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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Labor, Religion and Political Schizophrenia

Nov 16, 2019

Labor’s review of its election loss shows a Party that is still out of touch:

On May 18 of this year federal Labor lost the unlosable election. Everyone was predicting an easy Labor win, and almost no one foresaw a Coalition re-election. But the “miracle” happened, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison put it. My only regret is that I was in America at the time, so I had to experience this win from afar, with whatever online help I could find.

Labor of course was shocked by the result, and after a period of licking its wounds and lamenting the sad state of play, it undertook a review to determine what went wrong. Thus they recently released the “Review of Labor’s 2019 Federal Election Campaign” chaired by The Hon Dr Craig Emerson and The Hon Jay Weatherill.

The 91-page document is interesting to say the least. It speaks about various reasons for the loss: the unpopularity of Bill Shorten; having a “weak strategy;” the fact that it “did not settle on a persuasive strategy” to tackle the Liberals; and so on. All up it offered 60 findings and 26 recommendations.

What is really interesting is when it talks about religion. While the word “religion” is found 6 times, and the word “religious” is found 3 times, the word “Christian” is found 26 times in the review. But the words “Islam” and Muslim” are not mentioned once. Let me explain the significance of all this.

The review was happy to talk about how some Christians turned away from Labor. Consider three of its findings:

Finding 29: Economically insecure, low-income voters in outer-urban and regional Australia swung against Labor.

Christians are defined as those who identified themselves as being of the Christian faith in the 2016 Census. They do not include secular Australians who were Christened or Baptised but no longer identify themselves as Christians. In some way or other, the group called Christians practise their religion. When all other variables are controlled for, it is estimated that identifying as Christian was associated with a swing against Labor. While the statistical analysis did not break down Christian voters into sub-groups, it appears from electorate-based evidence the most pronounced swings were among devout, first-generation migrant Christians.

Finding 30: Some groups of self-declared Christians swung against Labor.

Between them, up to 400,000 voters in these two groups changed their votes at the 2019 election. Coal mine workers and those working in allied industries such as wholesale trade, electricity, gas, water and waste, manufacturing and agriculture, forestry and fishing swung strongly against Labor. These voters contributed heavily to Labor’s loss of Herbert and to big anti-Labor swings in the Coalition-held Queensland seats of Capricornia, Dawson and Flynn, as well as in the Labor-held Hunter Valley seats of Hunter, Shortland and Paterson. A swing by Chinese Australian voters against Labor of more than 2 per cent nationally may have had localised consequences, with the Liberal Party retaining Reid and Chisholm despite departing sitting members.

Finding 36: Labor did not craft and convey a persuasive jobs and economic growth story that augmented its mission to reduce inequality.

Christian voters

Internal polling confirms when Scott Morrison became Prime Minister in August 2018 he was not well known by voters. He set about defining himself, at first, as a daggy, baseball cap-wearing dad, but then, as the election campaign itself unfolded, as a devout Christian. Most conspicuously, Morrison was filmed praying, arms aloft, in his local church on Easter Sunday. These images were a prominent feature of the remainder of the campaign, with Morrison speaking openly about his Christian faith.

In contrast, Labor as a whole did not project an image that was appealing to devout Christians. Announcing Labor’s sexual and reproductive health strategy 10 weeks from the election enabled conservative groups to target Christian voters in marginal electorates around the country, and in traditionally safe Labor seats in western Sydney.

The Party would be wise to reconnect with people of faith on social justice issues and emphasise its historic links with mainstream churches. Whether Labor’s campaign for marriage equality affected its standing with people of faith is a moot question, but it is noteworthy that even after an overwhelming “Yes” vote, Morrison abstained in the parliamentary vote on the enabling legislation. In pointing this out, we are not suggesting Labor should have positioned itself as opposing marriage equality.

More generally, the rise of the Christian Right within the Liberal Party and Morrison’s elevation to the Liberal leadership will ensure the Liberals will continue to connect with devout Christians. alp.org.au/media/2043/alp-campaign-review-2019.pdf

But listen to what it says in its recommendations. It basically says they have the right values and they must cling to them. Consider the first:

Recommendation 1: Labor should retain its core values, including improving the job opportunities, security and conditions of working Australians, fairness, non-discrimination on the basis of race, religion and gender, and care for the environment.

While all this sounds nice, the reality is the core values of Labor are now those of radical secular leftism, with pro-homosexuality and pro-abortion leading the way. Thus the bizarre and schizophrenic waffle we find here. On the one hand, it says its core values are just peachy.

But on the other hand it worries about losing some Christian votes. Um, wakey, wakey. Pushing values that are inimical to core Christian values is NOT how you win back disaffected Christians. It is how you keep alienating them and keep them away. Thus the lunacy of this recommendation:

Recommendation 6: Without compromising existing support, Labor should broaden its support base by improving its standing with economically insecure, low-income working families, groups within the Christian community and Australians living in regional and rural Australia.

Sorry mates: doubling down on your anti-Christian values will do you little good in reaching biblical Christians. It ain’t gonna work. And as I noted, the “I” word and the “M” words were not even mentioned. I wonder why. The truth is, the western suburbs of Sydney are two things: Labor strongholds, and places with high concentrations of Muslims.

Most Muslims are not too crazy about the radical pro-homosexual policies and all the others that go with it: the gender bender trans agendas, the “Safe Schools’ garbage, and so on. They too would have rejected Labor just as much as so many Christian voters did.

They too are sick of the radical secularism and the promotion of every hard-core loony lefty item, including all the radical sexuality policies. While Labor is quite happy to talk about Christianity – and often – they were too afraid to say a word about Islam.

This is one of their big dilemmas. They really do depend on the Muslim vote, at least in NSW, but they are pushing “core” values that most Muslims detest – and reject. You really can’t have it both ways. Sure, you can try to pull the wool over the eyes of many Christians who don’t think too straight or take their faith too seriously, but it is not as easy to pull a fast one on Muslims.

So this review seems like a big waste of time, all up. It acknowledges time and time again how it had turned away Christians, yet it insists on running with so many core policies that will continue to turn off real-deal Christians. You won’t get very far with a “strategy” like that Labor!

I always love a quote by an earlier and much-more level-headed Labor MP and Minister, Kim Beazley Senior (1917 – 2007). At the WA Labor state conference in 1970, he blasted his comrades for this movement toward leftist insanity and chaos:

“When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now all I see are the dregs of the middle class. And what I want to know is when you middle class perverts are going to stop using the Labor Party as a spiritual spittoon.”

Now THAT is exactly the sort of advice that federal Labor needs to hear today, not all this leftist nonsense its leaders are pushing. Until it wakes up to the reality of Kim’s words, they will continue to spin out of control. They will continue to languish in the political wilderness.

Although that is good news in my books.

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10 Responses to Labor, Religion and Political Schizophrenia

  • Labor pi$$ing in their OWN pockets.

    Keep it up, and hopefullt remain in opposition for a couple more decades.

  • During the SSM debate, former ALP leader Bill Shorten described its opponents as being “far right.” In other words, he was implying that if you didn’t support gay marriage, you deserve to be lumped together with white supremacists.

    As a mainstream conservative, I was very offended by this. Even though I wasn’t overly enamoured with the other parties, there was no way I could in good conscience vote for a party that appears to have such disrespect for my spiritual beliefs.

  • When Labor begins to look more like Marx, Engels, H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw and less like the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Chartists, it is bound to find itself on collision course with Christians who take their God and His Bible seriously…

  • Forty years I have battered and bantered pastors with the notion that as Christians we should be in the face of the politicians to keep them in check. Priests and pastors I think, must regularly preach a sound doctrine to their flocks impressing upon them the need to be active and mighty in managing the moral compass of our countries – including politically!!!
    There is no biblical restriction to opposing the many and various vile political policies tabled today.
    Indeed, “there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection”. A million Christians (led by their pastors) need to be the ‘squeaky wheel”. This would change the direction of the entire planet.
    Where are the Jeremiahs of today’s evangelical church?
    Do our shepherds (almost world-wide) lack the intestinal fortitude to follow through with their initial conversion to proclaim FROM THE ROOFTOPS salvation and grace through Christ our King v’s eternal (for-damn-ever) torturous oblivion and absence from our Creator! This reeks of conspiracy – like they have no care for the eternal souls of their flocks!
    What did someone call it the other day – accommodation” Are we prepared to accommodate the spirit of this age? NOT SO ME!
    If we stand for Christ – should we sit in silence? No – we shall be visible, vocal and validate the cause of our lives.
    BTW, March For Life – 7th December, Wellington NZ

  • Fairly obviously Labor has pretty much declared war on Christianity. They require all Labor members to support sexual deviation and immorality are very obviously attempting to take away rights not only of Christians but parents and anyone reasonable at all. They have made it very clear they want to control the indoctrination of every child in this nation. As I have said from the start, claiming equality for opposite things is how you remove people’s rights. This approach is in direct opposition to real human rights which, of course, any policy based on lies will always be.

    Claiming all behaviors as having to be considered equal is very obvious and blatant nonsense and a deceit designed specifically to help them in their own agenda to bring people under their own control. It cannot possibly end well. People have every right to judge damaging and immoral behaviors for what they really are. This is fundamental to human rights. Making rightful judgement is in reality the only way society can actually advance. The idea that everyone’s person “reality” must be treated equally is a very obvious lie. That we are so soon removed from the fundamental truth that there is actual truth and that that truth can be found and that implementing national policies and laws based on truth is beneficial, is astounding.

    What I heard about Labor’s navel gazing is they seem to think that the electorate was confused by all their policy announcements and they have stated openly that they won’t make that “mistake” again, so don’t expect Labor to be telling you a fraction of what they intend to do prior to the next election. The fact is they were already keeping very quiet about many things they intended to do and now the situation will only become worse.

    The fact is people were not confused by Labor’s policies and in fact were crying out for more detail because so little of their platform makes sense.

    The only reason Labor polled as well as they did is because of the constant propaganda coming out of the public media. Just how stunned the ABC and SBS staff were when Labor lost the election proves that they function in a complete echo chamber which prevents them from seeing the truth.

    Slowly, however, people are coming to realize that the public media is NOT the authority they claim to be. They are definitely clever in their propaganda techniques such as how they cherry pick which news stories they will present and those they will overemphasis and those they will ignore. They are clever enough to at least make a small effort to appear impartial by constantly bringing on obscure guests onto their current affairs shows who will echo what they themselves want to say but know they can’t say straight out without their bias being obvious. They just metaphorically nod their head and present their own views through selected others and say “See? This is what people are saying.”

    Until these anti-democratic, anti-Christian, anti-human-rights forces are brought out into the open and exposed for what they really are this country is in very great danger. It is all very well to laugh at what the ABC and SBS are getting away with but the fact is they are influencing people and they are most certainly undermining democracy.

    People should consider that the Nazi SS also used identity politics and constantly presented misinformation in a convincing form in their propaganda which also had people believing lies. Yes you will find show after show rightfully condemning the Nazis on the SBS but what you don’t see is how the left wing of politics has historically been worse than even the Nazis. There is a reason why the Australian public media do this which people really need to wake up to.

  • What I read from the report is that many Christians are finally waking up to something that should have been obvious decades ago: that Labor is a moral bankrupt organization unworthy of their vote.
    Another thing I keep hammering is that you don’t need to control 50% of the vote to get your program accepted; you only need to control the swing vote. If politicians knew that, by supporting immoral policies, they would automatically lose (say) 10% of the vote, they would stop supporting immoral policies. It is up to Christians to vote according to conscience rather than party loyalty or the hip pocket. Once parties stop supporting immoral laws, we can go back to following our hip pocket.

  • That Kim Beazley quote is excellent.

    It is strange that Labor would start supporting radical left agendas when the Greens already play that role in parliament. Doesn’t make sense.

    Having said that, in Australia there are no parties which a Christian can vote for on all matters, although voting for the Liberals does at least slow the progress of insanity a little.

    You are correct though, no reason for a Christian to ever vote Labor ever again, now that they have fully adopted and endorsed such radical anti-Christian “ideals” such as homosexuality and abortion.

  • Re Recommendation 1 and caring for the environment. If, after the recent bushfire scenario, Labor and the Greens oppose the burning off of National Parks and legislation enabling at risk private land in the age-old pre-summer tradition, known as ‘fire-farming’ among indigenous peoples, then they might as well include their environmental values as contradictory, rather than caring.

  • Kim Beazley senior was dead right…well said that man. I was recently talking with a good mate of mine who is a staunch labor supporter – and I said to him that the Labor policies and values that he espoused were all from the “old time” Labor guys – like KB Sr, and that the current crop of leasers had changed the Party gradually and sneakily to have nothing at all to do with the Party that he adored. He found it very difficult to see, but I assured him that if the Party was the same now as it was in the 50s and 60s then a LOT more people would support it. Certainly it would still be secular and slightly leaning to the left, but it would be a better propostion than either of the current protagonists – despite the PMs Christianity.

  • Dear Bill,

    Labor could once rely on the working class vote and the working class were notoriously conservative in their social values. It has abandoned those voters completely over the years. As Kim Beazely senior once said when he began his political career the party consisted of the cream of the working class. By the time he retired he said it contained the dregs of the middle class.

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