confronting.

Posted by: TN at October 6, 2004 at 05:57 PM

Err..sorry your logic (sic) lost me.

Try this....
With Abbot you get a Harradine strength dose of serious religion.
Sure, its better camouflaged but no-one wants a PM kissing a bishop’s ring.

Posted by: TT at October 6, 2004 at 06:08 PM

Sure, its better camouflaged but no-one wants a PM kissing a bishop’s ring.

Anti-Catholic bigotry went out with my dad's generation, mate.

Posted by: Quentin George at October 6, 2004 at 06:12 PM

As long as that's all he kisses.

Posted by: mr magoo at October 6, 2004 at 06:20 PM

TT, Why do Catholics kiss a bishops ring?

Posted by: TN at October 6, 2004 at 06:29 PM

Good grief Quint!....or a pastor's or a rabbi's or an imams or a guru's or the Grand Worshipful Wizzard's....ya drip.

Posted by: TT at October 6, 2004 at 06:29 PM

TN ...I dunno...sounds like the Freudians would be all over that.

Please don't tell me you came to confess and stayed for the taste.

Posted by: TT at October 6, 2004 at 07:52 PM

What's with the Catholic bashing?

Posted by: Chap at October 6, 2004 at 09:54 PM

Micks (particularly Irish) were traditionally ALP supporters.

However that religious fervour was overtaken on the left by the "religious" fervour of the new breed of socialists/communists do-gooders etc (who wanted to, lets say, "dismantle" religion, as one tactic in the process of gaining power).

Posted by: DaveACT at October 7, 2004 at 12:08 AM

Tim, Tim, Tim,
Family First really are closet closet Greens and gay Liberals.

Garrett has more integrity.

Posted by: saint at October 7, 2004 at 01:27 AM

Does Peter Ruehl seriously think anyone in the US cares about the Australian election?

Posted by: John at October 7, 2004 at 02:46 AM

I would hope he does. There are quite a number of us who do care. Dunno if you are a rude American who doesn't or an Australian who thinks we don't pay attention to you lot. Either way, you are a bit off the mark.

Posted by: Kathy K at October 7, 2004 at 04:28 AM

Mr Audi (aka TT), Your evasion of issues by attempting (a much stronger word is needed here but I will refrain from being rude) humour merely underlines my earlier point. Religion, and Catholicism in particular, is too confronting for a Godless generation.

Ann Coulter (not everyone's cup of tea, I grant) reckons that we can be sure of Christ's because after 2000 years he is still detested.

As for kissing a bishop's ring (I will ignore your cheap and pathetic jibes but note that I refer only to the apostolic ring worn on the finger): a bishop is a modern day apostles. Apostles are appointed by Christ and the ring signifies this divine appointment. To kiss a bishop's ring is an act of great humility as it acknowledges that divinity.

Posted by: TN at October 7, 2004 at 08:00 AM

Catholics are not Deists.

That would be Isaac Newton, Rousseau, Thomas Jefferson... the whole human rights gambit arose from Deism.

Deists believed that God set the world up as a machine, and then stood apart to let it play itself out, to see us 'Help ourselves' to Utopia.


Yes, Garrett has always been a full on activist Christian, and you may find that many other lefty icons are too. He probably just avoided mentioning it to please his record company. Where have you guys been?

Posted by: Om at October 7, 2004 at 10:52 AM

I'm anti-abortion. I can handle working with, or voting for, someone who opposes banning abortion of pragmatic grounds -- because it drives the practice underground, so you have women dying as well as babies. On odd-numbered days I tend towards that view myself.

The type of legal pro-choicers I cannot stomach are those who think abortion is not only a legal right but a moral right, and who want to stop pro-lifers from showing films of embryos, or refusing to take part in carrying out abortions, or offering voluntary sidewalk counselling, or otherwise trying to peacefully, non-coercively persuade people to choose options other than aborting.

None of those are hypothetical examples. All are cases that have either occurred already, or that the pro-abortionists have acknowledged they'd like to see imposed, whether by law or by the even more coercive means of a mob chanting slogans.

Generally, I've found that right-wing libertarian pro-choicers (Instapundit, Volokh, PJ O'Rourke, presumably Tim himself... you can stretch that category to include Steyn and Hitchens) tend to fall into the first category. Leftists, though, almost invariably fall into the second, which is why I call them what they really are -- "pro-aborts" -- rather than dignify them with the weaselly title "pro-choice".

Posted by: Uncle Milk at October 7, 2004 at 11:15 AM

Thanks Kathy. I'm a pro-American Aussie who happens to know how little media coverage the US gives to anything outside its borders (Iraq notwithstanding). We might be an ally but we rarely rate a mention.

I doubt much of the American population knows there's an election Down Under. And to suggest our result could influence theirs is laughable!

Posted by: John at October 7, 2004 at 12:43 PM

Apparently FF are preferencing the Democratic party in the Senate as they are hedging their bets on the dems losing big time (which is prbly the case this election) . Preference deals in the senate work differently to House of Reps . Although it does make good cannon fodder for other candidates chasing the conservative vote in QLD (EG barnaby joyce ad QLD Courier mail 06/10 p 21)

anyone have a degree in Political science !? maybe you could enlighten us ?

Posted by: Will s at October 7, 2004 at 12:59 PM

Here's one American who wouldn't have a clue about any forthcoming election in Australia if not for one Tim Blair :) Of course i live in Japan which doesn't care much about Australia anyway unless the cows get BSE.

This new Family First party is quite interesting. As a fundamentalist Christian who doesn't kiss up to any human (or their ring), i wonder how much impact they will have on this election.

Posted by: daniel at October 7, 2004 at 03:02 PM

A question TN... ( and not Audi but I'd like to own his car).
Is religion essentially a mental health problem? And what does that mean if a serious devotee becomes PM?

Before you implode answer this, are you... a divorced mother, couple of kids, used to be fairly religious, went worryingly obsessive after the break-up?

All this bs about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin and whether Jesus approves of church regulation 22 is not good for the kids TN.

Consider, if your god gave you a brain and a life, she is hardly likely to want you to waste your allotted time on stage crawling before the altar. You have eternity to do that stuff.

Don't get confused about Ann, this is a top chick, a Republican Party reptile, well known for all night Martini fuelled rages with PJ O'Rourke.

Posted by: TT at October 7, 2004 at 06:53 PM

the real question should be: who would you rather babysit your kids? a member of Family First or Bob Brown?

Posted by: rosceo at October 7, 2004 at 09:47 PM

Is the Family First member Guy Sebastian?

Posted by: Quentin George at October 7, 2004 at 10:00 PM

TT, You prob won't see this post but not matter.

I am a normal human being. I grew up in a family with seven children. My parents were not divoreced or separated. Dad died when I was 17. I am married, for 15 years, and have 4 children. Not sure what this has got to do with it. By the way I am a male.

I don't understand the stuff about pin heads or regulation 22.

In Chapter 16 of St Matthew's Gospel, Jesus establishes His Church with Peter as the Head of His Church. We call John Paul II the successor of Peter. In simple terms, God gave us the Catholic Church. Presumably therefore Jesus is very concerned about His Church.

I think you are wrong about God not wanting us to worship Him. The Old Testament has God revealing Himself and asking that we worship Him.

As our very existence is dependant upon His love and mercy we owe it to Him to show due respect.

I'm afraid the cheap jibe about God being female doesn't work. God is neither male nor female but pure spirit. However the 4,000 year tradition is refer to God as "Him".

By the way, we only earn our right to eternity with God (so that we can praise Him eternally) if we have shown during this life that we actually want to be with Him.

Posted by: TN at October 8, 2004 at 08:35 AM

"In Chapter 16 of St Matthew's Gospel, Jesus establishes His Church with Peter as the Head of His Church."

No, it doesn't say that at all :)

How can i say that? Because Peter was not even converted at the time it was said!!! He was not truly converted until after denying his Saviour at Pilate's trial.

And in looking thru history and seeing the various factions and fighting and bribery etc. to become the pope - no way they are even following God, let alone be his representative!

Posted by: daniel at October 8, 2004 at 01:28 PM

Happy Trails TN.

Posted by: TT at October 8, 2004 at 02:21 PM


You are wrong. Here is Chapter 16 of St Matthew's Gospel (please check the St James version if you want it says something almost exactly the same): from verse 15 - 20

"He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'

"Simon Peter said in reply, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.' [Daniel, what is that about conversion? Also read John Chp 6]

"Jesus said to him in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

" 'And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [there's that funny word], and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

" 'I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'

"Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah. "

Looks pretty clean and clear doesn't it?

Posted by: TN at October 8, 2004 at 07:06 PM